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

The ecology of sympatric scincid lizards (Ctenotus) in arid South Australia

J. L. Read

Australian Journal of Zoology 46(6) 617 - 629
Published: 1998


Ctenotus skinks are the most diverse and abundant diurnal reptile genus at Olympic Dam, in the South Australian arid zone. The home range, demography, reproduction and diet of five syntopic Ctenotus species was studied over a 6-year period in chenopod shrubland. Longevity frequently exceeded three years in C. regius, four years in C. schomburgkii and five years in C. leonhardii, with a 7-year-old specimen of C. leonhardii being recorded. Females of most species tended to be larger and lived longer than males. Two eggs were typically laid by each species in early summer. Annual reproductive effort, particularly in C. leonhardii, varied considerably depending upon the prevailing environmental conditions. All local species apparently occupied home ranges, with maximum recapture radii in different species of 40–60 m. Ctenotus appear to be unspecialised insectivores, although plant material and lizards are sometimes eaten by the larger species.

© CSIRO 1998

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