Microhabitat Preferences of two Sympatric Lacertid in the National Park of El Kala, Algeria

Rachid Rouag 1 , 3 , Nadia Ziane 2 , 3  and Slim Benyacoub 2
  • 1 Université Chadli Bendjedid, , 36100, El Tarf, Algeria
  • 2 Université Badji Mokhtar, Département de Biologie, 23000, Annaba, Algeria
  • 3 Laboratoire de Bio-surveillance environnementale, Département de Biologie, Université Badji Mokhtar, 23000, Annaba, Algeria

Abstract

Habitat preferences were studied in sympatric populations of two Lacertids, Psammodromus algirus and Acanthodactylus erythrurus (Lacertidae) from the National Park of El Kala (north-eastern Algeria). The relationship between habitat physical structure and population densities was studied in order to establish eventual segregation between the two lizards. A difference exists between the two species in their distributions. Acanthodactylus erythrurus is a strictly terrestrial species, usually found on sandy and more open grounds than Psammodromus algirus which can penetrate dense vegetation and look for sunny locations by climbing on shrubs; a behavior which A. erythrurus does not control. Our results confirm spatial segregation on a microhabitat scale, supporting the conclusions that microhabitat selection is an important factor in lizards community organization and contributing to reduce potential competition.

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