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Iowarth
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Posted: 15 Jun 2005 Topic: Looking for my first adder sighting



There you go - Murphy's law strikes again!
As you say - perfect weather - I'm tripping over lizards in my garden!
Don't you just hate us semi-retired oicks?


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Posted: 15 Jun 2005 Topic: Ecto -parasite?



As Dave says above - probably the Sheep Tick (Ixodes ricinus). Seem fairly frequent on Lacerta agilis and Z. vivipara in heath (possibly deer as vector) although I have never seen them on dune animals.


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Posted: 16 Jun 2005 Topic: Ecto -parasite?



Hi Peter

Re the Wirral while there certainly were Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads there, we have carried out extensive monitoring over the last few years without seeing any. Conversely it must be emphasised that there are undoubtedly small areas of isolated habitat which we haven't even found, let alone visited, so it is just barely possible that there is a relict population hanging in there somewhere. "The absence of evidence is not the same as the evidence of absence" (thanks Chris Gleed-Owen!). There is some potential for re-intros but this needs careful consideration of all the relevant factors.

Any Wirral inhabitants who know of Wirral animals? Let us at The HCT know please.




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Posted: 05 Feb 2006 Topic: Rana T. Movements 2006 - So far....



I am in Worthing on the south coast. I had a couple of male RT calling in the mild spell in mid-January - nothing further yet. I have never worked out the relationship to weather conditions. Like others I have had them appear in cold frosty conditions in February. But, no sign of any since that january hiccup. Typically down here, they appear around early to mid-february and spawn mid to late february. Last year, with the sudden cold spell from mid-february to mid-march I had spawning in mid-february, then a cessation of activity (just odd sightings) and further spawning in March!


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Posted: 08 Feb 2006 Topic: ReptilesonoRailways



Oh Mick - how could you! <groans>.

Should have mentioned railways & reptiles go well for me too - not an anorak, sorry, train spotter but I AM a railway modeller so I haveta look at the real thing!




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Posted: 12 Feb 2006 Topic: 2006 is comino to life!



Worthing calling <croak> - yes, at last, 6 frogs seen in pond this evening. Rain all day but mild current temperature 8 deg C. No sign of newts but this could be down to failing torch battery power!


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Posted: 12 Feb 2006 Topic: Non-reptile fauna under tins



On the whole I go with Gemma's identification "small brown furry thing"! But, looking at the colour, the underside, very furry ears and so far as I can see no change of colour on the rump I would stick my neck out and say Field Vole - Microtus agrestis


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Posted: 02 Jul 2004 Topic: Sand Lizard Identification and Sightings



Conversely, Merseyside animals seem to lay later even when translocated to a South Coast vivarium. My earliest in "normal" years (whatever they are!) is 26 May but was on 4 June this year. These correlate with first laying dates in Merseyside. My last first clutch (so to speak) was on 20 June - again, fairly typical for these in the wild as well. It seems that the typical wild delay of about a fortnight behind the southerners persists even in the southern climate.




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Posted: 16 May 2005 Topic: Races



Hi

Firstly, apologies for a very late reply - some how I managed to completely overlook this post. So -albeit 8 months late - here we go! The three races are as you state although we generally refer to them as Merseyside, Dorset and Wealden (note the first extend well outside Sefton, and the third is found further afield than just Surrey so these terms are more appropriate).

As a general rule the races are differentiated as follows:-

Merseyside - tendency towards being quite light in colour with two broad light bands separating the dorsal pattern from the flanks. The green on males usually a brighter almost lime green (but one known colony looks more like Dorset animals). Also tend to be a little more delicately built that the Southern races.

Dorset - more uniform marbling or ocellations, generally somewhat darker, little separation between dorsal and flank patterns tendency towards a darkish green in adult animals (but dune animals can look more like Merseysiders).

Wealden - heavily ocellated and/or marbled, much darker than either of the other two races. Even very noticeable in hatchlings which are very dark. Often no demarcation between dorsal and flank patterns.

Having said this - every variation can be seen in every location. it would appear that the variations occur naturally and a combination of trace minerals in the habitat and natural selection (i.e. which pattern provides the best camouflage) are the determinants as much as the racial genes.

 

 




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Posted: 30 May 2005 Topic: Sand lizard markings



Further to Chris GO's post please see my reply to the (now nearly a year old) topic re races. Although it sets out general principles re the differences between races (and they are pronounced enough so that most of us with experience can identify the race by appearance alone about 70% of the time) I have to agree with Chris re the difficulty in applying a universal rule. It can be no more than guidance. As I said in the post under the topic mentioned:-

"Having said this - every variation can be seen in every location. it would appear that the variations occur naturally and a combination of trace minerals in the habitat and natural selection (i.e. which pattern provides the best camouflage) are the determinants as much as the racial genes."




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Posted: 30 May 2005 Topic: Sand lizard markings



That does sound interesting. Certainly Sand Lizard markings seem to be as individual as fingerprints and effective as an identification at this level. I am not so sure at race level because all variations can be seen in all races at some time. I doubt if it could improve much on the "expert's" identification.

