Common chuckwallas (Sauromalus ater) in urban preserves: Do food plants or crevice retreats influence abundance?

  • Published source details Sullivan B.K. & Williams R.E. (2010) Common chuckwallas (Sauromalus ater) in urban preserves: Do food plants or crevice retreats influence abundance?. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 5, 102-110.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Protect habitat: All reptiles (excluding sea turtles)

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Protect habitat: All reptiles (excluding sea turtles)

    A replicated study in 2009 in eight rock and shrub sites in a desert mountain preserve, Arizona, USA (Sullivan & Williams 2010) found that a protected area surrounded by urban development contained signs of common chuckwalla Sauromalus ater. Common chuckwalla droppings were present in eight rock and shrub sites in a protected area (4–42 droppings/site). The authors report that dropping counts were correlated with plant diversity and the density of six plant species favoured by chuckwallas (see original paper for details). The eight sites in the protected area were rocky outcrops on ridges surrounded by urban development and had been protected for ~50 years prior to urban expansion. In the spring and autumn of 2009, faecal counts (used as an indicator of population size) at basking sites in a 1–2ha area within each reserve were obtained by a single observer over a 1 h period. Belt transects (1x10m) were used to assess crevice numbers, plant diversity and abundance.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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