Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lizards on Ice

So, it's been three weeks since I posted, and what do you know, it's been three weeks since the new quarter started! I am teaching a new class and am having a blast and a nervous breakdown all at the same time. More on that later... but for now an account of my weekend with chilly lizards (plus a snake or two).

Two students and I began their research project on healing rates of lizards. These lizards sometimes suffer attempted predation, or fight with one other, resulting in wounds (like this bite scar shows).

How well they heal can tell you some interesting things about reproduction, hormones, etc. This technique was developed by my friend Susannah French and has been used by several groups as a measurement of immune function.

So... it was an unseasonally cold California spring weekend, hard freezing at night and daytimes in the 50's! Not your typical lizard-catching conditions, but we managed to process a comfy 72 lizards in two days:

The adult female lizards are huge right now, in the throes of vitellogenesis.

A male rattlesnake basking at the entrance to an active ground squirrel burrow:

Students collecting data on him:

A consortship between two new rattlesnakes (female in foreground, male in background at burrow entrance):

Snake in the grass = savoring spring before green California goes brown...


da rev said...

would you thaw those darn lizards already?! i want wine tails (er, i mean tales). ;)

King cobra said...

Really your post is too wonderful, carry on your work and sharing your information with us.

Savannah monitor said...

I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this content together.

Dev said...

Good post. What is the name of that blue colored lizards? How can we identify them as male or female? Please include this info. The snake in the grass photo is amazing. it is very hard to find the snake from the background (natural).
I like lizards. I had pet lizards a couple of years ago. Thanks for the post and expecting more.