Effect of climate change on fossorial species: A case study comparing species of the genus Scincella
For species that have a fossorial habit or that spend most of their time under leaf litter, correlative models may not be sufficient to model their potential risk in the face of climate change; this is the case for the species examined here. In the present study, we compared three different models (maximum entropy correlative models, mechanistic models based on species thermal tolerance, and habitat cover) applied to three lizards of the genus Scincella (S. gemmingeri, S. lateralis and S. silvicola. Models were proposed for current climate scenario, and for 2050 at three SSPs greenhouse gas concentrations, assessing sites with suitable climate and habitat cover, optimum temperature for species survival, and to selecting the best predictive model. Current and future correlative models indicate areas with little climatic suitability within the thermal range that these lizards can tolerate; however, it was possible to corroborate the presence of populations of S. gemmingeri and S. silvicola in areas that do not have climatic suitability, but do have habitat coverage. These results support the hypothesis that the habitat and microhabitat structures protect these species against possible adverse climatic conditions. It may be that it is also necessary to measure physiological variables (to obtain the thermal range of each species), as well to include both habitat type and habitat structure in spatial analysis.