n African Zoology - Picking a tree : habitat use by the tree agama, , in South Africa

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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We studied tree agama (<I>Acanthocercus a. atricollis</I>) habitat use in the Magaliesberg mountain range in northern South Africa using sightings of marked individuals, and in a few cases, radio-telemetry. <I>Acanthocercus a. atricollis&lt;/I&gt; preferentially selected thorn trees (46%; <I>Acacia karroo</I>), followed by common sugarbush (10%; <I>Protea caffra</I>) and dead trees (9%). The type of tree selected was unrelated to lizard age class or sex. Multivariate analysis failed to show any age class or sex effects for specific tree physical characteristics, but did reveal a preference for trees with greater diameter, canopy cover and incidence of parasitic plants. We suggest that more 'complex' trees may enhance crypsis, facilitate escape from predation, or provide a foraging advantage. <I>Acanthocercus a. atricollis&lt;/I&gt; selected night-time perches higher than those used during the day, possibly further offsetting predation risk.

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