October 17, 2017

012 Geckos Down Under


Following on from our interview with John McGrath, Australian geckos are our focus for episode 12. We talk about the influences on starred knob tail gecko habitat and why velvet geckos are important food for an elapid snake. Of course there is an Australian gecko for the Species of the Bi-Week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Driscoll, Don A., Catherine A. Whitehead, and Juliana Lazzari. 2012. “Spatial Dynamics of the Knob-Tailed Gecko Nephrurus Stellatus in a Fragmented Agricultural Landscape.” Landscape Ecology 27 (6): 829–41.

Webb, Jonathan K., David A. Pike, and Richard Shine. 2008. “Population Ecology of the Velvet Gecko, Oedura Lesueurii in South Eastern Australia: Implications for the Persistence of an Endangered Snake.” Austral Ecology 33 (7): 839–47.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Hoskin, Conrad J., and Patrick Couper. 2013. “A Spectacular New Leaf-Tailed Gecko (Carphodactylidae: Saltuarius) from the Melville Range, North-East Australia.” Zootaxa 3717 (4): 543–58.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Blay, Nicola, and Isabelle M Côté. 2001. “Optimal Conditions for Breeding of Captive Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus Humboldti): A Survey of British Zoos.” Zoo Biology 20: 545–55.

Brown, G. P., and Shine, R. 2007. "Like mother, like daughter: inheritance of nest-site location in snakes." Biology letters, 3(2): 131-133.

Croak BM, Pike DA, Webb JK, Shine R, 2010. "Using artificial rocks to restore nonrenewable shelter sites in human-degraded systems: colonization by fauna." Rest Ecol 18:428–438.

Gamble, T. 2010. "A review of sex determining mechanisms in geckos (Gekkota: Squamata)". Sexual Development, 4(1-2): 88-103.

James, Alexander N., Kevin J. Gaston, and Andrew Balmford. 1999. “Balancing the Earth’s Accounts.” Nature 401 (6751): 323–24.

Llewelyn, John, Ben L. Phillips, Greg P. Brown, Lin Schwarzkopf, Ross A. Alford, and Richard Shine. 2011. “Adaptation or Preadaptation: Why Are Keelback Snakes (Tropidonophis Mairii) Less Vulnerable to Invasive Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) than Are Other Australian Snakes?” Evolutionary Ecology 25 (1): 13–24.

Oliver, P. M., Bauer, A. M., Greenbaum, E., Jackman, T., and Hobbie, T. 2012. "Molecular phylogenetics of the arboreal Australian gecko genus Oedura Gray 1842 (Gekkota: Diplodactylidae): Another plesiomorphic grade?." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 63(2): 255-264.

Shine R., Webb J. K., Fitzgerald M. and Sumner J. 1998. "The impact of bush-rock removal on an endangered snake species, Hoplocephalus bungaroides (Serpentes: Elapidae)." Wildl. Res. 25: 285–95.

Smith, A. L., Bull, C. M., and Driscoll, D. A. 2012. "Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko." Biological Conservation, 145(1): 139-147.

Werner, Y. L., Frankenberg, E., Volokita, M., and Harari, R. 1993. "Longevity of geckos (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Gekkonoidea) in captivity: an analytical review incorporating new data." Israel Journal of Zoology, 39(2): 105-124.

Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson


In our first ever interview episode we talk to John McGrath, publisher of digital magazine iHerp Australia. We chat about his experiences in the magazine and publishing industry, and his history with reptiles and amphibians.


Read iHerp Magazine FREE here: https://iherpaustralia.com.au/magazine/#id-bookcase

iHerp facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iherpaustralia/

iHerp twitter: https://twitter.com/iHerpAustralia 

Music: Treehouse by Ed Nelson

October 3, 2017

011 Survival of the Vipers


Vipers are found in numerous corners of the globe, and in this episode we explore a little about how they’ve managed it. Starting with pit viper’s use of their heat sensing abilities, moving on to viper reactions to climatic shifts, and finishing up with how they are doing now. Naturally our Species of the Bi-week is a new viper, this time from Africa. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Martínez-Freiría, F, P.-A. Crochet, S. Fahd, P. Geniez, J.C. Brito, and G. Velo-Antón. 2017. “Integrative Phylogeographic and Ecological Analyses Reveal Multiple Pleistocene Refugia for Mediterranean Daboia Vipers in North-West Africa.” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 122 (2): 366–384.

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.

Safer, Adam B., and Michael S. Grace. 2004. “Infrared Imaging in Vipers: Differential Responses of Crotaline and Viperine Snakes to Paired Thermal Targets.” Behavioural Brain Research 154 (1): 55–61.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Gower, David J., Edward O.Z. Wade, Stephen Spawls, Wolfgang Böhme, Evan R. Buechley, Daniel Sykes, and Timothy J. Colston. 2016. “A New Large Species of Bitis Gray, 1842 (Serpentes: Viperidae) from the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia.” Zootaxa 4093 (1): 41–63.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Alencar, Laura R.V., Tiago B. Quental, Felipe G. Grazziotin, Michael L. Alfaro, Marcio Martins, Mericien Venzon, and Hussam Zaher. 2016. “Diversification in Vipers: Phylogenetic Relationships, Time of Divergence and Shifts in Speciation Rates.” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 105: 50–62.

