Activity and space use of Tropidurus semitaeniatus (Iguania) in an area of Atlantic Forest, Northeastern Brazil

Francis Luiz Santos Caldas, Daniel Oliveira Santana, Rafael Alves dos Santos, Fabíola Fonseca Almeida Gomes, Bruno Duarte da Silva, Renato Gomes Faria


Thermal variability and composition of available micro-habitats influence directly on the activity patterns of lizards, generating specific temperature regulation and resource allocation. Aspects of natural history of Tropidurus semitaeniatus, such as daily and seasonal activity and habitat use, were studied in the Serra de Itabaiana National Park, state of Sergipe, Northeastern Brazil. Between January and December 2008, lizards were captured by contention necklaces. Specimens of T. semitaeniatus were observed throughout the year, with relatively constant activity patterns. However, there was seasonal variation with lower number of observations in the beginning and at the end of the day during the rainy season in relation to the dry season. Individuals were usually observed on sunny days, exposed to direct sunlight. They were usually found on the surface of rocks, running after the observer’s approach, in most cases getting on this same substrate. In the coolest hours of the day, lizards prefer to escape to rock crevices, demonstrating less tolerance to the observer’s approach while at unfavorable thermal moments. We conclude that Tropidurus semitaeniatus activity is affected by seasonality and they choose refuges according to their daily thermal needs.

Keywords: micro-habitat, thermoregulation, activity time.

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