Happy Memorial Day!
I am happy to report that the “uninvaded” team has returned to PA, lizards in hand–or bag as it were. Our team, consisting of Braulio, Caty, and myself, traveled to Tennessee and Arkansas. Arkansas prides itself on being “The Natural State” for its “natural scenic beauty, clear lakes and streams, and abundant wildlife.” I can’t speak to most of that, but it does have lizards!
Rainy and overcast days slowed us down a bit. As ectotherms, lizards rely on external sources of heat, which means they like to bask in sunny spots in order to warm up. The thick clouds didn’t provide many good basking opportunities, but thankfully a few lizards made an appearance in the brief moments of sun.
Many other lizards like to bask on trees.
We did see a few sunny days, which gave Braulio and Caty the opportunity to catch their first lizards.
We even managed some “expert” catches, on more than one occasion slowly driving by a basking lizard and noosing it through the open car window.
Because we were looking for females, we of course became experts at catching males. One male lizard really hoped I was a tree. We tried to return him to his log, but on two separate occasions he ran up my leg. Sorry little guy!
Another male, pictured below, really surprised me. Lizards vary in coloration, but not usually by much. I’ve never seen a fence lizard so dark!
After two weeks of catching, we headed back to the lab. Our females are now happily housed in their nesting boxes, and one has laid her first clutch of the season. We’re all excited to see the resulting hatchlings!
Check back soon for more stories and photos from the field as well as updates on the specific research projects happening this summer.
A fence lizard on a fence. So satisfying.