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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: August 2010

12 - The foraging biology of the Gekkota: life in the middle

Summary

Introduction

Although the basic dichotomy in lizard foraging modes established by Pianka (1966) has become a paradigm supported by decades of subsequent research, not all lizards can be neatly characterized as either sit-and-wait predators or wide foragers. Although some (perhaps even most) lizard species may indeed fit relatively conveniently into one of these categories, the recognition that foraging mode can change in different habitats (Polynova and Lobachev, 1981; Ananjeva and Tsellarius, 1986), seasonally (Pietruszka, 1986; Nemes, 2002), with changing food abundance (Dunham, 1983; Durtsche, 1995), with ontogeny (Huey and Pianka, 1981), or even with different prey types (Greeff and Whiting, 2000) has shattered any expectation that it can be assumed to be an invariant characteristic of a species.

However, intraspecific variability in foraging mode does not preclude the existence of higher-order patterns of foraging mode distribution across lizards more broadly. Both Pietruszka (1986) and McLaughlin (1989) found, based on movement data, that the dichotomy between sit-and-wait and wide-foraging strategies was real. Perry et al. (1990), however, argued that the distribution is not bimodal and that intermediate modes, as defined by movement patterns, do exist. Indeed, Pianka (1971, 1974) argued that ambush and wide-foraging strategies were the ends of a continuum and Magnusson et al. (1985) recognized that species characterized by intermittent movements were not appropriately characterized by either of the recognized strategies.

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