Böhm, Monika, Ben Collen, Jonathan E M Baillie, Philip Bowles, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox, Geoffrey Hammerson, et al. 2013. “The Conservation Status of the World’s Reptiles.” Biological Conservation 157: 372–85.

Breidenbach, Carla Harvey. 1990. “Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Thermal Cues Influence Strikes in Pitless Vipers.” Journal of Herpetology 24 (4): 448–50.

Gracheva, E.O., Ingolia, N.T., Kelly, Y.M., Cordero-Morales, J.F., Hollopeter, G., Chesler, A.T., Sánchez, E.E., Perez, J.C., Weissman, J.S. and Julius, D., 2010. “Molecular basis of infrared detection by snakes.” Nature, 464 (7291): 1006.

Krochmal, A.R. and Bakken, G.S., 2003. “Thermoregulation is the pits: use of thermal radiation for retreat site selection by rattlesnakes.” Journal of Experimental Biology, 206(15): 2539-2545. OPEN ACCESS

Lourdais, O., Shine, R., Bonnet, X., Guillon, M. and Naulleau, G., 2004. “Climate affects embryonic development in a viviparous snake, Vipera aspis.” Oikos, 104 (3): 551-560.

Madsen, Thomas, Bo Stille, and Richard Shine. 1996. “Inbreeding Depression in an Isolated Population of Adders Vipera Berus.” Biological Conservation 75: 113–18.

Madsen, Thomas, Beata Ujvari, and Mats Olsson. 2004. “Novel Genes Continue to Enhance Population Growth in Adders (Vipera Berus).” Biological Conservation 120 (1): 145–47.

Madsen, Thomas, and Beata Ujvari. 2011. “The Potential Demise of a Population of Adders (Vipera Berus) in Smygehuk, Sweden.” Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6 (1): 72–74. OPEN ACCESS

Paulo, O. S., J. Pinheiro, A. Miraldo, M. W. Bruford, W. C. Jordan, and R. A. Nichols. 2008. “The Role of Vicariance vs. Dispersal in Shaping Genetic Patterns in Ocellated Lizard Species in the Western Mediterranean.” Molecular Ecology 17 (6): 1535–51.

Van Dyke, J.U. and Grace, M.S., 2010. “The role of thermal contrast in infrared-based defensive targeting by the copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix.” Animal Behaviour, 79 (5): 993-999.

Williams, David, Wolfgang Wüster, and Bryan Grieg Fry. 2006. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Australian Snake Taxonomists and a History of the Taxonomy of Australia’s Venomous Snakes.” Toxicon 48 (7): 919–30.

Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

September 19, 2017

010 Armoured Lizards


Episode 10 is all about Southern African armoured lizards of the family Cordylidae. Some live in groups - why? Why are they so damn spikey? These and other mysteries at least partially revealed. Plus, a brand new species of cordylid lizard from Angola and an aside about the tokay gecko trade. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Broeckhoven, Chris, Genevieve Diedericks, Cang Hui, Buyisile G. Makhubo, and P. le Fras N. Mouton. 2016. “Enemy at the Gates: Rapid Defensive Trait Diversification in an Adaptive Radiation of Lizards.” Evolution 70 (11): 2647–56.

Broeckhoven, Chris, and Pieter Le Fras Nortier Mouton. 2015. “Some like It Hot: Camera Traps Unravel the Effects of Weather Conditions and Predator Presence on the Activity Levels of Two Lizards.” PLoS ONE 10 (9): 1–15. OPEN ACCESS

Mouton, P le Fras N, Janine L Glover, and Alexander F Flemming. 2014. “Solitary Individuals in Populations of the Group-Living Lizard Ouroborus Cataphractus: Voluntary or Forced?” African Zoology 49 (2): 307–10.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Stanley, Edward L., Luis MP Ceriaco, Suzana Bandeira, Hilaria Valerio, Michael F. Bates, and William R. Branch. 2016. "A review of Cordylus machadoi (Squamata: Cordylidae) in southwestern Angola, with the description of a new species from the Pro-Namib desert." Zootaxa 4061(3): 201-226.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Ariefiandy, Achmad, Deni Purwandana, Aganto Seno, Claudio Ciofi, and Tim S. Jessop. 2013. “Can Camera Traps Monitor Komodo Dragons a Large Ectothermic Predator?” PLoS ONE 8 (3): 1–8. OPEN ACCESS

Brodie III, E.D., and E.D. Brodie Jr. 1999. “Costs of Exploiting Poisonous Prey: Evolutionary Trade-Offs in a Predator-Prey Arms Race.” Evolution 2 (53): 626–31. OPEN ACCESS

Buchanan, S. W., Timm, B. C., Cook, R. P., Couse, R., & Hazard, L. C. (2016). Surface Activity and Body Temperature of Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos) at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts USA. Journal of Herpetology.

Ivany, L C, W P Patterson, and K C Lohmann. 2000. “Cooler Winters as a Possible Cause of Mass Extinctions at the Eocene/Oligocene Boundary.” Nature 407 (6806): 887–90.

Lima, S. L. (1995). Back to the basics of anti-predatory vigilance: the group-size effect. Animal Behaviour, 49(1), 11-20.

Losos, Jonathan B., P.Le Fras N. Mouton, Ryan Bickel, Ian Cornelius, and Lanral Ruddock. 2002. “The Effect of Body Armature on Escape Behaviour in Cordylid Lizards.” Animal Behaviour 64 (2): 313–21.

