RAUK - Archived Forum - green lizards pairing up

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green lizards pairing up:

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will
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Posted: 15 Apr 2009
In common with our native reptiles, the Boscombe green lizards are breeding - here's a couple from today, plus one of a dozen or so others (plus 50 odd walls and 30 or so viviparous lizards) which were out and about in the hazy sun today, so they seem to have survived well in spite of over-zealous management (where have we heard that before ?) on the cliff tops and the cold winter !







Suzi
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Posted: 15 Apr 2009
Brilliant pix Will. Although I suppose we shouldn't admire these aliens (?) they are rather lovely.
Suz
will
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Posted: 15 Apr 2009
Thanks Suz; have to say I felt a guilty pleasure when I saw the winter hadn't knocked them back !  If numbers of common lizards today are anything to go by, they're still faring well along with the greens and walls on the cliff tops
tim hamlett
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Posted: 15 Apr 2009

beautiful crystal clear pics will. with the obvious caveats i consider it a real pleasure to see them.

tim


herpetologic2
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Posted: 16 Apr 2009
Great photos, and it is interesting to hear the
viviparous lizards are doing okay.

The greens look very similar to the greens I have seen
on Jersey over the last few years.

Great stuff

J



Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
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will
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Posted: 17 Apr 2009
Thanks Tim and Jon

I must say I'd never seen so many vips at Boscombe as I did on this visit; just goes to show they're still truly 'common' in the best bit of habitat for the vips, ie the more grassy, humid clifftop rather than the cliffs themselves.  Whether or not the walls have displaced / are displacing the vips on the cliffs where the habitat favours the walls is another fascinating question ! and as for the effect of walls on sand lizards ... I seem to remember that being an old and much chewed bone of contention on the forum in the past..

herpetologic2
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Posted: 17 Apr 2009

I haven't seen any survey evidence which has
conclusively shown that these animals are competing at
Boscombe. There are several factors which need to be
discounted - detectability, timing of surveys and
habitat suitability in relation to each species needs to
be looked at.

However I would like to pop down there to see the
greens. I think there was mention of a possible virus or
pox which may have an impact on sand lizards......

J


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
David Bird
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Posted: 17 Apr 2009
How could you have survey evidence of competition other than the fact that about 12 years ago the Viviparous Lizard was common on the Portman Ravine zig-zag before either of the alien species had been seen. The Viviparous Lizards are now not found on the zig-zag. I would be interested to see a map of where the the locations of the animals that Will saw were. The Viviparous Lizards have always been present in the areas of gorse on the cliff top close to the road where there is an expanse of grass that seperates them from the smaller gorse islands and the length of sunken path with the Marram grass close to the cliff top where the alien species are present in numbers. I expect that they will eventually get to the areas of gorse by the road and it will be interesting top see what happpens then.

Some specimens that I collected at Canford Cliffs, which are on the Poole cliffs, and are quite seperate and about 5 miles away from the Boscombe colony showed positive for Paramyxovirus DNA last year. It is hoped that a project on Wall Lizards and this virus will go ahead this year. It is the first time that PMV had been found in wild living lizards. Ophidian PMV was found to be extremely dangerous in zoo collections about 15 years ago and was most probably brought in with endangered Rattlesnakes used in a captive breeding program in numerous zoos in the U.S.A. & Europe although the test used in Europe for its identification was very suspect and not like the DNA work being carried out on the Wall Lizards this time.
Hopefully some of the Wall Lizards and Green Lizards will be examined as part of the project.David Bird39920.6248726852
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
will
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Posted: 17 Apr 2009
Hello David

I don't have the technical know-how to produce a detailed map for you I'm afraid but I can confirm a lack of vips on the zig-zag itself, though the photo below was taken next to the small series of steps literally at the top of the zig-zag where a group of about a dozen walls and vips were basking within a few sq metres of each other.  Most of the vips were close to this location and along the gorse / grass clumps on the clifftop which also supports walls and green lizards.  I've only been visiting the area for five years or so, and can confirm that during this time I have seen few vips on the zig-zag.  On the other hand they appear to be holding their own in the more humid habitat on the top; I would like to see more studies of the sort you mention done, especially if these aliens could be harbouring the reptile equivalent of the parapox virus in squirrels.





herpetologic2
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Posted: 18 Apr 2009
Ah an interesting observation there
quote will
'their own in the more humid habitat on the top'

Can we discount the changes in management/vegetation for
being the main factor influencing viviparous lizard/wall
distribution?

The less humid areas I would assume to be better suited
to wall lizards while viviparous lizard prefer humid
habitats as stated in Beebee & Griffiths 2000.

I noticed on the distribution maps drawn up by HCT using
Simon moles survey data that the viviparous lizards were
located around the taller vegetation while the dryer
habitats were frequented by walls and greens.

If the conditions of the viviparous lizard habitat is
changed for instance by habitat management then this may
favour the wall and green lizards.

The other thing is the virus is a problem in captive
populations while it may not be anything to worry about
in wild populations.

I suppose as the numbers increase then you effectively
have similar conditions as in captive conditions where
the close proximity to each other would help with spread
of the pathogen.

This virus may be already prevalent in wild reptile
populations anyway we just havent looked before. It
provides more weight to reducing the distance of
translocating reptiles for resolving human/animal
conflict such as development etc

J
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
David Bird
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Posted: 18 Apr 2009
Jonathan,

I personally would not have said that the habitat on top of the cliffs was more humid than on the slope or on the zig zag especially about 4 years ago when a lot of the gorse was cleared in the large area close to the road opening a lot of the ground to direct sunlight. There are quite a few very damp areas along the cliffs midway down the slope and close to the bottom far damper due to seepage of water from the sandy cliff face.

The majority of the habitat on the very steep slopes of the cliff seems to have stayed roughly the same or even more shaded in parts, and probably more humid, due to growth of the shrubby plants which are on areas too vertical to be able to be managed easily.

The virus that I mentioned in snakes Ophidian PMV was brought in from the wild and was extremely virulent to many taxa of snakes that came in contact with it,admitably in captivity but would probably have the same effect in the wild had it been transferred there. This reinforces the view that Alien introductions are fraught with problems and one of the reasons they are illegal. Many animals in captivity, a lot wild caught, were tested for OPMV and a number of taxa were found to be negative,a lot of these if in contact died extremely quickly and appeared to be unable to be immune to it. I just hope that it is not the case with the one that has been found in the few Wall Lizard specimens.

I have always wondered why you do not seem to take a stance that is anti the release of alien species of herpetofauna especially ones that seem to be released fairly recently and in areas where endangered natives have been present.
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
will
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Posted: 02 May 2009
Couple of pics from today, including a mating pair.  Got to feel sorry for the female !





AGILIS
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Posted: 06 May 2009
nice lot of pics Wiil keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
will
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Posted: 06 May 2009
Cheers Keith; still trying to get a nice shot of a male 'in blue' breeding condition
will
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Posted: 01 May 2010
plenty of sun at the coast today, with an onshore breeze keeping the cloudy weather inland at bay (I wonder if this gives the coastal green lizards and wall lizards a slight but important advantage in terms of incubation etc)  Anyway, another pair 'courting' like the one I saw last year - not a subtle business !



will
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Posted: 23 May 2010
Saw this male yesterday and only noticed his mate in the background when I was looking at the photo!



kevinb
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Posted: 23 May 2010
We walked down the zig zag path today and were very disappointed, we saw only one Green lizard and 5 Wall lizards. Usually the young Wall lizards are all over the place.

- green lizards pairing up

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