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dc.contributor.authorBarry, Manuela
dc.date.accessioned2011-08-28T23:34:58Z
dc.date.available2011-08-28T23:34:58Z
dc.date.issued2010
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10179/2639
dc.description.abstractThe development of effective conservation management strategies is reliant on a thorough understanding of the basic biology and life history of the species of concern. New Zealand’s endemic herpetofauna species have undergone severe range contractions since human arrival due to habitat modifications and predation by introduced mammalian pests. Current conservation management practice involves the eradication of such pests as well as the restoration of habitat involving native species reintroductions. Albeit these conservation attempts, detailed information on physiology, ecology and behaviour of most New Zealand’s lizards is scarce, including the Duvaucel’s gecko (Hoplodactylus duvaucelii). In recent years, several H. duvaucelii have been translocated to islands within their historical range as part of restoration projects and in 2006/7 a captive breeding‐for‐release programme has been established. This provided an excellent opportunity to explore some fundamental aspects of H. duvaucelii’s basic physiology and behavioural ecology. I investigated seasonal plasma corticosterone concentrations of captive and wild geckos in relation to several physiological and ecological factors to enhance our understanding of natural fluctuations of seasonal hormone patterns. Such information can aid in evaluating stress related changes in hormone patterns of individuals and populations, which is particularly relevant for the captive management. I compared plasma steroid hormone patterns of captive geckos from a breeding colony with their wild source population over several seasons to assess whether captive lizards suffered from chronic stress, which could compromise their wellbeing and the fitness of future offspring. Further, I explored several aspects of H. duvaucelii’s social behaviour, including diurnal shelter aggregations, scent communication and social interactions using experimental and exploratory studies on captive and wild geckos. The hormone study provided evidence that H. duvaucelii are suitable for captive breeding as they seem to have adapted well to captivity and did not show a chronic elevation of stress hormone levels. Moreover, my research has shown that H. duvaucelii are essentially social lizards that form shelter aggregations year‐round. Adults showed a high tolerance of juveniles in their diurnal shelters and geckos were able to detect and discriminate scents from conspecifics in several social contexts. These social traits as well as the year‐round occurrence of male‐female pairs combined with H. duvaucelii’s life history traits suggest that this species may possess a social system of high complexity. In conclusion, this dissertation provides a foundation for future research and delivers the first insight into the social behaviour and basic endocrinology of this New Zealand endemic lizard.en_US
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.publisherMassey Universityen_US
dc.rightsThe Authoren_US
dc.subjectGeckosen_US
dc.subjectNew Zealand lizardsen_US
dc.subjectHoplodactylus duvauceliien_US
dc.subjectAggregationen_US
dc.subjectScenten_US
dc.subjectSocial behaviouren_US
dc.subjectCorticosteroneen_US
dc.titleShelter aggregations, social behaviour, and seasonal plasma corticosterone levels in captive and wild Duvaucel's geckos, Hoplodactylus duvaucelii : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealanden_US
dc.typeThesisen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEcology
thesis.degree.grantorMassey University
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


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