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Habitat use of the endangered iguana Cyclura lewisi in a human-modified landscape on Grand Cayman

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2005

Rachel M. Goodman
Affiliation:
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA
Frederic J. Burton
Affiliation:
Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, P. O. Box 10308 APO, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Arthur C. Echternacht
Affiliation:
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA
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Abstract

Cyclura lewisi is an endangered rock iguana endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Like many other animals, C. lewisi increasingly depends on modified landscapes for its survival. The remaining natural population is too small and fragmented to yield information on the natural history and population biology of this species. Therefore, we studied habitat use in a population of captive-bred, released iguanas in a botanic park. Compositional analysis was used to examine habitat selection and use by iguanas at two scales: selection of home range within the landscape and selection of locations within home ranges. At both scales and for all time periods examined, iguanas preferred modified habitat to natural habitat. Subhabitats were examined only at the scale of selection within the landscape, for which iguanas showed preference in some but not all time periods. Iguanas used artificial retreats more often than natural retreats and commonly occupied retreats in modified areas. Many female iguanas nested in artificial sites within the park. The use of modified habitats and artificial retreats and nests by reintroduced C. lewisi is encouraging, because this and other species of Cyclura may depend on these resources for future survival.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2005 The Zoological Society of London

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