Nocturnal activity of antiguan lizards under artificial light

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Widespread human development has led to the proliferation of artificial light at night, an increasingly recognized but poorly understood component of anthropogenic global change. Animals specialized to diurnal activity are presented opportunities to use this night-light niche, but the ecological consequences are largely unknown. While published records make note of nocturnal activity in a diversity of diurnal taxa, few case studies have gone beyond isolated observations to quantify patterns of nocturnal activity, document animal behavior, and describe new species interactions. From 13 June to 15 July 2017, we conducted hourly nocturnal surveys to assess how two species of diurnal Anolis lizards (Leach’s Anole, Anolis leachii, and Watt’s Anole, A. wattsi) use artificial light on Long Island, Antigua. Our data show that both anole species foraged in artificially illuminated habitats and were more active prior to sunrise compared to the early night. Mark-resight data for a focal species, A. leachii, suggest that patterns of nocturnal activity were not significantly different between individuals. Finally, our behavioral observations for the two anoles and a third lizard species, the nocturnal Thick-tailed Gecko (Thecadactylus rapicauda), reveal a lack of agonistic interactions. Our study reveals an altered temporal niche for two diurnal Antiguan lizards and adds to a growing body of evidence documenting the broad influences of anthropogenic change on biodiversity.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Herpetological Conservation and Biology





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