Lizards are an important, but poorly understood part of wetland biodiversity. Australia has over 1000 reptile species and, of these, 260 species are found within the Murray Darling Basin where they live in a variety of habitats, including floodplains and wetlands. Several tree-dwelling lizard species are expected to occur across the Murrumbidgee catchment, including marbled geckos, tree dtellas, tree crevice skinks and ragged snake-eyed skinks. We decided to investigate the ‘life on trees’ in some of the wetlands we are focusing on through the Murrumbidgee component of the Flow-MER Program.
Choosing an appropriate monitoring method is important to detect different lizard species. While it’s good to be able to accurately identify the species found, it’s equally important to be confident that a species is definitely not around at a site, rather than simply not found. Some lizards can be very secretive, well camouflaged, or just plain hard to find. Researchers do know that factors like temperature, availability of food and disturbance by people or predatory animals may all affect whether target species use different types of artificial refuge and how likely they are to be detected using them.