The Lizard Log

The Langkilde Lab in Action

Everybody Likes Pretty Pictures

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Since our research trips to the South consist of only one short excursion this summer (we need to publish all the data we have rather than running every awesome experiment we can think of!), I took a quick one week jaunt through Alabama and Georgia for some R&R. Whether walking the banks of the Chattahoochee or exploring trails along Mobile Bay, sampling homemade cheese at an out-of-the-way farm or eating some of the best fried chicken and corn nuggets I’ve ever had, I always found some time to catch and grab a few pics of some herps! I’ve posted a selection below to tide you over until the real research starts in a month or so:

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This male fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) was not happy with me for intruding on his territory along a trail and puffed himself up in the hopes of intimidating me into leaving the area.

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We often find fence lizards with ectoparasites like mites and ticks. How many can you spot on this lizard? (Answer at the bottom of this post).

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Rounding a bend in the road at 55 mph, I spotted this corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) in the middle of my lane and quickly straddled him with my car before pulling over on the shoulder. After running back down the road on my own two feet, I snatched him for a quick pic before releasing him into the forest safely off to the side.

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I found this ground skink (Scincella lateralis) out foraging in the middle of the day at Kolomoki Mounds State Park in Georgia.

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Kolomoki Mounds was also awash in southeastern slimy salamanders (Plethodon grobmani), one of the prettiest slimy salamanders due to their extensive patterning.

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This rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) appeared rather happy (well, they always look like they’re smiling) to meet me on a trail in Bon Secour NWR.

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I chanced upon this kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) basking quietly in a half log and getting ready to shed.

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Six-lined racerunners (Aspidocelis sexlineata) don’t often sit still take have their pictures taken, but this one was a little more tractable than most so I snapped a quick portrait.

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For the sharp-eyed among you, there are >3 ectoparasites on this lizard. Mites and ticks tend to concentrate on places where they can get underneath or between a lizard’s scales to attach and feed; these place include areas around the eyes, ears, and pockets of skin on the neck (not very visible here). On just one side, this lizard has a swollen tick in his ear, a new tick on the front of his eye orbit, and a cluster of bright red mites on his upper eyelid. Life ain’t always easy when you’re a fence lizard.

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Author: Chris Thawley

Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Rhode Island; ecologist, herper, discslinger

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