Review Of Horned Lizard Conservation Society Matagorda Island Field Trip
or How I Got My 09 AT Hours
The study of the horned lizard population on Matagorda Island is being done by two graduate students from Ft. Hays State University. Oxygen and Carbon isotope ratios are being compared between horned lizards and the ants in their capture locations attempting to pair predator and prey, investigating which ant species are being used by the horned lizards as food. In addition vegetation types and soil conditions are being recorded at each capture site.
A second part of the study is to follow horned lizard movements. A novel technique is being used to track the lizards. Small patches of fur are glued to the lizard's underside and packed wiht flourescent powder. Then after dark the researchers return to the capture site and use a black light to follow the trail until the lizard's night time resting spot is found. then the fur patch is re-dusted and the process is repeated for one or two days. Distance travelled and number of ant mounds visited are recorded. After three or four days the fur patches fall off without harming the lizards.
I helped with all aspects of the field work. As well as seeing some really excellent birds, alligators, and snakes.