Macro- and microhabitat use of Telfair’s skinks (Leiolopisma telfairii) on Round Island, Mauritius: implications for their translocation
Pernetta, A.P., Bell, D.J. and Jones, C.G. (2005) Macro- and microhabitat use of Telfair’s skinks (Leiolopisma telfairii) on Round Island, Mauritius: implications for their translocation Acta Oecologica, 28 (3). pp. 313-323.
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The successful eradication of introduced rodents from islets off the coast of Mauritius has led to local conservation bodies investigating the possibility of translocation as a measure of safeguarding endemic reptile populations. The present study was the first to determine the habitat and microhabitat requirements of Telfair's skinks (Leiolopisma telfairii) on Round Island, Mauritius, with a view to aiding future translocation projects to islands within their historic range. Contrasting preferences found for Telfair's skink at macro- and micro- habitat levels underline the importance of sampling at multiple ecological scales in such investigations. Significantly fewer sightings of L. telfairii were recorded in bare rock habitats compared to more vegetated habitats. Conversely, at a microhabitat scale principal component analysis indicated structural characteristics were the primary determinant of microhabitat choice. The first dietary analysis of Telfair's skinks confirmed their status as omnivores. Cockroaches (Blattodea spp.) appeared to be a primary food source. Four exotic plant species were also present in faecal samples and the potential for L. telfairii to aid their dispersal is discussed. Implications for the long-term management and proposed translocation of Telfair's skinks are discussed.
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