Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Spatial ecology of yellow-spotted goannas adjacent to a sea turtle nesting beach

Juan Lei A B , David T. Booth A and Ross G. Dwyer A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: lj881204@gmail.com

Australian Journal of Zoology 65(2) 77-86 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO17006
Submitted: 1 March 2017  Accepted: 9 June 2017   Published: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Nest predation is the main cause of hatch failure for many turtle populations. For loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) nesting at the Wreck Rock rookery, adjacent to Deepwater National Park in south-east Queensland, yellow-spotted goannas (Varanus panoptes) are the main nest predator. However, no studies have documented the space use of goannas in costal habitat adjacent to a sea turtle nesting beach. Here we used Global Positioning System data loggers to evaluate the spatial ecology of adult yellow-spotted goannas in order to discover their potential interaction with sea turtle nests. Male yellow-spotted goannas had larger home ranges, spent a greater proportion of their time in the beach dune area where sea turtles nest, and their home ranges overlapped with more sea turtle nests compared with females. Both males and females had a bimodal activity pattern, with peaks in activity in the early morning and mid to late afternoon. Examination of space-use patterns indicates that it is the larger male yellow-spotted goannas that are the main predators of sea turtle nests at the Wreck Rock beach-nesting aggregation. Hence, by inference, it is probable that large male yellow-spotted goannas are responsible for opening nests at other Australian mainland sea turtle beaches, and if a goanna-specific management strategy is implemented to control predation it is these large males that should be targeted.

Additional keywords: Caretta caretta, GPS tracking, nest predation, Varanus panoptes.


References

Auffenberg, W. (1988). ‘Gray’s Monitor Lizard.’ (University of Florida Press: Gainsville, FL.)

Auffenberg, W., Arian, Q. N., and Kurshid, N. (1991). Preferred habitat, home range and movement patterns of Varanus bengalensis in southern Pakistan. Mertensiella 2, 7–28.

Blamires, S. J. (2004). Habitat preferences of coastal goannas (Varanus panoptes): are they exploiters of sea turtle nests at Fog Bay, Australia? Copeia 2004, 370–377.
Habitat preferences of coastal goannas (Varanus panoptes): are they exploiters of sea turtle nests at Fog Bay, Australia?CrossRef |

Blamires, S. J., and Guinea, M. L. (1998). Implications of nest site selection on egg predation at the sea turtle rookery at Fog Bay. In ‘Proceedings of Marine Turtle Conservation and Management in Northern Australia. Workshop, Darwin’. (Eds R. Kennett, A. Webb, G. Duff, M. L. Guinea and G. J. E. Hill.) pp. 20–24.

Blamires, S. J., Guinea, M. L., and Prince, R. I. T. (2003). Influence of nest site selection on predation of flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus) eggs by varanid lizards in northern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 4, 557–563.

Booth, D. T. (2016). Controlling goanna predation of loggerhead turtle nests at the Wreck Rock rookery, southeast Queensland. Final report to the ‘Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program’, The University of Queensland.

Brown, J. L., and Orians, G. H. (1970). Spacing patterns in mobile animals. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics 1, 239–262.
Spacing patterns in mobile animals.CrossRef |

Burt, W. H. (1943). Territoriality and home range concepts as applied to mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 24, 346–352.
Territoriality and home range concepts as applied to mammals.CrossRef |

Calenge, A. (2006). The package ‘adehabitat’ for the R software: tool for the analysis of space and habitat use by animals. Ecological Modelling 197, 516–519.
The package ‘adehabitat’ for the R software: tool for the analysis of space and habitat use by animals.CrossRef |

Carter, S. P., Delahay, R. J., Smith, G. C., Macdonald, D. W., Riordan, P., Etherington, T. R., Pimley, E. R., Walker, N. J., and Cheeseman, C. L. (2007). Culling-induced social perturbation in Eurasian badgers Meles meles and the management of TB in cattle: an analysis of a critical problem in applied ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274, 2769–2777.
Culling-induced social perturbation in Eurasian badgers Meles meles and the management of TB in cattle: an analysis of a critical problem in applied ecology.CrossRef |

Charnov, E. L., Orians, G. H., and Hyatt, K. (1976). Ecological implications of resource deprivation. American Naturalist 110, 247–259.
Ecological implications of resource deprivation.CrossRef |

Cogger, H. (1993). ‘Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia.’ (A.H. & A.W. Reed Books: Sydney.)

