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Urban lizards use sleep sites that mirror the structural, thermal, and light properties of natural sites

Mohanty, NP and Joshi, M and Thaker, M (2021) Urban lizards use sleep sites that mirror the structural, thermal, and light properties of natural sites. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 75 (12).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-021-03101-5


Abstract: Global change processes such as urbanization are likely to affect sleep behavior, by altering abiotic (e.g., thermal and illumination) and biotic conditions (e.g., predation pressure) that influence sleep. However, little is known of how sleep behavior responds to urbanization and whether this response is flexible or conserved across populations. We quantified sleep site characteristics of the peninsular rock agama Psammophilus dorsalis in Bangalore city and surrounding rural areas. We find that P. dorsalis in urban areas display remarkable behavioral flexibility in response to the novel stressor of artificial light at night, being nine times more likely to use covered sleep sites that limit illumination, compared to lizards in rural areas. However, sleep sites in both populations were highly conserved in terms of substrate type (i.e., rocky with high surface rugosity) and their thermal properties. Our findings support behavioral amelioration of potentially adverse effects of night light in urban areas, even within the restricted availability of preferred substrates as sleep sites. Our study is one of the first to comprehensively compare sleep behavior in rural and urban areas and demonstrate substantial behavioral flexibility. The role of sleep behavior in the coping strategies of animals to urbanization needs further research attention. Significance statement: Sleep is essential to animal life, yet it imposes certain costs such as making sleeping individuals vulnerable to predators. �Where� an animal sleeps (or its sleep site) is therefore important to ensure safety from predators but also to provide conducive environmental conditions. Cities can transform the availability of ideal sleep sites and can alter their thermal properties, in addition to being intensely illuminated by night light that hampers sleep. In this study, we compared sleep site characteristics of rural and urban populations of the peninsular rock agama Psammophilus dorsalis. We find that urban lizards sleep in sheltered sleep sites that shield them from night light but are highly dependent on rough, rocky substrates in both the city and rural areas. The remarkable flexibility in sleep behavior displayed by urban lizards is likely to help them cope in a city. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Author.
Keywords: environmental conditions; lizard; predation; rural area; sleep; urban population; urbanization, Bengaluru, Agama agama; Squamata
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2022 11:38
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 11:38
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/70822

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