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Premium Diet and prey selection of sympatric tropical skinks
Author(s)
MANICOM CARRYN,
SCHWARZKOPF LIN
Publication year2011
Publication title
austral ecology
Resource typeJournals
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Asia
Abstract Most skinks are opportunistic predators, taking available prey from the environment as it is encountered. Variation in their diet composition is thought to reflect differences in prey abundance in the environment. We studied diet composition and prey selection in a community of three sympatric skink species (genus Carlia ) in northern Australia by comparing contents of skink stomachs with arthropod prey available in their habitat. Carlia were entirely carnivorous and fed on a range of arthropod prey. We found high overlap in diet and prey size among the three species and between the wet and dry seasons, but found that skinks generally focused their foraging efforts on prey types and prey sizes that were not abundant in the habitat. Spiders (Aranea), orthopterans, blattarians, isopods and termites (Isoptera) were important prey of skinks, but these arthropods were rarely trapped in the environment. Skinks also frequently consumed large‐bodied prey, despite the higher relative abundance of small prey in the environment. Skinks were more selective in their foraging and diet than previously assumed. Selection of prey by consumers is a fundamental ecological process, important to consumers for maintaining energy requirements to grow and reproduce, but equally important to the community dynamics of the prey consumed.
Subject(s)abundance (ecology) , biology , ecology , foraging , invertebrate , lizard , optimal foraging theory , predation , skink , sympatric speciation
Language(s)English
SCImago Journal Rank0.688
H-Index87
eISSN1442-9993
pISSN1442-9985
DOI10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02181.x

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