FWC seeking observations of native reptiles, amphibians in the Florida Keys
Are you a resident or visitor in the Florida Keys? Keep an eye out for native reptiles and amphibians. Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) need your help evaluating the status of these animals via online submissions.
Observations should include a photo of the animal, the location and date of the sighting. Little recent information is available on the distribution and abundance of native reptiles and amphibians in the Florida Keys. Species of particular interest are the Florida Keys mole skink, Key ringneck snake, rim rock crowned snake, brown snake, ribbon snake, red rat snake, and the Lower Keys populations of the striped mud turtle. Public participation will help scientists better understand the current distribution and population status of these species.
Persons submitting sightings can include photos on the reporting web page to help identify the target reptile species, and FWC scientists will identify submitted photos of unknown reptile and amphibian species. For the next year, researchers will also be conducting a pilot project in the Keys testing effective survey methods and collecting distributional information and genetic samples.
“We’ll be conducting field surveys for listed reptile species, but I suspect most of our records will come from residents in the Keys who see these animals in their yards,” said Kevin Enge, FWC research biologist. This information might be used to develop a more comprehensive study and to determine whether subspecies or populations in the Keys are distinctive from those on the mainland.
To submit sightings of native reptiles and amphibians in the Florida Keys to FWC, visit MyFWC.com/Get-involved and select “Citizen Science” then “Sightings.”
Sightings of nonnative species can be reported to FWC’s Exotic Species Reporting Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681) or online at IveGot1.org.