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Habitat preferences of the eastern fence lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, in southwestern Virginia
Roberts, Amy A.
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Habitat preference of the eastern fence lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, was investigated in southwestern Virginia. Habitat features were measured at 158 lizard-centered plots and at paired random plots. Landscape-level variables, southerly aspect and mixed forest type, distinguished lizard-centered from random sites. Hatchlings were associated with relatively high temperature at perch height (23 Â°C), relatively high amounts (per 1- m2) of coarse woody debris (15%) and bare ground (15%), and relatively low amount of litter (34%). Adults and juveniles were associated with a relatively high number of rocks (22 per 0.01 hectare) and amount of coarse woody debris (9% per 1- m2). Habitat preferences were modeled with a Geographic Information System (GIS) using landscape-level variables and with logistic regression and Akaikeâ s Information Criterion using site-level variables. The best-fitting site-level model for adults/juveniles included % CWD. The best-fitting model for hatchlings included % CWD and number of rocks, and the second best-fitting model also included % litter. Landscape (both classes) and site-level models (adult/juveniles only) were tested at 15 GIS-predicted â suitableâ study areas and at 15 GIS-predicted â unsuitableâ areas. Site-level models for hatchlings were tested with independent data collected at two study areas. Sixteen lizards were found at â suitableâ areas and one at an â unsuitableâ area; the GIS-based model was a good predictor of lizard presence at the landscape level. The best-fitting site-level models for adults/juveniles and hatchlings were poor predictors of lizard presence while the second best-fitting hatchling model was a good predictor of hatchling presence.
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