February 6, 2018

020 The Magnificent Vipers


Vipers, vipers everywhere. In this episode we muddle our way through some venom research, and learn about the methods employed working out how widespread bushmasters are. Species of the bi-week is a frankly outstanding forest dweller from Costa Rica. 

If you enjoy our podcast please vote for us for Reader's Radio Show of the Year on the Reptile Report! http://awards.thereptilereport.com/radio-show-of-the-year-2017/ 

FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

González-Maya, José F., Fernando Castañeda, Rufino González, Jesús Pacheco, and Gerardo Ceballos. 2014. “Distribution, Range Extension, and Conservation of the Endemic Black-Headed Bushmaster (Lachesis melanocephala) in Costa Rica and Panama.” Herpetological Conservation and Biology 9 (2):369–77.

Roodt, Adolfo Rafael de, Leslie Victoria Boyer, Laura Cecilia Lanari, Lucia Irazu, Rodrigo Daniel Laskowicz, Paula Leticia Sabattini, and Carlos Fabián Damin. 2016. “Venom Yield and Its Relationship with Body Size and Fang Separation of Pit Vipers from Argentina.” Toxicon 121 (October):22–29.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Doan, Tiffany M., Andrew J. Mason, Todd A. Castoe, Mahmood Sasa, and Christopher L. Parkinson. 2016. “A Cryptic Palm-Pitviper Species (Squamata: Viperidae: Bothriechis) from the Costa Rican Highlands, with Notes on the Variation within B. Nigroviridis.” Zootaxa 4138 (2):271.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Dias, Lourdes, Mariana A.P. Rodrigues, André L. Rennó, Alessandra Stroka, Bruna R. Inoue, Patrícia C. Panunto, Anibal R. Melgarejo, and Stephen Hyslop. 2016. “Hemodynamic Responses to Lachesis Muta (South American Bushmaster) Snake Venom in Anesthetized Rats.” Toxicon 123 (December):1–14.

Fenwick, A. M., Gutberlet, R. L., Evans, J. A., & Parkinson, C. L. (2009). Morphological and molecular evidence for phylogeny and classification of South American pitvipers, genera Bothrops, Bothriopsis, and Bothrocophias (Serpentes: Viperidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 156(3), 617-640.

Maritz, Bryan, Johannes Penner, Marcio Martins, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailović, Stephen Spear, Laura R.V. Alencar, Jesús Sigala-Rodriguez, et al. 2016. “Identifying Global Priorities for the Conservation of Vipers.” Biological Conservation 204:94–102.

Quillfeldt, Petra, Jan O. Engler, Janet R.D. Silk, and Richard A. Phillips. 2017. “Influence of Device Accuracy and Choice of Algorithm for Species Distribution Modelling of Seabirds: A Case Study Using Black-Browed Albatrosses.” Journal of Avian Biology 48 (12):1549–55.

Rogalski, Aymeric, Christoffer Soerensen, Bianca op den Brouw, Callum Lister, Daniel Dashevsky, Kevin Arbuckle, Alexandra Gloria, et al. 2017. “Differential Procoagulant Effects of Saw-Scaled Viper (Serpentes: Viperidae: Echis ) Snake Venoms on Human Plasma and the Narrow Taxonomic Ranges of Antivenom Efficacies.” Toxicology Letters 280 (June):159–70.

Other Links/Mentions:

Birds deliberately spreading fire – Bonta, Mark, Robert Gosford, Dick Eussen, Nathan Ferguson, Erana Loveless, and Maxwell Witwer. 2017. “Intentional Fire-Spreading by ‘Firehawk’ Raptors in Northern Australia.” Journal of Ethnobiology 37 (4):700–718. https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-37.4.700.

Orca talking, The Guardian – https://youtu.be/hqB1jRVw7Bw

Bushmaster video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hIERce2M30

King cobra vs reticulated python photo – https://www.facebook.com/TheReptileReport/posts/1469028556542349


Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

Other Music – The Passion HiFi, www.thepassionhifi.com


We usually think of invertebrates as a frog’s favourite meal. But in this episode we explore the times when the tables turn and frogs fall victim to mighty invertebrates. Except for the Accra snake-necked frog, they have an ingenious way of avoiding invertebrate conflict. Species of the Bi-week features a double-bill of tree frogs. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Jablonski, Daniel. 2015. “Predation on Pristimantis ridens (Cope, 1866) by a Wandering Spider (Ctenidae Keyserling, 1877) in Mountain Cloud Forest of Costa Rica.” Herpetology Notes 8:1–3.

