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In the footsteps of the Cabo Verdean giant lizards

In the footsteps of the Cabo Verdean giant lizards

The inhabited islet of Raso and Branco are part the Macaronesian biodiversity hotspot. They are classified as Integral Nature Reserve since 1990 and are housing a unique fauna of endemic vertebrates. Under continuous human-induced pressure, these islands remain under-studied in terms of their importance. This is due, among other causes, to (1) geographical isolation and (2) logistical difficulties faced by researchers to get there and stay there (total absence of infrastructure, drinking water, etc.). These two islets are very modest in size (7 and 3 km2 respectively) and have the particularity of having allowed the convergent evolution of two giant forms of lizards: The giant skink of Cabo Verde, also known as Cocteau’s giant skink (Chioninia coctei) and the Cabo Verde giant wall gecko (Tarentolas gigas).

Aims of the project: (1) To estimate the size of the population of T. gigas on Branco; to identify the prey mostly composed of its diet, and to establish the ecological relationships it maintains with other species representing conservation stakes and compare this information with those corresponding to Santa Luzia (where the species might be reintroduced, if the ecological conditions are met). (2) To search for traces (direct or indirect) of the supposed presence of C. coctei by appealing to the innovative tools hitherto never implemented.

Team
Principal Investigator
Raquel Vasconcelos

Raquel Vasconcelos

Position: Post-Doc Researcher
Group:
CONGEN
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Other members
Co-PI: Aurélien Miralles
State
Ongoing
Proponent Institution
CIBIO-InBIO, National Museum of Natural History of Paris (MNHN), University of Cabo Verde
Funded by
Monaco Explorations
Dates
2017 (Duration: 1 year)
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