Spatial pattern and shelter distribution of the ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus) in two distinct Mediterranean habitats
The knowledge of a species' spatial ecology is essential for its conservation as it helps to implement targeted protection measures to suitable habitats. In 2011 and 2013, two French populations of ocellated lizards Timon lepidus were monitored through very high frequency (VHF) radio telemetry in two distinct Mediterranean habitats: a 77 ha scrubland (n = 8) and a 1590 ha semi-arid steppe (n = 11) corresponding to a heterogeneous and homogeneous habitat respectively. The variability in spatial estimates for the seasonal habitat use of the ocellated lizard was compared within the two sites using the Autocorrelated Kernel Density Estimation (AKDE). Recursive movement patterns and spatial repartition of shelters were further assessed to study the habitat influence on the species’ space use. No significant differences between sexes or sites were identified in the computed AKDE ranges. This inter-site approach demonstrated higher shelter revisits in core-areas than in the rest of estimated home ranges for both sites. A higher shelter density was observed in the core areas of the lizards than in the rest of their home-ranges for the Mediterranean scrubland but not for the semi-arid steppe. Such findings might attest to the species' adaptive capabilities within two distinct Mediterranean ecosystems.