Originally published on Aug 16, 2011

Instead of spending a cozy night in, reading Biology of Spiders (did I mention we're opening our Spider Pavilion at the end of September?), I went to Chatsworth on a gecko hunt! At 8:30pm I parked on a dark street to meet up with a bunch of other lizard geeks (or Herpers, as they much prefer to be called). Among the party was my Museum colleague, Leslie Gordon (a self-proclaimed lizard lady and manager of our live vertebrate program), and Dr. Bobby Espinoza, Cal State Northridge's professor and researcher in the Laboratory of Integrative and Comparative Herpetology.  

camouflage, gecko, lizard, brick
Mediterranean House Gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, trying to hide in a crack
Lila Higgins

We were here in deepest, darkest suburbia, looking for Mediterranean House Geckos (MHG), an introduced species of lizard from, you guessed it, the Mediterranean. This is the first population of these lizards found in Los Angeles, and a boon to Bobby for his research. We were collecting the lizards so Bobby could sprint them down a racetrack! Seriously, Bobby is looking at temperature dependent performance in multiple gecko species. This will be the first batch of MHGs that Bobby has sent down the track. In total we collected 14 individuals. I wonder how they'll fare on the track?Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Community Science, investigation, wall
Helpers looking high and low
Lila Higgins
Lila, Higgins, Headlamp, Gecko, Bag
Me showing off my awesome headlamp and geckos!
Lila Higgins
Community science, gecko, hunting, nighttime
Bobby and one of his students counting lizards
Lila Higgins