lizard species – Phrynosoma http://phrynosoma.org/ Wed, 16 Mar 2022 16:06:35 +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 Miller Park Zoo Receives $750,000 State Grant for Katthoefer Animal Building | News https://phrynosoma.org/miller-park-zoo-receives-750000-state-grant-for-katthoefer-animal-building-news/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 20:27:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/miller-park-zoo-receives-750000-state-grant-for-katthoefer-animal-building-news/ For the third consecutive time, the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has received a $750,000 capital grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the public museum provided by the State of Illinois. Miller Park Zoo will use grant funds to make improvements to the Katthoefer Animal Building. Originally opened in 1914, the Katthoefer […]]]>

For the third consecutive time, the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has received a $750,000 capital grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the public museum provided by the State of Illinois.

Miller Park Zoo will use grant funds to make improvements to the Katthoefer Animal Building. Originally opened in 1914, the Katthoefer Animal Building is 108 years old and is Miller Park Zoo’s largest project.

Improvements to the Katthoefer Animal Building will include basement electrical, concrete and plumbing upgrades. In addition to basement renovations, the grant will be used to build and improve animal habitats.

Some of these improvements to animal habitats will be a new pool in the rainforest area and the two new exhibits in the Katthoefer Animal Building for the reticulated python and other large lizard species.

The City of Bloomington is not obligated to match funds from this grant.

EMMA SYNDER is a news and feature reporter for The Vidette. Snyder can be contacted at ejsnyde@ilstu.edu. Follow Snyder on Twitter at @ejsnyder21


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New Zealand lives up to ‘Land of Lizards’ title as two new species have been discovered https://phrynosoma.org/new-zealand-lives-up-to-land-of-lizards-title-as-two-new-species-have-been-discovered/ Sat, 11 Dec 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/new-zealand-lives-up-to-land-of-lizards-title-as-two-new-species-have-been-discovered/ Lizard experts are said to be getting excited over the discovery of two new species, one found in the Mataura Range in Southland. Department of Conservation (Doc) science adviser and lizard survey project leader Dr Jo Monks said genetic testing confirmed the two new species were discovered during Doc’s investigations in the alpine areas of […]]]>
Lizard experts are said to be getting excited over the discovery of two new species, one found in the Mataura Range in Southland.

Department of Conservation (Doc) science adviser and lizard survey project leader Dr Jo Monks said genetic testing confirmed the two new species were discovered during Doc’s investigations in the alpine areas of the South Island last summer.

A skink and gecko – found in the Mataura Range in Southland and Nelson Lakes National Park, respectively – are new to science but have yet to be officially described.

She said the findings made lizard experts (herpetologists) sparkle and added to what is already known about New Zealand’s lizard species diversity.

Dr Monks said intensive lizard investigations are unearthing lizards in less explored places across the country.

“We are still in the age of discovery for our lizards, and we will likely find more as we continue our investigative work this summer.”

Over the past 30 years, the number of known lizard species has almost quadrupled thanks to new discoveries.

“New Zealand has more endemic lizard species than endemic birds, so it really is a ‘land of lizards’ as well as a ‘land of birds’,” she said.

Once the last two species are officially described, further studies will help herpetologists learn more about them, determine their conservation status and how to manage them.

Genetic tests have also confirmed that a gecko, first found in the mountains near Haast last summer, is the same one previously known only on tiny islands off the Southwest, changing completely. what we know about this gecko.

Several new populations of cryptic skinks, Eyres skinks and cascading geckos have also been confirmed.

New Zealand has 126 species of geckos and skinks (including the two new species) that are not found anywhere else in the world. They are unique and give birth to live young, unlike many lizards elsewhere that lay eggs.

According to the recently updated New Zealand Reptile Conservation Status 2021, approximately 90% of skink and gecko species are listed as “threatened” or “at risk” of extinction and a growing number of lizard populations are in decline.

