A team of researchers with diverse backgrounds from universities in the U.S. and Greece has conducted a study of the impact of feral cats on Aegean wall lizards living in the Cyclades (Greek islands). In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the team describes behavior adaptations they observed in native lizards to the presence of feral cats.
Feral cats are domestic cats that are living in the wild—reports over the past several years have implicated them in a number of extinctions and declines of other species, particularly birds. Another type of creature impacted by feral cats is lizards—cats are known to kill them whether they eat them or not. In this new study, the research team ventured to the Thera, Kea and Naxos islands in the Cyclades—where cats were introduced by humans approximately 9,500 years ago—to learn more about how the native lizards have adapted to the introduced threat.