Scientists are looking for new lizards on Orcas and need the community’s help

  • Fri Jul 12th, 2019 1:30am
  • News

Submitted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Scientists are looking for a species new to science on Orcas. Wall lizards are small-to-medium sized lizards that live in a diversity of habitats but prefer living in human residential areas. These lizards are native to Europe but have been introduced all across North America from New York City to Boston, throughout the midwest and in Los Angeles and San Diego. While there’s a robust invasive population of these lizards in Victoria, British Columbia, rumors suggest wall lizards have also been introduced to Orcas but scientists have not been able to confirm this yet. Any help the community on Orcas could provide as to the whereabouts of these lizards would be greatly appreciated and immensely helpful to science.

A group of scientists is studying the genetics of these invasive lizards to understand how many species there are and how they are adapting to new environments. These species are predominantly from the Mediterranean, and we are only just starting to figure out how they are thriving in such different environments from where they’ve evolved. Studying these animals on Orcas is important to understand whether they might negatively impact native species on the island and to understand where they might continue to spread throughout Orcas and elsewhere.

To provide information on where these lizards might be on Orcas, please contact Dr. Max Lambert at lambert.mrm@gmail.com.