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Florida Scrub Lizard Status Survey

In 2012, the USFWS was petitioned to list the Florida scrub lizard (Sceloporus woodi) as threatened, prompting it to provide funds to assess its current status. Historically, the species inhabited scrub and other xeric habitats in 16 counties in central Florida, the Atlantic Coast, and the southwestern Gulf Coast. An earlier federal status survey conducted in 1986 detected the species at 270 of 529 sites in 12 counties. 

The survey methodology consisted of walking bare, sandy areas in appropriate xeric habitats to observe active lizards. Surveys typically lasted 10 min, and all lizards observed were counted. Environmental and habitat variables were recorded. These survey data were used in occupancy models to calculate detection probability and determine the likelihood of “unoccupied” patches actually having scrub lizards. Remote sensing was used to determine whether the 200 sites (omitting Ocala National Forest) occupied in 1986 still contained potential habitat, the size of habitat patches, distance to the nearest occupied patch, and the percent habitat loss since 1994.

Learn what biologists found in the research publication!