Behavioral responses of Chihuahuan Desert lizards to habitat modification

TitleBehavioral responses of Chihuahuan Desert lizards to habitat modification
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsPeterson DKendall
Number of Pages45
Date Published1986
UniversityNew Mexico State University
CityLas Cruces, New Mexico
Thesis TypePh.D. Dissertationpp
Accession NumberJRN00030
Call Number00252
Keywordsbehavior,lizards, Cnemidophorus, dissertation, dissertations, lizard,behavior, lizard,Cnemidophorus, lizard,habitat modification, lizard,Uta, theses, thesis, Uta
AbstractBehavioral responses of Chihuahuan Desert lizards to modified habitat were studied on two plots. One plot had been treated with an herbicide and was dominated by sub-shrubs (Xanthocephalum sarothrae) and grasses (Muhlenbergia porteri). The other plot was dominated by shrubs (Larrea tridentata, Flourencia cernua, and Prosopis glandulosa). There was no difference in lizard diversity between the plots. However, an increase of grass cover correlated with a reduction in the number of Cnemidophorus tigris and an increase in the number of Uta stansburiana. Other species of lizards apparently were not affected by the difference in habitats. Uta stansburiana was found to have no preference for specific vegetation on the plots when foraging, basking, or resting. Foraging Cnemidophorus tigris were found to utilize mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), and to a lesser extent creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Bush muhly (Muhlenbergia porteri) was utilized on the modified habitat when foraging. The results of my study are discussed with implications for the pre-European man lizard fauna of the Jornada del Muerto region of New Mexico.