Data from: Diet variability among insular populations of Podarcis lizards reveals diverse strategies to face resource-limited environments
Taverne, Maxime et al. (2019), Data from: Diet variability among insular populations of Podarcis lizards reveals diverse strategies to face resource-limited environments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2b1g52j
Access to resources is a dynamic and multi-causal process that determines the success and survival of a population. It is therefore often challenging to disentangle the factors affecting ecological traits like diet. Insular habitats provide a good opportunity to study how variation in diet originates, in particular in populations of mesopredators such as lizards. Indeed, high levels of population density associated with low food abundance and low predation are selection pressures typically observed on islands. In the present study, the diet of eighteen insular populations of two closely related species of lacertid lizards (Podarcis sicula and Podarcis melisellensis) was assessed. Our results reveal that despite dietary variability among populations, diet taxonomic diversity is not impacted by island area. In contrast, however, diet disparity metrics, based on the variability in the physical (hardness) and behavioral (evasiveness) properties of ingested food items, are correlated with island size. These findings suggest that an increase in intraspecific competition for access to resources may induce shifts in functional components of the diet. Additionally, the two species differed in the relation between diet disparity and island area suggesting that different strategies exist to deal with low food abundance in these two species. Finally, sexual dimorphism in diet and head dimensions is not greater on smaller islands, in contrast to our predictions.