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Comparison of a native and a non-native insular reptile species

  • Daniel J. Nicholson (a1) (a2), Christopher Hassall (a1) and Julius A. Frazier (a2) (a3)

This study compared the life histories of Hemidactylus frenatus, a significant invasive gecko, and Phyllodactylus palmeus, a Honduran endemic, over 10 wk, June–August 2013 at 12 study sites on the Honduran island of Cayo Menor of the Cayo Cochinos archipelago where H. frenatus arrived in 2008. Three different life-history traits related to invasion success were measured: body size, fecundity and population size. During the study 140 natives and 37 non-natives were captured, weighed, measured and marked uniquely. The number of gravid females and number of eggs were also recorded. Phyllodactylus palmeus was the significantly larger of the two species (60% larger mass, 25% longer SVL) and had higher population abundance at all 12 study sites with some sites yielding no H. frenatus individuals. However, H. frenatus had a larger proportion of gravid females. Observations that the native species is more common despite being sympatric with a known aggressive invader suggest two possibilities: the island is at the start of an invasion, or that the two species co-exist in a more stable fashion.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
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