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Aeolian Wall Lizard (Podarcis raffonei)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 162514415

Eolizard. Vulnerability to invasion sand conservation genetics of the endemic Aeolian lizard, Podarcis raffoneae

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 162514415) - Aeolian Wall Lizard - Awarded $11,440 on May 08, 2017

The Aeolian lizard, Podarcis raffoneae, is one of the most endangered vertebrates in Europe.

The species is suffering a very strong and fast decline, which was probably determined by the ongoing invasion of the invasive lizard, Podarcis siculus, which has been introduced from mainland Italy and Sicily. Podarcis siculus may determine the decline of the Aeolian lizard through both competition and hybridization, but information on the processes determining the decline is lacking. Currently, the Aeolian lizard only persists on four very small islets of the Aeolian archipelago, each with surface < 1 ha.

This project will reveal l the role of invasive reptiles on species decline, and identify the best strategies to stop such decline. Specifically, we will:

1) use genetic tools to assess whether hybridization with the invasive species is determining the decline of Podarcis raffoneae.

2) identify eventual hybrids on the basis of morphology.

3) assess whether loss of genetic diversity is a threat to the native populations.

4) assess whether interspecific competition and interference determines the decline of the Aeolian lizard.

5) identifying the best microhabitats for the Aeolian lizard.




Project document