Mouton, P., Flemming, A. F., & Kanga, E. M. (1999). Grouping behaviour, tail-biting behaviour and sexual dimorphism in the armadillo lizard (Cordylus cataphractus) from South Africa. Journal of Zoology, 249(1), 1-10.

Nijman, Vincent, and Chris R Shepherd. 2015. “TRAFFIC Report: Adding up the Numbers : An Investigation into Commercial Breeding of Tokay Gecko in Indonesia.” Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. OPEN ACCESS

Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70.

Truter, Johannes Christoff, Johannes Hendrik VanWyk, and Pieter le Fras Nortier Mouton. 2014. “An Evaluation of Daily, Seasonal and Population-Level Variation in the Thermal Preference of a Group-Living Lizard, Ouroborus Cataphractus (Sauria: Cordylidae).” Amphibia-Reptilia 35 (4): 391–403.

Zachos, J., Mark Pagani, Lisa Sloan, Ellen Thomas, and Katharina Billups. 2001. “Trends, Rhythms, and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present.” Science 292 (5517): 686–93.

Other links and mentions:

iHerp magazine - https://iherpaustralia.com.au/

Music – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

September 5, 2017

009 The Golden Mantella


The Golden Mantella frog is the subject of this fortnights episode. Starting with a little bit about how they live in the wilds of Madagascar; followed by the larger portion of the podcast looking at a couple of the studies that have come out of the captive breeding initiatives. Species of the Bi-week returns, and features a couple of newly described frogs from Papua New Guinea. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Passos, Luiza Figueiredo, Gerardo Garcia, and Robert John Young. 2017. “The Tonic Immobility Test: Do Wild and Captive Golden Mantella Frogs (Mantella Aurantiaca) Have the Same Response ?” PLoS ONE 12 (7): e0181972. OPEN ACCESS

Passos, Luiza Figueiredo, Gerardo Garcia, and Robert John Young. 2017. “Neglecting the Call of the Wild : Captive Frogs like the Sound of Their Own Voice.” PLoS ONE 12 (7): 1–11. OPEN ACCESS

Woodhead, C., Vences, M., Vieites, D.R., Gamboni, I., Fisher, B.L. and Griffiths, R.A., 2007. “Specialist or generalist? Feeding ecology of the Malagasy poison frog Mantella aurantiaca.” The Herpetological Journal 17 (4): 225-236.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Günther, Rainer, and Stephen Richards. 2016. “Description of Two New Species of the Microhylid Frog Genus Oreophryne (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae) from Southern Papua New Guinea.” Vertebrate Zoology 66 (2): 157–68. OPEN ACCESS

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Bee, M.A., Perrill, S.A. and Owen, P.C. 1999. “Size assessment in simulated territorial encounters between male green frogs (Rana clamitans).” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 45 (3-4): 177-184.

Biju, S.D., and Franky Bossuyt. 2003. “New Frog Family from India Reveals an Ancient Biogeographical Link with the Seychelles.” Nature 425 (2001): 711–14.

Bossuyt, Franky, and Kim Roelants. 2009. “Frogs and Toads (Anura).” In The Timetree of Life, edited by S. Blair Hedges and Sudhir Kumar, 357–64. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Burghardt, Gordon M. 2013. “Environmental Enrichment and Cognitive Complexity in Reptiles and Amphibians: Concepts, Review, and Implications for Captive Populations.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science 147 (3–4): 286–98.

Gerhardt, H. C., and J. Rheinlaender. 1980. “Accuracy of Sound Localization in a Miniature Dendrobatid Frog.” Naturwissenschaften 67 (7): 362–63.

Günther, Rainer, Stephen J. Richards, David Bickford, and Gregory R. Johnston. 2012. “A New Egg-Guarding Species of Oreophryne (Amphibia, Anura, Microhylidae) from Southern Papua New Guinea.” Zoosystematics and Evolution 88 (2): 223–30.

Heying, Heather. 2001. “Mantella Laevigata (Climbing Mantella). Aborted Predation.” Herpetological Review 32 (1): 34–34. OPEN ACCESS

Janani, S. Jegath, Karthikeyan Vasudevan, Elizabeth Prendini, Sushil Kumar Dutta, and Ramesh K. Aggarwal. 2017. “A New Species of the Genus Nasikabatrachus (Anura, Nasikabatrachidae) from the Eastern Slopes of the Western Ghats, India.” Alytes 34 (1–4): 1–19. OPEN ACCESS

Johnson, J.A. and Brodie Jr, E.D. 1975. “The selective advantage of the defensive posture of the newt, Taricha granulosa.” American Midland Naturalist:.139-148. OPEN ACCESS

Jovanovic, Olga, Miguel Vences, Goran Safarek, Falitiana C E Rabemananjara, and Rainer Dolch. 2009. “Predation upon Mantella Aurantiaca in the Torotorofotsy Wetlands, Central-Eastern Madagascar.” Herpetology Notes 2 (1): 95–97.

Ligon, R.A. and McGraw, K.J. 2013. “Chameleons communicate with complex colour changes during contests: different body regions convey different information.” Biology Letters 9 (6): 20130892. OPEN ACCESS

Mayer, Michael, Lisa M. Schulte, Evan Twomey, and Stefan Lötters. 2014. “Do Male Poison Frogs Respond to Modified Calls of a Müllerian Mimic?” Animal Behaviour 89: 45–51.

