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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-6984versión On-line ISSN 1678-4375


DIAS, EJR.  y  ROCHA, CFD.. Niche differences between two sympatric whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus abaetensis and C. ocellifer, Teiidae) in the restinga habitat of northeastern Brazil. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2007, vol.67, n.1, pp.41-46. ISSN 1519-6984.

Differences among sympatric lizard species usually result from differences in the use of three resources: space, time and food or some combination of these three. However, differences in resource utilization among sympatric species may simply reflect their specific ecological needs rather than competitive pressures. In this study, we analyzed the temporal, spatial and food niche of two congeneric teiids (Cnemidophorus abaetensis and C. ocellifer) living sympatrically in the "restinga" habitat of Abaeté in the Salvador Municipality, Bahia State, Brazil to assess the degree of niche differentiation among them. The whiptail species overlapped considerably in an hourly activity (Ojk = 0.93), in microhabitat use (Ojk = 0.97) and in the prey items consumed (Ojk = 0.89). Differences in amount of vegetation in the microhabitats used by both lizard species may have contributed to differences in the activity period and in the distribution of the main prey eaten by these lizards which may, in turn, facilitate their coexistence in Abaeté. Although sympatric C. ocellifer and C. abaetensis in Abaeté differed only slightly in their use of microhabitats, period of activity and diet, the most important niche dimension segregating the two species seemed to be the food niche.

Palabras clave : whiptail lizards; restinga habitat; diet; sympatry; niche overlap.

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