The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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Volume 11, Number 2, April 2001 Volume 11, Number 2, April 2001

pdf 01. Amphibian breeding site characteristics in the Western Carpathians, Poland


Open Access


Authors: Wieslaw Babik And Jan Rafnskl

Abstract: The status of amphibian populations in the eastern part of the Western Carpathians, Poland, was investigated by assessing the number and ecological characteristics of breeding sites. Breeding populations of Salamandra salamandra, Triturus cristatus, T. vulgaris, T. montandoni, T. vulgaris x T. montandoni hybrids, T. alpestris, Bombina variegata, Bufo bufo, Bufo viridis and Rana temporaria were found. A total of 171 breeding sites together with their surrounding terrestrial habitats were examined for 11 environmental habitat parameters and data on presence/ absence of other amphibians were recorded. A Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) was performed to relate the species composition to the set of environmental variables. The first axis clearly differentiated S. salamandra from all other species, which were most clearly separated along the second axis. Th is second axis can be interpreted as a gradient of permanency and abundance of water vegetation. Generally, the CCA showed that environmental gradients were short, which reflects the limited range of habitats available for the amphibians in the area. G-tests revealed that two breeding assemblages could be distinguished. The first comprised newts of the genus Triturus, together with 8. variegata; the second assemblage was composed of Bufo bufo and R. temporaria. The number of breeding species at a site was positively correlated with the surface area, "clay pit" habitat type and depth, but negatively with the "oxbow" and "stream" habitat types. Some 84% of all breeding sites were of human origin, the majority of them being small, transient water bodies such as wheel-ruts and roadside ditches. To keep the amphibian abundance in the study area at the present level, continuous human activity in creating and maintaining such suitable sites is necessary.

Keywords: Amphibia, Triturus montandoni, breeding site, conservation, habitat choice, Western Carpathians

pdf 02. Two new chameleons of the genus Calumma from north east Madagascar, with observations on hemipenial morphology in the Calumma furcifer group (Reptilia, Squamata, chamaeleonidae)


Open Access


Authors: Franco Andreone, Fabio Mattioli , Riccardo Jesu And Jasmin E. Randrianirina

Abstract: During herpetological surveys in N. E. Madagascar two new species of Calumma chameleons belonging to the C. furcifer group were found and are described here. The first species, Calumma vencesi n. sp., was found at three rainforest sites: Ambolokopatrika (corridor between the Anjanaharibe-Sud and Marojejy massifs), Besariaka (classified forest south of the AnjanaharibeSud Massif), and Tsararano (forest between Besariaka and Masoala). This species is related to C. gastrotaenia, C. guillaumeti and C. marojezensis. C. vencesi n. sp. differs in having a larger size, a dorsal crest, and - in females - a typical green coloration with a network of alternating dark and light semicircular stripes. Furthermore, it is characterized by a unique combination of hemipenis characters: a pair of sulcal rotulae anteriorly bearing a papillary field; a pair of asulcal rotulae showing a double denticulated edge; and a pair of long pointed cylindrical papillae bearing a micropapillary field on top. The second species, Calumma vatosoa n. sp., found in ericoid habitat on the summit of the Tsararano Chain, is conspicuous due to its bright greenish coloration, with a longitudinal midlateral whitish band, and a yellowish spot in the middle of each flank. The hemipenis ornamentation includes a feature exclusive to this species which has not been described in any other species of the genus Calumma: the coexistence of three pairs of rotulae. This species is perhaps related to C. peyrierasi. The distribution of the species belonging to the C. furcifer group is also discussed from the point of view of biogeographic patterns and refuge massifs.

Keywords: Calumma, Madagascar, chameleon, hemipenial morphology

pdf 03. Effects of age and group size on habitat selection and activity level in Rana pipiens tadpoles


Open Access


Authors: Danielle R. Golden, Geoffrey R. Smith And Jessica E. Rettig

Abstract: Amphibian larvae may use both intrinsic cues- such as their own age, size or developmental stage - and extrinsic cues - such as chemical cues and group size - to make behavioural decisions. We performed a laboratory experiment to study habitat selection and activity level of Rana pipiens tadpoles at different ages and in groups of different sizes. Two ages of tadpoles were used: early (2 weeks after hatching; Gasner stage 25) and late (8 weeks after hatching; Gasner stages 36-38). Three group sizes were used: one, two and six. Tadpoles in pairs or groups tended to be more active and to occur in the open water column more than lone tadpoles. Younger tadpoles tended to use the open water column less and to be less active than older tadpoles, but there was no effect on the use of the vegetated habitat. Our results indicate that the determinants of amphi . bian larval behaviour include responses to both intrinsic (body size, age) and extrinsic (group size) cues.

Keywords: activity, age, group size, habitat selection, Rana pipiens, tadpoles

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