Lizard species – Phrynosoma http://phrynosoma.org/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 18:00:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://phrynosoma.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/profile-150x150.png Lizard species – Phrynosoma http://phrynosoma.org/ 32 32 House Democrats provide long overdue funding for endangered species law https://phrynosoma.org/house-democrats-provide-long-overdue-funding-for-endangered-species-law/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 16:16:28 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/house-democrats-provide-long-overdue-funding-for-endangered-species-law/ WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee will vote today on a funding bill for the U.S. Department of the Interior that would provide $355 million for endangered species conservation — a $77 million increase over the budget of last year. The legislation would provide $25.9 million to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect […]]]>

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee will vote today on a funding bill for the U.S. Department of the Interior that would provide $355 million for endangered species conservation — a $77 million increase over the budget of last year.

The legislation would provide $25.9 million to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect endangered animals and plants still awaiting protection under the Endangered Species Act. This is an increase of $4.7 million over last year’s levels and is the largest increase in the agency’s enrollment program in decades.

“We are grateful to President Rosa DeLauro for recognizing the urgent need to address the extinction crisis in this country,” said Stephanie Kurose, senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Hundreds of our most vulnerable animals and plants are barely clinging on to survival, so this desperately needed funding could save lives.”

The Service currently has a backlog of over 300 species awaiting protection decisions, including golden-winged warbler, sagebrush and monarch butterfly. A 2016 study found that cash waited an average of 12 years to receive collateral, in part due to a lack of funding. At least 47 species have disappeared while waiting to be protected.

The funding bill is also free of environmental poison pill jumpers, including the sage grouse jumper, which would have kept the charismatic bird off the charts for another year even as it continues to slide upward. ‘extinction.

“Preventing extinction hasn’t been a high priority for Congress in the past, but hopefully that’s starting to change,” Kurose said. “Now more than ever, we need to make bold investments in our natural heritage to make up for decades of underfunding and neglect. We urge the Senate to maintain these high funding levels to give our endangered wildlife a fighting chance. »

To deal with the registration backlog, the Service needs at least $78 million, an increase of at least $15 million per year for at least the next three years.

The House recently passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act by a vote of 231 to 190. This legislation would provide $1.4 billion in funding to states, tribal nations and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the primary goal of conserving and recovering wildlife. endangered species early enough that they do not need the protections of the Endangered Species Act.

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Bird Watching: In Search of Endemic Species on a Trip to Puerto Rico https://phrynosoma.org/bird-watching-in-search-of-endemic-species-on-a-trip-to-puerto-rico/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 08:00:22 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/bird-watching-in-search-of-endemic-species-on-a-trip-to-puerto-rico/ Puerto Rican parrots huddle in a flight cage at the Iguaca Aviary in El Yunque, Puerto Rico. Only about 100 of these birds exist in the wild with another 450 held in a captive breeding program. Carlos Giusti/Associated Press This column is the second of two chronicling a four-day birding trip my wife and I […]]]>

Puerto Rican parrots huddle in a flight cage at the Iguaca Aviary in El Yunque, Puerto Rico. Only about 100 of these birds exist in the wild with another 450 held in a captive breeding program. Carlos Giusti/Associated Press

This column is the second of two chronicling a four-day birding trip my wife and I took to Puerto Rico in May.

I take this opportunity to discuss some of the general characteristics of island birds. In the last column, we saw that island species diversity is generally lower in mainland source populations. We have also seen that exotic species have an easier time establishing themselves on islands, especially in disturbed areas.

Today’s column will focus on organisms that are restricted to one or a few islands. These species are qualified as endemic by biogeographers.

It is easy to see how endemic species can appear. A few individuals of a mainland species arrive on an island and over time diverge from the mainland species. Sometimes these endemic species are found only on the island where they appeared. In other cases, endemic species may disperse to neighboring islands.

For example, the great grackle is found on the four islands of the Greater Antilles but nowhere else. Similarly, the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch is found over most of the Lesser Antilles.

Island endemics are restricted to a single island. Puerto Rico has 17 endemic species and these were the main targets of our trip.

