Impact of anthropogenic disturbance and vegetation composition on ecophysiology and activity of Uromastyx aegyptia (Forskål, 1775)

Mohammed T. Al-Sayegh, Raafat H. Abd El-Wahab, Christian D. Wright, Dale F. DeNardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Anthropogenic disturbances, particularly in deserts where resources and biodiversity are limited, may affect the delicate balance that enables an organism to exist in its environment. In this study, we investigated the impacts of human disturbance and the resulting changes in vegetation composition on activity, thermal biology, and body condition index of the Egyptian spiny-tailed burrowing lizard, Uromastyx aegyptia. Thirty-six adult U. aegyptia, were radio-tracked twice per week inside and outside protected habitats in the Kuwaiti desert. Vegetation composition, richness, abundance and density were surveyed in 115 plots randomly selected close to the active burrows and in the interspace areas. The high percentage of browsing on certain species such as Cyperus conglomeratus, Moltkiopsis ciliata, Rhanterium epapposum, and Convolvulus oxyphyllus may indicate that these species are characterized by high palatability and nutritional values for livestock and wild animals including dhubs. Dhub burrows were closer to each other inside the protected sites than outside of the protected sites. While habitat protection provided more vegetation and refuge to the dhubs and greater body mass at the beginning of the active season, it had little effect on seasonal changes in body mass and surface activity times of dhubs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104232
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume181
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Conserved habitats
  • Disturbed habitats
  • Human disturbance
  • Kuwait desert
  • Physiological functions
  • Spiny-tailed lizards
  • Uromastyx aegyptia
  • Vegetation composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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