Vol. 17 No. 1 (2022)
Articles

A contribution to the knowledge on the diet and food preferences of Darevskia praticola (Reptilia: Lacertidae)

Emiliya Vacheva
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Gagarin Street 2, 1113 Sofia
Borislav Naumov
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Gagarin Street 2, 1113 Sofia
Published April 29, 2022
Keywords
  • Faecal samples,
  • keratophagy,
  • trophic niche,
  • saurophagy,
  • Sauria
How to Cite
Vacheva, E., & Naumov, B. (2022). A contribution to the knowledge on the diet and food preferences of Darevskia praticola (Reptilia: Lacertidae). Acta Herpetologica, 17(1), 27-36. https://doi.org/10.36253/a_h-12179

Abstract

The Meadow lizard (Darevskia praticola s.l.) is one of the more poorly-studied lizard species in Europe, and no detailed data on its diet is available. We investigated a total of 180 faecal samples of D. praticola s.l. from two locations in Bulgaria, and conducted a comparison between sex and age groups (adult males, adult females, and immatures). In addition, the correlations between the consumed prey and the available resources were also analysed. Food selectivity was analysed by comparing the faecal samples with pit-fall trap samples on the basis of abundance of prey items from particular operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Results indicate that the diet of the Meadow lizard contains mainly arthropods (insects and spiders) and the most abundant prey items belong to Araneae, Auchenorrhyncha, and Coleoptera. According to the used electivity indices none of the OTUs are highly preferred by D. praticola s.l., but Formicidae are the most avoided OTU for all sex/age groups. Differences in food preferences can be found between adults and immatures, while differences among males and females seem to be insignificant. The lack of clear differentiation between males and females could be a result of their similar size and locomotor ability. In conclusion, our results reveal that Darevskia praticola s.l. is a generalist and it shows no food specialization due to its narrow spatial niche.

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