Reptiles and amphibians are hard to find, so how can you be sure you haven’t missed any? We explore some reptile detectives, some of which are good boys. The Species of the Bi-Week is coming at you from the rainforests of Sri Lanka.

FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Boback, S. M., Nafus, M. G., Yackel Adams, A. A., & Reed, R. N. (2020). Use of visual surveys and radiotelemetry reveals sources of detection bias for a cryptic snake at low densities. Ecosphere, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3000

Jean-Marie, B., Raphael, G., Fabien, R., Aurélien, B., Sébastien, C., Nicolas, B., & Xavier, B. (2019). Excellent performances of dogs to detect cryptic tortoises in Mediterranean scrublands. Biodiversity and Conservation, 28(14), 4027–4045. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-019-01863-z

Species of the Bi-Week:

Wickramasinghe, L. J. M., Vidanapathirana, D. R., Pushpamal, V., & Wickramasinghe, N. (2020). A new species of Dryocalamus (Serpentes: Colubridae) endemic to the rainforests of southwestern Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 4748(2), 248–260. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4748.2.2

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies: King cobra preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.006676v1

Egg swallowing bridle snake: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-inserting-the-upper-jaw-from-the-punctured-point-of-the-shell-B-C-swallowing-the_fig1_327623312

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

March 24, 2020

065 Viper X Toad

This episode we take a look at the Gaboon Viper… or is that a toad? Looking at a couple of papers, we check out the characteristics of Gaboon Viper skin, and how a smart toad may be harnessing the looks of a viper to stay safe. Species of the Bi-week returns and continues our African toad journey. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Spinner M, Gorb SN, Balmert A, Bleckmann H, Westhoff G. (2014). Non-Contaminating Camouflage: Multifunctional Skin Microornamentation in the West African Gaboon Viper (Bitis rhinoceros). PLoS ONE 9:e91087. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091087.

Vaughan ER, Teshera MS, Kusamba C, Edmonston TR, Greenbaum E. (2019). A remarkable example of suspected Batesian mimicry of Gaboon Vipers (Reptilia: Viperidae: Bitis gabonica) by Congolese Giant Toads (Amphibia: Bufonidae: Sclerophrys channingi). Journal of Natural History 53:1853–1871. DOI: 10.1080/00222933.2019.1669730.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Ceríaco LMP, Marques MP, Bandeira S, Agarwal I, Stanley EL, Bauer AM, Heinicke MP, Blackburn DC. (2018). A new earless species of Poyntonophrynus (Anura, Bufonidae) from the Serra da Neve Inselberg, Namibe Province, Angola. ZooKeys 780:109–136. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.780.25859.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Spinner M, Kovalev A, Gorb SN, Westhoff G (2013) Snake velvet black: hierarchical micro- and nanostructure enhances dark colouration in Bitis rhinoceros. Scientific Reports 3: 1846. doi: 10.1038/srep01846

Penner J, Fruteau C, Range F, Rödel M-O. (2008). Finding a needle in a haystack: new methods of locating and working with rhinoceros vipers (Bitis rhinoceros). Herpetological Review 39:310–314.

Wittenberg, R.D., Jadin, R.C., Fenwick, A.M. et al. (2015). Recovering the evolutionary history of Africa’s most diverse viper genus: morphological and molecular phylogeny of Bitis (Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae). Organisms Diversity and Evolution 15, 115–125 https://doi.org/10.1007/s13127-014-0185-3

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

Painted turtles - cute, and brightly coloured, but are they harbouring a dark secret? We first discuss identifying their gender, followed by talk of some unusual behaviour. Our Species of the Bi-Week is an Angolan lizard.

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Main Paper References:

Moldowan, P. D., Brooks, R. J., & Litzgus, J. D. (2017). Assessing head morphology dimorphism in the Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) using a photographic questionnaire. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 16(1), 76-82.

Moldowan, P. D., Brooks, R. J., & Litzgus, J. (2020). Demographics of injuries indicate sexual coercion in a population of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta). Canadian Journal of Zoology, (ja).

Species of the Bi-Week:

Branch, W. R., Conradie, W., & Vaz Pinto, P. (2020). Another Angolan Namib endemic species: a new Nucras Gray, 1838 (Squamata: Lacertidae) from south-western Angola. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 13(2), 82–95 (e199).

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Hawkshaw, D. M., Moldowan, P. D., Litzgus, J. D., Brooks, R. J., & Rollinson, N. (2019). Discovery and description of a novel sexual weapon in the world’s most widely-studied freshwater turtle. Evolutionary Ecology, 33(6), 889-900.

