ECOMORPHOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIPS IN SIX LIZARD SPECIES OF RESTINGA DA BARRA DE MARICÁ, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
de Almeida,Josimar R.
We studied some ecomorphological relationships in six lizard species (Ameiva ameiva, Cnemidophorus littoralis, Tropidurus torquatus, Liolaemus lutzae, Mabuya agilis and M. macrorhyncha) from Restinga de Barra de Maricá, RJ. These species have marked differences in microhabitat utilization and in foraging behavior, which vary from active to «sit-and-wait». In this study, we compared the morphology of the fingers and claws of these lizards species with the different behaviors. The species that showed higher degree of arboreality (T. torquatus and M. macrorhyncha) had the 4th finger of the forelimb as the largest, while the other species had the 3rd. This seems to give some advantage for vertical sustains of the arboreal species. All species had the 4th finger as the largest of the hind limb. The two scincids (M. agilis and M. macrorhyncha) had more curved and shorter claws, which appears to aid in the climbing on the leaves of the bromeliad Neoregelia cruenta. In addition, the claws of the essentially ground-dwelling species were larger than in the other species, suggesting that larger claws give some advantage for support on sand (providing a better impulse and speed), in the excavation of burrows, in the defense against predators, in the dispute for foraging ranges and in mate selection. In this study, the foraging strategy does not seem to be related to the absolute size of the fingers of the lizards, but with relative differences in the fingers of the forelimbs