Yucheng SONG,Yang LIU,Yingying LIN,et al.Burrow Characteristics and Microhabitat Use of the Turpan Wonder Gecko Teratoscincus roborowskii (Squamata, Gekkonidae)[J].Asian Herpetological Reserch(AHR),2017,(1):61-69.[doi:10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160028]
Click Copy

Burrow Characteristics and Microhabitat Use of the Turpan Wonder Gecko Teratoscincus roborowskii (Squamata, Gekkonidae)
Share To:

Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2017 VoI. No.1
Research Field:
Publishing date:


Burrow Characteristics and Microhabitat Use of the Turpan Wonder Gecko Teratoscincus roborowskii (Squamata, Gekkonidae)
Yucheng SONG12# Yang LIU13# Yingying LIN1 Tao LIANG1 and Lei SHI1*
1 College of Animal Science, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052, Xinjiang, China
2 Hunan East Dongting Lake National Nature Reserve, Yueyang 414000, Hunan, China
3 Chengdu Zoo, Chengdu 610081, Sichuan, China
arid desert habitat burrow depth entrance height entrance orientation entrance width microhabitat selection retreat site
Burrow structural charactersitcs and microhabitat use of the Turpan wonder gecko Teratoscincus roborowskii (Gekkonidae) were studied between April and September of 2013 in the Turpan Eremophytes Botanic Garden, in the Turpan Depression of Western China. Burrow depth, entrance orientation, entrance height and width were observed. We assessed microhabitat selection and noted differences in microhabitat use among males, females, and juveniles. The magnitude of selection was measured using Jacobs’ index of selectivity. Entrance height and width of the burrows of adults were significantly larger than those of juveniles, but the difference in burrow depth was not significant. The directional orientation of the burrow entrance showed a preference for the north-northeast and south-southeast, which were likely influenced by local prevailing winds and sunlight. Both the adult and juvenile geckos prefer to construct their burrows in sandy soil within a layer of loose soil whose thickness is greater than 30 cm. A majority of the burrows were located within 20 m of the nearest plant. Nearly half (48%) of the entrances of juveniles were located within 5 m of the nearest vegetation, significantly different from those of the adults. Results showed that the Turpan wonder gecko did not utilize microhabitats according to their availability, but rather that it preferred microhabitats which contained dead wood or the caper bush. Our results suggested that burrow characteristics and microhabitat selection were important factors in T. roborowskii adaptation to harsh and arid desert habitats.