Lizards are vulnerable to a wide variety of introduced predators, including mice, hedgehogs, weasels, and feral cats, in addition to rats, stoats, and opossums, which cause the most damage to native birds.

Doc welcomes information on lizard sightings, especially in the Alpine area, which may lead to new discoveries. People are welcome to take photos of the lizards and send reports with exact location information to: lizardresearch@doc.govt.nz

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Two new species of lizards discovered on the South Island https://phrynosoma.org/two-new-species-of-lizards-discovered-on-the-south-island/ Fri, 10 Dec 2021 00:19:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/two-new-species-of-lizards-discovered-on-the-south-island/ Provided A skink found in the Mataura Range in Southland last summer is a newly discovered species. Genetic tests have confirmed that two new species of lizards live in two regions of the South Island. A skink and a gecko – found in the Mataura Range in Southland and Nelson Lakes National Park respectively – […]]]>
A skink found in the Mataura Range in Southland last summer is a newly discovered species.

Provided

A skink found in the Mataura Range in Southland last summer is a newly discovered species.

Genetic tests have confirmed that two new species of lizards live in two regions of the South Island.

A skink and a gecko – found in the Mataura Range in Southland and Nelson Lakes National Park respectively – are new to science but have yet to be officially described.

The findings were made during the Department of Conservation’s investigations in the alpine areas of the South Island last summer.

The discoveries have herpetologists [lizard experts] bubbly and adding to what is known of New Zealand’s already diverse range of lizard species.

READ MORE:
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New Zealand has 126 species of geckos and skinks, including the two new species, which are not found anywhere else in the world. They are unique and give birth to live young, unlike many lizards elsewhere that lay eggs.

The department’s science adviser and lizard survey project leader Dr Jo Monks said intensive lizard surveys are digging up lizards in our less explored places.

“We are still in the age of discovery for our lizards, and we will likely find more as we continue our investigative work this summer.”

Over the past 30 years, the number of known lizard species has almost quadrupled with new discoveries.

“New Zealand has more endemic lizard species than endemic birds, so it really is a ‘land of lizards’ as well as a ‘land of birds,'” said Monks.

A gecko found in Nelson Lakes National Park last summer is a newly discovered species.

Provided

A gecko found in Nelson Lakes National Park last summer is a newly discovered species.

Once the last two species have been officially described, further studies will allow us to learn more about them, to determine their conservation status and how to manage them.

Genetic testing also confirmed that a gecko, first found in the mountains near Haast last summer, is the same one previously known only on tiny islands off the Southwest. This completely changes what we know about this gecko.

Several new populations of cryptic skinks, Eyres skinks and cascading geckos have also been confirmed.

In another turnaround, the so-called ‘cupola gecko’, found in Nelson Lakes 50 years ago and then again last summer, and considered a separate species, has turned out to be a morphologically distinct population. Forest geckos – a widespread species found in the North and South Islands.

The ministry will lead further alpine lizard surveys over the next two summers, with funding from Budget 2018 for work on little-known species.

Makaawhio Rūnanga is also involved in lizard surveys in the southwest of the country through the Jobs for Nature program.

Makaawhio Rūnanga Chairman Paul Madgwick said: “It’s exciting to have our Mahaki Ki Taiao group leading this kaupapa in the southwest of the country with the possibility that they will discover more species of lizards now that their eyes are more tuned. “

About 90 percent of the country’s skink and gecko species are listed as threatened or endangered, and more and more lizard populations are in decline.

Lizards are vulnerable to a wide variety of introduced predators, including mice, hedgehogs, weasels, and feral cats, in addition to rats, stoats, and opossums, which cause the most damage to native birds.

The department welcomes information from the public on lizard sightings, especially in the Alpine area, which may lead to new discoveries. People are encouraged to take photos of the lizards and send reports with exact location information to: lizardresearch@doc.govt.nz.

