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Feeding ecology of the Tasmanian spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus (Squamata: Scincidae)

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Wapstra, E and Swain, R (1996) Feeding ecology of the Tasmanian spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus (Squamata: Scincidae). Australian Journal of Zoology, 44 (2). pp. 205-213.

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Abstract

The feeding ecology of the spotted skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, was examined over a 6-month period, from October to March, with additional data from one sample in midwinter. The investigation considered feeding activity, dietary composition and foraging strategy. Feeding activity, measured by stomach fullness, was unrelated to age, sex or reproductive status and showed little variation during the warmer months; in winter feeding was greatly reduced. N. ocellatus exhibits flexible foraging behaviour; a wide variety of terrestrial arthropods is taken opportunistically in accordance with a wide ranging foraging strategy. However, the consistent occurrence of cryptic and hidden prey indicates that active search foraging is also utilised. No evidence for ambush predation was found and, unlike many other small skinks, few arboreal or aerial prey are included in the diet, even though the habitat is rock scree and woodland where such prey abound. No evidence for any intraspecific partitioning of diet based on kind or size of prey was obtained although a slight, but significant, correlation exists between maximum prey size and lizard size.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: foraging behavior; activity patterns; food selection; seasonal variations; Niveoscincus ocellatus; Australia, Tasmania
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Zoology
Page Range: pp. 205-213
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1071/ZO9960205
Additional Information: Copyright 1996, CSIRO. Definitive version is available online at http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/90.htm
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2007 03:28
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:23
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/2203
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