Aug 202012

Our expedition to photograph the Ibiza wall lizard in Spain is over. Neil and I are back in the states. We’re sorting through our images and selecting the very best ones for our book. Soon, we’ll finish the writing and begin the layout process. We can’t wait to show you what we’ll create!

Lizard Expedition in Ibiza and Formentera: “The Symbol” Final Update from Day’s Edge Productions on Vimeo.

Earlier in our expedition, we visited an island called Esparte, where we found a very dark blue, almost black population of lizards. This came as a big surprise to me, because not less than 10m away was the island of Espartar – home to a population of light teal-colored lizards. Lizards on these two islands are incredibly distinct. What accounts for this dramatic difference in color expression? No one knows.

The Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis frailensis [top] & kamerianus [bottem])
Even neighboring islands can have strikingly divergent lizard populations. Pictured are two typical male lizards from the islands of Esparte (top) and Espartar (bottom), which are separated by a channel less than 10 meters wide. Why their coloration differs so dramatically, no one yet knows.

As evolutionary biologists, it fascinates us that these lizard populations are so close, yet look so different. The situation on Esparte and Espartar exemplifies the mysteriously high color diversity among island populations of this species, which has some of the highest color diversity observed among all reptiles. Our understanding of how these uniquely color populations evolved to be so different is poor. Nonetheless, one of our goals on this expedition was to capture, photographically, the color diversity of these lizards among island populations. To do this, we used a technique called “Meet Your Neighbours.”

“Meet Your Neighbours (MYN)” is a worldwide photographic initiative created by Niall Benvie and Clay Bolt. The MYN photography style is to photograph organisms on a plain white background. This approach removes the subject from its environment and allows viewers to focus on the organisms details as an individual. I encourage you to check out the MYN website. It has some absolutely stunning images and is making a big splash in the conservation photography scene. For our purposes, we think that this photographic approach really allows us to demonstrate the color differences of these lizards from one island to the next.

Lizards photographed “Meet Your Neighbours” style.

On the last few days of our trip, we realized that we were missing an important image that we needed to complete our book. During the last month, we photographed lizards on the majority of small islands surrounding Ibiza and Formentera, but we still didn’t have a single photo of Ibiza wall lizards on the island of Ibiza! So, we spent the last day of our expedition photographing the Ibiza wall lizard on the island where it got its name.

An Ibiza wall lizard basking on a stone wall on the island of Ibiza.

Our work is far from done. We still have to select and edit the best images for our book. We also have to finish writing the text. Finally, we’ll need to layout the text and images for printing. Shortly, we’ll publish a master photo gallery with many imaged from our expedition. If you were one of our backers who donated $50 or more, you’ll be able to select one of these images to be printed and signed by Neil and I. We’ll keep you posted.

Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this project. We couldn’t have done it without you!

  One Response to ““The Symbol” Video update #4: Our last days in the islands”

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