Most Puerto Rican endemic birds are widespread and common. We had some time for bird watching in the afternoon we arrived. At Bosque Estatal de Cambalache, our first endemic species was a Puerto Rican cuckoo lizard, with a lizard in its beak! We found Puerto Rican bullfinches and Puerto Rican spindalis (a relative of the tanager).

By moving to a suburb of Barcelonata, we hit the jackpot. We saw the Puerto Rican Flycatcher, Green Mango (a hummingbird), Puerto Rican Oriole, Adelaide Warbler and Puerto Rican Woodpecker.

After a hearty dinner, we stopped at a small stretch of forest in Manati where our guide Julio Salgado had staked a Puerto Rican owl. He responded quickly to a check-in and we got some great looks via a headlamp.

It was a great start to our trip. A total of three hours of birding produced nine of the 17 island endemics.

We started birding early the next day at Bosque Estatal de Rio Abajo. The region soon produced three other endemic species: the Puerto Rican vireo, the Puerto Rican emerald (a hummingbird), and the Puerto Rican tody. Todies are charming birds. Green on top with a red throat and a long, slender beak, these fiery birds are not much larger than a hummingbird and fly with the same speed and abandon.

But the main reason to visit this site was to find the Puerto Rican parrot. Only about 100 of these birds exist in the wild with another 450 held in a captive breeding program. A flock of eight parrots landed near us and I was able to take some great pictures. None of the birds pictured had bands, indicating that they were born in the wild. Good news!

With 13 endemics in the bag, we headed to the southwestern part of the island. A stop at a mountain site produced two endemic targets. The Elfin Woods warbler looks like a particularly dark black and white warbler. Puerto Rican birds were not recognized as a separate species until 1972.

We also saw my most desired species, the Puerto Rican Tanager. Although it has dull plumage and a weak song, I find it fascinating because it has come a long way from its continental ancestor. DNA evidence helps classify this bird into its own family, a single-species family.

We obtained our last two endemic species in the town of Lajas. The red-winged blackbird is an endangered species with only about 1000 extant individuals. Brood parasitism by shiny cowbirds is a major threat. We saw about 50 blackbirds in a mangrove thicket.

After dark, we visited the same mangroves and found a Puerto Rican nightjar to wipe the slate clean of all Puerto Rican endemics.

A full list of the species we saw and photos of many of them can be found at ebird.org/tripreport/57209

Herb Wilson taught ornithology and other biology courses at Colby College. He welcomes comments and questions from readers to [email protected]


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US House passes wildlife conservation bill, supporting local species https://phrynosoma.org/us-house-passes-wildlife-conservation-bill-supporting-local-species/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 04:37:38 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/us-house-passes-wildlife-conservation-bill-supporting-local-species/ The U.S. House of Representatives passed a landmark wildlife bill — in a vote of 231 to 190 on Tuesday — that backs the conservation of endangered and threatened species, including hundreds in areas of the high plains and the enclave. According to the US Geological Survey, there are currently more than 13,500 species “in […]]]>

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a landmark wildlife bill — in a vote of 231 to 190 on Tuesday — that backs the conservation of endangered and threatened species, including hundreds in areas of the high plains and the enclave.

According to the US Geological Survey, there are currently more than 13,500 species “in greatest need of conservation” in the United States, while the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department cites more than 1,300 “species of special concern” in the United States alone. Texas.

Among those in the area: the prairie chicken, dune sagebrush lizard, swift fox, garter snake and many species of bats, as well as the locally beloved black-tailed prairie dog, which has claimed a tourist destination in Lubbock’s MacKenzie Park and even landed in Lewis and Clark’s journals.

The sagebrush dune lizard is threatened by oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.

If enacted, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would award more than $1.3 billion annually to state wildlife departments, U.S. territories, and tribal nations to distribute among species conservation efforts.

The new law would amend the Pittman-Robertson Act — now known as the Federal Wildlife Restoration Assistance — that Congress approved 85 years ago to support declining populations of game species. Critics say the 1937 law does not provide sufficient funding for endangered non-game species.

