Space use in a multi-male group of the group-living lizard

Effenberger E. ; Mouton P.L.F.N. (2007)


The aim of the study was to determine the space use of individuals in a multi-male group of the armadillo lizard Cordylus cataphractus. Specific focus was on the adult males and females of the group, because, ultimately, the manner in which adult males and females utilize space determines the mating system. A two-dimensional (2D) grid pattern was delineated at the crevice of a free-living, multi-male group to facilitate the recording of the positions of individuals during observations. All marked individuals (n=55) that were visible were scanned through a telescope, and their respective positions were recorded at 30-min intervals over several days during the breeding season. Arcview 3.2 Geographical Information Software was used to create a computerized replicate of the 2D grid pattern at the crevice and to depict graphically the recorded positions for each individual using a minimum convex polygon procedure. From the polygons generated by this procedure, it was clear that the space use of adult males overlapped greatly with the space use of adult females, but that there was no overlap in space-use among adult males. Space use overlapped greatly among subadults and juveniles and also among these size classes and adult males and females. Adult male C. cataphractus are territorial, defending specific sites at the crevice. The territory of each male in the group incorporated at least one female. The space use of several females overlapped with the space use of two or more males. Males were observed to mate with one or more females, and one female was observed to mate with two different males on more than one occasion. Cordylus cataphractus males display typical territorial polygyny whereas females may be promiscuous. © 2007 The Zoological Society of London.

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