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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
  Year: 2008 | Volume: 11 | Issue: 4 | Page No.: 589-594
DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.589.594
 
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Effects of Oil Pollution at Kuwait`s Greater Al-Burgan Oil Field on the Timing of Morning Emergence, Basking and Foraging Behaviors by the Sand Lizard Acanthodactylus scutellatus

M. Abdulla Al-Hashem, P.F. Brain and S. Ahmad Omar

Abstract:
An attempt was made to study the effects of oil pollution in a desert location (the Greater Al-Burgan oil fields, an area damaged in the second Gulf War) in Kuwait on the behaviour of the Sand lizard A. scutellatus. Polluted sites with apparently different degrees of contamination (namely tar mat, soot and clear sites) were compared with control areas outside this region. Between 2002 and 2003, ten lizards (5 of each sex) on each polluted and each control site were observed in the field at a time of the year when they were highly active. Air, substrate and burrow temperatures were recorded and lizards were monitored for their morning emergence times, as well as their basking and foraging activities. The present study confirmed that the morning emergence times and the basking behavior varied in sand lizards among the different pollution site categories. Physical changes in the tar mat sites caused the substrate temperatures in these locations to rise more quickly in the morning in response to solar gain than was the case in the other sites. This gives lizards in these locations the opportunity to emerge earlier and to start eating more quickly, giving them an energetic advantage (perhaps, in turn, influencing their rates of growth and fecundity). The clear sites had the next earliest emergence and were the next hottest but it is difficult to account for this in terms of the physical characteristics of this site. The basking times were clearly shorter on the dark soot and tar mat sites that appeared to have higher solar gain than control or clear sites. There did not appear to be any obvious differences in foraging activity of lizards in the different locations. It appears that some aspects of simple behaviour in these lizards provides a reliable, noninvasive indices for assessing oil pollution in desert locations. The precise impact of these changes in these reptiles on their long-term viability needs to be evaluated.
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How to cite this article:

M. Abdulla Al-Hashem, P.F. Brain and S. Ahmad Omar, 2008. Effects of Oil Pollution at Kuwait`s Greater Al-Burgan Oil Field on the Timing of Morning Emergence, Basking and Foraging Behaviors by the Sand Lizard Acanthodactylus scutellatus. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11: 589-594.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.589.594

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=pjbs.2008.589.594

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