Regarding re-introductions of La, yes, where it is clear what race would have been found in a given area then only the appropriate race is used. For example, Welsh re-intros being thus far restricted to the North & West use the Merseyside race as there is historical contiguity of suitable largely dune habitat. Further South there are areas where it is difficult to decide whether Surrey or Dorset animals are more appropriate but these two races are far more similar to each other anyway.




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Posted: 10 Jun 2005 Topic: Particularly Bright Wall Lizard



Hi Dave

I have seen many Wall Lizards along the Bournemouth cliffs and while there is a wide colour range from grey through to various shades of green it is not uncommon for them to be this bright (a feature which is repeated in the Shoreham colony). I am attempting to upload two pictures, one of a similarly bright male and another showing that even the occasional female can try pretty hard to match it!




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Posted: 10 Jun 2005 Topic: Particularly Bright Wall Lizard



And here's the female!


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Posted: 10 Jun 2005 Topic: Particularly Bright Wall Lizard



There certainly WAS a substantial colony at Kidbrooke along with a European Tree Frog colony in the same area. The latter is definitely gone - largely due to people taking animals. Both of these long term colonies were in the care (as much as possible) of Charles Snell. (in this forum as Chas). He would certainly be the best person to contact re the Kidbrooke colony's current status. I fear however that it MAY no longer exist. I have heard that at least part of the area was to be redeveloped and they may not have survived this. I HOPE I am wrong in this respect.


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Posted: 11 Jun 2005 Topic: Particularly Bright Wall Lizard



Hi Dave

I am not sure which is the Toft Zigzag but if it is to the East of Boscombe Pier I would be extremely interested. We have seen them right up to the Pier on the Western side, but to the best of my knowledge there have been no preious sightings apart from one tentative maybe by myself a year or two ago to the East. Do you have a copy of that photograph by any chance?




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Posted: 12 Jun 2005 Topic: Particularly Bright Wall Lizard



Many thanks Dave.

Shot is more than good enough to confirm it is a Sand Lizard. Its a few years since I last surveyed that area (last of several years starting at the Poole end and working along the entire cliff to Boscombe Pier!) Were extensive numbers of Sandies along much of the cliff including (smaller numbers) in badly degraded habitat. Much of the habitat towards the eastern (pier) end of that range was badly damaged by the local council in a misguided and totally useless effort to stabilise the cliff!

Nice shot of the Greens as well - I have never managed to get a pair together!

All the best




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Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: Help - Correct Species Order



Hi Dave

I'm afraid I'm not even going to tackle the "right order" question! I have no idea that such a thing has ever been agreed by anyone - and as you say - all sorts of orders are used! All I can really say is that they should certainly be grouped. e.g. Smooth,Grass Aesculapian Snakes are Colubrids; Green, Sand, Wall, Common are Lacertids but the latter is very distinct from the first two (arguably different genus) and the next to last definitely is. Lizards as a whole are regarded as marginally more primitive that Lizards and the vipers as the most advanced of snakes. I think the anguidae are the more primitive of the Lizards!

Re Latin names, taxonomists have been playing with them. Below are the current names with the prior ones in brackets. (please note that there seems to be continuing debate about the grammatical formation of some species/sub-spp names)

Grass Snake - Natrix natrix helvetica

Adder - Vipera berus berus

Smooth Snake - Coronella austriaca (not aware of any sub-species)

Common Lizard - Zootoca (Lacerta) vivipara (not aware of any sub-species)

Slow-worm - Anguis fragilis fragilis

Sand Lizard - Lacerta agilis agilis

Aesculapean Snake - Zamenis longissimus (Elaphe longissima) (not aware of any sub-species)

Wall Lizard - Podarcis muralis (there are numerous sub-species but they are difficult to differentiate without knowing their origin - and we don't know this for most UK colonies)

Green Lizard - Lacerta bilineata (Lacerta viridis bilineata). Very recent change in species status (which I don't agree with, genetics or not) but the Bournemouth animals exhibit features which identify them as a western form - thus NOT Lacerta viridis viridis.

Hope this helps rather than hinders/confuses!




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Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: Looking for my first adder sighting



Hi Gordon

Selsdon is not an area I really know. Historically they used to be found on the ridge at (I think its called) Addiscombe Heights which is pretty close to Selsdon. Lots of people there but they(the people) don't stray far from paths (or, indeed, the car parks!) so they(the adders!) could still be there.




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Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: Help - Correct Species Order



Hi Steve

You may be more up to date than me - it seems to have gone back and forth like a yo-yo.

If anyone has the absolute cast iron dead cert guaranteed up to date permanent genetic status I would love to know!




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Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: Help - Correct Species Order



Hi Lee

Yeap - you are right about genus Lacerta. I well remember many, many years ago looking at what are now Podarcis and Lacerta and wondering why on earth they were in the same genus! As years went by and I had the opportunity to compare Lv with other small lacertids such as L. praticola I tended towards the same view regarding these. As a consequence I agree totally re Common Lizards in their own monotypic genus. Re lacerta origins I think this rests with Linnaeus - it is, after all, latin for "Lizard". I have no idea what the type species was but at that time even the newts were placed in genus Lacerta - e.g. Smooth Newt - Lacerta vulgaris.




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