Narins, Peter M, Walter Hödl, and Daniela S Grabul. 2003. “Bimodal Signal Requisite for Agonistic Behavior in a Dart-Poison Frog, Epipedobates Femoralis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100 (2): 577–80. OPEN ACCESS

Rabemananjara, Falitiana C E, Noromalala Rasoamampionona Raminosoa, Olga Ramilijaona Ravoahangimalala, D. Rakotondravony, Franco Andreone, P. Bora, Angus I Carpenter, et al. 2008. “Malagasy Poison Frogs in the Pet Trade: A Survey of Levels of Exploitation of Species in the Genus Mantella.” Monografie Del Museo Regionale Di Scienze Naturali Di Torino XLV: 277–300. OPEN ACCESS

Rodríguez, Ariel, Dennis Poth, Stefan Schulz, and Miguel Vences. 2011. “Discovery of Skin Alkaloids in a Miniaturized Eleutherodactylid Frog from Cuba.” Biology Letters 7: 414–18. OPEN ACCESS

Saporito, Ralph A., Maureen A. Donnelly, Thomas F. Spande, and H. Martin Garraffo. 2012. “A Review of Chemical Ecology in Poison Frogs.” Chemoecology 22 (3): 159–68.

Vences, Miguel, Frank Glaw, and Wolfgang Böhme. 1998. “Evolutionary Correlates of Microphagy in Alkaloid-Containing Frogs (Amphibia : Anura).” Zoologischer Anzeiger 236: 217–30.

Woodhead, Cindy, Miguel Vences, David R. Vieites, Ilona Gamboni, Brian L. Fisher, and Richard A. Griffiths. 2007. “Specialist or Generalist? Feeding Ecology of the Malagasy Poison Frog Mantella Aurantiaca.” Herpetological Journal 17 (4): 225–36.

Other Links/Mentions:

Association Mitsinjo Madagascar – https://associationmitsinjo.wordpress.com/

Donate to – http://www.amphibianark.org/donation-for-mitsinjo-project/

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

August 22, 2017

008 Deceptive Snakes


Snakes! Episode eight is all about snakes, specifically those snakes that employ mimicry to fool other animals. We talk about spider tailed vipers, chunky puff adders and variety of sneaky coral snakes. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Fathinia, B, N Rastegar-Pouyani, E Rastegar-Pouyani, F Todehdehghan, and F Amiri. 2015. “Avian Deception Using an Elaborate Caudal Lure in Pseudocerastes Urarachnoides (Serpentes: Viperidae).” Amphibia-Reptilia 36 (3): 223–31.

Glaudas, X., and G. J. Alexander. 2017. “A Lure at Both Ends: Aggressive Visual Mimicry Signals and Prey-Specific Luring Behaviour in an Ambush-Foraging Snake.” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 71 (1).

Raveendran, Dileep Kumar, V. Deepak, Eric Nelson Smith, and Utpal Smart. 2017. “A New Colour Morph of Calliophis Bibroni (Squamata: Elapidae) and Evidence for Müllerian Mimicry in Tropical Indian Coralsnakes.” Herpetology Notes 10: 209–17. OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Koch, Claudia, and Pablo J Venegas. 2016. “A Large and Unusually Colored New Snake Species of the Genus Tantilla (Squamata; Colubridae) from the Peruvian Andes.” PeerJ 4: e2767. OPEN ACCESS 

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Chen, Tianbao, Cherith N. Reid, Brian Walker, Mei Zhou, and Chris Shaw. 2005. “Kassinakinin S: A Novel Histamine-Releasing Heptadecapeptide from Frog (Kassina Senegalensis) Skin Secretion.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 337 (2): 474–80.

Farrell, Terence M., Peter G. May, and Paul T. Andreadis. 2011. “Experimental Manipulation of Tail Color Does Not Affect Foraging Success in a Caudal Luring Rattlesnake.” Journal of Herpetology 45 (3)

Fathinia, Behzad, Steven C Anderson, Nasrullah Rastegar-pouyani, Hasan Jahani, and Hosien Mohamadi. 2009. “Notes on the Natural History of Pseudocerastes Urarachnoides (Squamata: Viperidae).” Russian Journal of Herpetology 16 (2): 134–38. OPEN ACCESS

Flower, Tom. 2011. “Fork-Tailed Drongos Use Deceptive Mimicked Alarm Calls to Steal Food.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278: 1548–55. OPEN ACCESS

Hagman, M., B. L. Phillips, and R. Shine. 2008. “Tails of Enticement: Caudal Luring by an Ambush-Foraging Snake (Acanthophis Praelongus, Elapidae).” Functional Ecology 22 (6): 1134–39. OPEN ACCESS

Hagman, M., Phillips, B.L. and Shine, R., 2009. "Fatal attraction: adaptations to prey on native frogs imperil snakes after invasion of toxic toads." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 276 (1668): 2813-2818.

Marques, O.A., Martins, M., Develey, P.F., Macarrao, A. and Sazima, I., 2012. "The golden lancehead Bothrops insularis (Serpentes: Viperidae) relies on two seasonally plentiful bird species visiting its island habitat." Journal of Natural History, 46 (13-14): 885-895.

Mattute, B, F C Knoop, and J M Conlon. 2000. “Kassinatuerin-1: A Peptide with Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Activity Isolated from the Skin of the Hyperoliid Frog, Kassina Senegalensis.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 268 (2): 433–36.

