Spatial separation in two sympatric skinks, Niveoscincus microlepidotus and N. metallicus, from Tasmania

Jane Melville, Roy Swain

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We studied Niveoscincus microlepidotus and N. metallicus in a habitat mosaic of alpine woodland, sub-alpine heath, and boulder fields in southern Tasmania. Ten habitat variables were used in a Principle Components Analysis (PCA) to provide a quantitative definition of microhabitat preferences, based on the use of basking sites. Discriminant function analysis of the PCA axes clearly separated the species on the PC 1 axis, which was based on vegetation and substrate characteristics. Niveoscincus microlepidotus is found in open situations, represented predominantly by boulder fields. Niveoscincus metallicus is strongly associated with relatively high, dense vegetation, thick litter layers, and damp soils, characteristics that are most commonly found in alpine woodland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Microhabitat
  • Niveoscincus
  • Scincidae
  • Spatial separation

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