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Wildlife commissioners deadlocked over granting endangered status to Joshua trees | United States and world https://phrynosoma.org/wildlife-commissioners-deadlocked-over-granting-endangered-status-to-joshua-trees-united-states-and-world/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 00:51:40 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/wildlife-commissioners-deadlocked-over-granting-endangered-status-to-joshua-trees-united-states-and-world/ LOS ANGELES — After eight hours of tense debate, the California Fish and Game Commission tied a 2-2 on Thursday on whether to declare the Western Joshua tree an endangered species, forcing further discussions on the volatile issue until ‘in November. Staff biologists previously recommended not listing the species after concluding that claims in a […]]]>

LOS ANGELES — After eight hours of tense debate, the California Fish and Game Commission tied a 2-2 on Thursday on whether to declare the Western Joshua tree an endangered species, forcing further discussions on the volatile issue until ‘in November.

Staff biologists previously recommended not listing the species after concluding that claims in a petition filed by conservationists about the effects of climate change on living symbols of the Southern California desert were premature.

They questioned the reliability of computer models suggesting that the species is in decline throughout its range. They said this is because although there has been a decline in the western Joshua tree population in some parts of its historic range, in other areas the species number by millions.

But the petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity has sharply divided commissioners, two of whom resisted the staffers’ recommendation and instead sided with conservationists who fear that in the absence of special state protections, the species will lose 90% of its range by 2100.

Among the dissenters was Samantha Murray, chair of the commission, who worries that the Western Joshua Tree “may already be in significant decline or functionally extinct in some southern parts of its historic range.”

“So for me, there’s not a lot of uncertainty about the future of the western Joshua trees,” she said.

Unable to move forward on the issue, the panel voted unanimously to reopen the discussion at its November meeting, leaving temporary protections offered to applicants in place until definitive action is taken. .

He also asked Chuck Bonham, Director of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, to prepare a report on the viability of developing a range-wide conservation plan for species, which would include input from stakeholders including conservationists, lawmakers, tribal leaders, property owners, renewable energy companies, labor organizations and the construction industry.

But critics saw the panel’s failure to act on the petition filed more than a year and a half ago as a failure of the state’s environmental legislation process.

“It’s extremely disappointing when, time and time again, senior California officials talk about being leaders on climate change,” said Brendan Cummings, director of conservation for the Center for Biological Diversity and co-author of the petition. , “but when tasked with making a decision that would help solve the problem, they back down.

“This behavior is what created the climate crisis we face today,” he said.

Voting against listing the species would leave the fate of local jurisdictions over thousands of acres of desert real estate.

Nearly half of the western Joshua tree’s range is on private land which includes the fast-growing communities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Hesperia, Victorville, and Yucca Valley.

Many residents and policymakers in these communities describe the petition as overbroad, because the species scientists know as Yucca brevifolia is already protected in many city and county native plant ordinances, and in the 800,000 acre Joshua Tree National Park. Listing the species, they added, would hinder job creation and development.

Cummings argues the opponents are missing the point.

“We’re probably seeing a large-scale mortality event right now,” he said. “Still, the department describes the situation as relatively minor.”

The Western Joshua tree is one of two genetically distinct species found in California. It has a boomerang-shaped range that extends west from Joshua Tree National Park to the northern slopes of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, then north along the eastern flanks of the Sierra Nevada, then east to the edges of Death Valley National Park.

The eastern Joshua tree’s range in California is centered in the Mojave National Preserve and eastward into Nevada. Up to 1 million Eastern Joshua trees were incinerated by the 2020 Dome Fire on the reservation.

The fate of the western species, which reaches about 40 feet in height and lives about 200 years, is the most uncertain.

The tree’s flowers, roots, inner chambers and angular branches support a great abundance and diversity of desert life: yucca moths, bobcats, desert night lizards, kangaroo rats and 20 species of birds, including Scott’s orioles, ladder-backed woodpeckers, and great horned owls.

But drought, hotter and drier summers, bushfires and development are taking a heavy toll on the trees and the species they support. Some stands have not produced baby Joshua trees for decades.

The western Joshua tree’s low reproductive rate could prevent it from expanding fast enough into cooler, wetter habitat, scientists say. The tree’s ability to move is about a few hundred meters per generation.

