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Habitat selection with respect to ground cover and relative light intensity was studied in two sympatric tropical anoline lizards. Apparently microhabitat variation, consisting of differences in ground cover, light intensity and possibly relative humidity, accounts for much of the observed habitat selection behavior in the anoles studied. In artificial enclosures placed in the field, Anolis humilis preferentially selected leaf litter over grass ground cover; Anolis limifrons demonstrated a significant preference for grass cover. Anolis humilis oriented itself to reduced light intensity within the microhabitat enclosures, whereas A. limifrons failed to show this orientation behavior. In A. humilis, narrow ecological adaptation to deep-shaded habitats rich in leaf litter may reflect moisture tolerance limits of adults and juveniles, egg desiccation rates affecting mortality, or predation pressures. A broader ecological spectrum of adaptation is argued for A. limifrons due to its greater behavioral plasticity with respect to habitat selection. A discussion and model of proximate and ultimate factors affecting anole habitat selection is presented. Research in the areas of behavioral and physiological ecology may pinpoint more precise cause-effect relationships with respect to the habitat selection process in anoline lizards.
Herpetologica © 1977 Herpetologists' League