Letter | Published:

Inverse relation of survival of lizards with island size and avifaunal richness

Nature volume 274, pages 685687 (17 August 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

SMALL islands have fewer species than larger islands or mainlands, and the number of species of very large predators, for example raptorial birds, may be disproportionately lower1,2. This suggests the reasonable but largely untested idea that predation is less important as a determinant of population structure on small islands than on large islands or mainlands, particularly for relatively large potential prey such as songbirds and lizards3–10. We have compared the survival of three species of the lizard Anolis on two islands differing in size and number of predatory bird species. We report here that annual survival in sites identical in diurnal lizard species and nearly so in vegetation structure is smaller, and usually substantially so, on the larger island. In one species, the size distribution of males parallels this difference in survival: lizards are smaller where survival is lower. Sexual differences in survival between the two islands are especially marked in an intensely territorial, polygamous species.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

    • THOMAS W. SCHOENER
  2. Department of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

    • AMY SCHOENER

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274685a0

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