The British Herpetological Society

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.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862


pdf 01. Survival and abundance of Cape dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion pumilum, inhabiting a transformed, semi-urban wetland

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pp. 179-186
Authors: Katz, Eric M.; Tolley, Krystal A. & Altwegg, Res

Abstract: The Cape dwarf chameleon, Bradypodion pumilum, inhabits urban areas within a critically endangered ecosystem. In this study, temporal dynamics of local demographic parameters were investigated for a population of B. pumilum inhabiting a 0.56 hectare patch of transformed habitat bordering an urban area in Noordhoek, South Africa. Robust Design (RD) capture-mark-recapture (CMR) models were used to estimate population demographics because of their ability to distinguish and account for temporary unavailability of individuals versus being captured. RD models were fit to one year of CMR data to examine adult survival and local abundance. Additionally, multi-strata (MS) models were used to analyze chameleon growth rate and size-specific survival. The results indicate the site supports a fluctuating abundance of individuals, ranging from ca. 25–91 adult chameleons. Larger chameleons showed higher 30-day and annual survival rates than smaller individuals regardless of sex (30-day range: 0.56–0.84; annual range: 9.51x10-5–0.12). Chameleons that survived to the beginning of each age class spent on average 1.1 months at 40–50 mm; 1.7 months at 50–60 mm; 2.5 months at 60–70 mm; and 6.3 months at >70 mm. Despite seasonality in the environment, there was no significant seasonal variation in chameleon survival. These findings indicate chameleon population dynamics characterized by local population fluctuations despite predominately constant, low survival; our findings suggest reproduction drives population fluctuations. Bradypodion pumilum's high fecundity and low survival should allow for their persistence in disturbed habitats assuming they are able to take advantage of suitable conditions. Alternatively, these biological traits may make B. pumilum prone to large demographic fluctuations, yielding a high risk of local extinction. This study provides temporal data on local population dynamics and survival for a potentially threatened reptile species inhabiting altered habitats.

Keywords: HABITAT ALTERATION, CAPTURE-MARK-RECAPTURE, ROBUST DESIGN, DEMOGRAPHIC MODELLING, TEMPORAL POPULATION DYNAMICS, CHAMAELEONIDAE

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IMPORTANT NOTE - JUNE 2020

Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.