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Nest Site Preference and Fidelity of Chinese Alligator(Alligator sinensis)

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【作者】 Haiqiong YANGLan ZHAOQunhua HANShengguo FANG

【Author】 Haiqiong YANG;Lan ZHAO;Qunhua HAN;Shengguo FANG;The Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology for Endangered Wildlife of the Ministry of Education, and State Conservation Center for Gene Resources of Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University;

【机构】 The Key Laboratory of Conservation Biology for Endangered Wildlife of the Ministry of Education, and State Conservation Center for Gene Resources of Endangered Wildlife, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University

【摘要】 Oviparous female reptiles select nesting sites with optimal ecological factors that contribute to egg development. Chinese alligator(Alligator sinensis), an oviparous reptile, is a critically endangered crocodilian with temperature-dependent sex determination. Research on its nesting behavior may facilitate the protection of this species. In this study, we monitored nesting behavior over eight years. We compared selected frequency of nest sites, distance from nest site to water, height from nest site top to the water surface, distance from nest site to human activity region, and canopy density between nest sites on the island and bank. The results showed that 45 nest sites were used by female alligators over eight years and each site was selected from one to 10 times. The selected frequency of nest site occurrence on the island was higher than that on the bank(P < 0.001). We observed that 88% of the individual alligators(15/17) showed different degrees of nest site fidelity. However, Chinese alligators might not always be loyal to only one nest site because of environmental changes or interspecific competition at nest sites. Our findings suggest that female alligators prefer to nest at island, which might be because of the nests on the island had a higher canopy density(P = 0.010) and were further from the human activity region(P < 0.001) than those on the bank did. It would be beneficial to reduce human activities during the breeding season and protect the vegetation of Chinese alligator habitats in the future. of the beach(Ali et al., 2005; Kamel and Mrosovsky, 2005; Turkozan et al., 2012). Other species such as snakes and lizards select nest sites with more moist substrates, which significantly increases their body size at hatching(Brown and Shine, 2004; Reedy et al., 2013). Nest site preference may be maintained for one or more breeding seasons(Janzen and Morjan, 2001; Kamel et al., 2006). When female chose the same site or area during different years, it is called nest site fidelity(Switzer, 1993). This nest choice behavior may influence offspring survival(Lindeman, 1992) and nest site fidelity has been documented in numerous species such as birds(Lindberg and Sedinger, 1997), turtles(Mitrus, 2006; Walde et al., 2007), tuatara(Refsnider et al., 2010), and crocodilians(Elsey et al., 2008).Chinese alligator(Alligator sinensis) is a critically endangered freshwater crocodilian endemic to China(Thorbjarnarson and Wang, 1999). Recent investigations show that there are no more than 130 Chinese alligators

【基金】 supported by the Major Research Plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31230010 and 31530087);the National Key Program (2016YFC0503200) from Ministry of Science and Technology of China;a special grant from the State Forestry Administration;the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China
【所属期刊栏目】 ORIGINAL ARTICLE (2017年04期)
  • 【DOI】10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.170066
  • 【分类号】Q958
  • 【下载频次】3
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