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Research Article Open Access

Ecology and Use of Iguanas Ctenosaura pectinata (Sauria: Iguanidae) in Two Rural Communities in Morelos, Mexico

Abstract

In this work the density, use of micro-habitat, hours of activity, body temperature and use of perches of Ctenosaura pectinata are evaluated in two rural communities of central Mexico; with territories within a protected natural area, and where this resource is traditionally consumed. The density of iguanas in the two communities was similar to that recorded in other sites in Mexico. Locally, the areas with the greatest number of individuals were the natural environments of conserved areas (82%), and rural urban areas (18%). The most commonly used micro-habitat were trees, rocks and house-room ceilings, with a marked preference for the use of trees (63.3%) and rocks (30.3%). The hours of activity (12:00-15:00 h) were different between the two communities. In open areas and with greater deforestation, the iguanas started and finished their activity one hour before those in better conserved areas. In conserved areas the iguanas reached average body temperatures of Tc=30.49°C (24.2-38.8 ± 4.03), which represents 2.84°C more (F1,38=5.00, P=0.03) than those of areas with greater deforestation (Tc=27.65°C, 22.7-30.9 ± 2.84). Of the 16 species of trees that the iguanas frequented, three (Phitocellobium dulce, Vitex mollis and Ficus insipida) had the highest number of sightings. Although the villagers affirm that there are no commercial extractions, the highest intensity of capture occurs in the month of April, when the females have eggs in the oviducts. We suggest that planned selective harvests could facilitate the sustained use of this natural resource.

Bustos-Zagal MG, Guzmán-Ramírez R, Castro-Franco R, García-Flores A and Trujillo-Jiménez P

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