Determinants of successful establishment and post-translocation dispersal of a new population of the critically endangered St. Croix ground lizard (Ameiva polops)

  • Published source details Fitzgerald L.A., Treglia M.L., Angeli N., Hibbitts T.J., Leavitt D.J., Subalusky A.L., Lundgren I. & Hillis-Starr Z. (2015) Determinants of successful establishment and post-translocation dispersal of a new population of the critically endangered St. Croix ground lizard (Ameiva polops). Restoration Ecology, 23, 776-786.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release reptiles outside of their native range

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Release reptiles outside of their native range

    A replicated, randomized study in 2008–2013 in beach-forest on Buck Island, US Virgin Islands (Fitzgerald et al. 2015, same experimental set-up as Angeli et al. 2018) found that St. Croix ground lizards Ameiva polops released outside of their native range and held temporarily in enclosures, survived, bred and dispersed in the 5 years post release. In the first 71 days after translocation, 20 individually-identified St. Croix ground lizards, 32 unidentifiable individuals and one hatchling were observed in release enclosures. Five years later, adult (73% of observations) and juvenile lizards (24% of observations) were observed. Fifty-seven St. Croix ground lizards were translocated to Buck Island (71 ha) in April–May 2008, where they had not previously been present, apart from an unsuccessful translocation attempt in the 1960s. Lizards were marked, toe clipped, and held in enclosures (10 x 10 m) for 71 days after translocations began (7–8 lizards/enclosure, eight enclosures, enclosures removed in July 2008). Lizards were monitored in enclosures using visual surveys (26 x 10-minute surveys) and pitfall traps. Lizards were surveyed after one year (May–June 2009, captured by noosing) and five years (March–May 2013, visual surveys at 61 sites across the island). Invasive predators (rats Rattus rattus and mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus) were eradicated before translocation and vegetation restoration was ongoing.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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