In a separate case, the commissioners agreed to make the legless lizard Temblor a candidate for listing on the endangered species list – a move that provided the sand-swimming reptile with legal protection for at least a year. year.

Oil spills and other chemical pollutants are rampant in the shrunken realm of the Legless Lizard in the southern San Joaquin Valley, which is covered by about 31 oil fields. according to a listing application submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“It warms my heart,” said Shaye Wolf, director of climate science for the center, “that these rare and fascinating lizards will be able to burrow, hunt and breed safely, protected from the oil drilling that poisons the home in which they have evolved over millennia.”


©2022 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Wildlife commissioners deadlocked over granting endangered status to Joshua trees | Nation https://phrynosoma.org/wildlife-commissioners-deadlocked-over-granting-endangered-status-to-joshua-trees-nation/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 00:46:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/wildlife-commissioners-deadlocked-over-granting-endangered-status-to-joshua-trees-nation/ LOS ANGELES — After eight hours of tense debate, the California Fish and Game Commission tied a 2-2 on Thursday on whether to declare the Western Joshua tree an endangered species, forcing further discussions on the volatile issue until ‘in November. Staff biologists previously recommended not listing the species after concluding that claims in a […]]]>

LOS ANGELES — After eight hours of tense debate, the California Fish and Game Commission tied a 2-2 on Thursday on whether to declare the Western Joshua tree an endangered species, forcing further discussions on the volatile issue until ‘in November.

Staff biologists previously recommended not listing the species after concluding that claims in a petition filed by conservationists about the effects of climate change on living symbols of the Southern California desert were premature.

They questioned the reliability of computer models suggesting that the species is in decline throughout its range. They said this is because although there has been a decline in the western Joshua tree population in some parts of its historic range, in other areas the species number by millions.

But the petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity has sharply divided commissioners, two of whom resisted the staffers’ recommendation and instead sided with conservationists who fear that in the absence of special state protections, the species will lose 90% of its range by 2100.

Among the dissenters was Samantha Murray, chair of the commission, who worries that the Western Joshua Tree “may already be in significant decline or functionally extinct in some southern parts of its historic range.”

“So for me, there’s not a lot of uncertainty about the future of the western Joshua trees,” she said.

Unable to move forward on the issue, the panel voted unanimously to reopen the discussion at its November meeting, leaving temporary protections offered to applicants in place until definitive action is taken. .

He also asked Chuck Bonham, Director of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, to prepare a report on the viability of developing a range-wide conservation plan for species, which would include input from stakeholders including conservationists, lawmakers, tribal leaders, property owners, renewable energy companies, labor organizations and the construction industry.

But critics saw the panel’s failure to act on the petition filed more than a year and a half ago as a failure of the state’s environmental legislation process.

“It’s extremely disappointing when, time and time again, senior California officials talk about being leaders on climate change,” said Brendan Cummings, director of conservation for the Center for Biological Diversity and co-author of the petition. , “but when tasked with making a decision that would help solve the problem, they back down.

“This behavior is what created the climate crisis we face today,” he said.

Voting against listing the species would leave the fate of local jurisdictions over thousands of acres of desert real estate.

Nearly half of the western Joshua tree’s range is on private land which includes the fast-growing communities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Hesperia, Victorville, and Yucca Valley.

Many residents and policymakers in these communities describe the petition as overbroad, because the species scientists know as Yucca brevifolia is already protected in many city and county native plant ordinances, and in the 800,000 acre Joshua Tree National Park. Listing the species, they added, would hinder job creation and development.

Cummings argues the opponents are missing the point.

“We’re probably seeing a large-scale mortality event right now,” he said. “Still, the department describes the situation as relatively minor.”

The Western Joshua tree is one of two genetically distinct species found in California. It has a boomerang-shaped range that extends west from Joshua Tree National Park to the northern slopes of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, then north along the eastern flanks of the Sierra Nevada, then east to the edges of Death Valley National Park.

The eastern Joshua tree’s range in California is centered in the Mojave National Preserve and eastward into Nevada. Up to 1 million Eastern Joshua trees were incinerated by the 2020 Dome Fire on the reservation.

