Effects of Military Training Exercises on Texas Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma Cornutum, Occurrence on Fort Hood, Texas

Stephen L. Webb, Scott E. Henke

Abstract


Texas horned lizards (Phrynosoma cornutum) were once prevalent throughout central Texas but their population has recently declined in abundance and distribution.  Fort Hood lies in the historic range of P. cornutum.  The United States Army was concerned about the status of Texas horned lizards on Fort Hood, abundance of primary prey (i.e., harvester ants [Pogonomyrmex spp.]), invasive species (i.e., red imported fire ants [Solenopsis invicta]), and any impacts that military maneuvers may have on this state-threatened reptile.  Our objectives were to: 1) determine the distribution and abundance of Texas horned lizards, harvester ants and red imported fire ants and 2) assess the impacts of military training exercises on Texas horned lizards.  We walked line transects from 14 May to 21 August 2001.  We captured and marked 8 Texas horned lizards (5 males, 3 females) on 11 occasions via road cruising.  Age ratio of Texas horned lizards was 3 juveniles and 5 adults.  We collected all horned lizards within the Live Fire Area (LFA), which is located in the center of Fort Hood.  We suspect horned lizards were found in the LFA because of limited vehicular and foot traffic, the area burned frequently due to artillery, and contained their primary prey species, the harvester ant.

Keywords


fire ants; harvester ants; horned lizard; Phrynosoma cornutum; Pogonomyrmex spp.; Solenopsis invicta; Texas

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