Selective foraging behaviour in the Scincid lizard Lampropholis guichenoti
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian Zoologist, 2015, 37 (4), pp. 508 - 509
- Issue Date:
Small Australian skinks (< 10 g) are often described as generalist invertebrate predators (Greer 2001; Manicom and Schwarzkopf 2010). This view has been influenced by studies of stomach contents revealing a wide variety of prey items (Crome 1981; Taylor 1986; Greer 1989; Lunney et al. 1989; Brown 1991; Wapstra and Swain 1996). While these studies provide important information on the diet of small skinks, they do not indicate how prey was selected (Greer 2001; Manicom and Schwarzkopf 2010). Arthropods found in skink stomachs may have been taken opportunistically in proportion to their availability. Alternatively, skinks may have actively selected certain prey types over others that are equally or more readily available. For example, three sympatric skink species of the genus Carlia selectively consume prey types that are not abundant in their habitat (Manicom and Schwarzkopf 2010). Optimal foraging theory (MacArthur and Pianka 1966) predicts that animals will concentrate feeding on the best types of food available. It might be expected therefore, that even within a broadly generalist diet, skinks will select prey with the highest nutritional value. Selectivity is even possible at the intraspecific level of prey items. Greer (2001) reported observations of seven Elegant Snakeeyed Skinks Cryptoblepharus pulcher preying selectively upon winged alates of small ants of the Iridomyrmex rufoniger group while actively avoiding worker ants. In this note I present observations of selective foraging on alates by the Garden Skink Lampropholis guichenoti, a small (adult SVL 48 mm) scincid lizard occurring in eastern Australia (Wilson and Swan 2013).
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