Nelson, X.J., Garnett, D.T. and Evans, C.S., 2010. "Receiver psychology and the design of the deceptive caudal luring signal of the death adder." Animal Behaviour 79 (3): 555-561.

Pantanowitz, L, T W Naudé, and A Leisewitz. 1998. “Noxious Toads and Frogs of South Africa.” South African Medical Journal 88 (11): 1408–14. OPEN ACCESS

Pfennig, David W, and Sean P Mullen. 2010. “Mimics without Models: Causes and Consequences of Allopatry in Batesian Mimicry Complexes.” Proceedings. Biological Sciences / The Royal Society 277 (1694): 2577–85. OPEN ACCESS

Rastegar-Pouyani, Nasrullah, Haji Gholi Kami, Mehdi Rajabzadeh, Soheila Shafiei, and Steven Clement Anderson. 2008. “Annotated Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of Iran.” Iranian Journal of Animal Biosystematics 4 (1): 7–30. OPEN ACCESS

Silva, Inês, Matt Crane, Taksin Artchawakom, Pongthep Suwanwaree, and Colin T Strine. 2016. “More than Meets the Eye: Change in Pupil Shape by a Mock Viper.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14 (8): 453–54. doi:10.1002/FEE.1420. OPEN ACCESS

Other Links/Mentions:

Xavier Glaudas describes his research on puff adders (Bitis arietans) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3umGcQw-JWA

Puff Adder Strike Slow-Mo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPfG4OdGEyI

Death adder caudal luring - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSizvBwFL-A

Iranian spider-tailed viper tricks bird, SciNews - https://figshare.com/articles/Avian_deception_using_an_elaborate_caudal_lure_in_Pseudocerastes_urarachnoides_Serpentes_Viperidae_/1454446

Link to Supplementary Material of Glaudas et al. 2017  - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00265-016-2244-6#SupplementaryMaterial

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

August 8, 2017

007 Fossorial Frogs


This week is a fully frog podcast, dedicated to those frogs who dig. We touch on how the climate can induce fossorial adaptations and limit frog’s activity periods. Along with how some frogs manage to sustain populations despite their sedentary and subterranean lives. And look at perhaps the most bizarre looking frog ever to have graced the earth. To round off we have a newly described burrow-utilising frog for our Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Andreone, Franco, Paolo Eusebio Bergò, Vincenzo Mercurio, and Gonçalo M. Rosa. 2013. “Spatial Ecology of Scaphiophryne Gottlebei in the Canyons of the Isalo Massif, Madagascar.” Herpetologica 69 (1): 11–21. 

Encarnación-Luévano, Alondra, Octavio R. Rojas-Soto, and J. Jesús Sigala-Rodríguez. 2013. “Activity Response to Climate Seasonality in Species with Fossorial Habits: A Niche Modeling Approach Using the Lowland Burrowing Treefrog (Smilisca Fodiens).” PLoS ONE 8 (11): 1–7. OPEN ACCESS

Thomas, Ashish, Robin Suyesh, S. D. Biju, and Mark A. Bee. 2014. “Vocal Behavior of the Elusive Purple Frog of India (Nasikabatrachus Sahyadrensis), a Fossorial Species Endemic to the Western Ghats.” PLoS ONE 9 (2). OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Matsui, Masafumi, Kanto Nishikawa, and Koshiro Eto. 2014. “A New Burrow-Utilising Fanged Frog from Sarawak, East Malaysia (Anura: Dicroglossidae).” Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 62: 679–87. OPEN ACCESS

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Andreone, Franco, Fabio Mattioli, and Vincenzo Mercurio. 2005a. “The Call of Scaphiophryne Gottlebei, a Microhylid Frog from the Isalo Massif, Southcentral Madagascar.” Current Herpetology 24 (1): 33–35.

Andreone, Franco, V. Mercurio, F. Mattioli, and T. J. Razafindrabe. 2005b. “Good News for Three Critically Endangered and Traded Frogs from Madagascar.” FrogLog 72: 2–3.

Biju, S. D., and Franky Bossuyt. 2003. "New frog family from India reveals an ancient biogeographical link with the Seychelles." Nature 425 (6959): 711-714.

Boistel, Renaud, Thierry Aubin, Peter Cloetens, Françoise Peyrin, Thierry Scotti, Philippe Herzog, Justin Gerlach, Nicolas Pollet, and Jean-François Aubry. 2013. “How Minute Sooglossid Frogs Hear without a Middle Ear.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (38): 15360–64. OPEN ACCESS

Crottini, Angelica, Ylenia Chiari, Vincenzo Mercurio, Axel Meyer, Miguel Vences, and Franco Andreone. 2008. “Into the Canyons: The Phylogeography of the Malagasy Frogs Mantella Expectata and Scaphiophryne Gottlebei in the Arid Isalo Massif, and Its Significance for Conservation (Amphibia: Mantellidae and Microhylidae).” Organisms Diversity and Evolution 8 (5): 368–77. OPEN ACCESS

Filippi, Piera, Jenna V. Congdon, John Hoang, Daniel L. Bowling, Stephan A. Reber, Andrius Pašukonis, Marisa Hoeschele et al. 2017. "Humans recognize emotional arousal in vocalizations across all classes of terrestrial vertebrates: evidence for acoustic universals." Proceeding of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 284 (1859): 20170990

Iskandar, Djoko T., Ben J. Evans, and Jimmy A. McGuire. 2014. "A novel reproductive mode in frogs: a new species of fanged frog with internal fertilization and birth of tadpoles." PLoS One 9 (12): e115884. OPEN ACCESS

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2016. “Scaphiophryne Gottlebei, Malagasy Rainbow Frog.” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T57998A84182454. OPEN ACCESS

Nomura, Fausto, Denise C. Rossa-Feres, and Francisco Langeani. 2009. “Burrowing Behavior of Dermatonotus Muelleri (Anura, Microhylidae) with Reference to the Origin of the Burrowing Behavior of Anura.” Journal of Ethology 27 (1): 195–201.

