Researchers ask for lizard records

Citizen scientists are being called upon to report their sightings of wall lizards.

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A brown-backed form of the wall lizard
A brown-backed form of the wall lizard © Steve Langham of Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group (SARG)

 

Researchers are asking members of the public to record where they see wall lizards, a non-native reptile which has become established in the southern UK.

The scientists at the University of Leeds are studying the ecology of established non-native lizard species, including whether there has been an effect on the native sand and common lizard numbers.

“This will hopefully give us a better understanding of how far the lizards have spread,” said PhD student Rob Williams, “and possibly identify hitherto unknown populations.”

Unlike the native species which are often spotted on the ground, wall lizards are usually seen running up vertical surfaces.

A green-backed form of the wall lizard © Steve Langham of Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group (SARG)

There are two forms of the wall lizard in the UK, which have originated from different parts of the continent. The brown-backed form originates from France, the green-backed form from Italy.

As well as contributing to the research, the sightings will also be contributed to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust’s records database.

Citizen scientists can contribute their sightings via: http://map-me.org/sites/walllizard or e-mail Rob Williams at bsrjw@leeds.ac.uk

 

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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