Dry season ecology of Medopheo edracanthus (Sauria: teiidae) in Cerros de Amotape National Park (Tumbes, Peru)

Keywords: Dry forests, ecological niche, diet, activity pattern, body temperature, microhabitat use, lizards


Despite the high diversity of Sauria in Peru, little is known about their ecology, particularly in the dry forests of northwestern Peru. Between September and December 2006, three areas of the ecological niche occupied by Medopheos edracanthus were evaluated in the Cerros de Amotape National Park (Tumbes, Peru). Medopheos edracanthus is a diurnal species, with an activity pattern between 08:00 and 16:00 hours, presenting a peak of activity between 11:00 and 13:00 hours, with no differences observed between juveniles and adults. This species tends to mostly occupy the ground surface and leaf litter, selecting patches exposed to sunlight. No differences were recorded between adults and juveniles regarding the use of microhabitats, although juveniles were observed more frequently on exposed ground, which may be related to their physiology or to territorial segregation between adults and juveniles. This species presented a high body temperature (36.5 ± 0.63 °C), with no differences observed between males and females. The observed body temperature was similar to that of other species of Neotropical teiids. This lizard consumes mainly Isoptera and larvae, including sedentary and grouped prey, similar to those consumed by other species of Neotropical teiids. Medopheos edracanthus forages actively, a historical factor resulting in ecological similarities within the Teiidae family. Research on basic ecological aspects of lizards in dry forests is of paramount importance, due to their vulnerability to anthropogenic changes.


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