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Two new species of lizards, the gecko and the skink, discovered in the South Island https://phrynosoma.org/two-new-species-of-lizards-the-gecko-and-the-skink-discovered-in-the-south-island/ Thu, 09 Dec 2021 22:22:24 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/two-new-species-of-lizards-the-gecko-and-the-skink-discovered-in-the-south-island/ Mataura chain skink. Photo / Carey Knox Two new species of lizards have been discovered in the South Island. Genetic testing has confirmed the new species based on findings made during the Department of Conservation’s surveys of alpine areas on the South Island last summer. A skink and gecko – found in the Mataura Range […]]]>

Mataura chain skink. Photo / Carey Knox

Two new species of lizards have been discovered in the South Island.

Genetic testing has confirmed the new species based on findings made during the Department of Conservation’s surveys of alpine areas on the South Island last summer.

A skink and gecko – found in the Mataura Range in Southland and Nelson Lakes National Park respectively – are new to science but have yet to be officially described.

Dr Jo Monks, DoC science adviser and lizard survey project leader, said intensive lizard surveys are digging up lizards in our less explored places.

“We are still in the era of our lizard discovery, and we will likely find more of them as we continue our investigative work this summer.”

Over the past 30 years, the number of known lizard species has almost quadrupled with new discoveries, she said.

The gecko found in Nelson Lakes National Park.  Photo / Ben Barr
The gecko found in Nelson Lakes National Park. Photo / Ben Barr

“New Zealand has more endemic lizard species than endemic birds, so it really is a ‘land of lizards’ as well as a ‘land of birds.’

Once the last two species have been officially described, further studies will allow us to learn more about them, to determine their conservation status and how to manage them.

A spokesperson said genetic testing also confirmed that a gecko, first found in the mountains near Haast last summer, is the same one previously known only on tiny islands off the South -Where is. This completely changes what we know about this gecko.

Several new populations of cryptic skinks, Eyres skinks and cascading geckos have also been confirmed.

The DoC will lead further alpine lizard surveys over the next two summers, with funding from Budget 2018 for work on little-known species.

Makaawhio Rūnanga is also involved in lizard surveys in the southwest of the country through the Jobs for Nature program.

“It’s exciting to have our Mahaki Ki Taiao group leading this kaupapa in the southwest of the country with the possibility that they will discover more species of lizards now that their eyes are more tuned.” said Makaawhio Rūnanga chairman Paul Madgwick.

New Zealand has 126 species of geckos and skinks, including the two new ones, which are not found anywhere else in the world.

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Australian Reptile Park Komodo Dragon Eggs Hailed as National First | Review of northern beaches https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-review-of-northern-beaches/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 23:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-review-of-northern-beaches/ Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park /images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg “It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.” news, national, 2021-11-20T10: 00: 00 + 11: 00 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first […]]]>

Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

news, national,

2021-11-20T10: 00: 00 + 11: 00

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first for their Komodo dragon, Daenerys.

Guardians at NSW Central Coast Park risked the potentially fatal poisonous bite of the largest living lizard species to retrieve the eggs, giving them the best chance of successfully hatching.

The eggs will be kept locked up during their eight-month incubation period, with the temperature constantly monitored.

SHELL GAME: Guardians will watch over the precious Komodo Dragon Eggs during their eight-month incubation period. Photo: Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park head of reptiles Daniel Rumsey said a lot of work has gone into the breeding program, including ultrasound to ensure all eggs have been successfully laid.

“These are two animals that could potentially kill each other and cause serious damage to us the keepers,” he said.

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

This story Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park
first appeared on Newcastle Herald.
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Australian Reptile Park Komodo Dragon Eggs Hailed as National First | Liverpool City Champion https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-liverpool-city-champion/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 23:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-liverpool-city-champion/ Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park /images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg “It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.” news, national, 2021-11-20T10: 00: 00 + 11: 00 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first […]]]>

Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

news, national,

2021-11-20T10: 00: 00 + 11: 00

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first for their Komodo dragon, Daenerys.

Guardians at NSW Central Coast Park risked the potentially fatal poisonous bite of the largest living lizard species to retrieve the eggs, giving them the best chance of successfully hatching.

