Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tracking lizards in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

By Brad Lambert and Rob Schorr, CNHP Zoologists

In 2008, CNHP collaborated with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a radio telemetry project to collect information on habitat use and movement by the rare longnose leopard lizard and the sympatric, and more common, collared lizard on the BLM managed Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (CANM) in Montezuma County. CNHP assisted with capture, radio transmitter attachment and data analysis, while BLM biologists conducted the daily tracking and data collection.

Radio transmitters were attached to 8 longnose leopard lizards and 6 collared lizards between June 23rd and June 25th on Rinsley Mesa within the CANM and tracked daily through July 21st. Vegetation and other habitat variables were recorded at each capture location.

longnosed leopard lizard
collared lizardA longnose leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii - top photo) and a collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) sport their new and fashionable telemetry devices.

Preliminary analysis shows that longnose leopard lizards made greater movements and maintained larger home ranges than the collared lizards. Additional analysis on habitat use by the two lizard species is currently being conducted.

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