Silva, I., Crane, M., Marshall, B. M., & Strine, C. T. (2020). Revisiting reptile home ranges: moving beyond traditional estimators with dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models. BioRxiv, 23. doi:10.1101/2020.02.10.941278

Other Links/Mentions:

Sexing dolphins by their fins: https://www.nature.com/news/2008/081013/full/news.2008.1166.html

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

 

February 20, 2020

063 Croc-o-motion

Crocodiles! What are they doing, running about, biting bones… We take a look at a couple of papers: one examining just how they run, the other examining their role in the study of fossil bones. Species of the Bi-week is back and we finally give the newly rediscovered caiman sub-species the attention it deserves…. And a bonus species! FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., & Baquedano, E. (2018). Distinguishing butchery cut marks from crocodile bite marks through machine learning methods. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 5786. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24071-1

Hutchinson, J. R., Felkler, D., Houston, K., Chang, Y.-M., Brueggen, J., Kledzik, D., & Vliet, K. A. (2019). Divergent evolution of terrestrial locomotor abilities in extant Crocodylia. Scientific Reports, 9(19302). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-55768-6

Species of the Bi-Week:

Balaguera-Reina, S. A. (2019). Rediscovering the Apaporis Caiman (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis): Notes from a Long-Anticipated Expedition. Journal of Herpetology, 53(4), 310. doi:10.1670/19-028

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Sahle, Y., El Zaatari, S. & White, T. D. (2017). Hominid butchers and biting crocodiles in the African Plio–Pleistocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1716317114

Smales, L. R., Allain, S. J. R., Wilkinson, J. W., & Harris, E. (2020). A new species of Pseudoacanthocephalus (Acanthocephala: Echinorhynchidae) from the guttural toad, Sclerophrys gutturalis (Bufonidae), introduced into Mauritius, with comments on the implications of the introductions of toads and their parasites into the UK. Journal of Helminthology, 94.

Other Links/Mentions:

Cuban crocodile galloping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O78CxqRl7NE 

Freshwater croc galloping etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co7bJlJliEs

Crocodilian movement discoveries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdaH73fD5dY

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

They’re strange, they’re soft, they’re turtles - but where do they go? This episode is all about the comings and goings of softshell turtles living in the rivers of the USA. Species of the Bi-week is back, where we check out a slender character from Laos.

FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Plummer, M. V., & O’Neal, C. S. (2019). Aerobic Pushups: Cutaneous Ventilation in Overwintering Smooth Softshell Turtles, Apalone mutica. Journal of Herpetology, 53(1), 27. https://doi.org/10.1670/18-038

Ross, J. P., Bluett, R. D., & Dreslik, M. J. (2019). Movement and Home Range of the Smooth Softshell Turtle (Apalone mutica): Spatial Ecology of a River Specialist. Diversity, 11(8), 124. https://doi.org/10.3390/d11080124

Species of the Bi-Week:

Luu, V. Q., Bonkowski, M., Nguyen, T. Q., Le, M. D., Calame, T., & Ziegler, T. (2018). A New Species Of Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) From Central Laos. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 125(2), 263–276. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.1414221

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Cahn, A. R. (1937). The turtles of Illinois. Illinois Biological Monographs 16:1–218.

Fraser, K. C., Davies, K. T., Davy, C. M., Ford, A. T., Flockhart, D. T. T., & Martins, E. G. (2018). Tracking the conservation promise of movement ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6(October), 150. https://doi.org/10.3389/FEVO.2018.00150

Other Links/Mentions:

Crocfest: https://www.facebook.com/crocfests 

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

December 17, 2019

061 Vertical Herps

Amphibians can make use of all sorts of places: from underground grottos to the tips of trees –but are there any patterns in where amphibians take to the trees? This episode we discuss a paper exploring just that, followed by an example of some civil serpents. This weeks Species of the Bi-week is tiny and cute. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Oliveira, B. F., & Scheffers, B. R. (2019). Vertical stratification influences global patterns of biodiversity. Ecography, 42(2), 249-249.

Barnes, C. H., Farren, W., Strine, C. T., Hill III, Jacques., Waengsothorn, S., & Suwanwaree, P. (2019). Are the habitat niches of female green pit vipers Cryptelytrops macrops and Viridovipera vogeli partitioned by vertical stratification?. Herpetological Bulletin, (149).

Species of the Bi-Week:

Santa-Cruz, R., von May, R., Catenazzi, A., Whitcher, C., López Tejeda, E., & Rabosky, D. L. (2019). A New Species of Terrestrial-Breeding Frog (Amphibia, Strabomantidae, Noblella) from the Upper Madre De Dios Watershed, Amazonian Andes and Lowlands of Southern Peru. Diversity, 11(9), 145.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Scheffers, B. R., Phillips, B. L., Laurance, W. F., Sodhi, N. S., Diesmos, A., & Williams, S. E. (2013). Increasing arboreality with altitude: a novel biogeographic dimension. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280(1770), 20131581.