Coman, B. J., Robinson, J., and Beaumont, C. (1991). Home range, dispersal and density of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) in central Victoria. Wildlife Research 18, 215–223.
Home range, dispersal and density of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes L.) in central Victoria.CrossRef |

Congdon, J. D., Tinkle, D. W., Breitenbach, G. L., and Van Leben Sels, R. C. (1983). Nesting ecology and hatching success in the turtle Emydoidea blandingii. Herpetologica 39, 417–429.

Davidson, Z., Valeix, M., Loveridge, A. J., Madzikanda, H., and Macdonald, D. W. (2011). Socio-spatial behaviour of an African lion population following perturbation by sport hunting. Biological Conservation 144, 114–121.
Socio-spatial behaviour of an African lion population following perturbation by sport hunting.CrossRef |

Donovan, T. M., Freeman, M., Abouelezz, H., Royar, K., Howard, A., and Mickey, R. (2011). Quantifying home range habitat requirements for bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Vermont, USA. Biological Conservation 144, 2799–2809.
Quantifying home range habitat requirements for bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Vermont, USA.CrossRef |

Dwyer, R. G., Brooking, C., Brimblecombe, W., Campbell, H. A., Hunter, J., Watts, M. E., and Franklin, C. E. (2015). An open web-based system for the analysis and sharing of animal tracking data. Animal Biotelemetry 3, 1.
An open web-based system for the analysis and sharing of animal tracking data.CrossRef |

Fowler, L. E. (1979). Hatching success and nest predation in the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Ecology 60, 946–955.
Hatching success and nest predation in the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, at Tortuguero, Costa Rica.CrossRef |

Jessop, T. S., Smissen, P., Scheelings, F., and Dempster, T. (2012). Demographic and phenotypic effects of human mediated trophic subsidy on a large Australian lizard (Varanus varius): meal ticket or last supper? PLoS One 7, e34069.
Demographic and phenotypic effects of human mediated trophic subsidy on a large Australian lizard (Varanus varius): meal ticket or last supper?CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC38XlsFyqtrs%3D&md5=e56b4493fe1266d1404b9e8a91cbb8e5CAS |

King, D. R. (1977). Temperature regulation in the sand goanna, Varanus gouldii (Gray). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Adelaide.

King, D., and Green, B. (1999). ‘Monitor: the Biology of Varanid Lizards.’ (NSW University Press: Sydney.)

Lei, J., and Booth, D. T. (2015). The use of GPS logging devices and camera traps to track goanna movement on and adjacent to a south east Queensland sea turtle rookery. In ‘Reef, Range and Red Dust Conference. 31st August – 2nd September 2015, Caloundra, QLD’. (Ed. J. Gunn.) p. 7. (Queensland Water and Land Carers: Brisbane.)

Lei, J., and Booth, D. T. (2017a). How best to protect the nests of the endangered loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta from monitor lizard predation? Chelonian Conservation and Biology , .

Lei, J., and Booth, D. T. (2017b). Who are the important predators of sea turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach? PeerJ 5, e3515.
Who are the important predators of sea turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach?CrossRef |

Leighton, P. A., Horrocks, J. A., and Kramer, D. L. (2011). Predicting nest survival in sea turtles: when and where are eggs most vulnerable to predation? Animal Conservation 14, 186–195.
Predicting nest survival in sea turtles: when and where are eggs most vulnerable to predation?CrossRef |

Limpus, C. J. (1978). The reef: uncertain land of plenty. In ‘Exploration North: Australia’s Wildlife from Desert to Reef’. (Ed. H. J. Lavery.) pp. 187–222. (Richmond Hill Press: Melbourne.)