Rosa, Gonçalo M., Vincenzo Mercurio, Angelica Crottini, and Franco Andreone. 2010. “Predation of the Snake Leioheterodon Modestus (Günther, 1863) upon the Rainbow Frog Scaphiophryne Gottlebei Busse & Böhme, 1992 at Isalo, Southern Madagascar.” Herpetology Notes 3 (1): 259–61.

Wake, Marvalee H. 1978. "The reproductive biology of Eleutherodactylus jasperi (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae), with comments on the evolution of live-bearing systems." Journal of Herpetology: 121-133.

Zachariah, Anil, Robin Kurian Abraham, Sandeep Das, K. C. Jayan, and Ronald Altig. 2012. "A detailed account of the reproductive strategy and developmental stages of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis (Anura: Nasikabatrachidae), the only extant member of an archaic frog lineage." Zootaxa 3510 (1): 53-64.

Other Links/Mentions:

Audio S1 from Thomas et al. 2014 - https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084809.s001

Audio S2 from Thomas et al. 2014 - https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084809.s002

Audio S3 from Thomas et al. 2014 - https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084809.s003

Video S1 from Thomas et al. 2014 - http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084809.s005&type=supplementary

Audio S1 from Boistel et al. 2013 - http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2013/08/28/1302218110.DCSupplemental/ad01.wav

Audio of Scaphiophryne gottlebei from The calls of the frogs of Madagascar by Miguel Vences, Frank Glaw and Rafael Márquez, recorded by Franco Andreone - http://www.fonozoo.com/fnz_detalles_registro_amphibia.php?id=93943&tipo_registro=1

BBC’s Life in Cold Blood, Amazing Rain Frogs - https://youtu.be/mISMwN-0ggE

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

July 25, 2017

006 Turtle Tides


In episode six of our herpetology podcast we investigate the majestic sea turtles. To begin with we dive into the dispersal capabilities of Leatherback Turtles. Following on from that we discuss some of the threats that wild turtles face - plastics and oil. Finally, for our Species of the Bi-week we lighten the mood with a species which, incidentally, also possesses a hard exterior. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Lauritsen, Ann Marie, Philip M. Dixon, Dave Cacela, Beth Brost, Robert Hardy, Sandra L. MacPherson, Anne Meylan, Bryan P. Wallace, and Blair Witherington. 2017. “Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Loggerhead Turtle Caretta Caretta Nest Densities in Northwest Florida.” Endangered Species Research 33 (1): 83–93. OPEN ACCESS

Pham, Christopher K., Yasmina Rodríguez, Axelle Dauphin, Rita Carriço, João P.G.L. Frias, Frederic Vandeperre, Vanessa Otero, et al. 2017. “Plastic Ingestion in Oceanic-Stage Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta Caretta) off the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre.” Marine Pollution Bulletin, in press.

Scott, Rebecca, Arne Biastoch, Pierre D. Agamboue, Till Bayer, Francois L. Boussamba, Angela Formia, Brendan J. Godley, et al. 2017. “Spatio-Temporal Variation in Ocean Current-Driven Hatchling Dispersion: Implications for the World’s Largest Leatherback Sea Turtle Nesting Region.” Diversity and Distributions, 23: 604–614. OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Thomson, Scott, and Arthur Georges. 2016. “A New Species of Freshwater Turtle of the Genus Elseya (Testudinata: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from the Northern Territory of Australia.” Zootaxa 4061 (1): 18–28.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Benson, Scott R., Tomoharu Eguchi, Dave G. Foley, Karin A. Forney, Helen Bailey, Creusa Hitipeuw, Betuel P. Samber, et al. 2011. “Large-Scale Movements and High-Use Areas of Western Pacific Leatherback Turtles, Dermochelys Coriacea.” Ecosphere 2 (7): art84. OPEN ACCESS

Boyle, M. C., N. N. FitzSimmons, C. J. Limpus, S. Kelez, X. Velez-Zuazo, and M. Waycott. 2009. "Evidence for transoceanic migrations by loggerhead sea turtles in the southern Pacific Ocean." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences: rspb-2008.

Bombelli, Paolo, Christopher J. Howe, and Federica Bertocchini. 2017. “Polyethylene Bio-Degradation by Caterpillars of the Wax Moth Galleria Mellonella.” Current Biology 27 (8). Elsevier: R292–93.

Cedervall, Tommy, Lars-Anders Hansson, Mercy Lard, Birgitta Frohm, and Sara Linse. 2012. "Food chain transport of nanoparticles affects behaviour and fat metabolism in fish." PloS one 7 (2): e32254. OPEN ACCESS

Eckert, S. 2002. “Distribution of Juvenile Leatherback Sea Turtle Dermochelys Coriacea Sightings.” Marine Ecology Progress Series 230: 289–93. OPEN ACCESS

Geyer, Roland, Jenna R. Jambeck, and Kara Lavender Law. 2017. “Production, Use, and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made.” Science Advances 3 (7): 25–29. OPEN ACCESS

Jambeck, Jenna R, Roland Geyer, Chris Wilcox, Theodore R Siegler, Miriam Perryman, Anthony Andrady, Ramani Narayan, and Kara Lavender Law. 2015. “Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean.” Science Magazine 347 (6223): 768–71.

