Patterns of predation and antipredator behavior in the Australian water dragon, Physignathus Lesueurii

Sean Doody, P Harlow, Donna Douglass, Jason Thiem, Ben Broadhurst, Dane Trembath, Gerald Olsen, Ernesto Esteban FUENTES, Tony Rose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Although lizards are more diverse in arid environments, many lizard taxa have independently invaded aquatic habitats. Adaptations in aquatic lizards are often straightforward (e.g., dorsolaterally compressed tails facilitate swimming), but what made these species invade aquatic habitats in the first place? Although this question is not directly testable, one possible reason is to reduce predation risk. Here we examine the fit of a species’ antipredator behaviors to the predation risk associated with its known and suspected predators. We reviewed the literature for records of predation on the Australian Water Dragon, Physignathus lesueurii, a semi-aquatic lizard that uses aquatic escape and aquatic sleeping, but does not forage underwater. We then examined these two behaviors in relation to the patterns of predation revealed by our review. Our review identified 25 species of predators, most of which were aerial (mainly raptors) or terrestrial/arboreal (snakes, lizards, and mammals). Aquatic predators were rare. Our review supports the hypothesis that Water Dragons invaded and persist in aquatic habitats to decrease predation risk from terrestrial and aerial predators, although we cannot rule out the exploitation of an abundance of available (riparian) food as the primary reason for invading aquatic habitats. Future studies should test how well Water Dragons can thermoregulate by sleeping underwater (vs. in air), and could test the antipredator responses of Water Dragons to mock predators.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-56
    Number of pages9
    JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    lizard
    aquatic habitat
    lizards
    predation
    predator
    predators
    predation risk
    habitat
    water
    raptor
    dry environmental conditions
    arid environment
    birds of prey
    snake
    well water
    snakes
    forage
    tail
    mammal
    testing

    Cite this

    Doody, Sean ; Harlow, P ; Douglass, Donna ; Thiem, Jason ; Broadhurst, Ben ; Trembath, Dane ; Olsen, Gerald ; FUENTES, Ernesto Esteban ; Rose, Tony. / Patterns of predation and antipredator behavior in the Australian water dragon, Physignathus Lesueurii. In: Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 48-56.
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    abstract = "Although lizards are more diverse in arid environments, many lizard taxa have independently invaded aquatic habitats. Adaptations in aquatic lizards are often straightforward (e.g., dorsolaterally compressed tails facilitate swimming), but what made these species invade aquatic habitats in the first place? Although this question is not directly testable, one possible reason is to reduce predation risk. Here we examine the fit of a species’ antipredator behaviors to the predation risk associated with its known and suspected predators. We reviewed the literature for records of predation on the Australian Water Dragon, Physignathus lesueurii, a semi-aquatic lizard that uses aquatic escape and aquatic sleeping, but does not forage underwater. We then examined these two behaviors in relation to the patterns of predation revealed by our review. Our review identified 25 species of predators, most of which were aerial (mainly raptors) or terrestrial/arboreal (snakes, lizards, and mammals). Aquatic predators were rare. Our review supports the hypothesis that Water Dragons invaded and persist in aquatic habitats to decrease predation risk from terrestrial and aerial predators, although we cannot rule out the exploitation of an abundance of available (riparian) food as the primary reason for invading aquatic habitats. Future studies should test how well Water Dragons can thermoregulate by sleeping underwater (vs. in air), and could test the antipredator responses of Water Dragons to mock predators.",
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    Doody, S, Harlow, P, Douglass, D, Thiem, J, Broadhurst, B, Trembath, D, Olsen, G, FUENTES, EE & Rose, T 2014, 'Patterns of predation and antipredator behavior in the Australian water dragon, Physignathus Lesueurii', Herpetological Conservation and Biology, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 48-56.

    Patterns of predation and antipredator behavior in the Australian water dragon, Physignathus Lesueurii. / Doody, Sean; Harlow, P; Douglass, Donna; Thiem, Jason; Broadhurst, Ben; Trembath, Dane; Olsen, Gerald; FUENTES, Ernesto Esteban; Rose, Tony.

    In: Herpetological Conservation and Biology, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2014, p. 48-56.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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