This Week in History - Season 8 Episode 6: Invasive Wall Lizards
“For the last 52 years, all we’ve had in Canada is the common wall lizard, but there’s a new player on the scene…the Italian Wall Lizard” says Gavin Hanke, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum. “It’s our newest arrival here in British Columbia.” How do you identify this new species of wall lizard? And what does its arrival mean for British Columbia's ecosystems? Tune in to find out!
Wall Lizard Invasion
BC's Early Detection Rapid Response Program is responsible for identifying, containing and eradicating new invasive species. In the 1960s before the program was in place, 12 wall lizards were released on the Saanich Peninsula. Their population flourished and today there have been sightings in different places across BC, from Campbell River to Osoyoos. Curator of Vertebrate Zoology Gavin Hanke explains how he researches these invaders and studies their impact across the province. From This Week in History Season 7 Episode 6.
The scotch thistle is bigger and flashier than its Canadian counterpart and some samples at the Royal BC Museum are among the oldest in the botany collection. They were gathered in the late 1800s by BC's first agriculture minister and their value in teaching us about invasive species may be even higher today. From This Week in History Season 3 Episode 3.
Invasive Marine Species
Sometimes, species are identified only years and years after they have been found. In 1995, an unidentified shrimp species was found at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. Twenty years later, it has been identified as the Japanese Skeleton Shrimp (Caprella mutica). From This Week in History Season 4 Episode 16.
Sometimes animals extend their range on their own, without the help of people. The waters around Vancouver Island hold many mysteries, including that of the Diablo Rojo. Known as the red devil by fisherman in its native Mexico and Chile, this squid was captured by a fisherman here in 2004 and donated to the Royal BC Museum. This was one of the first specimens of the Humboldt Squid collected off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. From This Week in History Season 3 Episode 7.
Our Invading Invertebrate Relatives
Join Royal BC Museum invertebrates collections manager and researcher, Heidi Gartner, as she discusses our invading invertebrate relatives.
This presentation is from our 2019 Spring Institute: A two day drop in program filled with discussions that highlighted the fascinating findings happening everyday at the Royal BC Museum and Archives.