The Anolis Lizards of Bimini: Resource Partitioning in a Complex Fauna

Thomas W. Schoener
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Jul., 1968), pp. 704-726
DOI: 10.2307/1935534
Stable URL:
Page Count: 23
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

The Anolis Lizards of Bimini: Resource Partitioning in a Complex Fauna


The tiny island of South Bimini contains 4 species of lizards of he genus Anolis, a number surpassed only on the 4 largest islands of the Greater Antilles and on 2 very large and nearby satellite islands. These species are syntopic with respect to a two-dimensional area of the ground but divide the habitat according to perch height and perch diameter: sagrei is partly terrestrial but occurs more often on small and large low perches; distichus prefers the trunks and large branches of medium to large trees; angusticipes inhabits small twigs, especially at great heights; and carolinensis is found mostly on leaves or on the adjacent twigs and brances. The size classes of the species are staggered in such a way that the interspecific classes which overlap most in habitat overlap least in prey size. Similarities in prey size and prey taxa for classes of the same species are somewhat greater than those expected on the basis of habitat and morphology alone. The distribution of the species among the vegetation communities of Bimini can be explained on the basis of perch height and diameter preference. Within the same species, the larger lizards usually eat larger food, fewer items, and in sagrei more fruit; and they have a greater average range of food size per digestive tract. One species (distichus) is extremely myrmecophagous: about 75-90% of its food items are ants. In 3 of the 4 species, subadult males take more food and average smaller prey then females of the same head length. That species (distichus) which takes the smallest food items and whose classes overlap the most in habitat preference with those of other species is least dimorphic is size between the sexes. It is suggested that such small, nondimorphic species are best suited for insinuation into complex faunas, whereas larger, dimorphic forms are best for the colonization of empty areas. The usefulness of various measures of "overlap" and "specialization" is evaluated for this lizard association.

Notes and References

This item contains 20 references.

Literature Cited
  • Horn, H. S. 1966. Measurement of "overlap" in com- parative ecological studies. Amer. Nat. 100: 419- 424.
  • Howard, R. A. 1950. Vegetation of the Bimini island group. Ecol. Mono. 20: 317-349.
  • Janzen, D. H. and T. W. Schoener. 1968. Differences in abundance and diversity between wetter and drier sites during a- tropical dry season. Ecology 49: 96- 110.
  • MacArthur, R. H., H. Recher and M. Cody. 1966. On the relation between habitat selection and species di- versity. Amer. Nat. 100: 319-332.
  • and E. 0. Wilson. 1963. An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography. Evolution 17: 373-387.
  • Morisita, M. 1959. Measuring of interspecific asso- ciation and similarity between communities. Mem. of the Faculty of Science, Kyushu Univ. Ser. E (Biology)3: 65-80.
  • Oliver, J. A. 1948. The anoline lizards of Bimini, Bahamas. Amer. Mus. Novitates 1383: 1-36.
  • Pianka, E. R. 1966. Convexity, desert lizards and spatial heterogeneity. Ecology 47: 1055-8.
  • Rand, A. S. 1962. Notes on Hispaniolan herpetology. 5. The natural history of three sympatric species of Anolis. Breviora 154: 1-15.
  • - -. 1964. Ecological distribution in anoline lizards of Puerto Rico. Ecology 45: 745-752.
  • — 1967. Ecology and social organization in the iguanid lizard Anolis lineatoputs. Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 122: 1-79.
  • . in prep. Competitive exclusion among anoles (Sauria: Iguanidae) on small islands in the West Indies.
  • Ruibal, R. 1961. Thermal relations of five species of tropical lizards. Evolution 15: 98-111.
  • Schoener, T. W. 1965. The evolution of bill size dif- ferences among sympatric congeneric species of birds. Evolution 19: 189-213.
  • .1967. The ecological significance of sexual di- morphism in size in the lizard Anolis conspersuis. Sci- ence 155: 474-477.
  • — nd G. C. Gorman. 1968. Some niche differ- ences among three species of Lesser Antillean anoles. Ecology 49:
  • Selander, R. K. 1966. Sexual dimorphism and differ- ential niche utilization in birds. Condor 68: 113- 151.
  • Siegel, S. 1956. Nonparametric statistics. McGraw- Hill.
  • Williams, E. E. in prep. The ecology of colonization. I.
  • — and A. S. Rand. in prep. The ecology of colo- nization.II.