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Luca Luiselli

Restricted Access

Luca Luiselli

Restricted Access

Luca Luiselli

Restricted Access

Luca Luiselli

Abstract

A recent study of Python regius from Togo (Aubret et al., 2005) has demonstrated that male pythons suffered for a much higher ectoparasite load than the females. The authors hypothesized that these intersexual differences may depend on increased male movements in the mating season relative to females, thus increasing their chances of meeting with ectoparasites. On the other hand, they suggested that differences in habitat use are unlikely to explain this pattern because males and females are found within the same type of burrows. Based on previously published data on food habits of P. regius in Nigeria, as well as on radiotracking data, I showed that males were more arboreal-dwelling than females. I suggest that ectoparasite load differences between sexes depend on a different use of the space, with males being more arboreal than females, and hence collecting ticks from low tree-branches as well as from the ground levels, whereas the same is less true for the females which are infested mainly by the terrestrial ticks.

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Luca Luiselli and Lorenzo Rugiero

Abstract

Null models are an essential tool for investigating structure in natural communities of animals, including reptiles. In this paper, we studied the assembly structure of a lizard community constituted by four species (Lacerta bilineata, Podarcis muralis, P. sicula, Chalcides chalcides) along 25 different transects, each 300 m long and representing a specific habitat type, in five independent urban green areas in Rome, central Italy. Lacerta bilineata was observed in 92% of the total transects (n = 25), P. muralis in 100%, P. sicula in 72%, and C. chalcides in 52%. Based on the number of lizards observed along the various transects, it seemed that each species was linked especially to particular habitat types within each study area, but that the habitat types frequented by each species were not necessarily exactly the same across the study areas. Null model analyses revealed that the lizard community was not randomly organized in four of five study areas by RA2 (thus denoting that the generalist-specialist nature of the species reduced ecological similarity) but not by RA3 algorithms (thus denoting that the types of resources used did not reduce ecological similarity). Thus, the community structure was due mainly to the different specialist-generalist nature of the various co-occurring species.

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Petra Zimmermann and Luca Luiselli

Abstract

Aspects of thermal ecology and reproductive cyclicity are compared in two populations of the dice snake (Natrix tessellata), a semi-aquatic natricine species widely distributed across Europe. One population was studied near Leibnitz, Styria (south-eastern Austria), and the other one was studied in the Mounts of Tolfa near Rome (Latium, central Italy). The climate was strongly colder in the Austrian than in the Italian site. Snakes of both populations were similar in various traits, including average body temperature, higher mean body temperature of gravid than non-gravid individuals, significantly higher substratum temperatures selected by gravid than by non-gravid individuals, trends of relationships between body, air and substratum temperatures, average length of reproductive females, and average preparturition mass of reproductive females. However, Austrian snakes were found in water significantly less often than their Italian conspecifics (although in both populations nearly all individuals occurred close to water bodies), and showed a lower frequency of reproduction (biannual rather than annual) than Italian ones. The presented data are discussed in the light of suboptimal occupation of the colder area by Austrian snakes, and conservative rigidity of natural history and ecological traits of such a widespread species as N. tessellata.