Limpus, C. J. (2008). A biology review of Australian marine turtles. 1. Loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta (Linneaus). Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency.

Limpus, C. J., and Fleay, A. (1983). Management and turtles. In ‘Proceedings of the Great Barrier Reef Conference’. (Eds J. T. Baker, R. M. Carter, P. W. Sammarco, and K. P. Stark.) pp. 535–540. (James Cook University Press: Townsville.)

Macdonald, D. W., and Bacon, P. J. (1982). Fox society, contact rate and rabies epizootiology. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 5, 247–256.
Fox society, contact rate and rabies epizootiology.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaL3s%2Fis1WktQ%3D%3D&md5=a5ea3b9519030f2963bf21dfb892f59eCAS |

Macnae, W. (1969). A general account of the flora and fauna of the mangrove swamps in the Indo-West Pacific region. Advances in Marine Biology 6, 73–270.
A general account of the flora and fauna of the mangrove swamps in the Indo-West Pacific region.CrossRef |

Marchand, M. N., and Litvaitis, J. A. (2004). Effects of habitat composition, habitat features, and nest distribution on predation rates of simulated turtle nests. Biological Conservation 117, 243–251.
Effects of habitat composition, habitat features, and nest distribution on predation rates of simulated turtle nests.CrossRef |

Maulany, R. I. (2012). The nesting biology, ecology, and management of the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in Alas Purwo National Park, Banyuwangi (East Java), Indonesia. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane.

McLachlan, N., McLachlan, B., Hof, C., Giudice, S., Shuster, G., Bunce, A., Limpus, C. J., and Eguchi, T. (2015). Predator reduction strategies for protecting loggerhead turtle nests at Wreck Rock beach in Queensland. In ‘Reef, Range and Red Dust Conference, 31st August – 2nd September 2015, Caloundra, QLD’. (Ed. J. Gunn.) p. 8. (Queensland Water and Land Carers: Brisbane.)

Pianka, E. R. (1994). Comparative ecology of Varanus in the Great Victoria Desert. Australian Journal of Ecology 19, 395–408.
Comparative ecology of Varanus in the Great Victoria Desert.CrossRef |

R Core Team (2016). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available at: http://www.R-project.org [accessed June 2012].

Saeki, M., Johnson, P. J., and Macdonald, U. W. (2007). Movements and habitat selection of raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in a mosaic landscape. Journal of Mammalogy 88, 1098–1111.
Movements and habitat selection of raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in a mosaic landscape.CrossRef |

Shine, R. (1986). Food habits and reproductive biology of four sympatric species of varanid lizards in tropical Australia. Herpetologica 42, 346–360.

Stancyk, S. E. (1995). Non-human predators of sea turtles and their control. In ‘Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles’. (Ed. K. A. Bjorndal.) pp. 139–151. (Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, DC.)

Stephens, D. W., and Krebs, J. R. (1986). ‘Foraging Theory.’ (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.)

Thompson, G. G., De Boer, M., and Pianka, E. R. (1999). Activity areas and daily movements of an arboreal monitor lizard, Varanus tristis (Squamata: Varanidae) during the breeding season. Australian Journal of Ecology 24, 117–122.
Activity areas and daily movements of an arboreal monitor lizard, Varanus tristis (Squamata: Varanidae) during the breeding season.CrossRef |

Ujvari, B., and Madsen, T. (2009). Increased mortality of naive varanid lizards after the invasion of non-native cane toads (Bufo marinus). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4, 248–251.

Van Dyck, S., and Strahan, R. (2008). ‘The Mammals of Australia.’ 3rd edn. (Reed New Holland: Sydney.)

Vincent, M., and Wilson, S. (1999). ‘Australian Goannas.’ (New Holland Publishers: Sydney.)

Weeden, J. S. (1965). Territorial behavior of the tree sparrow. The Condor 67, 193–209.
Territorial behavior of the tree sparrow.CrossRef |



Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Supplementary MaterialSupplementary Material (1.6 MB) Export Citation Cited By (1)