Skip to main content

Are corridors, fragment size and forest structure important for the conservation of leaf-litter lizards in a fragmented landscape?

  • Marianna Dixo (a1) and Jean Paul Metzger (a1)

To investigate the implications of forest fragmentation for conservation of leaf-litter lizards the importance of fragment size, corridors and forest structure was examined in 20 forest fragments and six localities within a continuous forest in the Atlantic Plateau of São Paulo state, Brazil. The fragments were 2–276 ha in area and had different degrees of connectivity depending on the presence or absence of corridors. Two species of lizards were dominant, Ecpleopus gaudichaudii and Enyalius perditus. Variation in forest structure among sites was important only in explaining the abundance of E. perditus. Regardless of variation in forest structure, lizard species composition, total lizard abundance, number of species and abundance of E. perditus were sensitive to fragmentation per se but not to fragment size or corridor linkage. The inhospitable matrix surrounding fragments is probably what determines the presence and abundance of E. perditus and the higher lizard richness in continuous forests. These conditions may have prevented lizard species from recolonizing the forest fragments. Our results emphasize that the conservation of this leaf-litter fauna depends on the maintenance of large tracts of continuous forests and not on the size of fragments or on the presence of forest connections. Strategies for conservation of leaf-litter lizards in such highly fragmented Atlantic Forest landscapes should consider the enlargement of landscape connectivity between fragments and continuous forest, allowing the latter areas to act as a source of individuals for fragments.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Are corridors, fragment size and forest structure important for the conservation of leaf-litter lizards in a fragmented landscape?
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Are corridors, fragment size and forest structure important for the conservation of leaf-litter lizards in a fragmented landscape?
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Are corridors, fragment size and forest structure important for the conservation of leaf-litter lizards in a fragmented landscape?
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Department of Ecology, Institute of Bioscience, University of São Paulo, Rua do Matão, 321, travessa 14, 05508-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mail
Hide All
Araújo, M.B., Thuiller, W. & Pearson, R.G. (2006) Climate warming and the decline of amphibians and reptiles in Europe. Journal of Biogeography, 33, 17121728.
Bell, K.E. & Donnelly, M.A. (2006) Influence of forest fragmentation on community structure of frogs and lizards in northeastern Costa Rica. Conservation Biology, 20, 17501760.
Brown, G.W. & Nelson, J.L. (1993) Influence of successional stage of Eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash) on habitat use by reptiles in the central highlands, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology, 18, 405417.
Brown, S. & Lugo, A.E. (1990) Tropical secondary forests. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 6, 132.
Burbrink, F.T., Phillips, C.A. & Heske, E.J. (1998) A riparian zone in southern Illinois as a potential dispersal corridor for reptiles and amphibians. Biological Conservation, 86, 107115.
Catharino, E.L., Bernacci, L.C., Franco, G.A.D.C., Durigan, G. & Metzger, J.P. (2006) Aspectos da composição e diversidade do componente arbóreo das florestas da Reserva Florestal do Morro Grande, Cotia, SP. Biota Neotropica, 6(2). Http:// [accessed 25 May 2006].
Cechin, S.Z. & Martins, M. (2000) Eficiência de armadilhas de queda (pitfall traps) em amostragens de anfíbios e répteis no Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 17, 729740.
Colwell, R.K. (1997) EstimateS: Statistical Estimation of Species Richness and Shared Species from Samples, v. 5. Http:// [accessed 26 May 2006].
Corn, P.S. (1994) Standard techniques for inventory and monitoring—straight-line drift fences and pitfall traps. In Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity. Standard Methods for Amphibians (eds Heyer, W.R., Donnelly, M.A., McDiarmid, R.W., Hayek, L.C. & Foster, M.S.), pp. 118124. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Cosson, J.F., Ringuet, S., Claessens, O., De Massary, J.C., Dalecky, A., Villiers, J.F. et al. . (1999) Ecological changes in recent land-bridge islands in French Guiana, with emphasis on vertebrate communities. Biological Conservation, 91, 213222.
De Walt, S.J., Maliakal, S.K. & Denslow, J.S. (2003) Changes in vegetation structure and composition along a tropical forest chronosequence: implications for wildlife. Forest Ecology and Management, 182, 139151.
Dickman, C.R. (1987) Habitat fragmentation and vertebrate species richness in an urban environment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 24, 337351.
Dixo, M. (2001) Efeito da fragmentação da floresta sobre a comunidade de sapos e lagartos de serrapilheira no sul da Bahia. MSc thesis, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Dixo, M. (2005) Diversidade de sapos e lagartos de serrapilheira numa paisagem fragmentada do Planalto Atlântico de São Paulo. PhD thesis, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Dixo, M. & Martins, M. (2008) Are leaf-litter frogs and lizards affected by edge effects due to forest fragmentation in Brazilian Atlantic forest? Journal of Tropical Ecology, 24, 551554.
