Microhabitat selection, resource partitioning, and evaporative water loss by dwarf geckos, (Sphaerodactylus), on Puerto Rico

Saul S Nava, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Aspects of Sphaerodactylus biology were studied on Puerto Rico. Three sympatric species endemic on Puerto Rico, Sphaerodactylus gaigeae, S. macrolepis and S. townsendi were studied to evaluate the relationships between habitat utilization, community ecology, and physiology. Microhabitats utilized by Sphaerodactylus in sympatry and allopatry with congeners were characterized and habitat partitioning was observed. S. gaigeae was characterized as mesophilic, S. macrolepis was characterized as semi-mesophilic, and S. townsendi was characterized as xerophilic. Substrate composition and relative humidity of microhabitat were the most important factors in microhabitat selection. The evaporative water loss rates of geckos were determined to evaluate the relationship between Sphaerodactylus physiology and ecology. The differential use of habit between species paralleled the differences in water loss for each gecko species. The dynamic relationship between these factors in Sphaerodactylus plays an important role in these geckos' biology. This research explores the mechanistic and physiological links between the physical environment and ecology. ^

Subject Area

Biology, Ecology|Biology, Animal Physiology

Recommended Citation

Nava, Saul S, "Microhabitat selection, resource partitioning, and evaporative water loss by dwarf geckos, (Sphaerodactylus), on Puerto Rico" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10593.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAIEP10593

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