The fate of the western species, which reaches about 40 feet in height and lives about 200 years, is the most uncertain.

The tree’s flowers, roots, interior chambers and angular branches support a great abundance and diversity of desert life: yucca moths, bobcats, desert night lizards, kangaroo rats and 20 species of birds, including Scott’s orioles, ladder-backed woodpeckers, and great horned owls.

But drought, hotter and drier summers, bushfires and development are taking a heavy toll on the trees and the species they support. Some stands have not produced baby Joshua trees for decades.

According to scientists, the western Joshua tree’s low reproductive rate may prevent it from expanding fast enough into cooler, wetter habitat. The tree’s ability to move is about a few hundred meters per generation.

In a separate case, the commissioners agreed to make the legless lizard Temblor a candidate for listing on the endangered species list – a move that provided the sand-swimming reptile with legal protection for at least a year. year.

Oil spills and other chemical pollutants plague the shrunken Legless Lizard Estate in the southern San Joaquin Valley, which is covered by about 31 oil fields. according to a listing application submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“It warms my heart,” said Shaye Wolf, director of climate science for the center, “that these rare and fascinating lizards will be able to burrow, hunt and breed safely, protected from the oil drilling that poisons the home in which they have evolved over millennia.”

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Conservationists urge Congress to fund program to save Texas species https://phrynosoma.org/conservationists-urge-congress-to-fund-program-to-save-texas-species/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 23:06:39 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/conservationists-urge-congress-to-fund-program-to-save-texas-species/ Texas conservationists, including state park officials, gathered at the San Antonio Zoo on Wednesday to urge the US Senate to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which was approved by the House the day before . The act would create a $1.39 billion annual fund that would go to states, territories and tribes to help […]]]>



Texas conservationists, including state park officials, gathered at the San Antonio Zoo on Wednesday to urge the US Senate to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which was approved by the House the day before .

The act would create a $1.39 billion annual fund that would go to states, territories and tribes to help their wildlife conservation efforts. These funds would help protect vulnerable Texas species on the Texas Conservation Action Planlike the whooping crane, Texas horned lizard and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, a nonprofit advocacy group that conducts research on environmental issues.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment in wildlife and habitat conservation,” Metzger said. “So it’s a huge deal.”

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Legless lizard Temblor wins California Endangered Species Act protections https://phrynosoma.org/legless-lizard-temblor-wins-california-endangered-species-act-protections/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 18:31:36 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/legless-lizard-temblor-wins-california-endangered-species-act-protections/ LOS ANGELES – In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Fish and Game Commission today unanimously agreed to protect the Temblor legless lizard under the California’s Endangered Species Act. ‘State. This decision grants legal protection to rare lizards for at least one year. The Temblor legless lizard is an […]]]>

LOS ANGELES – In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Fish and Game Commission today unanimously agreed to protect the Temblor legless lizard under the California’s Endangered Species Act. ‘State. This decision grants legal protection to rare lizards for at least one year.

The Temblor legless lizard is an unusual sand-swimming reptile found only in Kern and Fresno counties in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley. The survival of the species is threatened by the extensive oil and gas drilling in its narrow range.

“It warms my heart that these rare lizards will be able to dig, hunt and breed safely, protected from oil drilling that threatens their existence,” said Shaye Wolf, director of climate science at the Center. “These endangered animals only have five areas where they live and they are mostly surrounded by damaging oil drilling. Now we need the state to act quickly to finalize these protections before the fossil fuel industry wipes out these magnificent lizards forever.

Vote to Grant Lizard Candidate Status Confirms California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s April recommendation. A candidate designation triggers a year-long review to determine whether the species should be officially protected under state law. The species is legally protected during the review period.

The Temblor legless lizard is currently known to live in only five sites in Kern and Fresno counties. Four of them are within the boundaries of the oil fields and are surrounded by major oil and gas developments. A total of 31 oil fields overlap the lizard’s restricted range, and more than 98% of its habitat is open to oil and gas development.

Oil and gas drilling threatens the Temblor legless lizard by destroying and fragmenting its habitat, compacting soil, changing soil moisture levels, removing ground cover, and spilling oil and chemicals. Oil and produced water spills are rampant within the lizard’s restricted range, and there have been at least 20 surface spills in recent years.

