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Is Hyalosaurus koellikeri a true forest lizard?

AuthorsEscoriza, Daniel; Comas, Mar
Secretive species
Issue Date2015
PublisherHerpetological Conservation and Biology
CitationHerpetological Conservation and Biology, 10(2): 610-620 (2015)
AbstractHyalosaurus koellikeri is the only member of the family Anguidae found on the African continent. It has been suggested that its distribution is dependent on forest habitats. Here, we investigated habitat selection of this secretive species in Morocco, at a fine spatial resolution. We examined the association between the presence of H. koellikeri and vegetation cover, substrate, topography, and climate. We then compared the habitat selection of this species and that of other lizards in the same region. Our results indicate that the proportion of tree crown cover is the variable that best explains the occurrence of this species, and to lesser extents, the climatic, substrate, and topographic conditions. However, this species is not associated with a particular class of forest and is present in both dry assemblages of evergreen oaks and junipers and in humid deciduous forests. Hyalosaurus koellikeri occupies forests more frequently than other genera of lizards, though it coexists with several generalist species in these habitats. This association with forest/woodland habitats could explain the sparse distribution of this species in Morocco and suggests that some isolated populations, like those of the Atlantic Plain, are vulnerable to extinction.
Publisher version (URL)http://www.herpconbio.org/Volume_10/Issue_2/Escoriza_Comas_2015.pdf
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