Navigation Links
Lizards change their diet to avoid predators
Date:12/2/2009

A scientist from the University of Salamanca and another from Yale University have shown that the presence of predators affects the behaviour of Acanthodactylus beershebensis, a lizard species from the Negev Desert in the Near East. According to the study, these reptiles move less and catch less mobile and different prey if they are under pressure from predators.

Many theoretical models had predicted this result, but until now there had been very few experimental trials and none in the case of saurians (reptiles). This experiment by Dror Hawlena, a researcher at Yale University in the United States, and Valentn Prez-Mellado, a researcher at the University of Salamanca, has shown that certain animals, such as the insectivore lizard Acanthodactylus beershebensis, can change their behaviour and diet to avoid being eaten.

"When there is greater pressure from predators, the individuals tend to move less and catch more mobile prey from somewhat different groups. The lizards' diet and food-seeking behaviour changed significantly when we experimentally increased the predation pressure on them", Prez-Mellado tells SINC.

The study, published recently in the journal Oecologia, shows that reptiles threatened by predators become less selective and eat a more diverse range of foods, according to Prez-Mellado, who was in charge of analysing their diet in Spain. The field work done over the summer months in 2000 and 2001 in the Negev Desert in Israel was carried out by Hawlena.

The scientists studied the species' diet data (trophic ecology) in two different situations with and without predators. The Spanish researcher analysed the contents of 327 faecal pellets taken from 291 different lizards in order to reconstruct their diet. Ants were the prey most commonly consumed by the lizards, both by those at risk (69.32%) and the controls (67.12%), followed by insects such as termites (19.14% and 19.17% respectively). The difference could be clearly seen in the consumption of seeds, because the lizards hardly consumed these (0.52%) when they were under threat from predators.

An ingenious experiment in the desert

In order to reach these conclusions, Hawlena, who is from the University of the Negev in Israel, designed an experiment that made it possible to prove that the presence of predators affects the behaviour and ecology of this endemic species. "A series of artificial perches were placed in a desert site, which made it easier for shrikes (small birds of prey that catch lizards) to make use of the area, since they could detect the lizards from raised perches such as trees and bushes. These perches were not placed in a similar site nearby, which was used as the control site", explains Prez-Mellado.


'/>"/>

Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Genetic study finds treasure trove of new lizards
2. How can scientists measure evolutionary responses to climate change?
3. International expedition investigates climate change, alternative fuels in Arctic
4. Saliva proteins change as women age
5. AAAS exhibit featuring photographs of climate change opens Nov. 18
6. Avoiding dangerous climate change: Is geo-engineering the answer?
7. Lifestyle changes may stave off diabetes for a decade
8. Changes in brain chemicals mark shifts in infant learning
9. Studies improve knowledge of underlying brain changes caused by addiction
10. Queens scientists on international team discover ecologically unique changes in Arctic lake
11. Arctic lake sediments show warming, unique ecological changes in recent decades
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lizards change their diet to avoid predators
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 ... new market research report "Image Recognition Market by Technology ... (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), ... To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is ... to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... BELL, Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its ... San Diego to help identify certain ... States . The test, designed to help determine the ... pedestrian environment, began in February and will run until May ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Nigeria ... more than 23,000 public service employees either did not ... their salary unlawfully.    --> Nigeria ... that more than 23,000 public service employees either did ... receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> DERMALOG, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that Charles “Chuck” Gardner was named ... 1987. Since then, he has served in a number of key leadership positions including ... program and exposition committees. In his professional career, Dr. Gardner is the director of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. ... UTHR ) announced today that Martine ... United Therapeutics will provide an overview and update on ... Annual Health Care Conference. The presentation ... 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and can be accessed via ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 ... ... appointed Greg Lamka, PhD to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Lamka will assist ... of plant pathogen detection. , PathSensors deploys the CANARY® test platform for ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group and the University of Santiago Biotechnology ... development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management for 2016 – 2020. , ... meeting to establish a working agenda and foster initiatives to promote stem cell research ...
Breaking Biology Technology: