Horned Lizard Research

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife…

Texas Christian University’s mascot is the horned frog. And with a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Christian University researchers are studying their mascot. Gretchen Mahan tells us more…

The Texas horned lizard, commonly called the horny toad, is a threatened species. Amanda Hale and Dean Williams are assistant professors of biology at TCU. And they’re currently collecting and analyzing horned lizard DNA samples. Williams says when he heard about the need for research on the horned lizard, he thought it would be a good opportunity for his department.

The stuff that we do here is basically conservation genetics. We work with a wide range of organisms, and the project just seemed like a good fit.

Texas horned lizards used to be so populous that people would see them in their neighborhoods…but, not anymore. Because of threats like the imported fire ant, horned lizard populations have significantly declined.

That’s why Hale says they hope to use the DNA for future conservation programs. She says the DNA will help them determine which horned lizard populations are doing best. Then, conservationists might be able to take those lizards and breed them to create a more stable population throughout Texas.

We have about 300 DNA samples from horned lizard, so we have volunteers right now who are trying to fill in gaps in collection throughout the state.

And you can help by contacting TCU’s biology department if you spot a horned lizard.

Thanks Gretchen. That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Comments are closed.