Restricted Research - Award List, Note/Discussion Page

Fiscal Year: 2021

47  Texas A&M University-Kingsville  (84341)

Principal Investigator: Henke, S.

Total Amount of Contract, Award, or Gift (Annual before 2011): $ 342,144

Exceeds $250,000 (Is it flagged?): Yes

Start and End Dates: 4/22/21 - 6/30/23

Restricted Research: YES

Academic Discipline: Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research

Department, Center, School, or Institute: Agricultural Sciences

Title of Contract, Award, or Gift: Identifying Best Practices to Survey for Spot-tailed Earless Lizards and Determining Reptile Communities Along Habitat Gradients in South-Central Texas with Special Reference to the Spot-tailed Earless Lizard

Name of Granting or Contracting Agency/Entity: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Program Title: none


SAMS 1.1.1 Our goal is to determine the most effective methods to survey for the Plateau spot-tailed earless lizard (Holbrookia lacerata) and the Tamaulipan spot-tailed earless lizard (Holbrookia subcaudalis) along with associated herpetofauna species in south-central Texas. We will evaluate eight collection techniques (i.e., pitfall traps, funnel traps, rock mounds, cover boards, remote camera surveys, detection dog surveys, systematic searches, and road cruising) to determine the most effective, cost-efficient survey method to determine the presence, relative abundance, and probability of detection for earless lizards. We propose to use a two phase approach. Phase 1 will incorporate a surrogate species, the greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), which will be placed inside a 1-ha enclosure at known densities of 5, 10, 20, and 40 lizards per ha. Each collection technique will be evaluated for lizard presence, relative abundance, and probability of detection at each lizard density. In addition, we propose to collect 1-5 Plateau spot-tailed earless lizards and place in captivity. Individual lizards will be placed in containers containing soil and be allowed to have contact with the soil substrate for 1 hr, 6 hrs, 12 hrs, 24 hrs, and 48 hrs. Soil will be sent to a laboratory for eDNA analysis to determine the quantity of contact time required with substrate to determine the presence of environmental DNA left by the lizard. Once the minimum time required to determine the presence of eDNA is established, we propose to repeat the experiment allowing lizards to have contact with the soil substrate for the minimum required time, but this time expose the lizard-subjected substrate to the environment for 1 day, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days. Doing so can establish the longevity of eDNA. During Phase 2, the most effective method(s) to determine the presence of spot-tailed earless lizards will be conducted at five recently documented locations of occurrence across the historic range of spot-tailed earless lizards in a repeated measures experimental design. All encountered species will be recorded along with environmental and habitat parameters at each location to develop a GIS database. Spot-tailed earless lizards encountered will be hand-collected, sexed, weighed, measured for snout-to-vent length, scat collected for diet analysis, marked with a passive integrated transponder, and released at capture site. Data collected is essential to gain knowledge on this little-studied, rare lizard to aid in the decision if the two species warrant federal listing as a threatened and/or endangered species.

Discussion: No discussion notes


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