RAUK - Archived Forum - Wall Lizard distribution in the UK

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Wall Lizard distribution in the UK:

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Vicar
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Posted: 04 Feb 2007
Folks, I promised that over Xmas I'd pull together all of the Pm information and we'd try to start to formalise the process of monitoring the Wall lizard population in the UK.

Well, I'm about a month late, but have just put together the first web page. Its early days, so all feedback & correction is welcome.

Page is at: http://www.surrey-arg.org.uk/ then click the 'Wall lizard' button on the right-hand pane.

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Vicar
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Posted: 06 Feb 2007
Does anybody have a copy of:

The Wall Lizard in England, Quayle, A. Noble, M.  BRITISH WILDLIFE 2000, VOL 12; PART 2, pages 99-106, BRITISH WILDLIFE PUBLISHING 0958-0956

If so I'd be very grateful for a copy, as BW appears to have sold out. Email link below should work.

Also, does anybody have any details regarding the unconfirmed Ludlow colony ?

Cheers.


Vicar39119.7488425926
Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
herpetologic2
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Posted: 07 Feb 2007

Hi Steve

Yes I have a copy I will forward it to you -

Also the wall lizard project is ace well done! I am looking for possible speakers for the HWM in 2008 - would you like to present the project's findings in Jan 2008? I would also like to suggest a 10 min slot for the RAUK forum - as this year we had a 10 min slot for the BHS and I think that this is an excellent way of introducing different groups/organisations which are working together.

I would like to encourage ARG UK to promote the new project from RAUK

 

Regards

 

JC


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
David Bird
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007
Steve,
just to let you know I have sent you 2 emails and also put a post on here to make certain that I get notification of future posts.

David
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Davew
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

Hi,

Very interesting but could you clarify something for me. If Wall Lizard colonies are found to be spreading and if they are found to have a negative impact what exactly is meant by "assist with their management"


herpetologic2
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

 

I would imagine the most sensible management would be to create habitat which favours our native species over the Wall Lizard - but I would say that would only be neccessary if it was proven that Wall Lizards were actually causing a decline in our native species

So far there is no evidence to suggest such an impact occurs - even the Bournemouth Population where it widely known that people believe that wall lizards are out competing sand & viviparous lizards - it would easy to blame the Wall Lizard for the sand lizard decline as happens with other scapegoats for wildlife decline

You could try and eradicate the wall lizards - but I would imagine that the sand lizards would continue to decline - as it has been reported that the sand lizards were declining before the wall lizards were introduced

But this is why I think the wall lizard survey is important to gather some evidence to back up the anecdotal observations

 

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
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David Bird
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007
Jon,

who has reported that the Sand Lizard was declining on the Poole cliffs before the introduction of the Wall Lizard ? There was a decline in the habitat with the growth of Holm Oak and Sycamore but when this was reversed with clearance there was still a good population with breeding observed, this was all before the introduction of the Wall Lizard. As the Wall Lizards spread out the Sand Lizard declined and disappeared from areas where they had been seen previously, many of the basking places where I knew I could find Sand Lizard then became occupied by Wall Lizard although they had shared the area for a short period previously. I think this is more than anecdotal evidence, I may have the actual numbers of sightings over the years somewhere.

David
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Davew
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007
Thanks for the info, I'm always a little wary of these type of schemes after the sickening Ruddy Duck cull. I was concerned about the legalities of translocation of this species, ie can you release them elsewhere after capture? I am very interested in Wall Lizard and am very familiar with a Portland colony and the Boscombe one therefore I am concerned that "assist with their management" may have meant kill. Can anyone confirm that this will not be the case? Thanks in advance.
herpetologic2
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

Hi David

I know this has been mentioned previously - I will have to find out who exactly - the habitat management may have briefly enabled breeding - and of course any reduction of habitat would increase numbers seen wouldn't it - detectability increased may not reflect the situation on the ground

I would hope that killing walls would not be an option though I suspect some people may want this to happen

Regards

 

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Vicar
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

Right...The words 'assist with their management' were my words and are NOT a euphemism for a cull.

They are however words used when a month late writing up a web page and you want to get something up ASAP so we can start the discussion . I admit they are poorly chosen words, and I'll come up with something better over the weekend.

I think there are a few steps here, and the first is clearly to determine where the colonies are, and to track them. IF it is proved that their presence adversely affects native species, then there are a plethora of options to mitigate this which do not involve harming the animals.

I personally believe there may be many sites where these beautiful lizards could occupy an ecological niche. For instance...they seem far more adapt at using the third dimension than our present species.

Again, speaking personally, I would not want to lose indigenous Sand lizard colonies to an introduced species IF it is proven that they cannot occupy the same locations. This does not mean that the answer is to harm the Wall lizards in any way.


P.S. Paper received...many thanks David!

