Meeting Abstract

102-6  Saturday, Jan. 6 14:45 - 15:00  Nest-site selection in urban dwelling anoles could help embryos beat the heat. TIATRAGUL, S*; PAVLIK, NG; HALL, JM; WARNER, DA; Auburn University; University of New Mexico; Auburn University; Auburn University

Urbanization dramatically alters the local ecosystem, which impacts resident species. Due to the introduction of impervious surfaces and artificial watering, urban areas have altered thermal and hydric environments. Reptile eggs are directly affected by these altered environments. However, maternal choice of nest microhabitat may be important in buffering the embryos from lethal conditions. In this study, we characterized and compared nest sites of a non-native lizard (Ctenonotus cristatellus) in an urban site and a nearby forest site of Miami, Florida. To locate where lizards are nesting, we systematically searched 1m2 plots around areas with relatively high abundance of C. cristatellus in both the urban and forest sites. We found 112 eggs in total, with 13 plots with nests in the urban site and 31 plots with nests at the forested site (out of 50 plots searched per site). We characterized each plot by recording the thermal and moisture regimes throughout the breeding season, and collected data on other relevant environmental features (e.g., shade cover, distance to trees, distance to roads, etc.). We then compared the conditions of plots with nests to those without nests. Our results suggest that females choose nest sites non-randomly in the urban site as opposed to randomly in the forested site. Additionally, females in the urban site have greater tendency for nest clumping than those in the forest site. Our study provides a rare evaluation of anole nest sites and is the first to quantify environmental characteristics of nests in urban areas. Future studies of offspring survival under these natural conditions will provide evidence for how maternal effects may aid in adaptation and acclimation of non-native species to novel habitats.