Current Zoology(formerly Acta Zoologica Sinica), Aug. 2010, 56(4): 406 - 410
Dietary analysis of Homonota darwini (Squamata: Gekkoni-dae) in Northern Patagonia
Marcelo E. KUN, Carla PIANTONI, John D. KRENZ, Nora R. IBARGÜENGOYTÍA
D e p a r t a m e n t o d e Z o o l o g í a , C e n t r o R e g i o n a l U n i v e r s i t a r i o B a r i l o c h e , U n i v e r s i d a d d e l C o m a h u e , U n i d a d P o s t a l U n i v e r s i d a d d e l
Our study investigated the diet of the southernmost gecko in the world, Homonota darwini. Fifty-three specimens were captured during spring and summer in four locations in Patagonia, Argentina. The stomach contents of the specimens were identified, and we found that prey consisted of six main groups: Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Homoptera and Araneae, and the adults and larvae of moth Lepidoptera. Lepidoptera was the major dietary component. The presence of ants and moths as common prey suggests an ambush feeding strategy. In spring, females consumed more ants than males although no other dietary differences between males and females were evident. We found nine geckos with empty stomachs and six parasitized by nematodes. Presence of empty stomachs corroborates previous observations of other nocturnal geckos and non-gecko lizards. Reduced foraging success of nocturnal lizards could be due to difficulty in prey detection due to dim light, reduced or erratic activity of insect prey at night, or shorter activity times of geckos relative to diurnal success. Sex and season were not associated with the incidence of empty stomachs. Principal component analysis showed that four food alternatives correlated with season. The constraint of nocturnality, coupled with low night-time temperatures restricting feeding to only a few hours after sunset, appear to have caused a generality of diet which may limit energy acquisition. We conclude that H. darwini is an arthropod generalist and likely an ambush forager, as are many other nocturnal gekkonids [Current Zoology 56 (4): 406–410, 2010].