The eggs will be kept locked up during their eight-month incubation period, with the temperature constantly monitored.

SHELL GAME: Guardians will watch over the precious Komodo Dragon Eggs during their eight month incubation period. Photo: Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park head of reptiles Daniel Rumsey said a lot of work has gone into the breeding program, including ultrasound to ensure all eggs have been successfully laid.

“These are two animals that could potentially kill each other and cause serious damage to us the keepers,” he said.

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

This story Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park
first appeared on Newcastle Herald.
]]>
Australian Reptile Park Komodo Dragon Eggs Hailed as National First | Mandurah Courier https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-mandurah-courier/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 23:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-komodo-dragon-eggs-hailed-as-national-first-mandurah-courier/ Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park /images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg “It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.” latest news, 2021-11-20T07: 00: 00 + 08: 00 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001 The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first […]]]>

Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park

/images/transform/v1/crop/frm/iKQx4aiD4Q7fvCgDvFeGgz/0eba5ad7-25aa-4bb5-9632-817410c00d69.JPG/r0_1214_4480_3745_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

latest news,

2021-11-20T07: 00: 00 + 08: 00

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

https://players.brightcove.net/3879528182001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6282514773001

The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the arrival of 15 eggs this week as the Australian first for their Komodo dragon, Daenerys.

Guardians at NSW Central Coast Park risked the potentially fatal poisonous bite of the largest living lizard species to retrieve the eggs, giving them the best chance of successfully hatching.

The eggs will be kept locked up during their eight-month incubation period, with the temperature constantly monitored.

SHELL GAME: Guardians will watch over the precious Komodo Dragon Eggs during their eight month incubation period. Photo: Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park head of reptiles Daniel Rumsey said a lot of work has gone into the breeding program, including ultrasound to ensure all eggs have been successfully laid.

“These are two animals that could potentially kill each other and cause serious damage to us the keepers,” he said.

“It was a bit touching during the initial introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.”

This story Mother of Dragons Delivers New Harvest at Reptile Park
first appeared on Newcastle Herald.
]]>
Australian Reptile Park Celebrates Australian First With Successful Komodo Dragon Egg Laying https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-celebrates-australian-first-with-successful-komodo-dragon-egg-laying/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 00:35:13 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/australian-reptile-park-celebrates-australian-first-with-successful-komodo-dragon-egg-laying/ The Australian Reptile Park is celebrating an Australian first this week, with the female Komodo dragon (Daenerys) laying 15 eggs. Komodo dragons are the largest living lizard species. With a poisonous bite from a potentially fatal Komodo dragon, the guardians “risked their lives and their bodies to retrieve the eggs.” No other zoo, sanctuary or […]]]>

The Australian Reptile Park is celebrating an Australian first this week, with the female Komodo dragon (Daenerys) laying 15 eggs. Komodo dragons are the largest living lizard species. With a poisonous bite from a potentially fatal Komodo dragon, the guardians “risked their lives and their bodies to retrieve the eggs.”

No other zoo, sanctuary or facility has succeeded in raising Komodo dragons in Australia and bringing them to the egg-laying stage. This means positive signs for the breeding program and an important step for the species as it is considered endangered in the wild.

Guardians were required to retrieve the eggs to ensure the ultimate chance of survival. With such a long incubation period (eight months), the eggs are locked away in the Australian Reptile Park and keepers should keep a close eye on the eggs at all times and ensure the temperature is at an optimal level. and constant checks on eggs for their viability and health.

Fortunately, everything went according to plan with the egg removal due to the Guardians’ close relationship with Daenerys. Reptile Park staff managed to lure her out of the nesting box with food and take her to safety in another area of ​​the enclosure. While Daenerys was secure, the reptile keepers had the delicate task of removing the fragile eggs from the nesting site and transporting them to the artificial incubator.

