The ecology of Lerista labialis (Scincidae) in the Simpson Desert: reproduction and diet

The ecology of Lerista labialis (Scincidae) in the Simpson Desert: reproduction and diet Journal Article

Journal of Arid Environments

  • Author(s): Greenville, A. C., Dickman, C. R.
  • Published: 2005
  • Volume: 60
  • ISBN: 0140-1963

Abstract: This study investigated the diet and reproductive cycle of the southern sandslider skink Lerista labialis, in the dunefields of the Simpson Desert, central Australia. We dissected preserved specimens to obtain gut contents and measure gonad volume, and also live-captured animals from 1999 to 2000 to assess the impact of rainfall on population structure and body condition. This skink breeds during the austral summer. Males start spermatogenesis in July and testes volume is largest in December. Females have enlarged ovarian follicles in November and produce oviducal eggs from November to February. One or more clutches of two eggs are produced per breeding season. L. labialis specializes on termites, which represent 78% of the diet by percentage occurrence. The remaining 22% of this skink's diet comprises Hemiptera, Neuroptera and unknown prey items. Body condition, and probably increased reproduction and juvenile survival, were higher in 2000 (wet year) than 1999 (relatively dry year); proportion of juveniles also increased in the population in autumn, winter and summer 2000 compared to the previous year. Late rainfall in autumn 2000 may have triggered these demographic changes by increasing prey accessibility. Long-term research is required into growth rates, longevity and inter-annual population dynamics of L. labialis to fully evaluate its life history strategy.

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Suggested Citation
Greenville, A. C., Dickman, C. R., 2005, The ecology of Lerista labialis (Scincidae) in the Simpson Desert: reproduction and diet, Volume:60, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14733.

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