Territoriality in Lake Eyre Dragons Ctenophorus maculosus: are Males ‘Superterritorial’?


The University of Sydney, School of Biological Sciences, Zoology AO8, N.S.W. 2006, Australia.


The Australian Lake Eyre dragon, Ctenophorus maculosus, lives on dry salt lakes in the Australian interior. An unusual characteristic of this habitat is that windblown insects are the major food resource, which makes it impossible for males to defend site-related resources. Male territory size is not correlated to male size; thus, males do not seem to defend trophic territories in relation to their own energy demands. Instead, males with higher densities of lookout sites have larger territories, and males with larger territories have more mates. In consequence, males primarily seem to guard sexual resources on territories that are not economically defensible from a trophic point of view; males appear to conform to the concept of ‘superterritoriality’ (sensu Stamps 1983).