EFFECT OF RADIO-TRANSMITTER COLLAR COLOR ON PREDATION PROBABILITY IN ENDANGERED BLUNT-NOSED LEOPARD LIZARDS (GAMBELIA SILA) IN THE PANOCHE PLATEAU
|Keyanna A Pinto; Department of Biology, California State University, Fresno; Jalebi@mail.fresnostate.edu; Stephanie Doria, Emily Bergman, Andrew C. Kraemer, Kathryn D. Ramirez, Michael Westphal, Rory S. Telemeco
Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards (Gambelia sila) are a federal- and state-listed endangered species endemic to the San Joaquin Desert, where much of their habitat has been lost and fragmented due to land conversion for agricultural and industrial use. In 2023, researchers plan to begin repatriating captive-reared animals to the recently extirpated Panoche Plateau. Despite the species' importance and prior radio-telemetry studies, no one has yet confirmed that standardly used radio-collars do not attract increased predator attention to collared G. sila. Using previously validated methods, 380 effective clay models were placed at 20 locations over a 12 week period. Field cameras were paired with 16 locations to document attacks and identify predators on the Plateau. Treatments were no collar, silver, white, and bronze. Common predators captured on cameras included ravens, loggerhead shrikes, and coyotes. Less common predators included greater roadrunners and San Joaquin kit foxes. Preliminary analysis shows that collars had no effect on predation probability. It is important to ensure that predation due to increased visibility will not have a dramatic effect on repatriated individuals on the Plateau site. Understanding the impact radio-collars have on predation of G. sila will ultimately aid in the recovery and management of the species.