Luiz, Amom Mendes, Thiago Augusto Pires, Victor Dimitrov, and Ricardo Jannini Sawaya. 2013. “Predation on Tadpole of Itapotihyla langsdorffii (Anura: Hylidae) by the Semi-Aquatic Spider Thaumasia Sp. (Araneae: Pisauridae) in the Atlantic Forest, Southeastern Brazil.” Herpetology Notes 6 (1):451–52.

Rödel, Mark Oliver, Christian Brede, Mareike Hirschfeld, Thomas Schmitt, Philippe Favreau, Reto Stöcklin, Cora Wunder, and Dietrich Mebs. 2013. “Chemical Camouflage - A Frog’s Strategy to Co-Exist with Aggressive Ants.” PLoS ONE 8 (12).

Species of the Bi-Week:

Rivadeneira, C. Daniel, Pablo J. Venegas, and Santiago R. Ron. 2018. “Species Limits within the Widespread Amazonian Treefrog Dendropsophus Parviceps with Descriptions of Two New Species (Anura, Hylidae).” ZooKeys 726:25–77.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Menin, Marcelo, Domingos de Jesus Rodrigues, and Clarissa Salette de Azevedo. 2005. “Predation on Amphibians by Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae) in the Neotropical Region.” Phyllomedusa 4 (1):39–47.

Miranda, Everton B. P. de. 2017. “The Plight of Reptiles as Ecological Actors in the Tropics.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5:159.

Rödel MO, Braun U (1999) Associations between anurans and ants in a West African savanna (Anura: Microhylidae, Hyperoliidae, and Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biotropica 31: 178–183.

Toledo, L. F. (2005). Predation of juvenile and adult anurans by invertebrates: current knowledge and perspectives. Herpetological Review, 36(4), 395-399.

Vrcibradic, Davor, Rogério L. Teixeira, and Vitor N.T. Borges-Júnior. 2009. “Sexual Dimorphism, Reproduction and Diet of the Casque-Headed Treefrog Itapotihyla Langsdorffii (Hylidae: Lophiohylini).” Journal of Natural History 43 (35–36):2245–56.

Ward-Fear, Georgia, Gregory P. Brown, Matthew J. Greenlees, and Richard Shine. 2009. “Maladaptive Traits in Invasive Species: In Australia, Cane Toads Are More Vulnerable to Predatory Ants than Are Native Frogs.” Functional Ecology 23 (3):559–68.

Ward-Fear, Georgia, Gregory P. Brown, and Richard Shine. 2010. “Factors Affecting the Vulnerability of Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) to Predation by Ants.” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 99 (4):738–51.

Other Links/Mentions:

Videos of Paltothyreus tarsatus ignoring Phrynomantis microps from Rödel et al. 2013 – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081950

EDGE of Existence programme – https://www.edgeofexistence.org

Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson


There is no denying that chameleons are fascinating lizards, but why should the tree-dwelling ones get all the credit? In this episode we unearth some recent discoveries concerning Brookesia and friends, as well as taking a look at the world's shortest lived tetrapod, Labord's chameleon. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: www.herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Miller, C. 2017. “Morphological and Roosting Variation in the Dwarf Chameleon Brookesia Stumpffi Between Primary, Secondary, and Degraded Habitats in Nosy Be, Madagascar.” Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12 (3): 599–605.

Eckhardt, F, PM Kappeler, and C Kraus. 2017. “Highly Variable Lifespan in an Annual Reptile, Labord’s Chameleon (Furcifer Labordi).” Scientific Reports 7 (1): 11397.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Branch, WR, J Bayliss, and KA Tolley. 2014. “Pygmy Chameleons of the Rhampholeon Platyceps Compex (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae): Description of Four New Species from Isolated ‘sky Islands’ of Northern Mozambique.” Zootaxa 3814 (1): 1–36.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Andrews, R. M., & Donoghue, S. (2004). Effects of temperature and moisture on embryonic diapause of the veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus). Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, 301(8), 629-635.

Aubret, F, R Shine, and X Bonnet. 2004. “Adaptive Developmental Plasticity in Snakes.” Nature 431 (7006): 261–62.