Strine, C., Barnes, C., Crane, M., Silva, I., Suwanwaree, P., Nadolski, B., … Hill, J. (2015). Sexual dimorphism of tropical green pit viper Trimeresurus (Cryptelytrops) macrops in Northeast Thailand. Amphibia-Reptilia, 36(4), 327–338. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685381-00003010

Other Links/Mentions:

Posts concerning the resignation of Diversity and Distributions editorial staff:

https://retractionwatch.com/2018/11/28/majority-of-journals-editorial-board-resigns-after-publishers-handling-of-letter-about-move-to-open-access/

https://oanarchy.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/to-the-editors-diversity-and-distributions-and-wiley-publishers/

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

December 11, 2019

060 High-calibre Hydromantes

Episode 60 is a Patreon episode about salamanders from the genus Hydromantes. These little characters have some interesting adaptations, and evolve nearly as quickly as they can shoot one of their appendages. Our Species of the Bi-Week is a lizard that looks like a crocodilian. 

FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Salvidio, S., Crovetto, F., & Adams, D. C. (2015). Potential rapid evolution of foot morphology in Italian plethodontid salamanders (Hydromantes strinatii) following the colonization of an artificial cave. Journal of evolutionary biology, 28(7), 1403-1409.

Deban, S. M., & Richardson, J. C. (2011). Cold‐blooded snipers: thermal independence of ballistic tongue projection in the salamander Hydromantes platycephalus. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, 315(10), 618-630.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Campbell, J. A., Solano-Zavaleta, I., Flores-Villela, O., Caviedes-Solis, I. W., & Frost, D. R. (2016). A New Species of Abronia (Squamata: Anguidae) from the Sierra Madre del Sur of Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Herpetology, 50(1), 149-156.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Balaguera-Reina, Sergio. (2019). Rediscovering the Apaporis Caiman (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis): Notes from a Long-Anticipated Expedition. Journal of Herpetology. 53. 310. 10.1670/19-028. 

Deban, S. M., Wake, D. B., & Roth, G. (1997). Salamander with a ballistic tongue. Nature, 389(6646), 27.

Cureton, J. C., & Broughton, R. E. (2014). Rapid morphological divergence of a stream fish in response to changes in water flow. Biology letters, 10(6), 20140352.

Stuart, Y. E., Campbell, T. S., Hohenlohe, P. A., Reynolds, R. G., Revell, L. J., & Losos, J. B. (2014). Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener. Science, 346(6208), 463-466.

Vieites, D. R., Min, M. S., & Wake, D. B. (2007). Rapid diversification and dispersal during periods of global warming by plethodontid salamanders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(50), 19903-19907.

Other Links/Mentions:

Salamanders rolling downhill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK_Jb-LvfC0

Rediscovered Fernandina giant tortoise: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/02/extinct-fernandina-giant-tortoise-found/

Recently rediscovered Abronia species https://www.facebook.com/groups/NAFHA/permalink/2997101796985144/

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

 

In a slightly shambolic episode we mix up the format, this Bi-week we take a look at some lost species and their recent rediscoveries. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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References:

1) Jackson’s climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa jacksoni)

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/10/salamanders-extinct-species-rediscovery-guatemala/

https://www.globalwildlife.org/jacksons-climbing-salamander/

https://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=Bolitoglossa&where-species=jacksoni

2) Pygmy blue tongue skink (Tiliqua adelaidensis)

Milne, T., Bull, C. M., & Hutchinson, M. N. (2003). Use of burrows by the endangered pygmy blue-tongue lizard, Tiliqua adelaidensis (Scincidae). Wildlife Research, 30(5), 523-528.

Milne T, Bull CM, Hutchinson M (2003). "Fitness of the endangered pygmy blue tongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis in artificial burrows". Journal of Herpetology. 37 (4): 762–765.

Funny skink video: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-24/monarto-zoos-pygmy-blue-tongue-lizard-breeding-success/7195136?section=sa 

3) Palawan Forest Turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis)

https://www.turtleconservancy.org/programs/palawan

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1042202

4) Bornean rainbow toad (Ansonia latidisca)

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Leticia_Ochoa-Ochoa/publication/216019689_Planning_amphibian_conservation_in_Mexico/links/0f317535a27be25d88000000/Planning-amphibian-conservation-in-Mexico.pdf#page=6

5) Albany Adder (Bitis albanica)

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/05/albany-adder-venomous-snake-extinct/

https://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com/snake/albany-adder-2/

6) Inland taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidota)

https://web.archive.org/web/20090613092123/http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/features/snakes/taipan/rediscovery.asp 

7) Armoured Mistfrog, Armoured Frog (Litoria lorica)

https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1269

8) Arakan Forest Turtle (Heosemys depressa)

Platt, S. G., Myo, K. M., Ko, W. K., Maung, A., & Rainwater, T. R. (2010). Field observations and conservation of Heosemys depressa in the Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range of western Myanmar. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 9(1), 114-119.

