Control of Jackson’s chameleons using decoys

Date
2015-05
Authors
Dobbs, Sonja
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Holland, Brenden
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Zoology
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Abstract
The Jackson’s chameleon is an invasive east African species that was released on the island of Oahu as well as the other main Hawaiian Islands. This species poses a direct threat via predation to already-endangered native invertebrates, which are integral to the maintenance of healthy forest ecosystems. Current population management strategies are ineffective at best, requiring extensive, labor-intensive manual removal. This project endeavored to determine whether decoys of female Jackson’s chameleons deployed in the field would visually attract males in their arboreal habitat, concentrating them and making them more easily accessible for removal by resource managers. This hypothesis was tested by producing a number of female decoys of varying size and deploying them in the field; effectiveness was assessed via proximity to decoys. However, during this experiment, I failed to observe an increase in the number of male chameleons in the area immediately surrounding the decoys. These results are not prohibitive, as the experimental design used did not allow for absolutely certainty of chameleon presence or absence. Additional trials coupled with a modified experiment design may yet produce the desired response. If successful, the use of decoys in the field could provide a scalable, cost-effective solution to controlling Jackson’s chameleon populations, ultimately helping to protect sensitive native ecosystems in Hawaii and other areas where non-native Jackson’s chameleons have become established.
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Jackson’s chameleons, invasive species, management, conservation biology
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41 pages
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