Data from: Metropolitan lizards? Urbanization gradient and the density of lagartixas (Tropidurus hispidus) in a tropical city
de Andrade, Antonio C. (2019), Data from: Metropolitan lizards? Urbanization gradient and the density of lagartixas (Tropidurus hispidus) in a tropical city, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h7t362d
Urbanization, with its cohort of environmental stressors, has a dramatic effect on wildlife, causing loss of biodiversity and decline in population abundance customarily associated with increasing levels of impervious surface and fragmentation of native habitats. Some studies suggest that faunal species from open habitats, and with higher abundance in natural environments, seem more likely to tolerate and live in urban environments. Here I evaluate how the level of urbanization affects lagartixas (Tropidurus hispidus) one of the most common lizards found in open vegetation ecosystems in NE Brazil. I surveyed a total of 47 transects across sites that differed in proportion of impervious surface (high, mild, peri-urban and rural). I also collected specific biotic (herbaceous cover, tree and arthropod abundance) and abiotic (amount of shelters and impervious surfaces) factors that could affect lagartixas abundance. Ants were the most common arthropod both in the rural and urban environment. Lagartixas thrive in urban environments and trees and shelter were key predictors of their abundance. Lagartixas show a clear association with use of artificial structures. The low densities of lagartixas in rural areas and higher density in urbanized areas suggests that they colonized urban areas due to the hard surfaces and they probably are not exploiting a novel habitat, but somewhat responding to conditions resembling those in which they evolved. Finally, lagartixas are extremely common in tropical cities, they have a suite of features that are associated with selective pressures in cities and they might play a key functional role in urban ecosystems making this lizard an excellent system for the study of ecology and adaptation to the urban environments.