Emmy Johnson

Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas Pauley

Second Advisor

Dan Evans

Third Advisor

Jeffrey May


Species will expand ranges through natural or human‐alterations. Such an occurrence has happened in West Virginia with Eastern Six‐lined Racerunner, Aspidsocelis sexlineata, a species that has been found to thrive in areas of high disturbance from humans. While found abundantly in other states, they are thought to occur only in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia (Morgan County) where they are believed to have come from Maryland via a railroad bridge. Without the bridge, the Potomac River forms a natural barrier between these two states. The objectives of my study were to determine the population size and natural history of these lizards. My hypotheses were that these lizards came from Maryland and are well established in a small area of West Virginia. Forty three A. sexlineata were captured over the summer of 2007, including 11 recaptures. Aspidoscelis sexlineata were found to have similar seasonal activity patterns as lizards in other climate regions. They were observed to have a short daily activity pattern of 1100h to 1500h. Gravid females were captured during May, June, and July. A population estimate of 70.2 individuals was found for a closed system and 171 individuals were found for an open system. Both of these estimates indicate a healthy population that is self‐reproducing and could occupy this area for a significant period of time. Aspidoscelis sexlineata were found farther down the railroad than previously recorded; this may indicate an expansion of range. Potential competitors of A. sexlineata are Eumeces fasciatus, E. anthracinus, E. laticeps, Scincella lateralis, and Sceloporus undulatus. Surveys were conducted to find populations of these other lizards. Lizards were found in Cabell, Kanawha, Nicholas, Grant, and Morgan Counties. They were not found in Wayne, Fayette, Pocahontas, and Tucker Counties. More studies need to be conducted on the lizards of West Virginia, because little is known about most of these species.


Lizards - West Virginia.