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


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


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


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


This fortnight’s episode is dedicated to boas. The first portion looks into how boas hunt; their ability to subdue prey and potentially hunt in a “coordinated” fashion. After, we dig into some landscape genetics and see how the success of cave dwelling boas could boost their conservation chances. Staying on message, our Species of the Bi-week is another ghostly snake from a tropical island. To round the episode off we slide into a lengthy tangent concerning the “dual purpose” of locality data and how it can feed into poaching activity. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Boback, S. M., K. J. McCann, K. A. Wood, P. M. McNeal, E. L. Blankenship, and C. F. Zwemer. 2015. “Snake Constriction Rapidly Induces Circulatory Arrest in Rats.” Journal of Experimental Biology 218 (14): 2279–88. doi:10.1242/jeb.121384. OPEN ACCESS

Dinets, Vladimir. 2017. “Coordinated Hunting by Cuban Boas.” Animal Behaviour and Cognition 4 (1): 24–29. OPEN ACCESS

Puente-Rolón, Alberto R., R. Graham Reynolds, and Liam J. Revell. 2013. “Preliminary Genetic Analysis Supports Cave Populations as Targets for Conservation in the Endemic Endangered Puerto Rican Boa (Boidae: Epicrates Inornatus).” PLoS ONE 8 (5). OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Reynolds, R Graham, Alberto R. Puente-Rolón, Anthony J. Geneva, Kevin J. Aviles-Rodriguez, and Nicholas C Herrmann. 2016. “Discovery of a Remarkable New Boa from the Conception Island Bank, Bahamas.” Breviora 549 (1): 1–19.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Boback, S. M., A. E. Hall, K. J. McCann, A. W. Hayes, J. S. Forrester, and C. F. Zwemer. 2012. “Snake Modulates Constriction in Response to Prey’s Heartbeat.” Biology Letters 8 (3): 473–76. OPEN ACCESS

Chiszar, David, Donal Boyer, Robert Lee, James B. Murphy, and Charles W. Radcliffe. "Caudal luring in the southern death adder, Acanthophis antarcticus." Journal of Herpetology (1990): 253-260.

Day, M. and P. Tolson. 1996. “Chilabothrus angulifer.” The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1996: e.T7815A12852846. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.1996.RLTS.T7815A12852846.en

Dinets, V., J.C. Brueggen, and J.D. Brueggen. 2015. “Crocodilians Use Tools for Hunting.” Ethology Ecology & Evolution 27 (1). Taylor & Francis: 74–78. .

Dinets, Vladimir. 2014. “Apparent Coordination and Collaboration in Cooperatively Hunting Crocodilians.” Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 27 (2): 1–7.

Hardy, D. L. 1994. ”A re-evaluation of suffocation as the cause of death during constriction by snakes.” Herpetological Review: 25, 45-47

James, M., and T. Fox. 2007. “The Largest of Lizards.” The Newsletter of the Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Network 1 (XII): 9. OPEN ACCESS

Lindenmayer, David and Ben Scheele. 2017. “Do Not Publish.” Science Magazine. 356 (6340) : 800-801. 

Madsen, Thomas, Bo Stille, and Richard Shine. 1996. "Inbreeding depression in an isolated population of adders Vipera berus." Biological conservation 75 (2): 113-118.

Murphy, James B., Charles C. Carpenter, and James C. Gillingham. 1978. "Caudal luring in the green tree python, Chondropython viridis (Reptilia, Serpentes, Boidae)." Journal of Herpetology 12 (1): 117-119. 

O'Shea, M. 2007. Boas and Pythons of the World. New Holland Publishers.

Puente-Rolón, Alberto R., and Fernando J. Bird-Picó. 2004. “Foraging Behavior, Home Range, Movements and Activity Patterns of Epicrates Inornatus (Boidae) at Mata de Plátano Reserve in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.” Caribbean Journal of Science 40 (3): 343–52. OPEN ACCESS

Pyron, R. Alexander, R. Graham Reynolds, and Frank T. Burbrink. 2014. “A Taxonomic Revision of Boas (Serpentes: Boidae).” Zootaxa 3846 (2): 249–60.

Radcliffe, Charles W., D. Chiszar, and H. B. Smith. 1980. "Prey-induced caudal movements in Boa constrictor with comments on the evolution of caudal luring." Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 16: 19-22.

Reynolds, R. Graham, Glenn P. Gerber, and Benjamin M. Fitzpatrick. 2011. "Unexpected shallow genetic divergence in Turks Island Boas (Epicrates c. chrysogaster) reveals single evolutionarily significant unit for conservation." Herpetologica 67 (4): 477-486. 

