Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lizard Project Day 3: The little things.


One of the best parts about doing research in the field is the little unexpected things that you get to see because you are spending time looking at nature so carefully. Today we got a lot of work done.  We measured dewlaps in the morning for 20 lizards, paddled out to islands M and K where we caught 76 more lizards, took a break for dinner and then measured, weighed and marked our catch.  We did a lot of work, but the things I will remember about today were the little things that happened in between the work.

While paddling between islands in our kayaks, we saw a snake swimming out in the middle of the estuary.  We paddled over to try and catch it.  Once Tim had it in hand, we realized that it wasn't a snake at all.  It was a eastern glass lizard, a species of lizard without legs.  It is a great example of convergent evolution.  They look like snakes, but they evolved this body completely independently.  None of us had ever seen one in real life (aka: the wild) before.

In the middle of working on the islands, we heard loud snorting and slapping noises.  In the estuary, we saw several dolphins swimming in the shallows.  Quite a site to see for us, since we all live in the midwest, nowhere near an ocean.



The other fun part of the day occurred as we chased down a large male anole.  Aaron spotted the anole in the tree, and it was eating the lunch of a fat spider.  Tim then tried to catch the anole with his lizard noose but accidentally caught the spider instead. The seconds later, Dan caught the lizard.



We are looking forward to more of the little things.  -Tim and Aaron

20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Everything You're Doing Looks Cool! Seems To Be Going Good! :)

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  3. Mr. Reedy what are the differences between lizards and snakes

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    1. Good question. Their are several differences between lizards and snakes. The most obvious being the legs, but as we showed you with the Island Glass Lizard, sometimes certain lizards don't have legs.

      Lizards have ear holes snakes do not.
      Lizards have eyelids snakes do not.
      Snakes have extremely flexible jaws and most lizards do not.

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  4. This is so cool, especially the glass lizard. A very rare find indeed!
    Jordan

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  5. Hey Mr. Reedy! Its Ashley! It is so interesting to hear there is a species of lizard without legs. Guess it has not evolved yet. :) Even though it has no legs, how can it be classified as a lizard? Should it not be classified as a lizard?

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    1. Hi Ashley! See my answer to Tim above. It will answer your question too.

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  6. Your findings are very interesting Mr. Reedy! and same thing Jordan brought up, the glass lizard looks so cool!
    -Salvador

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  7. so how big the was the glass lizard?

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    1. We are measuring it now. We will get back to you with the answer.

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  8. @ashhlucero

    He clearly states above that the lizard had in fact evolved into the legless being it is, convergent evolution.

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  9. So are those lizards numerous within that habitat? Or was it a straggler from elsewhere?

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    1. The brown anoles (Anolis sagrei)are very numerous here. The island glass lizard (the legless one) is pretty rare. They are also exceptionally hard to find because they spend most of their time underground. It was especially cool to see one swimming to our island.

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  10. Yo Mr. Reedy. How is this glass lizard different from usual snakes? Do they move just like snakes or do they have a unique way to move or a unique way of hunting?

    -Edmund Wu

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    1. Great question. Snakes have individual muscles on each pair of ribs and ventral scales. The legless lizards, like the glass lizard, just undulate their body side to side. The snakes are much more specialized in their movements and the legless lizards really look like they move with a pattern that is still reminiscent of walking.

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  11. Hi Mr. Reedy, as you guys caught the glass lizard, so what is the difference between the glass lizard and the lizards you guys caught on the island?

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    1. Heng- They are very different from each other, with the most obvious difference being the legs. The glass lizard is also much bigger and probably eats anoles when it can.

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  12. Mr. Reedy, we have found three of the eastern glass lizards in our yard since last year. At least that's what we think they are. We caught one yesterday and thought it was a snake, but wasn't sure what kind. When we looked it up this is what we found. It was about a foot and a half long.

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