The egg retrieval was almost completed without a hitch, but as the last eggs were removed, the chamber began to collapse and the keepers had to scramble to protect the precious eggs. Fortunately, the Fast-Acting Guardians were able to protect all of the eggs and remove the last fragile eggs without any damage. After the eggs were retrieved, Daenerys returned to the nesting area and continued to dig unaware that the eggs were being removed.

Australian Reptile Park Head of Reptiles Daniel Rumsey notes that “a lot of work goes into breeding Komodo dragons. These are two animals that could potentially kill each other and cause serious harm to us, the caretakers, in the process. It was a bit touching during the first introductions, but our female became receptive and the two successfully mated.

“The next step is to ensure successful egg laying. Komodo dragons can become what are called “bound eggs” in which the eggs are trapped inside if you do not provide optimal laying conditions. This includes building a specially designed birdhouse with sand that is deep enough to ensure the temperature is optimal. “

After laying and removing the eggs, there are still several steps to ensure the health of Daenerys and the eggs. This included a visit to the vet with an ultrasound to make sure Daenerys had passed all eggs as well as daily egg temperature checks and weekly egg weighing. Another part of the recording process is “candling,” a process in which the keepers hold a torch behind the egg to see the formation of the baby dragon inside the egg. After two candles, the eggs are advancing perfectly.

For now, it’s a waiting game as the staff eagerly wait eight months for the eggs to hatch. The staff are currently beaming with excitement and looking forward to the day they see the eggs and then tiny little Komodo dragons.

The Komodo dragon is a living dinosaur and the largest lizard in the world. Komodo dragons can grow up to three to four meters in length and weigh over 100 kg. Found on the Indonesian island of Komodo, there is a stable population of around 3,000 to 5,000 Komodo dragons in the wild. The Komodo dragon is a monitor; however, their forked tongue gives them the appearance of a dragon. They are carnivorous predators but they will eat just about anything.

Incidentally, the brood was not laid until a day after the species was reclassified from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, emphasizing the importance of eggs to the future of the species. Their numbers are declining due to climate change, human encroachment, poaching, natural disasters and a shortage of laying females. Breeding programs, like that of the Australian Reptile Park, are of the utmost importance.

Australian Reptile Park is a convenient zoo located in the natural bush setting of the central New South Wales coast, just 60 minutes from Sydney or Newcastle. Visitors enjoy entertaining live shows, themed exhibits, and interactions with many of the wildlife park residents. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free parking and a barbecue. The Australian Reptile Park also accepts Dine & Discover vouchers from the Government of New South Wales until the end of June 2022. More information at www.reptilepark.com.au

Image courtesy of Australian Reptile Park

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August 27, 2021 – Australian Reptile Park celebrates the successful mating of Komodo dragons

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June 19, 2020 – Australian Reptile Park launches new annual pass offering unlimited entry until the end of 2021

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April 3, 2020 – Australian Reptile Park Launches New Online Education Initiative

October 4, 2019 – Australian Reptile Park celebrates International Zookeeper Day

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August 19, 2013 – Two of the 23 reptiles stolen from the Australian Reptile Park were recovered

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State protection of endangered species sought for rare central California lizard https://phrynosoma.org/state-protection-of-endangered-species-sought-for-rare-central-california-lizard/ Thu, 18 Nov 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/state-protection-of-endangered-species-sought-for-rare-central-california-lizard/ McKITTRICK, California.– The Center for Biological Diversity today formally called on the California Fish and Game Commission to protect the legless Temblor lizard under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The Temblor legless lizard is a rare sand-swimming reptile found in a small habitat area east of the Temblor Mountains at the southern end of the […]]]>

McKITTRICK, California.– The Center for Biological Diversity today formally called on the California Fish and Game Commission to protect the legless Temblor lizard under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The Temblor legless lizard is a rare sand-swimming reptile found in a small habitat area east of the Temblor Mountains at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The species – which lives in northwest Kern County and southern Fresno County – is threatened by oil and gas drilling throughout its range.

