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With all the talk these days about ticks and Lyme disease, it’s good to know that at least some creatures are looking out for us.  Blue-belly lizards (also known as the western fence lizard, or Sceloporus occidentalis) are a common sight in California. You can find them pretty much anyplace but the high peaks and the driest desert, often showing off for the ladies by doing push-ups!  Their entertainment value aside, blue-belly lizards also provide another great service. The lizards are often host to black-legged ticks, nasty little creatures that are the vector for Lyme disease (which, if you’re not familiar with it, is something you really don’t want to get).  The lizards carry a protein in their blood that, when ingested by the tick, kills the Lyme disease bacteria in the tick’s gut – effectively curing the tick of the disease and preventing it from being passed on to us!


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About Richard Campbell

Richard joined the League’s staff in 2012 as the Conservation Science Manager. He brings nearly a decade of experience in forest management and restoration.


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