The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
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Authors: Visagie, Louise; Mouton, P. le Fras N. & Bauwens, Dirk
Abstract: Although the majority of cordylids are solitary, some species display prominent grouping behaviour. We tested whether limited shelter availability is a factor responsible for the grouping behaviour observed in Cordylus cataphractus and C. macropholis, using the solitary-living C. polyzonus as control. In an experimental setup, individuals of each species were provided with an excess of shelter sites and the observed patterns of shelter occupation were compared among the three species. Cordylus cataphractus consistently aggregated, occupying fewer shelters than its two congeners. Grouping behaviour in C. cataphractus in the wild is not the result of a limitation of refuge sites. In contrast, shelter occupation by C. macropholis and C. polyzonus was random, hence non-aggregative. Thus, although the aggregative behaviour observed in C. macropholis in its natural habitat might be influenced by limited shelter availability, other causal factors can not be excluded empirically.
Keywords: CORDYLUS CATAPHRACTUS, CORDYLUS POLYZONUS, CORDYLIDAE, REFUGE AVAILABILITY, CORDYLUS MACROPHOLIS