Reynolds, R. Graham, Matthew L. Niemiller, S. Blair Hedges, Alex Dornburg, Alberto R. Puente-Rolón, and Liam J. Revell. 2013. “Molecular Phylogeny and Historical Biogeography of West Indian Boid Snakes (Chilabothrus).” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68 (3). Elsevier Inc.: 461–70. OPEN ACCESS

Rocha-Santos, Gilson da, Eder Barbier, and Marcelo Oscar Bordignon. 2014. “Sweet Trap: Boa Constrictor (Serpentes: Boidae) Preying on Passerines on Cecropia Pachystachya (Urticales: Cecropiaceae) in Fruiting Period.” Biota Neotropica 14 (2): e20140003. OPEN ACCESS

Tzika, Athanasia C., Susan Koenig, Ricardo Miller, Gerardo Garcia, Christophe Remy, and Michel C. Milinkovitch. 2008. "Population structure of an endemic vulnerable species, the Jamaican boa (Epicrates subflavus)." Molecular ecology 17 (2): 533-544.

Wilson, Byron S., Susan E. Koenig, Rick van Veen, Erika Miersma, and D. Craig Rudolph. 2010. “Cane Toads a Threat to West Indian Wildlife: Mortality of Jamaican Boas Attributable to Toad Ingestion.” Biological Invasions 13 (1): 55–60. OPEN ACCESS

Yang, Jian-Huan, and Bosco Pui-Lok Chan. 2015. "Two new species of the genus Goniurosaurus (Squamata: Sauria: Eublepharidae) from southern China." Zootaxa 3980 (1): 067-080.

Other Links/Mentions:

BBC Planet Earth II - Islands Clip on Galapagos Racers (Philodryas biserialis) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3OjfK0t1XM

BBC Planet Earth - Shallow Seas Clip on Banded Sea Kraits (Laticauda colubrina) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0038t09

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com


In episode two of Herpetological Highlights we delve into the world of frogs and how they deal with noisy environments. Followed up by a pair of radiotelemetry studies giving us a glimpse into the lives of two North American snakes. We have two Species of the Bi-week, a ghostly snake from Madagascar and a rediscovered Monitor Lizard from the distant Bismarck Archipelago. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Bauder, Javan M., David R. Breininger, M. Rebecca Bolt, Michael L. Legare, Christopher L. Jenkins, Betsie B. Rothermel, and Kevin McGarigal. 2016. “The Influence of Sex and Season on Conspecific Spatial Overlap in a Large, Actively-Foraging Colubrid Snake.” PLoS ONE 11 (8): 1–19. OPEN ACCESS

Fill, Jennifer M., Jayme L. Waldron, Shane M. Welch, J. Whitfield Gibbons, Stephen H. Bennett, and Timothy A. Mousseau. 2015. “Using Multiscale Spatial Models to Assess Potential Surrogate Habitat for an Imperiled Reptile.” PLoS ONE 10 (4): 1–13. OPEN ACCESS

Goutte, Sandra, Alain Dubois, and Frédéric Legendre. 2013. “The Importance of Ambient Sound Level to Characterise Anuran Habitat.” PLoS ONE 8 (10): 1–11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078020. OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-Week:

Ruane, S., F.T. Burbrink, B. Randriamahtantsoa, and Raxworthy. C.J. 2016. “The Cat-Eyed Snakes of Madagascar: Phylogeny and Description of a New Species of Madagascarophis (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae) from the Tsingy of Ankarana.” Copeia 104 (3): 712–21. 

Weijola, Valter, Fred Kraus, Varpu Vahtera, Christer Lindqvist, and Stephen C Donnellan. 2017. “Reinstatement of Varanus Douarrha Lesson, 1830 as a Valid Species with Comments on the Zoogeography of Monitor Lizards (Squamata: Varanidae) in the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea.” Australian Journal of Zoology.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Durso, Andrew M, and Richard A Seigel. 2015. “A Snake in the Hand Is Worth 10,000 in the Bush.” Journal of Herpetology 49 (4): 503–6. doi:10.1670/15-49-04.1.

Jones, Julia P G, Mijasoa M. Andriamarovololona, and Neal Hockley. 2008. “The Importance of Taboos and Social Norms to Conservation in Madagascar.” Conservation Biology 22 (4): 976–86. 

Picciulin, M., Sebastianutto, L., Codarin, A., Calcagno, G., & Ferrero, E. A. 2012. “Brown meagre vocalization rate increases during repetitive boat noise exposures: A possible case of vocal compensation.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(5), 3118-3124.

Scott, Mitchell L., Martin J. Whiting, Jonathan K. Webb, and Richard Shine. 2013. “Chemosensory Discrimination of Social Cues Mediates Space Use in Snakes, Cryptophis Nigrescens (Elapidae).” Animal Behaviour 85: 1493–1500.

Strine, Colin, Curt Barnes, Matthew Crane, Inês Silva, Pongthep Suwanwaree, Bartosz Nadolski, Taksin Artchawakom, and Jacques Hill. 2015. “Sexual Dimorphism of Tropical Green Pit Viper Trimeresurus (Cryptelytrops) macrops in Northeast Thailand.” Amphibia-Reptilia 36 (4): 327–38. 

