Influence of Life History Traits on Trophic Niche Segregation between Two Similar Sympatric Tupinambis Lizards

López Juri Guadalupe*, Sergio Naretto, Ana Carolina Mateos, Margarita Chiaraviglio, Gabriela Cardozo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Segregation of habitat resources is an important mechanism that allows the coexistence of species. The diet is an important and dynamic component that can generate interactions among co-existing species. Differences in food resource use between related sympatric species have been associated frequently with divergence in multiple phenotypic traits; hence, it is interesting to explore how phenotypic differences allow sympatric species to minimize niche overlap. We aimed to evaluate trophic niche segregation between Tupinambis merianae and T. rufescens in relation to life history traits in a sympatric zone. We compared the volume of the stomach food items between species considering sexual dimorphism, body size classes, sexual maturity and reproductive activity. The obtained Morisita's index indicated trophic niche overlap between T. merianae and T. rufescens; however, considering particular food items, we observed differences in diet composition. Moreover, our results indicate that body size, sexual maturity and reproductive activity are relevant factors influencing the diet of these species. Life history traits of these two species of Tupinambis are important because they shape diet composition, contributing to interspecific segregation of the trophic niche and, therefore, allowing species coexistence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-142
Number of pages11
JournalSouth American Journal of Herpetology
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • Activity pattern
  • Body size
  • Feeding ecology
  • Phenotypic traits
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Squamata
  • Sympatry
  • Trophic niche overlap

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