Lila Higgins went to Chatsworth on a gecko hunt!
Originally published on Aug 16, 2011
Instead of spending a cozy night in, reading Biology of Spiders (did I mention we're opening our Spider Pavilion at the end of September?), I went to Chatsworth on a gecko hunt! At 8:30pm I parked on a dark street to meet up with a bunch of other lizard geeks (or Herpers, as they much prefer to be called). Among the party was my museum colleague, Leslie Gordon (a self-proclaimed lizard lady and manager of our live vertebrate program), and Dr. Bobby Espinoza, professor and researcher in the Laboratory of Integrative and Comparative Herpetology at Cal State Northridge.
We were here in deepest, darkest suburbia, looking for Mediterranean house geckos (MHG), an introduced species of lizard from, you guessed it, the Mediterranean. This is the first population of these lizards found in Los Angeles and a boon to Bobby for his research. We were collecting the lizards so Bobby could sprint them down a racetrack! Seriously, Bobby is looking at temperature dependent performance in multiple gecko species. This will be the first batch of MHGs that Bobby has sent down the track. In total we collected 14 individuals. I wonder how they'll fare on the track? Here are some pictures from our adventure.