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Arizona: Yuma Desert Management Area

In cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Core Air Station, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is conducting a long-term demographic study on the Flat-tailed horned lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii) in the Yuma Desert Management area southeast of Yuma, Arizona. Our "capture-recapture" monitoring research relies on the accurate identification of individual animals to assess local trends and contribute to regional population analyses for the species. This effort is also fulfilling a portion of the recommendations made by the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) for range-wide monitoring (FTHL ICC 2008), and is supporting management and conservation strategies developed by the FTHL ICC. The primary goal of this management program is to "maintain self-sustaining populations". 

Since 2008, project biologists have used Biomark PIT-tags (model HPT9 134.2) with disposable implanters (model MK7) along with Pocket Readers (Biomark serial no. 086641), to identify individual adult lizards with snout-vent length (SVL) of 55mm or greater. In 2011, Biomark made a smaller PIT-tag (model HPT8 PICO 134.2) available along with reduced size injector needles (now 16gauge) with the MK165 implanter.  This new tag and needle size provided the opportunity to permanently mark smaller flat-tailed horned lizards and reduce the need for toe-clips to identify younger individuals. We are now using PIT-tags on lizards with SVL of 45mm and larger, insertion is easier and injection site wounds are smaller.

Project Summary

Application Description:

Monitor flat-tailed horned lizard population sample. 


Yuma Desert Management Area, southwest Arizona, USA.

Products Used:

 PIT tags – HPT 9 and HPT 8
Implanters – MK7 and MK165
Injector Needles – N165
Pocket Reader – 086641

Partner Organizations:

Bureau of Reclamation Yuma Field Office
Marine Corps Air Station – Yuma.
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