An introduced competitor elevates corticosterone responses of a Native Lizard (Varanus varius).

Jessop, Tim S, Anson, Jennifer R, Narayan, Edward and Lockwood, Tim 2015, An introduced competitor elevates corticosterone responses of a Native Lizard (Varanus varius)., Physiological and biochemical zoology, vol. 88, no. 3, pp. 237-245, doi: 10.1086/680689.

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Title An introduced competitor elevates corticosterone responses of a Native Lizard (Varanus varius).
Author(s) Jessop, Tim SORCID iD for Jessop, Tim S
Anson, Jennifer R
Narayan, Edward
Lockwood, Tim
Journal name Physiological and biochemical zoology
Volume number 88
Issue number 3
Start page 237
End page 245
Total pages 9
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Ill.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1537-5293
Keyword(s) Animals
Body constitution
Competitive behaviour
Introduced species
Physiological Stress
Predatory Behavior
Summary Glucocorticoid hormone profiles are increasingly used as physiological markers to infer the strength of species interactions that can influence fitness and ensuing population dynamics of animals. Here we investigated two aims. First, we measured the effect of a 90-min capture stress protocol on the plasma corticosterone responses of a large native Australian lizard, the lace monitor (Varanus varius). Second, we compared the basal and postcapture stress corticosterone responses of lace monitors in habitats where they were exposed to high or low densities of the European red fox (Vulpes vulpes), an introduced competitor. Lace monitors responded to the capture stress protocol by significantly increasing plasma levels of corticosterone above basal at 45- and 90-min-postcapture blood-sampling intervals. In habitats with high fox densities, lace monitors produced a significantly greater basal and capture-stress-induced corticosterone response compared to individuals in low-fox density habitat. A significant interaction among fox density, time postcapture, and body condition was also found to influence plasma corticosterone values. These results suggest competition with red fox, perhaps via nutritional stress and increased hypersensitivity of the adrenocortical axis in lizards. At present, without further research, we do not understand whether such responses mediate lizard fitness or whether they have adaptive or maladaptive consequences for lizard populations in response to red fox competition. Nevertheless, our results help broaden understanding of the physiological implications arising from species interactions and specifically how introduced competitors could mediate diverse impacts on native biodiversity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1086/680689
Field of Research 060603 Animal Physiology - Systems
060801 Animal Behaviour
0608 Zoology
1116 Medical Physiology
0606 Physiology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, University of Chicago Press
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