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

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