9) Allan's lerista, Greater Robust Fine-lined Slider, Retro slider (Lerista allanae)

https://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-retro-slider-12076

http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=1378

10) Cropan’s boa (Corallus cropanii) 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/02/snakes-boa-rediscovered-brazil/ 

11) Andayapa Andes Toad (Rhaebo olallai)

https://www.globalwildlife.org/blog/tiny-lost-and-found-toad-becomes-harbinger-of-hope/

Other lost species: https://www.globalwildlife.org/search-for-lost-species/

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

November 5, 2019

058 Night of the Gecko

 

Geckos! In Hawai'i? We know what you're thinking - not by natural biogeographic processes! And you're right, they are there because they are invasive species brought by humans. In this Patreon-chosen episode, we explore some of the more unusual species the island has to offer. Our Species of the Bi-Week is a splendid lizard with an even more splendid name.

Check out the Ross McGibbon reptile calendar: http://rmrphotography.com.au/2020-calendar-1/

FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

Main Paper References:

Bucol, A., & Alcala, A. (2013). Tokay gecko, Gekko gecko (Sauria: Gekkonidae) predation on juvenile house rats. Herpetol. Notes, 6, 307-308.

Seifan, T., Federman, A., Mautz, W. J., Smith, K. J., & Werner, Y. L. (2010). Nocturnal foraging in a diurnal tropical lizard (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Phelsuma laticauda) on Hawaii. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 26(2), 243-246.

Goldberg, S. R., & Kraus, F. (2011). Notes on Reproduction of the Gold Dust Day Gecko, Phelsuma laticauda (Gekkonidae) from Hawaii. Current herpetology, 30(1), 79-81.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Ratsoavina, F. M., Raselimanana, A. P., Scherz, M. D., Rakotoarison, A., Razafindraibe, J. H., Glaw, F., & Vences, M. (2019). Finaritra! A splendid new leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus) species from Marojejy National Park in north-eastern Madagascar. Zootaxa, 4545(4), 563-577.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Heiss, R. S., Clark, A.B., & McGowan, K.J. (2009) “Growth and Nutritional State of American Crow Nestlings Vary between Urban and Rural Habitats.” Ecological Applications 19(4): 829–39. https://doi.org/10.1890/08-0140.1.

Wood, K. R., Burney, D. A., Allison, A., & Fisher, R. (2013). Emoia impar (Squamata, Scincidae): not extinct in the Hawaiian Islands. Oryx, 47(3), 328-328.

Other Links/Mentions:

Satanic leaf tailed gecko leaf-tail movement pairing: https://youtu.be/JGqYqZnqPRA

Phelsuma battle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZb3xi3OZKs

Our patreon: https://www.patreon.com/herphighlights

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

October 25, 2019

057 Pit Viper Proportions

Patreon episode - what’s up with Central American vipers? More specifically how is there size and shape impacted by location and interspecific interactions? We check out a couple of papers looking to explore just that. The Species of the Bi-week is a new moderately small insular viper. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com

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Main Paper References:

Jadin, R. C., Mihaljevic, J. R., & Orlofske, S. A. (2019). Do New World pitvipers “scale‐down” at high elevations? Macroecological patterns of scale characters and body size. Ecology and evolution, 9(16), 9362-9375.

Meik, J. M., Setser, K., Mocino-Deloya, E., & Lawing, A. M. (2012). Sexual differences in head form and diet in a population of Mexican lance-headed rattlesnakes, Crotalus polystictus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 106(3), 633-640.

Species of the Bi-Week:

Barbo, F. E., Gasparini, J.L., Almeida, A., Zaher, H., Grazziotin, F., Gusmão, R.B., Ferrarini, J. and Sawaya R. (2016). Another new and threatened species of lancehead genus Bothrops (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Ilha dos Franceses, Southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa, 4097(4), 511-529.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Strine, C., Barnes, C., Crane, M., Silva, I., Suwanwaree, P., Nadolski, B., … Hill, J. (2015). Sexual dimorphism of tropical green pit viper Trimeresurus (Cryptelytrops) macrops in Northeast Thailand. Amphibia-Reptilia, 36(4), 327–338. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685381-00003010

Mackessy, S., Leroy, J., Mociño-Deloya, E., Setser, K., Bryson, R., & Saviola, A. (2018). Venom ontogeny in the mexican lance-headed rattlesnake (Crotalus polystictus). Toxins, 10(7), 271. 

Other Links/Mentions:

Association of Zoos pdf: https://ams.aza.org/iweb/upload/RCP_Snake2016-76b7ff18.pdf

Music:

Intro/outro – Treehouse by Ed Nelson

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

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