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Shirley M. H., Burtner B., Oslisly Richard, Sebag David, Testa O. (2017). Diet and body condition of cave-dwelling dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis, Cope 1861) in Gabon. African Journal of Ecology, 55 (4), 411-422. ISSN 0141-6707

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Lien direct chez l'éditeur doi:10.1111/aje.12365

Titre
Diet and body condition of cave-dwelling dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis, Cope 1861) in Gabon
Année de publication2017
Type de documentArticle référencé dans le Web of Science WOS:000415740100004
AuteursShirley M. H., Burtner B., Oslisly Richard, Sebag David, Testa O.
SourceAfrican Journal of Ecology, 2017, 55 (4), p. 411-422. ISSN 0141-6707
RésuméWe present the first ever observations of dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) selectively utilizing a cave ecosystem. We analysed crocodile diet to preliminarily assess the degree of ecological isolation of cave-dwelling crocodiles from their forest-dwelling conspecifics despite their physical proximity. We additionally conducted the first study of body condition of dwarf crocodiles and compared cave-dwelling individuals to surface-dwelling individuals from a variety of alternative habitats and sites as a means to better understand the implications of a semihypogean life on this species. Crocodiles captured in the caves appeared to forage exclusively in the caves and ate mostly cave crickets and bats, whereas crocodiles captured in the surrounding forest habitat consumed primarily freshwater crustaceans and insects and were not found to consume cave-dwelling prey. Juvenile cave crocodiles had significantly higher body condition compared to juvenile forest crocodiles, which did not vary amongst forest locations. The difference in body condition between adult cave and forest crocodiles was not statistically significant despite also being higher; we suspect this is an artefact of the low sample size rather than a real nondifference. Forest adult crocodiles generally had significantly higher body condition than juveniles, but did not vary by site or habitat. This lack of variation suggests that habitat type is not the most important factor influencing dwarf crocodile body condition. Our results provide a unique insight into facultative cave use by a principally surface-dwelling species and reinforce the necessity for further research into this unique system to better understand the evolutionary-scale implications of cave habitat use by dwarf crocodiles.
Plan de classementSciences du monde animal [080] ; Sciences fondamentales / Techniques d'analyse et de recherche [020]
Descr. géo.GABON
LocalisationFonds IRD [F B010071410]
Identifiant IRDfdi:010071410
Lien permanenthttp://www.documentation.ird.fr/hor/fdi:010071410

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