Spatial Ecology of the Introduced Chinese Water Dragon Physignathus cocincinus in Hong Kong

Wai-Ho CHAN, Anthony LAU, Paolo MARTELLI, Danielle TSANG, Wing Ho LEE, Yik Hei SUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Basic ecological understanding is important for effective management of introduced species. If the species is rare or threatened in its native ranges, ecological knowledge gained from its introduced ranges may offer useful information for conservation. We radio-tracked 12 adult Physignathus cocincinus in Hong Kong, where it is introduced, to investigate their home range, movements, and habitat use. The home range of all P. cocincinus covered the stream, but 66% of relocations occur >5 m away from the stream. Movements did not differ between sexes and seasons. Females stayed at a longer distance from the stream than males. Lizards preferred woodland and concrete structures over orchards. For microhabitats, they preferred wider streams, greater height, and denser canopy cover. This infers the high association of this species with streams and riparian forests, which may be crucial for the establishment of introduced populations. To effectively manage the introduced populations through eradication efforts, areas away from streams (5–100 m) needs to be covered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Herpetology
Issue number1
Early online date27 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

We are grateful for financial support from the Environment and Conservation Fund, HKSAR Government (ECF 2015-85). We thank David Dudgeon for providing radio-transmitters and Nancy Karraker for the support of this project. We thank Pui Ting Chan, Wing Yue Tang and Chun Kit Ng for assistance in the field. Permission for using a noose to capture lizards was obtained from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, HKSAR Government. The Committee on the Use of Human & Animal Subjects, Hong Kong Baptist University granted approval for use of animals (HASC/ 15-16/0010).


  • Habitat use
  • Home range
  • Invasive species
  • Movement
  • Radio-tracking


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