York, Daniel S. "The combat ritual of the Malayan pit viper (Calloselasma rhodostoma)." Copeia 1984.3 (1984): 770-772.

Other Links and Mentions:

Staurios guttatus (Black-spotted Rock Skipper) waves back legs video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcnZSkRgpQ

Atelopus zeteki (Panamanian golden frog) clip from BBC’s Life in Cold Blood - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1FWQvaBoRg

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com


On this inaugural episode of Herpetological Highlights we discuss colour changing Bearded Dragons, the temperature efficiency of Bluetongue Skinks, and how snake camouflage may have driven primate evolution. Our Species of the Bi-week is a sexually dichromatic snake from India. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com


Main Paper References:

Fan, Marie, Devi Stuart-Fox, and Viviana Cadena. 2014. “Cyclic Colour Change in the Bearded Dragon Pogona Vitticeps under Different Photoperiods.” PLoS ONE 9 (10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111504. OPEN ACCESS

Geen, Michael R S, and Gregory R. Johnston. 2014. “Coloration Affects Heating and Cooling in Three Color Morphs of the Australian Bluetongue Lizard, Tiliqua Scincoides.” Journal of Thermal Biology 43 (1). Elsevier: 54–60. doi:10.1016/j.jtherbio.2014.04.004.

Kawai, Nobuyuki, and Hongshen He. 2016. “Breaking Snake Camouflage: Humans Detect Snakes More Accurately than Other Animals under Less Discernible Visual Conditions.” PLoS ONE 11 (10): 1–10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164342. OPEN ACCESS

Species of the Bi-week:

Mohapatra, Pratyush P., S. K. Dutta, Niladri B. Kar, Abhijit Das, B. H. C.K Murthy, and V. Deepak. 2017. “Ahaetulla Nasuta Anomala (Annandale, 1906) (Squamata: Colubridae), Resurrected as a Valid Species with Marked Sexual Dichromatism.” Zootaxa 4263 (2): 318–32. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4263.2.6.

Other Mentioned Papers/Studies:

Cook, Edwin W., Robert L. Hodes, and Peter J. Lang. 1986. "Preparedness and phobia: Effects of stimulus content on human visceral conditioning." Journal of abnormal psychology 95 (3): 195. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.95.3.195

Forsman, Anders. 1995. “Heating Rates and Body Temperature Variation in Melanistic and Zigzag Vipera Berus, Does Colour Make a Difference?” Annales Zoologici Fennici 32 (4): 365–74. http://www.sekj.org/PDF/anzf32/anz32-365-374.pdfOPEN ACCESS

Garcia, Tiffany S, Jodi Stacy, and Andrew Sih. 2014. “Larval Salamander Response to UV Radiation and Predation Risk : Color Change and Microhabitat Use.” Ecological Applications 14 (4): 1055–64. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1890/02-5288/full.

Price-Rees, Samantha J., Gregory P. Brown, and Richard Shine. 2010. “Predation on Toxic Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) May Imperil Bluetongue Lizards (Tiliqua Scincoides Intermedia, Scincidae) in Tropical Australia.” Wildlife Research 37 (2): 166. doi:10.1071/WR09170.

Price-Rees, Samantha J., Jonathan K. Webb, and Richard Shine. 2011. “School for Skinks: Can Conditioned Taste Aversion Enable Bluetongue Lizards (Tiliqua Scincoides) to Avoid Toxic Cane Toads (Rhinella Marina) as Prey?” Ethology 117 (9): 749–57. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.2011.01935.x.

Rasmussen, J.B., 1990. The retina of Psammodynastes pulverulentus (Boie, 1827) and Telescopus fallax (Fleischmann, 1831) with a discussion of their phylogenetic significance (Colubroidea, Serpentes). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 28 (4): 269-276. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.1990.tb00381.x

Soares, Sandra C., Björn Lindström, Francisco Esteves, and Arne Öhman. 2014. “The Hidden Snake in the Grass: Superior Detection of Snakes in Challenging Attentional Conditions.” PLoS ONE 9 (12): 1–26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114724. OPEN ACCESS

Tanaka, Koji. 2007. “Thermal Biology of a Colour-Dimorphic Snake, Elaphe Quadrivirgata, in a Montane Forest: Do Melanistic Snakes Enjoy Thermal Advantages?” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 92 (2): 309–22. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00849.x.

Vences, Miguel, Pedro Galán, David R Vieites, Marta Puente, Kerstin Oetter, and Stefan Wanke. 2002. “Field Body Temperatures and Heating Rates in a Montane Frog Population: The Importance of Black Dorsal Pattern for Thermoregulation.” Annales Zoologici Fennici 39: 209–20. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23736709 OPEN ACCESS

Vidal, Nicolas. 2002. “Colubroid Systematics: Evidence for an Early Appearance of the Venom Apparatus Followed By Extensive Evolutionary Tinkering.” Journal of Toxicology: Toxin Reviews 21 (1–2): 21–41. doi:10.1081/TXR-120004740.

Music – http://www.purple-planet.com