ASIH. 2004. Guidelines for use of live amphibians and reptiles in field and laboratory research. 2nd ed.?Herpetological Animal Care and Use Committee (HACUC) of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Lawrence. Kansas
Attum O. A., Eason P. K. 2006. Effects of vegetation loss on a sand lizard. J Wildlife Manage, 70: 27–30
Buckland S. T., Borchers D. L., Johnston A., Henrys P.A., Marques T.A. 2007. Line transect methods for plant surveys. Biometrics, 63: 989–998
Butler M. A., Sawyer S. A., Losos J. B. 2007. Sexual dimorphism and adaptive radiation in Anolis lizards. Nature, 447: 202–205
Chesson J. 1978. Measuring preference in selective predation. Ecology, 59: 211–215
Compton B. W., Rhymer J. M., McCollough M. 2002. Habitat selection by wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta): An application of paired logistic regression. Ecology, 83: 833–843
Converse S. J., Savidge J. A. 2003. Ambient temperature, activity, and microhabitat use by ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata). J Herpetol, 37: 665–670
Dias E. J. R., Rocha C. F. D. 2004. Thermal ecology, activity patterns and microhabitat use by two sympatric whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus abaetensis and Cnemidophorus ocellifer) from northeastern Brazil. J Herpetol, 38: 586–588
Downes S. 2001. Trading heat and food for safety: Costs of predator avoidance in a lizard. Ecology, 82: 2870–2881
Goller M., Goller F., French S. S. 2014. A heterogeneous thermal environment enables remarkable behavioral thermoregulation in Uta stansburiana. Ecol Evol, 4: 3319–3329
Hansell M. H. 1993. The ecological impact of animal nests and burrows. Funct Ecol, 7: 5–12
Herbst M., Bennett N. C. 2006. Burrow architecture and burrowing dynamics of the endangered Namaqua dune mole rat (Bathyergus janetta) (Rodentia: Bathyergidae). J Zool, 270: 420–428
Howard R., Williamson I., Mather P. 2003. Structural aspects of microhabitat selection by the skink Lampropholis delicate. J Herpetol, 37: 613–617
Huang C. Y. 2000. Pedology. Beijing: China Agriculture Press (In Chinese)
Huey R. B. 1991. Physiological consequences of habitat selection. Am Nat, 137: 91–115
Huey R. B., Pianka E. R., Schoener T. W. 1983. Lizard ecology: Studies of a model organism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Irschick D. J., Carlisle E., Elstrott J., Ramos M., Buckley C., Vanhooydonck B., Meyers J., Herrel A. 2005. A comparison of habitat use, morphology, clinging performance, and escape behavior among two divergent green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) populations. Biol J Lin Soc, 85: 223–234
James S. E., M’Closkey R. T. 2003. Lizard microhabitat and fire fuel management. Biol Conserv, 114: 293–297
Kacoliris F. P., Celsi C. E., Monserrat A. L. 2009. Microhabitat use by the sand dune lizard Liolaemus multimaculatus in a pampean coastal area in Argentina. Herpetol J, 19: 61–67
Kellar A., Batur H. 1989. Mimicry of Scorpions by Juvenile lizard, Teratoscincus roborowskii (Gekkonidae). Chin Herpetol Res, 2: 60–64
Keswick T., Hofmeyr M. 2014. Refuge characteristics and preferences of Psammobates oculifer in semi-arid savanna. Amphibia-Reptilia, 35: 41–51
Li W. R., Song Y. C., Shi L. 2010. Age determination of Teratoscincus roborowskii (Gekkonidae) by skeletochronology. Chin J Zool, 45: 79–86 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Li W. R., Song Y. C., Shi L. 2013. The home range of Teratoscincus roborowskii (Gekkonidae): Influence of sex, season, and body size. Act Ecol Sin, 33: 395–401 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Liu Y., Song Y. C., Li W. R., Shi L. 2010. Sexual dimorphism in head and body size of Teratoscincus roborowskii and its food habits in different seasons. Chin J Ecol, 29: 333–338 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Lovich J. E., Daniels R. 2000. Environmental characteristics of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow locations in an altered industrial landscape. Chel Conserv Biol, 3: 714–721
M’Closkey R. T. 1997. Response of a lizard species to the senescence of a dominant plant in the Sonoran desert. Ecoscience, 4: 43–47
Manly B. F. J., Mcdonald L. L., Thomas D. L. 1993. Resource selection by animals: Statistical design and analysis for field studies. London: Chapman and Hall
Morris D. W. 2003. Toward an ecological synthesis: A case for habitat selection. Oecologia, 136: 1–13
Mushinsky H. R. 1992. Natural history and abundance of south-eastern ?ve-lined skinks, Eumeces inexpectatus, on a periodically burned sandhill in Florida. Herpetologica, 48: 307–312
Orians G. H., Wittenberger J. F. 1991. Spatial and temporal scales in habitat selection. Am Nat, 137: 29–49
Penado A., Rocha R., Sampaio M., Gil V., Carreira B. M., Rebelo R. 2015. Where to ‘Rock’ ? Choice of retreat sites by a gecko in a semi-arid habitat. Acta Herpetol, 10: 47–54
Perry G., Garland T. 2002. Lizard home ranges revisited: Effects of sex, body size, diet, habitat, and phylogeny. Ecology, 83: 1870–1885
Peter L., Cunning H. 2001. Notes on the diet and burrow specifics of Uromastyx aegyptius microlepis from the United Arab Emirates. Asian Herpetol Res, 9: 30–33
Qi Y., Noble D. W. A., Fu J., Whiting M. J. 2012. Spatial and social organization in a burrow-dwelling lizard (Phrynocephalus vlangalii) from China. PLoS One, 7: e41130
Rand A. S., Dugan B. 1983. Structure of complex iguana nests. Copeia, 1983: 705–711
Roper T. J., Bennett N. C., Conradt L., Molteno A. J. 2001. Environmental conditions in burrows of two species of African mole-rat, Georhychus capensis and Cryptomys damarensis. J Zool, 254: 101–107
Semenov D. V., Borkin L. J. 1992. On the ecology of Przewalsky’s Gecko (Teratoscincus przewwalskii) in the Transaltai Gobi, Mongolia. Asian Herpetol Res, 4: 99–112
Shenbrot G. 2004. Habitat selection in a seasonally variable environment: Test of the isodar theory with the fat sand rat, Psammomys obesus, in the Negev. Oikos, 106: 359–365
Shi L., Zhou Y. H., Yuan H. 2002. Reptile fauna and geographic divisions in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Sichuan J Zool, 21: 152–156 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Song Y. C., Zhao H., Shi L. 2009. Daily activity rhythm and its affecting environmental factors of Teratoscincus roborowskii. J Xinj Agri Univ, 32: 22–25 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Steele B. B. 1993. Selection of foraging and nesting sites by black throated blue warblers: Their relative influence on habitat choice. Condor, 95: 568–579
?umbera R., Chitaukali W. N., Elichová M., Kubová J., Burda H. 2004. Microclimatic stability in burrows of an Afrotropical solitary bathyergid rodent, the silvery mole-rat (Heliophobius argenteocinereus). J Zool, 63: 409–416
Webb J. K., Whiting M. J. 2005. Why don’t small snakes bask? Juvenile broad-headed snakes trade thermal benefits for safety. Oikos, 110: 515–522
Werner Y. L., Okada S. 1997. Varied and fluctuating foraging modes in nocturnal lizards of Family Gekkonidae. Asian Herpetol Res, 17: 153–165
Wu N. C., Alton L. A., Clemente C. J., Kearney M. R., White C. R. 2015. Morphology and burrowing energetics of semi-fossorial skinks (Liopholis spp.). J Exp Biol, 218: 2416–2426
Wu P. F., Wang Y. Z., Zhu B. 2004. Phrynocephalus vlangalii at Zoigê, Sichuan: Burrow density and depth and their implications. Zool Res, 25: 311–315
Yin L. K. 2004. Turpan Eremophytes Botanic Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Arid Zone Res, 21: 1–4 (In Chinese with English abstract)


Last Update: 2017-03-25