The Temblor legless lizard is also threatened by urban and industrial development, invasive weeds and non-native feral pigs, and rising temperatures and drier conditions caused by climate change.

In 2019, species experts recommended listing the Temblor legless lizard under both the California Endangered Species Act and federal law.

The Center filed for federal endangered species law protection for the Temblor legless lizard in October 2020. In June 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the species was eligible for protection. In March, the Center filed a lawsuit over the agency’s delay in determining whether the lizard deserves protection.

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Every New Dinosaur Species In Jurassic World Dominion Explained https://phrynosoma.org/every-new-dinosaur-species-in-jurassic-world-dominion-explained/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 17:38:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/every-new-dinosaur-species-in-jurassic-world-dominion-explained/ Biosyn has a Fearless Moros which can be seen in a glass enclosure when Doctors Grant and Sattler tour the facilities. Watching him practice his hunting skills with a small mammal, they seem surprised that Biosyn cloned him so quickly. The first fossils of Moros were discovered in 2013, and the genus and species were […]]]>

Biosyn has a Fearless Moros which can be seen in a glass enclosure when Doctors Grant and Sattler tour the facilities. Watching him practice his hunting skills with a small mammal, they seem surprised that Biosyn cloned him so quickly. The first fossils of Moros were discovered in 2013, and the genus and species were not classified until February 2019. Its scientific name means “bringer of doom”, and it was chosen because this small theropod was a sign of bigger and scarier things to come. .

In the “Prologue” video, a Moros can be seen cleaning the teeth of a larger predator. In reality, these small but mighty dinosaurs evolved into large predators the genus of which spread across the continent, and quite quickly in the grand scheme of things. Paleontologists have long been puzzled by a 70-year gap in which no tyrannosaurs seemed to exist in North America. There were primitives from the Jurassic period and others like the famous T. rex from the late Cretaceous, but nothing in between. Then a team from Utah found Moros. Like T. rex, Moros lived in North America during the Cretaceous, but it predated its oversized relatives by about 15 million years and probably migrated over a land bridge from Asia, which explains a lot. .

As explained by National geographic, Moros is the missing link that helps paleontologists understand how tyrannosaurs grew from just a few feet long to over 40 feet long. The one depicted in “Jurassic World Dominion” may have been a little on the small side, but its proportions and feathers are probably pretty accurate. This adorable little predator was a killer and a survivalist. He was light, fast, and had powerful senses with which he could catch prey and evade larger theropods.

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Sefton Coast Column: Dune indentations created to help specialist species thrive on the coast https://phrynosoma.org/sefton-coast-column-dune-indentations-created-to-help-specialist-species-thrive-on-the-coast/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 06:31:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/sefton-coast-column-dune-indentations-created-to-help-specialist-species-thrive-on-the-coast/ A notch completed By John Dempsey Moving over 40,000 tonnes of sand is no small feat, but it could help rejuvenate a section of dunes at Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve and enhance this magnificent habitat for rare wildlife. The sand dunes are a sanctuary for special plants, insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians. To […]]]>

A notch completed

By John Dempsey

Moving over 40,000 tonnes of sand is no small feat, but it could help rejuvenate a section of dunes at Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve and enhance this magnificent habitat for rare wildlife.

The sand dunes are a sanctuary for special plants, insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

To support these creatures and provide them with safe homes, sand dunes must be able to move freely.

Areas of naturally shifting and mobile sand are essential, but many of our sand dunes have become too stable and overgrown with dense vegetation. Sand dunes are today one of the habitat types most threatened by biodiversity loss in Europe.

Natural England is working in Ainsdale (NNR) with Dynamic Dunescapes, the project to restore 7,000 hectares of sand dunes across England and Wales.

Over the past few weeks, four V-shaped gaps, known as ‘notches’, have been created in the foredunes of Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR by CHC contractors using earthmoving machinery.

Digger creating notches in the dunes

To create one of these gaps, up to 13,000 tons of sand must be moved by expert excavator drivers.

These gaps will allow more beach sand to be blown through the dune systems by the wind.

