Citizen Science Coordinator
Assistant Curator, Herpetology
You can also follow Herpetology Section happenings on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LACMherps.
Want to learn more about urban nature? Check out our L.A.'s Urban Nature blog http://www.nhm.org/nature/blog
When researchers and the public work together, it's always a reason to celebrate. Join us at Citizen Science and Cocktails events to hear from researchers about their citizen science projects.
L.A. is more wild than you think! Come celebrate the transformation of NHM into an indoor-outdoor Museum!
The Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California (RASCals) citizen science project is a partnership between the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the San Diego Natural History Museum. RASCals is designed to improve our knowledge of native and non-native reptiles and amphibians in southern California. This region is home to 22.5 million people and has experienced dramatic urbanization and habitat modification. We need your help in documenting reptiles and amphibians throughout the region so that we can examine how various species have responded to these habitat changes. We are interested in native and non-native species and in observations in all types of habitats, from relatively pristine habitats to heavily modified, urban habitats, such as backyards, schoolyards, and urban parks.
Please check out the links to the left to learn more about RASCals and to get started helping us collect data.
Through the Museum’s citizen science program, we have discovered two lizard species that had not been previously recorded in the Greater L.A. Area, the Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) and the Indo-Pacific Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotti).
These geckos are not native to California. The Mediterranean House Gecko, as you would expect from its name, is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. The Indo-Pacific Gecko is native to Southeast Asia, but has been introduced to Australia, India, the Philippines, and Polynesia. In the United States, it has been documented in Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and now California.
These important discoveries were made possible by the keen eyes of our participating citizen scientists, including the Bernstein family, Mr. Yoshida, and Mr. Worrell. You can learn more about the Bernstein's discovery of Mediterranean House Geckos in L.A. County and see some live geckos on display in the Nature Lab.
We had a fantastic lizard scouting field trip April 13, 2013 at Malibu Creek State Park with more than 20 participants. NHM herpetologist Greg Pauly and CSUN Professor and NHM Research Associate Bobby Espinoza led a very prolific team of nature lovers.
Here are the species that we found:
Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Western Fence Lizard
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
Pacific Chorus Frog
Photos from the trip by Martha Benedict of SoCalWild:
Check back regularly for announcements of future trips to find reptiles and amphibians.