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.
April 22, 2011
Survey Fun As mentioned in an earlier post New Fly for North Campus, we've been trapping insects on the North Campus for a while now. This week however, is a milestone for NHMLA as we held our first quarterly insect survey. Our aim was to go after the insects that our Malaise trap wasn't sampling, like large flying insects such as crane flies and bumble bees and ground dwelling insects like earwigs and beetles. Since this was our first time and the site is still an active construction zone, we limited participation to NHMLA staff and partners. As the specimens get prepared and sorted, I'll keep you all up to date on the species we identify.
Brent "the bug guy" Karner demonstrates proper use of a beating sheet to our USC partners.
Brian Brown showing off his aspirator (aka pooter) skills. Look closely, I swear there's an insect there!
A common insect, but nonetheless an impressive catch. Female carpenter bee in the genus Xylocopa Special thanks to Cordell Corporation for allowing us to access the site.