Natural history observations of the ichthyological and herpetological fauna on the island of Curaçao (Netherlands)

Alex Dornburg*, Dan L. Warren, Teresa Iglesias, Matthew C. Brandley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite increasing popularity of the island as an ecotourist destination, the ecology and natural history of many organisms native to the Lesser Antillean island of Curaçao have remained enigmatic. We document multiple new observations of the behavioral ecology of several terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates that inhabit Curaçao. We present the first report of avian predation on the endemic Curaçao whiptail lizard, Cnemidophorus murinus, suggesting these lizards play a potentially important role in this island's food web. We also document the first instance of predation by the introduced tropical house gecko, Hemidactylus mabouia, on the native Antilles gecko, Gonatodes antillensis. Tropical house geckos are thought to be displacing native geckos through a combination of niche displacement and competitive exclusion, and our finding suggests that predation on smaller native lizards may be another factor aiding the success of this introduced gecko on Curaçao. We also present repeated observational evidence that juvenile bluehead wrasses (Thalassoma bifasciatum) seek refuge among the sessile and venomous giant Caribbean sea anemones (Condylactis gigantean).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2011

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