The extent of herbivory in lizards is influenced by several factors. Plant tissues are more difficult to digest than invertebrates due to the presence of cellulose. Thus, so many lizards exhibit carnivorous diet. Nevertheless, some species consume vegetables. Essentially herbivorous diet occurs in about 3% of lizards, while most omnivores add plants in their diets. Omnivorous species tend to eat more fruits, flower, and nectar, because they are easier to digest and provide more nutrients than leaves, which are rich in cellulose. The main factors influencing the consumption of plant material are related to the habitat of the species. Insular and arid environments favor the consumption of plants because such locations have low amount of arthropods available and present water scarcity. It is also possible to observe ontogenetic changes in the lizard's diet, in such a way that young individuals consume only invertebrates, whereas the adults supplement their diet with plant material. When consuming fruits and nectar, lizards become potential dispersers and pollinators. In this sense, some studies have already corroborated seed dispersal and pollination events by lizards. In islands where other species are absent, these interactions are essential for the maintenance of communities.
Part of the book: Herbivores