Dixo, M. & Verdade, V.K. (2006) Herpetofauna de serrapilheira da Reserva Biológica de Morro Grande, Cotia (SP). Biota Neotropica, 6(2). [accessed 25 May 2006].
Driscol, D.A. (2004) Extinction and outbreaks accompany fragmentation of a reptile community. Ecological Applications, 14, 220240.
Fahrig, L. (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 34, 487515.
Faria, D., Paciencia, M.L.B., Dixo, M., Laps, R.R. & Baumgarten, J. (2007) Ferns, frogs, lizards, birds and bats in forest fragments and shaded cacao plantations of two contrasting landscapes in the Atlantic forest, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16, 23352357.
Freire, M.E.X. (2001) Composição, taxonomia, diversidade e considerações zoogeográficas sobre a fauna de lagartos e serpentes de remanescentes da Mata Atlântica do estado de Alagoas, Brasil. PhD thesis, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Gascon, C., Lovejoy, T.E., Bierregaard, R.O., Malcolm, J.R., Stouffer, P.C., Vasconcelos, H. et al. . (1999) Matrix habitat and species persistence in tropical forest remnants. Biological Conservation, 91, 223229.
Gibbons, J.W., Scott, D.E., Ryan, T.J., Buhlmann, K.A., Tuberville, T.D., Metts, B.S. et al. . (2000) The global decline of reptiles, déjà vu amphibians. BioScience, 50, 653666.
Jackson, J.F. (1978) Differentiation in the genera Enyalius and Strobilurus (Iguanidae): implications for Pleistocene climatic changes in eastern Brazil. Arquivos de Zoologia (São Paulo), 30, 179.
Jellinek, S., Driscol, D.A. & Kirkpatrik, J.B. (2004) Environmental and vegetation variables have a greater influence than habitat fragmentation in structuring lizard communities in remnant urban bushland. Austral Ecology, 29, 294304.
Kichener, D.J., Chapman, A.D., Dell, J. & Muir, B.G. (1980) Lizard assemblage and reserve size and structure in the Western Australian wheatbelt—some implications for conservation. Biological Conservation, 17, 2562.
Köppen, W. (1948) Climatologia. Fondo Cultura Economica, México City, México.
Liou, N.S. (2008) História Natural de duas espécies simpátricas de Enyalius (Squamata, Leiosauridae) na Mata Atlântica do sudeste brasileiro. MSc thesis, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Maisonneuve, C. & Rioux, S. (2001) Importance of riparian habitats for small mammal and herpetofauna communities in agricultural landscapes of southern Québec. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 83, 165175.
Malcolm, J.R. (1995) Forest structure and the abundance and diversity of Neotropical small mammals. In Forest Canopies (eds Lowman, M.D. & Nadkarni, N.M.), pp. 179197. Academic Press, San Diego, USA.
Malcolm, J.R. & Ray, J.C. (2000) Influence of timber extraction routes on Central African small-mammal communities, forest structure, and tree diversity. Conservation Biology, 14, 16231638.
Marques, O.A.V. & Sazima, I. (2004) História natural dos répteis da estação ecológica Juréia-Itatins. In Estação Juréia-Itatins: ambiente físico, flora e fauna (eds Marques, O.A.V. & Duleba, V.), pp. 257277. Holos Press, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.
McCune, B. & Mefford, M.J. (1999) Pc-Ord for Windows: Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Data, v. 4.25. MjM Software, Oregon, USA.
McGarigal, K. & Cushman, S.A. (2002) Comparative evaluation of experimental approaches to the study of habitat fragmentation effects. Ecological Applications, 12, 335345.
McGarigal, K. & Marks, B.J. (1995) FRAGSTAT: Spatial Pattern Analysis Program for Quantifying Landscape Structure. US Forest Service General Technical Report PNW 351. US Forest Service, Portland, USA.
Meffe, G.K. & Carrol, C.R. (1997) Principles of Conservation Biology, 2nd ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, USA.
Metzger, J.P., Alves, L.F., Goulart, W., Teixeira, A.M.G., Simões, S.J.C. & Catharino, E.L.M. (2006) Uma área de relevante interesse biológico, porém pouco conhecida: a Reserva Florestal do Morro Grande. Biota Neotropica, 6(2). Http:// [accessed 25 May 2006].
Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, G.G., Fonseca, G.A.B. & Kent, J. (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403, 853858.
Oliveira-Filho, A.T. & Fontes, M.A.L. (2000) Patterns of floristic differentiation among Atlantic Forests in southeastern Brazil and influence of climate. Biotropica, 32, 793810.