Vicar39122.5501967593
Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
herpetologic2
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

 

The only area where this may occur would be the Bournemouth Cliffs - I would like to go there this year (possibly a second field trip?)

though i am not convinced that they are actually the main cause of decline in the sand lizards - they may just be occupying an empty niche which the the sand lizard finds less optimal

Dave it would be good to see your data on sightings etc perhaps with details on habitat structure/availability etc

Regards

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Alex2
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007

Interesting debate, and will say that a couple of years ago in Boscombe I did witness a PM snatch an insect from right under the nose of a LA. It made me think there and then that perhaps LA were not agile enough to compete with the faster PM's when it came to catching food. From my observations of the Worth colony, the PM seem to occupy an area right next to LV but only overlap in territory over a small patch of ground (or at least it appears that way currently).

Cheers, Alex.


Davew
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007
Thanks for all the info. It was in no way a criticism of the original wording it's just that you can't be too careful in these days of "kill to conserve" something which I'm strongly opposed to. It all sounds very interesting and hopefully the ball will continue rolling. My data wouldn't really be of interest as I'm only in Dorset at most for two weeks of the year although I do spend most of that time herping and trying to beat my record of the six naturals in under 2 hours ten minutes. Yes I know someones bound to have had all six under one tin, still gives me something to aim for
Vicar
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Posted: 09 Feb 2007
OK I've done some wordsmithing (it certainly needed it!), and have added all reported colonies of which I am aware to the table.

I think we now have the most comprehensive available list of reported Pm colonies in the UK (maybe too comprehensive, but I'll wait for feedback).

I would expect Wall lizards to be appearing shortly (Feb), maybe after this cold snap. If anybody fancies a wander down to their local colony, and to report back here with photos, that would be great!

If anybody can assist by determining sensible transects for their local colony, that would be very helpful indeed. I envisage online maps of transects...eventually.

Direct Link

BTW, there appears to be a report of TWO thriving populations on the Isle of Wight. Does anybody know if these are both at Ventnor? and if so, have they joined up ? (They are certainly present at both the eastern and western extents of the town).

Vicar39122.9097222222
Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
herpetologic2
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Posted: 10 Feb 2007

Dave

All observations will be valid - so when transects are set up if anyone on their hols can walk a transect then this will be great.

I have some monitoring survey work this year on the Isle of Wight and I will be spending a couple of weeks in Cornwall so I can get down to both of these sites to get a few transects done over a number of days

Looking forward to this project getting some data

A report of this I would like to propose for the next Herp Workers Meeting in 2008

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
herpetologic2
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Posted: 10 Feb 2007

PS did you get the BW article I sent through by email steve?

 

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Vicar
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Posted: 10 Feb 2007
Jon

I haven't received it !, maybe a size limitation on my inbox?. Many thanks for the attempt, David managed to send me a scanned copy, and I have added the additional data.

I also have a copy of Lever en route. John Newton has sent through some useful info too, so I'll update the page by tomorrow :P

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
mikebrown
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Posted: 10 Feb 2007

I know the Wall Lizards in some of the colonies resemble Italian animals, and some are documented releases, but what proof is there that the other colonies, eg Portland, which I have seen myself, are not relict populations of native animals?

Cheers,

Mike


Mike Brown
Merseyside ARG
herpetologic2
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Posted: 11 Feb 2007

 

There has been a few people looking into this - will Atkins from LEHART has also pondered this question - the distribution of the walls on Portland suggest a non native

the best way to do this is to carry out genetics - (though this would mean that animals would have to be killed)

A similar question is raised over the nativeness of the wall lizards found on Jersey aswell

so if we can find a student interested in lizards and genetics we could find a few answers to this

JC


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David Bird
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Posted: 11 Feb 2007
The Portland area had been looked at many times for unusual reptiles previous to the first sighting of Wall Lizard by herpetologists living in Dorset without any success. There had been odd reports for Sand Lizard in some of the quarries for several years. There were then a number of animals found in two localities seen and these were very obvious and I am sure would not have been missed by the previous recorders. I know I looked in several other quarries and coast path rock faces and would not have missed them having a lot of experience with the species in S.E.Europe. I agree that the population I have seen on the Eastern coastal path looks very similar to the North western French specimens and am sure that this was confirmed by one of the persons I believe is responsible for several of the introductions.
DNA work does not nesseccarily need the killing of the animal just a home office licence to remove the tip of the tails, these often fall off if the animal is caught by careless people anyway, I think there is also a method which takes a mouth swab which may not need a licence but DNA work is expensive and I personally do not think that looking at what is almost certainly an introduced colony is worth the effort.
From a conservation point of view I personally would like to see the animals removed where there is any chance of competition with the Sand Lizard such as the Poole Cliffs, a lot of work and money has been spent on the cliffs much with the Sand Lizard in mind which has been wasted by the illegal and irresponsible introduction as nice and interesting it is to see another species on our doorstep it is not what herpetological conservation should be about.

Dave
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.

- Wall Lizard distribution in the UK

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