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Author Topic: How do I monitor lizards?  (Read 1612 times)

Offline MolonLabe

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How do I monitor lizards?
« on: 27/09/2015 16:58:54 »
I'll start my first thread with a hilarious pun in the title. Not funny? Oh please yourself. Anyway, our garden (Tenerife south) is full of lizards, Gallotia galloti galloti, and they are delightful inquisitive creatures which enjoy cheese, coleslaw and especially scrambled egg. Some we know as individuals, and are often tame enough to eat from my hand. They live in dry stone walls and walls of our old cottage, and I know of one group where an old lizard has lived there for at least 5 years, with a bewildering combination of younger females.

Not much is known about their behaviour, and I was wondering how I could record their movements. If they can tag individual bees, it must be possible for lizards, but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Does anybody have experience of this kind of thing?


 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #1 on: 27/09/2015 17:42:22 »

"Molon Labe"  was the reply the Spartans made at Thermopylae when the Persians asked them to lay down their weapons. "Come get them you suckas" in common American parlance.

I know this since it has become the watchword of the gun freaks here in America because people advocate restrictions of their "Gunny Boos". For instance not selling AK-47's - which may be converted to full automatic fire with 3 inches of wire - at local "gun shows" flea markets.

Ever a fearless lad, I will step up and wonder if "Come get them, you suckas" has the ready to purchase radio triangulation gear and the micro-miniature tagging devices to carry out this study?

 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #2 on: 27/09/2015 19:30:13 »
"Molon Labe"  was the reply the Spartans made at Thermopylae when the Persians asked them to lay down their weapons. "Come get them you suckas" in common American parlance.

Yes, I know that. What I don't know is what is required for the lizard monitoring

Edit: Actually, your interpretation is not quite right. It was the Spartan general replying to a Persian general in person, because molon is masculine singular, If the Spartans had been talking to the Persians generally, it would have been "molontes labete"
« Last Edit: 27/09/2015 20:05:06 by MolonLabe »
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #3 on: 27/09/2015 20:08:24 »
What is required, Sir, is money --- tres, boo coo, lots of money.

In the event that you do not have tres, boo coo, lots of money you will need a grant.

To get a grant you will have to explain why you think your lizards have more interesting lives than eat-> sleep in rock crevice -> eat -> sleep in rock crevice -> et cetera, etcetera and so forth - with occasional breaks for elimination and copulation.

Sounds kind of iffy to me. However the British Research Council is known to engage in flights of scientific whimsy and you might just luck out -- especially if you intimate that your lizards secretly worship images of Margaret Thatcher and sing "Rule Britannia" in subsonic frequencies.


Edit: As to "molon labe" it is all Greek to me. Just like the fascination with guns as penile substitutes, and the idea of dying for one's country. I am confronted with the profound stupidity of both every day here in America as I remember my comrades who gave their lives for a bunch of delusional old men's neo-colonial war. And one that the French had already lost to boot.
« Last Edit: 27/09/2015 20:21:19 by Pecos_Bill »
 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #4 on: 27/09/2015 20:23:35 »
Your post is of course hilarious but not very enlightening. I was asking for information about the technical aspect in the first instance.
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #5 on: 27/09/2015 20:33:24 »
The technical aspect is subservient to the dictum that money makes the mare go.

Why speculate about the feasibility of nanometric satellite tracking devices to implant under your little reptilian neighbor's skin when you haven't got the money and could be out sailing a hobie cat around the island instead?
 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #6 on: 27/09/2015 20:40:58 »
And how do you know I haven't got the money? (very probably true)

and

I get seasick
 

Offline Pecos_Bill

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #7 on: 27/09/2015 22:42:29 »
How would you imagine that I care? The lizards don't, and you are still missing out on the sailing while the wine of life keeps oozing drop by drop.

But since you persist, maybe instead of inventing nanoscopic satellite trackers, you could train fruit flies to spy upon them in their crevices.

Then again there may be the odd clairvoyant kicking around here who would be happy to accept travel money and expenses for several weeks of his/her professional services.

Or perhaps after you invent teeny,tiny Television sets, you can teach them the beautiful game. Then when Heart of  Midlothian defeats Barcelona, you can locate their dens by the sound of their cheering.

As to your mal de mer some people swear by smoking the elixir of Egypt. That's not my style so I go with applying a scopalamine patch behind my left ear 8 hours before I embark. When I went out to the Farallons for the humongous rock cod found in that water, even the captain was barfing over the lee rail. Scopalamine might not work there, but it does fine going after ling cod around Monterey bay.
« Last Edit: 27/09/2015 22:48:56 by Pecos_Bill »
 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #8 on: 28/09/2015 16:30:26 »
So far you have said nothing correct or sensible. Great contributions to a science forum. Keep up the good work.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #9 on: 28/09/2015 17:16:44 »
I did wonder about setting up a time lapse camera to get pictures of them and putting dots of paint on them so you could tell them apart.
Then I Googled them- it seems no paint is required (pretty things, aren't they).
Now, with a lot of computing power you could get some sort of tracking based on image recognition. But you might find it easier so skip through the pictures and make notes.
If you win the lottery, rather inventing implantable nanotech, you could use harmonic radar, the technique they employ for tracking individual bees.
http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1260&context=ent_pubs
 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #10 on: 28/09/2015 18:32:10 »
Thanks for that - an interesting link. One problem I see (apart from finance) is that I can't see how I could attach such an antenna in a way which would not impede the movement of a lizard. They constantly crawl about between the stones in walls and crevices which an external device would snag against. The article in the link seems pleased with the fact that some of the tagged beetles were still alive. Our lizards are not expendable (Declaration by wife).
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #11 on: 28/09/2015 19:00:22 »
Tricky. Even if you built a biodegradable antenna and got them to eat it you would have a problem- lizards probably absorb radio waves quite well.

It's just about possible that you could use the lizard itself as a resonant antenna but that's probably several PhDs worth of work.

As so often happens in science, the mark 1 eyeball is one of the best sensors we have.
 

Offline MolonLabe

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #12 on: 28/09/2015 19:09:24 »
As so often happens in science, the mark 1 eyeball is one of the best sensors we have.

I suspect you are right. There are a number of problems: the male lizards change colour, with their blue spots changing daily in intensity (in visible light, god knows how in UV); all lizards slough their skins at intervals when they are growing, so that their appearance changes; they spend a lot of time hiding behind/between rocks. In other words, it is suprisingly difficult to identify any particular lizard with certainty by sight. *sigh*
 

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Re: How do I monitor lizards?
« Reply #12 on: 28/09/2015 19:09:24 »

 

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