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Experimental Assessment of Factors Affecting the Distribution of Adult Female Tree Lizards

Robert T. M'Closkey, Christopher P. Szpak and Richard J. Deslippe
Oikos
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Nov., 1990), pp. 183-188
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3545533
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3545533
Page Count: 6
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Experimental Assessment of Factors Affecting the Distribution of Adult Female Tree Lizards
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Abstract

In the Sonoran desert of southeastern Arizona, we conducted transplant experiments with adult female tree lizards (Urosaurus ornatus) to test the hypothesis that the presence of conspecific females plays a role in their settlement and home range use. We have observed aggregations of female tree lizards, most frequently in dry washes of mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) woodland, but also in flatland desert habitat where the experiments were conducted. We did two types of transplants. In the first, we added a transplant female to the home range and territory of a resident pair (male-female), thereby creating a two-female site. In the second, we removed the resident female and replaced her with a transplant female, thus producing a one-female site. We conducted both pre-transplant and post-transplant censuses and the transplant experiments were conducted immediately after the pre-transplant censuses. Female tree lizards at both groups of transplant sites abandoned these sites compared with sham-transplanted controls. Therefore, the selection or use of home ranges by adult female tree lizards is not determined simply by the presence of other females. Cuing on conspecific females, even if present, is not sufficient for transplanted females to establish residence at unfamiliar sites.

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