Rossi, Giulia, Jonathan Barnoud, and Luca Monticelli. 2013. "Polystyrene nanoparticles perturb lipid membranes." The journal of physical chemistry letters 5 (1): 241-246.

Schuyler, Qamar, Britta Denise Hardesty, Chris Wilcox, and Kathy Townsend. 2014. “Global Analysis of Anthropogenic Debris Ingestion by Sea Turtles.” Conservation Biology 28 (1): 129–39. OPEN ACCESS

Other Links/Mentions:

Special edition of Endangered Species Research - OPEN ACCESS http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v33/

Photos from NOAA of Deepwater Horizon - https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/apr17/dwh-protected-species.html

Turtle in trouble after eating a straw (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wH878t78bw

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

July 11, 2017

005 Monsters and Dragons


This episode is focused on venomous lizards. The first half is all about the desert specialist and ultra-efficient Gila Monster. With the latter portion covering possibly the most charismatic lizard still roaming the earth – the iconic Komodo Dragon. We explore how these lizards interact with their environments and discuss the existence of their venoms. At the end we have the usual Species of the Bi-week who also harbours a dangerous toxin. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

French, Robert, Daniel Brooks, Anne-Michelle Ruha, Farshad Shirazi, Peter Chase, Keith Boesen, and Frank Walter. 2015. “Gila Monster (Heloderma Suspectum) Envenomation: Descriptive Analysis of Calls to United States Poison Centers with Focus on Arizona Cases.” Clinical Toxicology 53 (1): 60–70.

Fry, Bryan G, Stephen Wroe, Wouter Teeuwisse, Matthias J P van Osch, Karen Moreno, Janette Ingle, Colin McHenry, et al. 2009. “A Central Role for Venom in Predation by Varanus Komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the Extinct Giant Varanus (Megalania) Priscus.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106 (22): 8969–74. OPEN ACCESS

Gienger, C. M., C. Richard Tracy, and Kenneth A. Nagy. 2014. “Life in the Lizard Slow Lane: Gila Monsters Have Low Rates of Energy Use and Water Flux.” Copeia 2: 279–87.

Purwandana, Deni, Achmad Ariefiandy, M. Jeri Imansyah, Aganto Seno, Claudio Ciofi, Mike Letnic, and Tim S. Jessop. 2016. “Ecological Allometries and Niche Use Dynamics across Komodo Dragon Ontogeny.” Science of Nature 103 (27): 26–37.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Serrano-Rojas, Shirley J., Andrew Whitworth, Jaime Villacampa, Rudolf Von May, Roberto C. Gutiérrez, José M. Padial, and Juan C. Chaparro. 2017. “A New Species of Poison-Dart Frog (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from Manu Province, Amazon Region of Southeastern Peru, with Notes on Its Natural History, Bioacoustics, Phylogenetics, and Recommended Conservation Status.” Zootaxa 4221 (1): 71–94.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Auffenberg W. 1981. “Behavioral ecology of the Komodo monitor. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville.” as cited in Fry et al. 2006 and Purwandana et al. 2016

Ariefiandy, Achmad, Deni Purwandana, Sanggar Abdil Nasu, Maman Surahman, Claudio Ciofi, and Tim Jessop. 2015. “First Record of Komodo Dragon Nesting Activity and Hatchling Emergence from North Flores , Eastern Indonesia.” Biawak 9 (1): 33–35. OPEN ACCESS

Ashurst, John, and Robert Cannon. 2013. “Gila Monster Envenomation: A Review for the Emergency Medicine Physician.” JMED Research 2013: 1–4. OPEN ACCESS

Daly, J. W., and C. W. Myers. 1967. “Toxicity of Panamanian Poison Frogs (Dendrobates): Some Biological and Chemical Aspects.” Science 156 (3777): 970–73.

Davis, J. R., and D. F. DeNardo. 2007. “The urinary bladder as a physiological reservoir that moderates dehydration in a large desert lizard, the Gila monster Heloderma suspectum.” Journal of Experimental Biology 210 (8): 1472-1480. OPEN ACCESS

Flannery, Tim 2002. The future eaters: an ecological history of the Australasian lands and people. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3943-4.

Fry, Bryan G., Nicolas Vidal, Janette A. Norman, Freek J. Vonk, Holger Scheib, S. F. Ryan Ramjan, Sanjaya Kuruppu, et al. 2006. “Early Evolution of the Venom System in Lizards and Snakes.” Nature 439 (7076): 584–88. 

Hargreaves, A. D.,  M. T. Swain, D. W. Logan, and J. F. Mulley. 2014. “Testing the Toxicofera: comparative transcriptomics casts doubt on the single, early evolution of the reptile venom system.” Toxicon 92: 140-156. OPEN ACCESS

Hawlitschek, Oliver, Mark D. Scherz, Nicolas Straube, and Frank Glaw. 2016. “Resurrection of the Comoran Fish Scale Gecko Geckolepis Humbloti Vaillant, 1887 Reveals a Disjunct Distribution Caused by Natural Overseas Dispersal.” Organisms Diversity and Evolution 16 (1): 289–98. 

