Agasthya 6.3 Research Highlights
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Centre for Excellence in Conservation Science
Royal Enclave,Srirampura,Jakkur Post
Telephone: 080-23635555 (EPABX)
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I started my study on the fan throated lizard (Sitana ponticeriana) with a goal to generate base line information on the species, with a particular focus on its home range, utilization of habitat, dependence of plant species within the habitat and time activity budgets additionally focusing set on the variation between the sexes.

I conducted the study between the months August and October at the scrublands around the Agasthyamalai Community- Based Conservation Centre in Manimutharu. Being the mating season the males and females could be easily distinguished due to the display of colored dewlap of the male as seen in the picture.

With the help of Chian and many others (unsuspectingly roped into aiding me), we managed to create a net and captured 21 individuals from three different sites around the station. This was not an easy task as the Sitanas can be quite fast and their habitat makes it easy for them to escape the clutches of our net! All 21 individuals were measured and weighed. Furthermore 12 (6 male and 6 female) were attached with a radio tag and tracked between 14- 25 days.

Results showed females were on average 4 cm from snout to vent, tail length 10 cm and weighed 3.42 gm, whilst the males proved to be larger at 5.22 cm from snout to vent, 12.1 cm in tail length and weighing 5.4 gm on average. Although home ranges for both sexes were small, the males proved to have a much larger home range than the females. The preferred habitat was in the vicinity of low thorny shrubs mainly Catunare gumspionsa and Dalbergia coromandel ina but al so amongst Dodonae aviscosa in which they used the leaf litter for cover.

Alongside this activity budgets were made for monitoring behavior. A total of 240 scans of 5 mins were taken throughout the day at different time intervals. A set of behaviors: mobile, immoblile, feeding, gular flashing (for males), head turning and “other” were selected. Although both sexes proved to spend the majority of the day immobile, the males showed to have more activity due to their displaying action results for both sexes can be seen in pie chart.

This current study took place prior to the monsoon. In the future it could be interesting to see of behaviour and home ranges change after the breeding season and rains as well as to monitor the behaviours of the juveniles.



Editorial Team
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salagame

Volume 6,  Issue 3
      November 2012

A S H O K A   T R U S T   F O R   R E S E A R C H   I N   E C O L O G Y   A N D   T H E   E N V I R O N M E N T

Research Highlights
Ecology of Sitana ponticeriana
- Michelle Logan
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