Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus dorsalis)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Peninsular Rock Agama

Mains level : Not Much

A study carried out by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, undertook to characterise urbanisation in the region and also to understand where the rock agama reside in and around Bengaluru specifically.

Why in news?

  • The study examined several environmental factors that could affect the presence of the lizard and revealed that they 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.

Peninsular Rock Agama

  • The Peninsular Rock Agama (Psammophilus dorsalis) is a type of garden lizard has a strong presence in southern India.
  • 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.
  • Habitat loss and other such features of urbanisation have affected the presence of the animal in urban centres.

Why study them?

  • Insects are critical components of a healthy ecosystem as they provide so many services, including pollination.
  • So, while rock agamas are interesting in themselves, they are also a good model system to understand other aspects of the ecosystem.
  • 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.

 

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