Glaw, F., Köhler, J., Townsend, T. M., & Vences, M. (2012). Rivaling the world's smallest reptiles: discovery of miniaturized and microendemic new species of leaf chameleons (Brookesia) from northern Madagascar. PLoS One, 7(2), e31314.

Karsten, K. B., Andriamandimbiarisoa, L. N., Fox, S. F., & Raxworthy, C. J. (2008). A unique life history among tetrapods: an annual chameleon living mostly as an egg. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(26), 8980-8984.

Losos, JB, KI Warheitt, and TW Schoener. 1997. “Adaptive Differentiation Following Experimental Island Colonization in Anolis Lizards.” Nature. 387.

Lucas, J, E Gora, and A Alonso. 2017. “A View of the Global Conservation Job Market and How to Succeed in It.” Conservation Biology 31 (6): 1223–31.

Raxworthy, CJ, MRJ Forstner, and RA Nussbaum. 2002. “Chameleon Radiation by Oceanic Dispersal.” Nature 415 (6873): 784–87.

Riedel, J., Boehme, W., Bleckmann, H., & Spinner, M. (2015). Microornamentation of leaf chameleons (Chamaeleonidae: Brookesia, Rhampholeon, and Rieppeleon)—with comments on the evolution of microstructures in the chamaeleonidae. Journal of morphology, 276(2), 167-184.

Tessa, G., Glaw, F., & Andreone, F. (2017). Longevity in Calumma parsonii, the World's largest chameleon. Experimental gerontology, 89, 41-44.


Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

December 26, 2017



This week’s episode is all about the bulkiest snake beast of them all – the ANACONDA. First we look into what neonate anacondas get up to. Then move onto a paper that investigates the human-anaconda conflict across South America (spoiler: people don’t like monster snakes). In lieu of a newly discovered anaconda we discuss a snake with a strange tail in Species of Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Rivas, Jesús A., Cesar R. Molina, Sarah J. Corey, and G. M. Burghardt. 2016. “Natural History of Neonatal Green Anacondas (Eunectes Murinus): A Chip Off the Old Block.” Copeia 104 (2): 402–10.

Miranda, Everton B P, Raimundo P Ribeiro-, and Christine Strüssmann. 2016. “The Ecology of Human-Anaconda Conflict: A Study Using Internet Videos.” Tropical Conservation Science 9 (1): 43–77.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Aengals, R., and S. R. Ganesh. 2013. "Rhinophis goweri-a new species of Shieldtail snake from the southern Eastern Ghats, India." Russian Journal of Herpetology 20 (1): 61-65.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

De la Quintana, Paola, Jesús A. Rivas, Federico Valdivia, and Luis F. Pacheco. 2017. "Home range and habitat use of Beni anacondas (Eunectes beniensis) in Bolivia." Amphibia-Reptilia 38 (4): 547-553.

Denny, MW, BL Lockwood, and GN Somero. 2009. “Can the Giant Snake Predict Palaeoclimate?” Nature 460 (7255): E3–4.

Gans, Carl, Herbert C. Dessauer, and Dusan Baic. 1978. "Axial differences in the musculature of uropeltid snakes: the freight-train approach to burrowing." Science 199 (4325): 189-192.

Head, JJ, JI Bloch, AK Hastings, JR Bourque, EA Cadena, FA Herrera, PD Polly, and CA Jaramillo. 2009. “Head et Al. Reply.” Nature 460 (7255): E4–5.

Head, JJ, JI Bloch, AK Hastings, JR Bourque, EA Cadena, FA Herrera, PD Polly, and CA Jaramillo. 2009. “Giant Boid Snake from the Palaeocene Neotropics Reveals Hotter Past Equatorial Temperatures.” Nature 457 (7230). Nature Publishing Group: 715–17.

Headland, TN, and HW Greene. 2011. “Hunter-Gatherers and Other Primates as Prey, Predators, and Competitors of Snakes.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (52): 1470–74.

Makarieva, AM, VG Gorshkov, and B-L Li. 2009. “Re-Calibrating the Snake Palaeothermometer.” Nature 460 (7255): E2–3.

Maritz, B, J Penner, M Martins, J Crnobrnja-Isailović, S Spear, LRV Alencar, J Sigala-Rodriguez, et al. 2016. “Identifying Global Priorities for the Conservation of Vipers.” Biological Conservation 204: 94–102.

