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Habitat But Not Body Shape Affects Predator Attack Frequency on Lizard Models in the Brazillian Cerrado
Donald B. Shepard
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Jun., 2007), pp. 193-202
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4497950
Page Count: 10
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Predators use characteristics such as pattern and shape in forming search images of prey, thereby influencing the evolution of prey morphology. In lizards, sit-and-wait foraging species are thought to have body shapes that enhance their ability to remain cryptic to predators. Structurally complex habitats provide more opportunities for prey to avoid detection, thus predator foraging efficiency is predicted to be higher in structurally simple habitats. I used clay lizard models to test whether predation varies among lizards with different body shapes and whether predation varies among habitats in the Brazilian Cerrado with different structural characteristics. Predator attack frequency was highest in the most structurally complex habitat, but the probability of being attacked was higher in more open microhabitats. Attack frequencies did not significantly differ among the four lizard model shapes. Lizards and birds were the main attackers of models and attacks were primarily directed toward the models' heads. My results demonstrate that predator-prey interactions are largely influenced by the environmental context and scale, and that body shape alone does not efficiently promote crypsis.
Herpetologica © 2007 Herpetologists' League