Köhler, Gunther, Hans-Helmut Diethert, Ronald A. Nussbaum, and Christopher J. Raxworthy. 2009. “A Revision of the Fish Scale Geckos, Genus Geckolepis Grandidier (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from Madagascar and the Comoros.” Herpetologica 65 (4): 419–35. 

Laver, Rebecca J., Deni Purwandana, Achmad Ariefiandy, Jeri Imansyah, David Forsyth, Claudio Ciofi, and Tim S. Jessop. 2012. “Life-History and Spatial Determinants of Somatic Growth Dynamics in Komodo Dragon Populations.” PLoS ONE 7 (9): 1–10. OPEN ACCESS

Sims, David W., Emily J. Southall, Nicolas E. Humphries, Graeme C. Hays, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Jonathan W. Pitchford, Alex James, et al. 2008. “Scaling Laws of Marine Predator Search Behaviour.” Nature 451 (7182): 1098–1102. 

Other Links/Mentions:

BBC Planet Earth II - Islands Clip on Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensishttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q05CSZAa8U

BBC Zoo Quest for a Dragon 6 http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/attenborough/7005.shtml

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

June 27, 2017

004 Day Gecko Invasion


Episode four is all about day geckos. We get into the lifestyles of these handsome creatures – first exploring Mauritian lowland forest day gecko’s choice of home. Following on from that, we chat about some cheeky Malagasy geckos with some peculiar dietary requirements, and then discuss the startling spread of giant day geckos on Reunion Island. Our Species of the Bi-Week is a gecko with a bizarre adaption to help it evade its foes. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Buckland, Steeves, Nik C. Cole, Ben Godsall, Javier Rodríguez-Pérez, Laura E. Gallagher, Sion M. Henshaw, and Stephen Harris. 2014. “Habitat Selection of the Mauritian Lowland Forest Day Gecko at Multiple Spatial Scales: A Baseline for Translocation.” Global Ecology and Conservation 1: 71–79. OPEN ACCESS

Taylor, Benjamin, and Charlie Gardner. 2014. “Nectar Feeding by the Day Gecko Phelsuma Mutabilis (Squamata: Gekkonidae) on the Mangrove Tree Sonneratia Alba (Lythraceae) in Southwest Madagascar.” Herpetology Notes 7: 85–87. OPEN ACCESS

Gardner, Charlie, and Louise Jasper. 2015. “Diet of the Endemic Malagasy Day Gecko Phelsuma Modesta Leiogaster Mertens, 1970 in an Urban Environment.” Herpetology Notes 8: 489–92. OPEN ACCESS

Sanchez, Mickaël, and Jean-michel Probst. 2014. “Distribution and Habitat of the Invasive Giant Day Gecko Phelsuma Grandis Gray 1870 (Sauria : Gekkonidae ) in Reunion Island, and Conservation Implication.” Phelsuma 22: 13–28. OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Scherz, Mark D., Juan D. Daza, Jörn Köhler, Miguel Vences, and Frank Glaw. 2017. “Off the Scale: A New Species of Fish-Scale Gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Geckolepis) with Exceptionally Large Scales.” PeerJ 5: e2955. OPEN ACCESS

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Buckland, Steeves, Nik C. Cole, Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Laura E. Gallagher, Sion M. Henshaw, Aurélien Besnard, Rachel M. Tucker, Vishnu Bachraz, Kevin Ruhomaun, and Stephen Harris. 2014. “Ecological Effects of the Invasive Giant Madagascar Day Gecko on Endemic Mauritian Geckos: Applications of Binomial-Mixture and Species Distribution Models.” PLoS ONE 9 (4). OPEN ACCESS

Clémencet, Johanna, Cyril Aubert, Doriane Blottière, and Mickaël Sanchez. 2013. “Kleptoparasitism in the Endemic Gecko Phelsuma Inexpectata: Pollen Theft from Foraging Honeybees on Réunion.” Journal of Tropical Ecology 29: 251–54. 

Glaw, Frank, and Miguel Vences. 2007. A field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Madagascar.

Grassi, Christina. 2006. “Variability in Habitat, Diet, and Social Structure of Hapalemur Griseus in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 131 (1): 50–63.

Long, Emma, and Paul a. Racey. 2007. “An Exotic Plantation Crop as a Keystone Resource for an Endemic Megachiropteran, Pteropus Rufus, in Madagascar.” Journal of Tropical Ecology 23 (July 2007): 397.

Rocha, S, H Rosler, P S Gehring, F Glaw, D Posada, D. James Harris, and M Vences. 2010. “Phylogenetic Systematics of Day Geckos, Genus Phelsuma, Based on Molecular and Morphological Data (Squamata: Gekkonidae).” Zootaxa 2429: 1–28. Isi:000276751900001. OPEN ACCESS

Thomas, Dana L., and Eric J. Taylor. 1990. “Study Designs and Tests for Comparing Resource Use and Availability.” Journal of Wildlife Management 54 (2): 322–30. OPEN ACCESS

Other Links/Mentions:

Video from Clémencet et al. 2013 – https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology/article/kleptoparasitism-in-the-endemic-gecko-phelsuma-inexpectata-pollen-theft-from-foraging-honeybees-on-reunion/EAC9B645C3240BAA31B9E6B198B360E0#fndtn-supplementary-materials

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com

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