Resource Partitioning and Interspecific Competition in Two Two-Species Insular Anolis Lizard Communities

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4558, pp. 444-446
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4558.444


Population experiments with Anolis lizard species demonstrate a relation between the amount of between-species competition and the degree of interspecific resource partitioning (the more the partitioning the less the competition). Specifically, the amount of resource partitioning between the two species (Anolis gingivinus and Anolis wattsi pogus) on the island of St. Maarten is less than that between the two species (Anolis bimaculatus and Anolis wattsi schwartzi) on the island of St. Eustatius. The presence of Anolis wattsi both lowers the growth rates and raises the perch heights of Anolis gingivinus individuals. In contrast, Anolis wattsi has no effect on Anolis bimaculatus. Thus, when there is less resource partitioning, Anolis wattsi has a greater competitive effect. This verifies, for these species, a central assumption of competition theory: the strength of between-species competition is inversely related to the amount of interspecific resource partitioning.