Record Details

Schulte, Ulrich;Köhler, Gunther
Microhabitat selection in the spiny-tailed iguana Ctenosaura bakeri on Utila Island, Honduras
Journal Article
Ctenosaura similis;Ctenosaura bakeri
We studied the habitat use in the Utila iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri Stejneger, 1901) in a heterogeneous mangrove forest site on the north coast on Utila Island using 162 sightings of iguanas along a line-transect. Our results suggest ontogenetic size-related shifts of habitat use in this species. Hatchlings preferred the fringe area of the red mangrove zone and perched on the ground or at low heights (mean ± SD = 0.8 ± 1.28 m). Similarly, juveniles were encountered most frequently in the red mangrove zone at mean tree heights of 3.6 ± 2.83 m, whereas adult iguanas preferentially selected the white mangrove zone. Males perched higher (4.9 ± 2.7 m) than females (3.75 ± 3.15 m). The habitat choice of hatchlings is seen as a predator avoidance strategy. Adult C. bakeri may select the white mangrove as the best opportunity to reach preferred body temperature for microbial digestion and fermentation processes. Sightings of juvenile and adult iguanas were associated with the presence of suitable cavities and trunks of mangrove trees as important sleeping and hiding-places.