Study

Food supplementation reduces post-release dispersal during simulated translocation of the endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis

  • Published source details Ebrahimi M. & Bull C.M. (2012) Food supplementation reduces post-release dispersal during simulated translocation of the endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis. Endangered Species Research, 18, 169-178.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create artificial burrows

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Provide supplementary food or water

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Lizards

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create artificial burrows

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2009 in grass, bare ground and tilled soil enclosures in southern Australia (Ebrahimi & Bull 2012, same experimental set-up as Ebrahimi & Bull 2013) found that translocated pygmy bluetongue lizards Tiliqua adelaidensis used artificial burrows, and lizards given supplementary food spent less time in open habitat away from the burrows. Of 2,298 recorded lizard behaviours, 1,352 were of lizards basking in burrow entrances before re-entering; 708 were of lizards fully emerging and returning to the same burrow; and 238 were of lizards emerging and entering a different burrow. Lizards provided with supplementary food spent less time out in open habitat than lizards that were not fed (see paper for details). In November 2009, sixteen lizards were captured and moved to a trial site in a zoo and placed in four 15 m enclosed cages (four lizards/cage). Cages contained short grass, bare ground and tilled soil. Artificial burrows were built from hollowed wooden poles (30 cm long, 3 cm diameter) pushed into grassy or tilled soil (82 burrows/cage). No burrows were present in the bare ground habitat. Lizards in two of the cages were provided supplementary food for seven days, then after a two-day break, lizards in the other two cages were provided supplementary food for seven days. Lizards were monitored by four surveillance cameras/cage during daylight hours from the second to seventh days of the feeding regime (12 days total). 

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Provide supplementary food or water

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2009 in grass, bare ground and tilled soil enclosures in southern Australia (Ebrahimi & Bull 2012) found that translocated pygmy bluetongue lizards Tiliqua adelaidensis provided with supplementary food and artificial burrows were less active, spent less time basking outside of burrows and were observed less in bare ground habitat than unfed lizards. Fed lizards were active for 1.5 hours less each day (4 hours) than unfed lizards (5.5 hrs). Fed lizards spent less time basking at their burrow entrance (19 minutes/hour) compared to unfed lizards (29 minutes/hour). Fed lizards were observed less frequently in bare ground habitat on most days and this effect became larger towards the end of the feeding period (see original paper for details). In total 16 lizards were captured and moved to a trial site in a zoo. Four lizards were released into four 15 m enclosed cages in November 2009. Cages contained short grass, bare ground and tilled soil. Lizards were fed mealworms daily in burrows for seven days in two cages and not fed in the other two cages, then no lizards were fed for two days before the feeding regime began again, but this time the previously unfed cages were fed daily for seven days and the other cages were not. Artificial burrows were built from hollowed wooden poles (30 cm long, 3 cm diameter) pushed into grassy or tilled soil (82 burrows/cage). Lizards were monitored by four surveillance cameras/cage during daylight hours from the second to seventh days of the feeding regime (12 days total).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Lizards

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2009 in grass, bare ground and tilled soil enclosures in southern Australia (Ebrahimi & Bull 2012) found that translocated Pygmy bluetongue lizards Tiliqua adelaidensis provided with artificial burrows and supplementary food were observed less often in bare ground habitat without artificial burrows than lizards that had access to artificial burrows but were not fed. Fed lizards were observed less frequently in bare ground habitat without artificial burrows on most days compared to lizards with the same access to artificial burrows but that were not fed and this effect became larger towards the end of the feeding period (see original paper for details). Fed lizards changed burrow less frequently (0.5 changes/day) compared to unfed lizards (1.1 changes/day). In total 16 lizards were captured and moved to a trial site in a zoo. Four lizards were released into four 15 m enclosed cages in November 2009. Cages contained short grass, bare ground and tilled soil. Artificial burrows were built from hollowed wooden poles (30 cm long, 3 cm diameter) pushed into grassy or tilled soil (82 burrows/cage). No burrows were present in the bare ground habitat. Lizards were fed mealworms daily in burrows for seven days in two cages and not fed in the other two cages, then no lizards were fed for two days before the feeding regime began again, but this time the previously unfed cages were fed daily for seven days and the other cages were not. Lizards were monitored by four surveillance cameras/cage during daylight hours from the second to seventh days of the feeding regime (12 days total).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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