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Literatur und Schriften
Hornagame / Spitznase / Sri Lanka Horned Agama
Stachelnase / Mountain Horned Agama
Landscape modification is a key driver of global species extinction. Thus, understanding how species react to changes is essential for effective conservation management in modified landscapes.Weexamined the impact of selected land use patterns on the critically endangered Ceratophora tennentii in the Knuckles mountain range of Sri Lanka where lizards occupy patches of both natural undisturbed forests and modified plantations evidently, those with a forest canopy. We tested three potential explanations for non-random habitat selection: availability of suitable microhabitat pockets, availability of prey and direct threats from humans. The microhabitat pockets occupied by the lizards were characterised by shade, humidity and the density of perches. Most lizards were found in mixed cardamom forests followed by natural forests and cardamom plantations, but none were observed in the pine plantations. Food availability showed similar patterns among habitats. Direct mortality by humans did not influence the distribution of this species. Our work indicates that habitat modifications that retain the structural complexity of the vegetation would still permit the existence of the species in densities equal to or greater than that of undisturbed forest patches. It adds to a growing body of literature that signifies the importance of disturbed habitats (intermediate disturbance hypothesis) in protecting threatened species of fauna. It is highly unlikely that some disturbed habitats will be ever be returned to their former pristine state in time frames that are important for species’ conservation. Hence, attention is needed in developing suitable approaches to manage and conserve species across disturbed habitats.
Measures of physiological performance capacity, such as bite force, form the functional basis of sexual selection. Information about fighting ability may be conveyed through a structural feature such as a rostrum (i.e. horn) or a colour signal and thereby help reduce costly conflict. We quantified sexual dimorphism in key traits likely to be the targets of sexual selection in Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard (Ceratophora tennentii) from Sri Lanka, and examined their relationship to bite force and body condition. We found body length and bite force to be similar for males and females. However, head length was significantly greater in males and they had significantly more conspicuous throats and labials (chromatic contrast and luminance) than females. Males also had a proportionally larger rostrum, which we predicted could be an important source of information about male quality for both sexes. Rostrum length was correlated with throat chromatic contrast in males but not females. Nonetheless, the rostrum and aspects of coloration did not correlate with bite force or body condition as we predicted. We have no information on contest escalation in this species but if they rarely bite, as suggested by a lack of difference in bite force between males and females, then bite force and any associated signals would not be a target of selection. Finally, males and females had similar spectral reflectance of the mouth and tongue and both had a peak in the ultra-violet, and were conspicuous to birds. Lizards only gaped their mouths during capture and not when threatened by a potential predator (hand waving). We hypothesize that conspicuous mouth colour may act as a deimatic signal, startling a potential predator, although this will need careful experimental testing in the future.