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Tuesday, February 7 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Technical Session. Assessing Habitat Management for an Isolated Population of Aspidoscelis Sexlineata (Six-Lined Racerunner) Using Focal Animal Sampling and Visual Encounter Surveys

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AUTHORS: Reine Ecker, Brionna Schrag, Melanie Schott, Teresa Yoder-Nowak, Danielle Potts -University of Michigan-Flint

ABSTRACT: The six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata) is a small whiptail lizard that is common throughout most of its range, which includes the Midwest and Southeast United States as well as part of Mexico. However, only one known, isolated population exists in Michigan, estimated at 450 individuals and inhabiting 4.13 hectares of south-facing hillside in Murphy Lake State Game Area, Tuscola County, Michigan. Previous research suggests that this population is a glacial relict rather than an introduced population. Due to its limited habitat and possible native status, the six-lined racerunner was declared a Threatened species in Michigan in 2009. These lizards are known to benefit from habitat disturbance, so as part of an adaptive management project trees and brush were removed from randomly selected plots in the lizards’ habitat to improve and maintain habitat quality. During the summer of 2014, prior to habitat modification, preliminary behavioral and occupancy data were collected within the plots using focal animal sampling (FAS) and visual encounter surveys (VES). Percent canopy cover and percent brush cover for each plot were also recorded. Herbicidal treatment of woody vegetation in treatment plots was applied during the fall of 2014, followed by manual removal of dead vegetation in the spring of 2016. Post modification data were collected in the summer of 2016 using the same methods as pre modification data collection. Data were then compared between pre and post modification and between treated and untreated plots to determine the effects of woody vegetation removal on six-lined racerunner behavior and occupancy. 

Tuesday February 7, 2017 2:40pm - 3:00pm CST
Arbor I/II

Attendees (5)