Weatherford Democrat

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January 4, 2013

Great horny toads!

Upcoming meeting will discuss efforts to increase Texas horned lizard populations in Parker County

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host a presentation by the Fort Worth Zoo on a Texas horned lizard reintroduction effort taking place in Parker County.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Harberger Hill Community Center, 701 Narrow St. in Weatherford. The public is invited.

This effort began in the summer of 2011 and continues today. The purpose of this research is to identify the appropriate age class for reintroduction, measurement of juvenile versus adult dispersal and survival, survival of wild-caught versus captive-bred individuals, effectiveness of different release technics, habitat usage and predator avoidance.

The Texas horned lizard, Phyrnosoma cornutum, is protected as a threatened species in the state of Texas and is listed as the official state reptile. Perhaps more than any other native animal, the “Horny Toad” is identified with and beloved by Texans. The species is held in high esteem and garners vast support for its conservation and reintroduction into areas where it once lived. Several parties are interested in attempting a reintroduction effort, including Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth Zoo and the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.

TCU’s school nickname for its athletic teams is the Horned Frogs, for the once numerous Texas horned lizard species.

Horned lizard declines across North Central Texas have been attributed to habitat alteration, invasive red fire ants, urban development, pesticide usage, and other factors that merit study. Although many of these ecological pressures still exist, there are native habitats that have been restored and are managed in an environmentally responsible manner, which are potentially capable of supporting reintroduced horned lizards.

The chapter meets the second Thursday at the center. Its mission is to promote the conservation, research, and utilization of native plants and plant habitats in Texas through education, outreach, and example.

For more information visit npsot.org/CrossTimber or contact Eileen Porter at 817-596-5567. The public is welcome and light refreshments will be served.

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