Reticulate Collared Lizard Research

The Reticulate Collared Lizard is one of the largest species of lizards in Texas and is listed as a state threatened species. The San Antonio Viejo Ranch is blessed to have a healthy population of Reticulate Collared Lizards; however, the ecology and natural history of these cryptic lizards is poorly understood.

With our partners, we are using radio-telemetry and GPS telemetry to study home range size, activity patterns, movements, and fine scale patterns of habitat use for Reticulate Collared Lizards. Specifically, on the San Antonio Viejo Ranch we are:

  • Conducting surveys by road and on foot
  • Capturing lizards using pitfall traps, nooses, and by
    hand
  • Collecting data from captured lizards, including snout to vent length, body mass, and head length
  • Outfitting lizards >30 grams with a VHF transmitter and GPS receiver
  • Determining microhabitat use from survey data

We observed 68 Reticulate Collared Lizards between 18 May and 14 July, 2015. Most lizards were sighted during road surveys. Of these, we captured 5 animals – only one was large enough to outfit with a GPS receiver. Body mass of captured lizards ranged from 13–47 grams. We tracked this adult male Reticulate Collared Lizard from 30 June to 13 July. During the first 3 nights, the lizard was on an adjacent property, but returned to the ranch the following nights. This lizard did not use rock or mammal burrows for nocturnal refuge, but rather sought the cover of herbaceous vegetation (grasses and forbs).

Outcomes from this ongoing project will help landowners and managers assess the impacts of disturbances to Reticulate Collared Lizard populations and enable them to make informed decisions regarding land management.

Partners: Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections at Texas A&M University

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