Chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) as Bio-Indicators
Keywords:bio-indicators, chameleons, forest loss and fragmentation, habitat disturbance, open habitat and forest-depend species
AbstractWe examined the suitability of using chameleons as bio-indicators. We want to investigate if chameleons would reliably indicate disturbances in environment, and reflect the responses of other species or the overall biodiversity. While there is no perfect bio-indicator and selecting the most suitable one depends specifically on the main objective of the project: can chameleons be used to assess habitat alteration. The species composition and/or abundances have been shown to change along ecological gradients as well as the level of the disturbance of the habitat. Specialist, such as forest-dependent species decreased with increasing disturbances while generalist, forest edge and open-habitat species increased, and some species might not be affected by moderate disturbances. We conclude that chameleons are useful bio-indicators; but still more studies are needed to determine how well chameleons represent the responses of other taxa.
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