Milanesi, P, FT Breiner, F Puopolo, and R Holderegger. 2017. “European Human-Dominated Landscapes Provide Ample Space for the Recolonization of Large Carnivore Populations under Future Land Change Scenarios.” Ecography 40: 1359–68.

Moleón, M, JA Sánchez-Zapata, JM Gil-Sánchez, JM Barea-Azcón, E Ballesteros-Duperón, and E Virgós. 2011. “Laying the Foundations for a Human-Predator Conflict Solution: Assessing the Impact of Bonelli’s Eagle on Rabbits and Partridges.” PLoS ONE 6 (7).

Natusch, D. J., and J. A. Lyons. 2012. "Relationships between ontogenetic changes in prey selection, head shape, sexual maturity, and colour in an Australasian python (Morelia viridis)." Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 107 (2): 269-276.

O'Shea, Mark, Steve Slater, Rebecca Scott, Sarah A. Smith, Katie McDonald, Bob Lawrence and Marie Kubiak. 2016. “Eunectes murinus (Green Anaconda) Reproduction / Facultative parthenogenesis.” Herpetological Review 47 (1): 73

Pike, DA, L Pizzatto, BA Pike, and R Shine. 2008. “Estimating Survival Rates of Uncatchable Animals: The Myth of High Juvenile Mortality in Reptiles.” Ecology 89 (3): 607–11.

Potts, JM, ST Buckland, L Thomas, and A Savage. 2012. “Estimating Abundance of Cryptic but Trappable Animals Using Trapping Point Transects: A Case Study for Key Largo Woodrats.” Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3 (4): 695–703.

Sniderman, JMK. 2009. “Biased Reptilian Palaeothermometer?” Nature 460 (7255): E1–2.

Strimple, P. D. 1993. “Overview of the natural history of the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus).” Herpetological Natural History, 1(1): 25-35.

Waller T., Micucci P., Alvarenga E. 2007. Conservation biology of the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) in northeastern Argentina. In: Biology of the boas and pythons. Henderson R.W. and Powell R. (Eds). Eagle Mountain Publishing, Utah

Other Links/Mentions:

Uropeltidae blog - http://snakesarelong.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/shield-tailed-snakes-uropeltidae.html

Harry Greene. Primates And Snakes, 75 Million Years Of Deadly Dialogue? - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/primates-and-snakes-75-million-years-of-deadly-dialogue-video/

Sami Asad’s. Frogs and deforestation, Science Slam Talk - https://youtu.be/7pvwtaZPicI

Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

December 12, 2017

016 Slimy Salamander Sociality


Salamanders feature in episode 16, especially North American ones. We chat about the unusual inheritance strategies of Ambystoma, and territorial behaviour and polymorphism (multiple colour patterns) of red-backed salamanders. There will of course be a slippery surprise in our Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT herphighlights.podbean.com



Main Paper References:

Bogart, James P., Jessica E. Linton, and Al Sandilands. 2017. “A Population in Limbo: Unisexual Salamanders (Genus Ambystoma) Decline without Sperm-Donating Species.” Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12 (1): 41–55.

Reiter, M. K., Anthony, C. D., & Hickerson, C. A. M. (2014). Territorial behavior and ecological divergence in a polymorphic salamander. Copeia, 2014(3), 481-488.

Species of the Bi-week:

Mccranie, J. R., & Rovito, S. M. (2014). New species of salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae: Cryptotriton) from Quebrada Cataguana, Francisco Morazán, Honduras, with comments on the taxonomic status of Cryptotriton wakei. Zootaxa, 3795(1), 61-70.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Bi, K, and JP Bogart. 2010. “Time and Time Again: Unisexual Salamanders (Genus Ambystoma) Are the Oldest Unisexual Vertebrates.” BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 238. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-238.

Cleveland, WS, and R McGill. 1984. “Graphical Perceptions: Theory, Experimentation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 79 (387): 531–54.

Petruzzi, EE, PH Niewiarowski, and FB-G Moore. 2006. “The Role of Thermal Niche Selection in Maintenance of a Colour Polymorphism in Redback Salamanders (Plethodon Cinereus).” Frontiers in Zoology 3: 10. doi:10.1186/1742-9994-3-10.

Verrell, P. A., & Krenz, J. D. (1998). Competition for mates in the mole salamander, Ambystoma talpoideum: tactics that may maximize male mating success. Behaviour, 135(2), 121-138.

Music: Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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