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1 March 2012 Reproduction, Body Size, and Diet of Polychrus acutirostris (Squamata: Polychrotidae) in Two Contrasting Environments in Brazil
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Abstract

We compared reproduction, diet, and body size of Polychrus acutirostris (Squamata: Polychrotidae) from the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes in Brazil. Because these two biomes have widely different climates, we predicted that lizards in Caatinga would produce smaller clutches in response to rainfall unpredictability. We also expected reproductive timing to differ between biomes, with lizards occurring in the Cerrado producing a single clutch in association with the predictable rains of October–November. Contrary to expectations, clutches had fewer (although larger) eggs in Cerrado. Reproductive period was remarkably similar (peak of female reproductive activity in November), but female reproduction started 1 month earlier in Cerrado. Diet composition was also similar, with the exception of spiders, that exhibited a high index of relative importance in Cerrado but were nearly absent in Caatinga lizard diets. Lizards from both biomes ingested a large proportion of plant material, as well as soft-bodied arboreal arthropods, such as orthopterans, and mostly slow-moving, large arboreal insects. Rainfall predictability in the Cerrado therefore did not influence Polychrus reproduction or diet in the same manner as in other lizard species. The large number of small eggs in the Caatinga suggests that the competitive environment for offspring is either unpredictable or that mortality is high but random. Rain forest Polychrus lizards produce few large eggs, suggesting that the competitive environment for offspring is predictably intense and mortality is non-random. Cerrado Polychrus lizards seem intermediate between Caatinga and rain forest Polychrus lizards, producing fewer and larger eggs than their conspecifics in the Caatinga but relatively more and smaller eggs than rain forest Polychrus species.

Adrian A. Garda, Gabriel C. Costa, Frederico G. R. França, Lilian G. Giugliano, Giselle S. Leite, Daniel O. Mesquita, Cristiano Nogueira, Leonora Tavares-Bastos, Mariana M. Vasconcellos, Gustavo H. C. Vieira, Laurie J. Vitt, Fernanda P. Werneck, Helga C. Wiederhecker, and Guarino R. Colli "Reproduction, Body Size, and Diet of Polychrus acutirostris (Squamata: Polychrotidae) in Two Contrasting Environments in Brazil," Journal of Herpetology 46(1), 2-8, (1 March 2012). https://doi.org/10.1670/10-288
Accepted: 1 July 2011; Published: 1 March 2012
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