Wall lizard project - Newdigate colony

Newdigate
(Surrey)

 

Closest Town:

CRAWLEY (6.8 km)

 

Introduction date:

Unknown - possibly circa 1950s

Site Name:

Newdigate

 

Source of introduction:

Unknown - but most likely imported from Italy.

Site Access:

Private

 

Colony Status:

Extirpated

Relative population estimate:

0

 

Extirpation date:

1989

 
History:

In 1959, Fitter reported that Mr T.B.Rothwell has a small colony of wall lizards established at Beam Brook Aquatic Farm, Newdigate Surrey. By 1977, the colony was thought to no longer exist, yet occasional animals were sighted until 1989.

The site has been associated with the importation/breeding of alien species since being established in 1903 by T. B. Rothwell. As the majority of the amphibians were kept outside (in concrete pits), individuals were able to occasionally escape into the surrounding areas, colonizing local ponds via waterways. Original price lists from the 1930s and 1940s list a range of exotic species, including the Italian crested newt (T. carnifex) although the origin of these remains obscure and could include specimens from adjoining countries. There is now concern surrounding its movement away from this site and the possible hybridization with the native species (T. cristatus,Laurenti).

In 1959 the site is listed as L. Haig and Co. Ltd., Beam Brook, Newdigate, Dorking, Surrey, and were reportedly supplying animals for scientific research up until at least the mid 1970s.feared that this colony no longer exists, or comprises very small numbers.

A surveys of the site in 2007 and 2009 found no animals.

 
Ecological impact:

Not assessed

 
Habitat:

Now a mixture of grassy glades within woodland, studded with multiple ponds. No obvious stoneworks for shelter nor egg-laying sites.

The focus for the colony was a high mound of earth and rubble, now overgrown, shaded out and offering no egg-laying sites or opportunities.

 
Morphology:

Probably the green-backed form from Italy.

 
Location: