Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny

Purwandana, Deni, Ariefiandy, Achmad, Imansyah, M. Jeri, Seno, Aganto, Ciofi, Claudio, Letnic, Mike and Jessop, Tim S. 2016, Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny, Science of nature, vol. 103, no. 27, pp. 1-11, doi: 10.1007/s00114-016-1351-6.

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Title Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny
Author(s) Purwandana, Deni
Ariefiandy, Achmad
Imansyah, M. Jeri
Seno, Aganto
Ciofi, Claudio
Letnic, Mike
Jessop, Tim S.ORCID iD for Jessop, Tim S.
Journal name Science of nature
Volume number 103
Issue number 27
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2016-04
ISSN 0028-1042
Keyword(s) body size
intrapopulation variation
resource use
individual ecological strategies
Summary Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasinghourly movement rates up until ∼20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon’s transition from a highly active foraging modeexploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00114-016-1351-6
Field of Research 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer
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