Habitat disturbance is considered one of the most important threats to biodiversity. Particularly, anthropogenic disturbance for agricultural practices alters the original structure of Anolis habitats and consequently negatively affects their health and survival. Because the body condition index (BCI) is an effective indicator to assess the health of animals, we hypothesized that the BCI of the Colombian endemic lizard Anolis antonii from an undisturbed habitat (natural area) would be higher than that from the disturbed habitat (agricultural area).
We studied two populations of Anolis antonii from the municipality of Ibague, Tolima, Colombia: (1) a population from an agricultural area cultivated with coffee (Coffea arabica) and plantains (Musa paradisiaca), and (2) a population from a secondary forest, an anthropogenic-free area. We measured the snout-vent length (SVL) and body mass (BM) of adult anoles (males and females)and calculated BCI from the residuals of a linear regression between BM and SVL.
We found that the BCI of the lizard population from the agricultural area was significantly lower than that of the secondary forest population. Consequently, A. antonii from the secondary forest, with a higher BCI, might have a greater ability to compete for available resources and survive than those from the cultivated area. Thus, this work shows that anthropogenic disturbance negatively decreases the body conditions of A. antonii lizards, which might represent a forthcoming threat for its conservation, especially due to the current habitat deterioration of this species by agriculture activities.
Read the paper:
Gallego-Carmona, C.A., Castro-Arango, J.A. and Bernal-Bautista, M.H., 2016. Effect of Habitat Disturbance on the Body Condition Index of the Colombian Endemic Lizard Anolis antonii (Squamata: Dactyloidae). South American Journal of Herpetology 11(3):183-187.