Trophic ecology, sexual dimorphism and reproductive parameters in the endemic Andean lizard Liolaemus vallecurensis, Argentina
ABSTRACT The feeding habits, sexual dimorphism and reproductive parameters of Liolaemus vallecurensis (Pereyra, 1992) were assessed in an Andean sector of Argentina. We determined the total volume, number, and occurrence frequency of each prey item and calculated the relative importance indexes. Trophic indices (Levins) and diversity indices were applied as well. Also studied were morphological variations in 14 measurements, comparing adult males and females. In concerning arthropods, L. vallecurensis feeds mostly on items from the order Hymenoptera (not Formicidae), with no differences being found between sexes or ages. Males show a tendency towards an active search strategy and a specialized diet. Females and juveniles hunt by stalking, and have a more opportunistic diet. Males consume large amounts of plant matter considered as herbivores but not strictly, females are omnivores and juveniles between insectivores and omnivores. Dimorphism was found between sexes for 10 morphological variables. Head length and food search mode were found to be associated. A viviparous condition is confirmed by a clutch size of three young, with parturition occurring between late December and early January. These contributions to L. vallecurensis represent the first and only biological data on this species in these harsh environments.