Arboreal cover boards: using artificial bark to sample cryptic arboreal lizards

Nordberg, Eric J., and Schwarzkopf, Lin (2015) Arboreal cover boards: using artificial bark to sample cryptic arboreal lizards. Herpetologica, 71 (4). pp. 268-273.

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Abstract

Arboreal reptiles are often difficult to capture because of their cryptic nature and propensity to flee out of reach when approached. In addition, arboreal lizards often seek refuge under loose or peeling tree bark; therefore researchers often remove it to catch them, thereby potentially damaging habitat. Using arboreal cover boards, or "artificial bark," might reduce damage to natural shelter sites, allowing repeated surveys. We compared capture success and population structure of samples obtained by two capture methods-active searches (visual encounter surveys [VES]) and arboreal cover boards used as artificial bark-on two species of arboreal lizards, Inland Snake-eyed Skinks (Cryptoblepharus australis) and Dubious Dtellas (Gehyra dubia). Two types of arboreal cover boards (cardboard and closed-cell foam) were strapped around the main trunks of trees with elastic straps. Systematic VES during the day (for Cryptoblepharus) and at night (for Gehyra) were conducted in conjunction with monitoring of arboreal cover boards. Diurnal VES for Cryptoblepharus had low capture success (17.1% of observed animals) compared to arboreal cover boards (49.6%). Nocturnal spotlight surveys for Gehyra resulted in a high number of observations, but low capture success (44.9% of observed animals) compared to arboreal cover boards (83.5%). There was no difference in the capture success between cover board materials. Using arboreal cover boards as artificial bark increased hand captures of arboreal lizards, and preserved natural bark shelters that would have otherwise been destroyed by peeling bark during visual encounter surveys.

Item ID: 41635
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-5099
Keywords: active searches, methods, reptiles, spotlighting, trapping
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Nordberg, Eric J. (2018) The impacts of cattle grazing on arboreal reptiles. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:40
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 100%
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