This will create the perfect habitats for sand dune specialist species to thrive, forming new areas of bare sand that the rare Northern Dune Tiger Beetle, Natterjack Toad and Sand Lizard need to survive.

The Sefton Coast is an important location for sand lizards – one of the UK’s rarest reptiles – which dig their burrows in the bare sand of the south-facing dunes.



The excavation work took place in May, after the lizards emerged from hibernation and before they began to breed and bury their eggs.

The locations of the notches were also carefully chosen so as not to disturb existing populations of sand lizards.

Dave Mercer, Senior Reserve Manager for Natural England, said: “We are delighted to begin notching at Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR which will have a fantastic long-term impact on this magnificent sand dune system and its environment. resident fauna.

“Restoring habitats and creating resilient landscapes is an essential part of Natural England’s work on the Sefton Coast, and Dynamic Dunescapes allows us to help safeguard the future of our threatened dune systems.”

The wind is already sculpting the notches

The Formby sand dunes have also had notches dug in several places, by the National Trust, as part of the Dynamic Dunescapes project.

Sefton Council is another local partner in the Dynamic Dunescapes project.

Gordon White, Campaign Manager for Green Sefton, explained: “The coastline is a rare asset and although popular with visitors, it should be managed with the utmost care and respect.

Digger creating notches in the dunes

“Each year, we collaborate with a variety of partners to undertake important habitat maintenance and enhancement works, carefully selected to ensure minimal disturbance to these scientifically important sites.

“The Dynamic Dunescapes program is another exciting opportunity that we are excited to be on board with, along with our neighboring landowners. It will help conserve our special dune landscapes for future generations.”

*Dynamic Dunescapes is a partnership project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE program. Project partners are Natural England, Plantlife, Natural Resources Wales, National Trust and The Wildlife Trusts.


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New colorful species of gecko discovered in India https://phrynosoma.org/new-colorful-species-of-gecko-discovered-in-india/ Mon, 06 Jun 2022 19:04:50 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/new-colorful-species-of-gecko-discovered-in-india/ Scientists have discovered a new species of leopard gecko (genus Eublepharis) living in the forests of the Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The painted leopard gecko (Eublepharis pictus) in the life of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Image credit: Zeeshan A. Mirza. Eublepharis is a small genus of the lizard family Eublepharidaewhich contains 44 […]]]>

Scientists have discovered a new species of leopard gecko (genus Eublepharis) living in the forests of the Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

The painted leopard gecko (Eublepharis pictus) in the life of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Image credit: Zeeshan A. Mirza.

Eublepharis is a small genus of the lizard family Eublepharidaewhich contains 44 species in six genera distributed in parts of North and Central America, West and East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the Archipelago Malay.

First described in 1827, the genus is currently represented by seven species, five of which are known from India.

Newly discovered species Eublepharis pictusoccurs in the Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

It measures 11.7 cm (4.6 inches) in length and prefers dry evergreen forests mixed with scrub and grassland.

Eublepharis pictus is strictly nocturnal and has been observed actively foraging along forest paths after dusk,” said Zeeshan Mirza of the Bangalore National Center for Biological Sciences and Chandrashekaruni Gnaneswar of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

“While foraging, the species has been observed licking surfaces as it moves, likely the tongue is used as a sensory organ.”

According to the researchers, Eublepharis pictus occurs outside protected areas.

“Most leopard geckos are killed when encountered and awareness that the species is harmless would benefit the species,” they said.

“Based on IUCN Conservation Prioritization Criteria we propose to list Eublepharis pictus and Eublepharis hardwickii as Near Threatened pending further information on local population estimates, particularly in protected areas.

“The species is collected for the pet trade and can still be smuggled illegally. Its listing as Near Threatened can help reduce illegal trade.

A paper describing the discovery was published in the journal Scalable systematics.

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ZA Mirza & C. Gnaneswar. 2022. Description of a new species of leopard gecko, Eublepharis Gray, 1827 from Eastern Ghats, India with notes on Eublepharis hardwickii Grey, 1827. Scalable systematics 6(1): 77-88; doi: 10.3897/evolsyst.6.83290

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