Study of rock agama gives insights into urbanization, conservation

Source: The post is based on the article “Study of rock agama gives insights into urbanization, conservation” published in The Hindu on 6th August 2022.

What is the News?

A study was carried out by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru to understand where the Peninsular Rock Agama reside in and around Bengaluru specifically.

What is Peninsular Rock Agama?

The Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) is a type of garden lizard that has a strong presence in southern India.

Characteristics: This lizard is a large animal, strikingly coloured in orange and black. They do not generate their own body heat, so they need to seek warmth from external sources like a warm rock or a sunny spot on the wall.

– They are important in ecology from different aspects — they can indicate which parts of the city are warming, and their numbers show how the food web is changing.

Threats: Habitat loss and other such features of urbanization have affected the presence of animals in urban centres.

What are the findings of the study on Rock Agama?

The study has revealed that Rock Agama lizards are found mainly in rocky places and warm spots. Thus, the inference is that conservation efforts must point towards retaining rocky patches even while reviving landscapes by planting trees.

What is the significance of this study?

Usually, biodiversity conservation brings to mind large animals like tigers or elephants or even birds, but organisms like lizards also play an equally important role in the ecosystem. 

For instance, in cities such as Bengaluru, there is a lot of flora and fauna that is rapidly disappearing. The rock agama is one such species which is dependent on rocky scrub habitats which are being converted into buildings and plantations.

Hence, the study of this lizard could be a key indicator of the health of the ecosystem and need to be preserved too.

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