Pardini, R., Accacio, G.M., Laps, R.R., Mariano, E., Paciencia, M.L.B., Dixo, M. et al. . (2009) The challenge of maintaining Atlantic forest biodiversity: a multi-taxa conservation assessment of specialist and generalist species in an agro-forestry mosaic in southern Bahia. Biological Conservation, 142, 11701182.
Pardini, R., Souza, S.M., Braga-Neto, R. & Metzger, J.P. (2005) The role of forest structure, fragment size and corridors in maintaining small mammal abundance and diversity in an Atlantic forest landscape. Biological Conservation, 124, 253266.
Pough, F.H., Andrews, R.M., Cadle, J.E., Crump, M.L., Savitzky, A.H. & Wells, K.D. (1998) Herpetology. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, USA.
Ribeiro, M.C., Metzger, J.P., Martensen, A.C., Ponzoni, F.J. & Hirota, M.M. (2009) The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: how much is left, and how is the remaining forest distributed? Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation, 142, 11441156.
Rodrigues, M.T. (2005) The conservation of Brazilian reptiles: challenges for a megadiverse country. Conservation Biology, 19, 659664.
Rosemberg, D.K., Noon, B.R. & Meslow, E.C. (1997) Biological corridors: form, function and efficacy. BioScience, 47, 677687.
Sarre, S., Smith, G.T. & Meyers, J.A. (1995) Persistence of two species of gecko (Oedura reticulata and Gehyra variegata) in remnant habitat. Biological Conservation, 71, 2533.
Sazima, I. (2001) Répteis. In Intervales / Fundação para a conservação e produção florestal do estado de São Paulo (ed. Leonel, C.), pp. 148158. A Fundação Florestal, São Paulo, Brazil.
Sazima, I. & Haddad, C.F.B. (1992) Répteis da Serra do Japi: notas sobre história natural. In História Natural da Serra do Japi. Ecologia e preservação de uma área florestal no sudeste do Brasil (ed. Morellato, P.), pp. 212235. UNICAMP/FAPESP, Campinas, Brazil.
Silva, W.G.S., Metzger, J.P., Simões, S. & Simonetti, C. (2007) Relief influence on the spatial distribution of the Atlantic Forest cover at the Ibiúna Plateau, SP. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 67, 631640.
Silvano, D., Colli, G., Dixo, M., Pimenta, B. & Wiederhecker, H.C. (2003) Anfíbios e répteis. In Fragmentação de Ecossistemas: causas, efeitos sobre a biodiversidade e recomendações de políticas públicas (eds Rambaldi, D.M. & Oliveira, D.A.S.), pp. 183200. MMA/SBF, Brasília, Brazil.
Smith, G.T., Arnold, G.W., Sarre, S., Abenperg-Traun, M. & Steven, D.E. (1996) The effects of habitat fragmentation and livestock grazing on animal communities in remnants of gimlet Eucalyptus salubris woodland in the Western Australian wheatbelt. II. Lizards. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 13021310.
SOS Mata Atlântica & Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (2008) Atlas dos remanescentes florestais da Mata Atlântica, período de 2000 a 2005. Http:// [accessed 25 October 2008].
Seabra, M. (1971) Vargem Grande: Organização e Transformação de um Setor do Cinturão Paulistano. Instituto de Geografia, USP, São Paulo, Brazil.
Statsoft Inc. (2001) STATISTICA (Data Analysis Software System), v. 6. Http:// [accessed 26 May 2006].
Sumner, J., Moritz, C. & Shine, R. (1999) Shrinking forest shrinks skink: morphological change in response to rainforest fragmentation in the prickly forest skink (Gnypetoscincus queenslandiae). Biological Conservation, 91, 159167.
Teixeira, A.M.G., Soares-Filho, B.S., Freitas, S.R. & Metzger, J.P. (2009) Modeling landscape dynamics in an Atlantic Rainforest region: implications for conservation. Forest Ecology and Management, 257, 12191230.
Ter Braak, C.J.F. & Smilauer, P. (1998) CANOCO for Windows, v. 4.0. Center for Biometry Wageningen CPRO-DLO, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Trakhtenbrot, A.R., Nathan, R., Perry, G. & Richardson, D.M. (2005) The importance of long-distance dispersal in biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions, 11, 173181.
Whitfield, S.M. & Donnelly, M.A. (2006) Ontogenetic and seasonal variation in the diet of a Costa Rican leaf-litter herpetofauna. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 22, 409417.
Zimmerman, G.M., Goetz, H. & Mielke, P.W Jr. (1985) Use of an improved statistical method for group comparisons to study effects on prairie fire. Ecology, 66, 606611.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 28 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 176 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.