The legless Temblor lizard is currently known to live at only four sites, three of which are within the boundaries of the oilfields and surrounded by extensive oil and gas development. A total of 31 oil fields straddle the lizard’s restricted range, and more than 98% of its habitat is open to oil and gas drilling.

“These unique lizards receive a fatal blow from the rampant drilling and dumping of the fossil fuel industry in what little habitat they have left,” said Shaye Wolf, director of climate science at the Center. “They urgently need the protections of the state’s Endangered Species Act to prevent their extinction. Governor Newsom also must curb new drilling to protect California’s wildlife and communities from the growing dangers of fossil fuel pollution.

Oil and gas extraction threatens the Temblor legless lizard by destroying and fragmenting its habitat, compacting soil, altering soil moisture levels, removing vegetation cover, and spilling oil and products. chemical. Oil and produced water spills are endemic to the lizard’s restricted range, including at least 20 surface spills since 2019, two of which are currently active.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently concluded that the development of oil and gas could propel the legless Temblor lizard to critically endangered status or extinct in the near future. In 2019, experts on the species 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, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the species could be protected and initiated a review of its status.

In March, the Center joined with other environmental and community groups in suing the Bureau of Land Management and Kern County for failing to assess the damage and threats to Temblor’s legless lizards due to the expansion of oil and gas in its restricted range. On Wednesday, the Center filed two formal notices of intent to sue the Service for denying or delaying Endangered Species Act protections for the Temblor legless lizard and nine other species.

The Temblor legless lizard is also threatened by urban development, industrial solar development, invasive grasses and non-native wild pigs, as well as rising temperatures and changing soil moisture caused by climate change.

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Could California Condor ‘Virgin Birth’ save the species? https://phrynosoma.org/could-california-condor-virgin-birth-save-the-species/ Fri, 05 Nov 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://phrynosoma.org/could-california-condor-virgin-birth-save-the-species/ Virgin birth—which involves the development of an unfertilized egg—has preoccupied humans for eons. And even if it can’t occur in mammalsthis appears to be possible in other backbone (vertebrate) animals, such as birds and lizards. A recent article led by researchers at the San Diego Zoo reports that two fatherless male chicks were raised as […]]]>

Virgin birth—which involves the development of an unfertilized egg—has preoccupied humans for eons. And even if it can’t occur in mammalsthis appears to be possible in other backbone (vertebrate) animals, such as birds and lizards.

A recent article led by researchers at the San Diego Zoo reports that two fatherless male chicks were raised as part of a program to save the California condor from extinction. Could the species be restored by a single surviving female?

Sexual reproduction is fundamental in all vertebrates. Normally, an egg from a female needs to be fertilized by a sperm from a male, so each parent contributes a copy of the genome.

Violation of this rule, as with fatherless condor chicks, tells us a lot about why sexual reproduction is such a good biological strategy – as well as how sex works in all animals, including animals. humans.

How Fatherless Chicks Were Identified

The magnificent California condor, a type of vulture, is the largest flying bird in North America. In 1982, the species fell to a population of barely 22 peoplesparking an ambitious captive breeding program run by the San Diego Zoo, which has seen its numbers begin to increase.

With so few birds, the team had to be careful not to choose closely related parents, because a lack of genetic variation would produce less vigorous offspring and worsen the trend towards extinction.

The researchers conducted a detailed genetic study of the birds to avoid this, using condor-specific DNA markers that varied from bird to bird. They collected feathers, blood and eggshells from nearly 1,000 birds over 30 years.

By analyzing this data, they established parentage, confirming that half of each chick’s DNA markers came from a female and the other half from a male, as one would expect. They continued to follow the fate of hundreds of captive-bred chicks in the colony and after releasing them into the wild.

But there was something unusual about two male chicks, as detailed in the recent article. These chicks, which hatched several years apart from eggs laid by different females, had DNA markers that all came from the female parent. There was no trace of markers from the male she had been paired with.

virgin birth

The development of unfertilized eggs is called “parthenogenesis” (Greek words that literally mean “virgin creation”). It is quite common in insects and other invertebrates such as aphids and starfish, and can be accomplished by several different mechanisms. But it’s very rare in vertebrates.

