Italian Wall Lizard Task Force

An image of Podarcis siculus, or Italian Wall Lizard. 

Superb photograph taken by Richard Bartz

We're so excited to have you as a part of our team!

 Welcome to our community science-oriented research project on the invasive Podarcis siculus, or Italian Wall Lizard, in Douglas County, KS! 

How do we use your data for research? 

At this link you will be able to view our iNaturalist project sightings (including a map of locations). Please explore areas that do not yet have recorded sightings yetwe want to learn about the lizards' entire habitat range! We will use the location data you help collect on iNaturalist to inform our research direction! 

Who are we? 

We are a group of students, mainly undergraduate women, who are passionate about ecology and curious about the world around us! Our sponsors are Doug and Maria Eifler. Learn more about them on the "About" page. 

Tell me more about these lizards! 

Here is a link to learn more about the Italian Wall Lizard and its status as an invasive species. They are especially fascinating because they are so great at adapting to suburban and urban environments! There is a large populations in Topeka and Lawrence, but also in New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles! That's a pretty diverse habitat range for a species that's used to the mild climate of the Italian Peninsula! We want to find out more about the differences that new urban environments have on the lizards physiologically, behaviorally, and otherwise! How have they evolved to be different from their native population? What makes them effective invaders? What are their preferred habitats in Douglas County?

How did they get here? 

 There are many fables about how Italian lizards arrived here in Lawrence but all we know for sure is that it's important that they are not transported anywhere else. That is why it is so important that you do not touch or transport these lizards anywhere. They frequently outcompete native lizards and maintaining high levels of biodiversity is integral to a healthy ecosystem! 

If you have any additional questions please email

This project is a division of the KU SEEDS Ecology Club and is sponsored by Erell Institute. 


How do I use iNaturalist?

The video to the right is extraordinarily helpful for new users of iNaturalist! If you want to learn more, go to this link

Do I need to add the observation manually to your project? 

Nope! After you click on the "What did you see?" button after you take the photo and select "Italian Wall Lizard" then it will be automatically added to our project page as long as you are in Douglas County, KS. You do not need to be a member of the project page for your observation to be added, but feel free to join if you want to! To become a member, go to this link and click join.

Can I take a photo from far away?

It's absolutely okay to take a picture from a distance as long as it is zoomed in and focused enough to identify that we can definitely tell that it's Podarcis siculus.  We only need the latitude, longitude, and time of the photograph all of which is automatically saved by iNaturalist for us! The photograph is only necessary to ensure that it truly is a Podarcis siculus.

How do I keep them from running away before I can take a picture?

If you are looking around and they keep running away before you can snap a photo, it helps to silence your footsteps by rolling softly from your heel to toe each time that you take a step. 

How do I get more involved?

Email and ask if there are any specific areas that we need people to check for lizards! The most help we really need is you spreading the word and encouraging others to identify the lizards on iNaturalist when they see them. 

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