April 27, 2012
This last Saturday we held the second annual Lizard Hunt at Malibu Creek State Park! Dr. Greg Pauly, Museum Herpetologist, and Dr. Bobby Espinoza, CSUN Herpetologist, took a group of 25 lucky people out to observe, catch, and identify local herps.
Are you looking at me?Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentatlisHere is a list of all the herps we encountered:Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalisCommon Side-blotched Lizard, Uta stansburianaTiger Whiptail, Aspidoscelis tigrisWestern Skink, Plestiodon skiltonianusSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus helleriGophersnake, Pituophis cateniferStriped Racer, Masticophis lateralisPacific Treefrog, Pseudacris regilla (heard calling)American Bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana (heard calling)
Dr. Greg Pauly lets an aspiring herpetologist touch a Western Fence Lizard
Dr. Bobby Espinoza shows off a striped racer, Masticophis lateralisOne of the primary goals of this field trip is to increase participation in our Lost Lizards of Los Angeles (LLOLA) project. Currently we have about 250 submissions, but for us to be able to do anything interesting with the data, we need at least 2,000 submissions. Hopefully we were able to inspire at least 25 more people to participate at this field trip. Are you inspired? One last thing for all you ultra herp-nerds—you can now get your daily herp dose by visiting the Museum's new herpetology section facebook page. Go get 'em Tiger Whiptail!
May 13, 2011
It has been a week of lizard happenings at NHMLA! We've had a confirmed sighting of another Western Fence Lizard in Exposition Park, we're installing underground lizard tubes in the North Campus, and over the weekend we held our first Lost Lizard Spotting field trip.Lizarding at Malibu CreekThis past Saturday morning a group of NHMLA staffers, and our good friend Dr. Bobby Espinoza, from Cal State University Northridge, led the first ever Lost Lizard field trip. Malibu Creek turned out to be the perfect location for this event and the group of kids and their families had a great time catching and identifying lizards. We found a number of species including Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis), Side-blotched Lizards (Uta stansburiana), and Western Whiptails (Aspidoscelis tigris). Hopefully the trip inspired all the participants to become Lost Lizard Citizen Scientists. If you're interested, find out more at the Museum's Lost Lizard site.
Western Fence Lizard, Sceloporus occidentalis
Bobby showing proper lizard handling techniqueThe Lizard UndergroundMeanwhile, in the North Campus, we are getting ready to install an Underground system. Unlike London's tube system, this system of tubes is designed for lizards and not humans. They are being installed in the Living Wall, in the hopes that when lizards move into the North Campus, they'll have lots of good spots for hiding, nesting, and escaping from predators like Raccoons.
Model lizard tubes at the San Diego ZooWhy Did the Lizard Cross Exposition Boulevard?To get to the North Campus, or at least this is what we hope will happen in the future. Last week our fearless Bug Guy, Brent Karner, was walking back from a lunch outing, and saw a lizard on the curb! As he got closer he identified the lizard as a Western Fence, Sceloporus occidentalis. This is the third lizard record for Exposition Park in the recent past, the first two occurring over a year ago at our Exposition Park Herp Survey. Stay tuned for photographic documentation as Brent sends me the picture he took with his not-so-smartphone.
March 9, 2011
If you read the previous post, you already know the basic idea of the North Campus. Now let's talk more about citizen science. We have three citizen science projects, what we like to call Community Science, that anyone can participate in. They are the Los Angeles Spider Survey, Lost Lizards of Los Angeles (aka LLOLA), and the Lost Ladybug Project which we host in partnership with Cornell University. All these projects help us collect data about what's living here in L.A. today. For instance, recently a LLOLA participant found a new lizard lounging in the Chatsworth area of L.A. Now when I say this lizard was lounging, I'm serious, they hang out by porch lights and wait for flying insects to be attracted. When a moth, or some other unsuspecting insect flies in, the lizard pounces and gobbles up the delicious treat. These Mediterranean House Geckos had never been found in L.A. County before, so it was a new record for science, and discovered by a tween no less!
Immature Mediterranean House Gecko, found by LLOLA participant Reese Bernstein and family.