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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

VIDAL, MARCELA; ORTIZ, JUAN CARLOS  and  LABRA, ANTONIETA. Sexual and age differences in ecological variables of the lizard  Microlophus atacamensis (Tropiduridae) from northern Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2002, vol.75, n.2, pp.283-292. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2002000200002.

Microlophus is a lizard genus of South-America which has many species with sexual size dimorphism. An ecological study was performed on M. atacamensis, a species inhabiting the intertidal zone of the coast of northern Chile. The following questions were addressed: (1) does M. atacamensis exhibit sexual dimorphism? (2) do individuals of different age and sex segregate spatially? (3) do individuals of different age and sex use different type of microhabitat? and (4) do individuals of different sexes exhibit differences in thermoregulatory characteristics? The study was conducted in different localities from northern Chile, which include two types of rocky systems used by this species, a high and a low type. At the moment of lizard capture, type of microhabitat, height of perch, body, air and substrate temperatures, were recorded. Individuals were then measured and weighted, and separated by age class and sex. Results indicate that this species exhibits sexual dimorphism, males being larger. There were no intersexual differences in microhabitat used and height of perch in the high type system, although adults and subadults were spatially segregated from juveniles. In the low type system adult females shared microhabitat with juveniles, a probable consequence of behaviors related to the burying of eggs. There were no differences between sexes in thermal characteristics, and body temperature of lizards showed independence from external thermal conditions

Keywords : Tropiduridae; Microlophus atacamensis; sexual dimorphism; thermoregulation; spatial segregation; Chile.

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