Fitness of the Endangered Pygmy Blue Tongue Lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis in Artificial Burrows

  • Published source details Milne T., Bull C.M. & Hutchinson M.N. (2003) Fitness of the Endangered Pygmy Blue Tongue Lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis in Artificial Burrows. Journal of Herpetology, 37, 762-766.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create artificial burrows

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create artificial burrows

    A replicated, controlled study in 1995–1998 in a grassland site in South Australia, Australia (Milne et al. 2003) found that female pygmy bluetongue lizards Tiliqua adelaidensis using artificial burrows had better body condition and produced larger offspring than female lizards using natural burrows. Females observed in artificial burrows had a higher body condition index than those in natural burrows (data reported as statistical model result). Females in artificial burrows also produced heavier offspring (artificial: 1.7 g; natural: 1.5 g) with a higher body condition index (artificial: 2.7; natural: 2.6) than females in natural burrows, though snout-vent length of offspring and females was similar for both groups (offspring: artificial: 44.5 mm; natural: 44.4 mm; females: artificial: 97.9 mm; natural: 96.5 mm). Body condition of males was similar in artificial and natural burrows. One-hundred artificial burrows (10 m apart in 10 x 10 grid, 30 cm deep and 1.7 cm in diameter) were added in August 1995 to a 1 ha plot adjacent to a natural population. They were made by hammering a metal rod into the ground and inserting a hollow wooden tube. Burrows were monitored weekly using a fibre optic camera from September to May over a three-year period. Lizards were lured out of natural burrows (147 females, 124 males) or removed in the tube from artificial burrows (40 females, 49 males). 

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson)

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