Polynova Galina Vyacheslavovna, Candidate of biological sciences, associate professor, sub-department of system ecology, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (6 Miklukho-Maklaya street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: email@example.com
Mishustin Stanislav Sergeevich, Environmental engineer, property management department, Armed Forces Infrastructure Development Directorate General (30 Bolshoy Predtechenskiy lane, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Polynova Ol'ga Evgen'evna, Candidate of geographical sciences, associate professor, sub-department of system ecology, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (6 Miklukho-Maklaya street, Moscow, Russia), E-mail: email@example.com
Background. The processes taking place in reptile communities during the biotopic changes are one of the undeveloped tasks of modern herpetological research. The purpose of this study was to investigate the processes of the long-term dynamics of the reptile communities’ structure in semi-deserts of Astrakhan region using the example of a separate herpetocomplex of semi-fixed sands.
Materials and methods. The materials presented in the work were collected in the first decade of May 2010–2014 and in the first to third decade of May 2017 and 2018. The collection point is the neighborhood of the village Dosang, Krasnoyarsk District, Astrakhan Region (N 46°54' 08,7264 "E 47° 54' 52,5312"). The testing area was 0,4 hectares. Three species of lizards were caught, measured and marked: Phrynocephalus mystaceus mystaceus (Pallas, 1776) (57 individuals); Phrynocephalus guttatus guttatus (Gmelin, 1789) (495 individuals); Eremias arguta deserti (Gmelin, 1789) (114 individuals). Three times (in 2011, 2014 and 2017) 30 geobotanical sites 1 × 1 = 1 m2 were described. The main research methods were: counting the species population; measurement of body and tail length, determination of weight and sex of individuals; marking lizards with time and life marks; tracking, mapping of lizards’ encounters and movements, method of careful pursuit and determination of the total projective cover of the vegetation of the settlement territory.
Results. The dynamics of the three lizard species’ populations, including their age and sex structure and the dynamics of the structure of the settled and migrating groups, has been studied. Changes in the phytocenosis of the settlement territory, mainly the total projective cover of vegetation, were investigated. Changes in the species composition of the community were identified.
Conclusions. The reduction in the species population number is probably related to the processes of change in the peculiar biotope: overgrowth of the settlement area and the death of a significant proportion of semi-shrub vegetation. The process of the population reduction in all of three species was primarily due to the fall in the number of young animals. This change most likely indicated a general fall in the rate of reproduction in the area. Sedentary mature lizards of both sexes formed the basis of the settlement, their numbers changed less than adult migrating animals. In the dwindling groups of two species, Phrynocephalus guttatus guttatus and Eremias arguta deserti, there was a numerical predominance of mature females over the males.
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