Tail tip removal for tissue sampling has no short-term effects on microhabitat selection by Podarcis bocagei, but induced autotomy does

Enrique García-Muñoz, Francisco Ceacero, Luis Pedrajas, Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou, Miguel Á. Carretero

Abstract


Tail tip removal is a common method for obtaining tissue samples for genetics and other studies on lizards. This study evaluates the effect of tail tip autotomy on microhabitat selection in the lacertid Podarcis bocagei. Different-length tail fragments were experimentally removed from lizards of a small population. Forcing lizards to autotomise small tail tips (<1 cm) did not affect microhabitat selection. In contrast, a significant negative effect was observed in those lizards which underwent induced autotomy of the entire tail (> 5 cm). After autotomy these lizards were observed to favour more closed habitats, where predator avoidance is expected to be more efficient, although of potentially lower thermal quality.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/Acta_Herpetol-9814




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