Cases of parthenogenesis have been reported in housed fish and reptiles without males. In Tennessee, a lone female Komodo dragon held in captivity for many years has given up on finding a mate and produces three viable offspring alone. So did a female python and a boaalthough these parthenogenic offspring all died prematurely.

Some lizards, however, have adopted parthenogenesis as a way of life. There are exclusively female species in Australia and the United States where females lay eggs carrying only combinations of their own genes.

Parthenogenesis also occurs in domestic chickens and turkeys reared without a male, but the embryo usually dies. There are only a few reports of fatherless male turkeys reaching adulthood, and only one or two producing sperm.

How’s it going ?

In birds, parthenogenesis always results from an egg carrying a single copy of the genome (haploid). Eggs are made in a female’s ovary by a special kind of cell division called meiosis, which reshuffles the genome and also halves the number of chromosomes. Sperm cells are made by the same process in a man’s testicle.

Normally, an egg and a sperm fuse together (fertilization), incorporating the genomes of both parents and restoring the usual (diploid) number of chromosomes.

But in parthenogenesis, the egg is not fertilized. Instead, it achieves a diploid state either by fusing with another cell of the same division – which is normally abandoned – or by replicating its genome without the cell being divided.

So, rather than getting one genome from the mother and another from the father, the resulting egg only contains a subset of the mother’s genes in double dose.

Fatherless birds will always be males

Condors, like other birds, determine sex by the Z and W sex chromosomes. These work the opposite of the human XX (female) and XY (male) system, in which the SRY gene on the Y chromosome determines masculinity.

However, in birds, males are ZZ and females are ZW. Sex is determined by the assay of a gene (DMRT1) on the Z chromosome. The ZZ combination has two copies of the DMRT1 gene and results in a male, while the ZW combination has only one copy and results in a female .

Haploid eggs receive either a Z or a W from the ZW mother. Their diploid derivatives will therefore be ZZ (normal male) or WW (dead). The reason WW embryos cannot develop is that the W chromosome contains almost no genes, while the Z chromosome contains 900 genes that are vital for development.

Fatherless chicks must therefore be ZZ males, as has been observed.

Why Virgin Birth Fails

Is it possible that an endangered species of bird such as the condor could be resurrected from a single female survivor, by hatching a fatherless male chick and breeding with it?

Well not quite. Turns out parthenogens (fatherless animals) aren’t doing so well. Neither of the two fatherless condors produced offspring of their own. One died before reaching sexual maturity and the other was weak and submissive, making him a poor prospect for fatherhood.

In chickens and turkeys, parthenogenesis produces either dead embryos or weak hatchlings. Even female-only lizard species, although they appear hardy, are usually the product of a recent mixing of two species that messed up meiosis and left them with no other options. These species don’t seem to last long.

Why do parthenogens fare so badly? The answer goes to the heart of a fundamental biological question. That is: why do we have sex? One would think it would be more efficient if the mother’s genome was simply passed on to her clonal offspring without worrying about meiosis.

Variation is key

But the evidence indicates that it is not healthy to have a genome made up entirely of the mother’s genes. Genetic variation is critical to the health of an individual and their species. Mixing the genetic variants of the male and female parents is vital.

In diploid offspring with two parental genomes, good variants can span mutants. Individuals who inherit genes only from the mother may have two copies of a maternal mutant gene that weakens them – without a healthy version from a male parent to compensate.

The variation also helps protect populations from deadly viruses, bacteria and parasites. Meiosis and fertilization provide many rearrangements of different gene variants, which can confuse pathogens. Without this additional protection, pathogens could run amok in a population of clones, and a genetically similar population would contain no resistant animals.

So the ability of female condors to hatch fatherless chicks is unlikely to save the species. On the bright side, human efforts have now led to hundreds of women – and men – flying the skies of California.

Jenny Graves is the Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. You can find the original article here.

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