Lizard assemblages on sandy coastal plains in southeastern Brazil: An analysis of occurrence and composition, and the role of habitat structure

Abstract Data on the structure of lizard communities in the different biomes and ecosystems of Brazil are still limited. In this study, we related the species richness, abundance and the spatial occurrence of lizards to the structure of the vegetation found on the coast of the state of Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil, to determine whether habitat influences the structure of lizard communities. We conducted fieldwork in 2012, 2013 and 2014, collecting data in standardized samples. We analyze whether variables of vegetation structure influenced species richness and abundance, using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs). We recorded 12 lizard species from eight families. In general, species richness and abundance were similar among sites. Locally, we recorded the highest species richness in shrubby vegetation, open Clusia vegetation, and the restinga forest zone. Bromeliads explained the occurrence of teiids, although there was no systematic relationship between species richness and vegetation structure. Our results provide important insights into the characteristics of the lizard communities found on sandy coastal plains and contribute to the conservation of these species in these ecosystems.