What drives variation in habitat use by Anolis lizards: Habitat availability or selectivity?

M. A. Johnson, R. Kirby, S. Wang, J. B. Losos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Geographic variation in habitat availability may drive geographic variation in a species' habitat use; alternatively, species adapted to particular habitat characteristics may use a habitat regardless of its availability within an environment. In this study, we investigated habitat use of two sympatric species of Anolis lizards that are morphologically specialized to use different microhabitats. We examined variation in microhabitat use and availability among four distinct forest types. In each forest type, we quantified available microhabitats (i.e., perch diameter, angle of inclination, and visibility), as well as microhabitats actually used by each species. We found that species consistently differed in microhabitat use, corresponding to each species' morphological specializations. However, microhabitat use of both species varied among sites. This variation in Anolis gundlachi Peters, 1876 reflected differences in microhabitat availability, while the variation in Anolis krugi Peters, 1876 resulted from differential microhabitat selectivity. These results indicate that both habitat availability and habitat preferences must be examined in multiple localities for a species to understand the causes of variation in its habitat use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-886
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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