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

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

Volume 13, Number 4, October 2003 Volume 13, Number 4, October 2003

pdf 01. Hyperbiliverdinemia in the shingleback lizard (Tiliqua rugosa)


Open Access


Authors: Marcello Pennacchio, Michaela Bogyi, Likhim Teh And Emilio L. Ghisalberti

Abstract: Green pigmentation in the serum of shingleback lizards (Tiliqua rugosa) was the result of an excess of the bile pigment biliverdin (hyperbiliverdinemia). This was confirmed by comparing the absorbance spectrum of the affected serum with that of commercial biliverdin, using TLC and acidification with both nitric and sulphuric acid. The average content of biliverdin in animals with hyperbiliverdinemia was 2.52±0. 15 mg/I 00 ml. Significant changes in the packed cell volume, haemoglobin content, blood glucose levels, body mass and levels of erythropoietin were also observed in animals with this form of green jaundice. Interestingly, significant erythrocyte degeneration, especially in the stroma area of the red blood eells, appears to result in a significant release of haemoglobin into the blood serum, which may account for the excess levels of biliverdin. Changes in the haematology of shingleback lizards are discussed along with the probable cause for hyperbiliverdinemia.

Keywords: bile pigments, biliverdin, jaundice, shingleback lizards

pdf 02. Effect of introduced fish on amphibian species richness and densities in the Sierra de Neila, Spain


Open Access


Authors: I. Martínez-solano, L. J. Barbadillo And M. Lapeña

Abstract: We examined the effect of fish stocking practices on the populations of seven amphibian species in a montane area in the Sierra de Neila (north-central Spain). We compared values for amphibian species richness and amphibian densities between ponds where fish have been introduced and ponds where fish are absent. Our results show that ( 1) amphibian species richness was significantly lower in ponds where fish have been introduced; (2) we found contrasting patterns of pond occupancy by the different amphibian species: on the one hand, two out of seven species (Bufo bufo and Rana perezi) coexist with fish, whereas the other five species breed exclusively in ponds where fish are absent; (3) based on comparisons of presence/ absence data for species present in the area in 1981, 1991 and 2001, we concluded that two amphibian species have suffered severe declines in the last decades. Presently, Alytes obstetricans is almost exclusively confined to a few fish less streams, whereas Salamandra salamandra appears to have been completely extirpated from the whole. area. This local decline of S. salamandra seems to be general for the whole region of the Sistema Iberico (North-central Spain). The possible role of fish stocking practices in these declines is discussed.

Keywords: amphibian decline, conservation, exotic fish, Spain

pdf 03. Buccal swabs as a non destructive tissue sampling method for DNA analysis in amphibians


Open Access


Authors: Nathalie Pidancier , Christian Miquel , Claude Miaud

Abstract: This study describes a non-destructive DNA sampling method for genetic studies on amphibians using buccal swabs. We assessed the quantity and quality of DNA collected in each species by amplifying a part of the cytochrome b gene (381-1060 bp) and microsatellite markers . . Buccal swab sampling is a useful alternative method for DNA sampling for both mtDNA and nDNA markers in amphibians. However, only frozen storage allowed microsatellite genotyping. We conclude that this method could greatly increase the accessibility of genetic studies in small vertebrates and could be preferred in the field of conservation genetics.

Keywords: sampling, mtDNA, nDNA, conservation genetics

pdf 04. Differences in size at birth and brood size among Portuguese populations of the fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra


Open Access


Authors: Rui Rebelo And Maria Helena Leclair

Abstract: Size at birth and brood size were studied in ovoviviparous Salamandra salamandra gallaica and S. s. crespoi from areas differing in hydrological regime. Gravid females were maintained in open-air terraria until parturition was completed. Sizes of offspring at birth tended to be less variable in populations from mesic areas, and brood sizes (numbers of offspring) were larger in a population from a xeric site. Large sizes at birth, close to those observed in viviparous S. s. bernardezi, could be attributed not to cold climate, the risk of larval drift or short pond duration, but perhaps to competition or predation by conspecific larvae. Large and small larvae differed in time taken to reach metamorphosis, but not in size at metamorphosis. Females from the xeric site gave birth to large numbers of small larvae, mainly in small groups and on separate occasions. In the wild, this probably results in the dispersal of a female's offspring among several ponds.

Keywords: fecundity, larval size, Mediterranean climate, metamorphosis, Urodela

pdf 05. Do predator chemical cues affect oviposition site selection in newts


Open Access


Authors: Germán Orizaola And Florentino Braña

Abstract: Predation on larval stages has been reported to play an important role in structuring amphibian communities, and for this reason the choice of suitable oviposition places is likely to influence newt fitness. In this study, we assessed whether females of four newt species - marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus), alpine newt (T. alpestris), palmate newt (T. lzelveticus) and Bosca's newt (T. boscai) - avoid chemical cues of predatory brown trout (Salmo trutta) in selecting their oviposition site. In laboratory tests, individual females were allowed to choose their oviposition site between places with water conditioned by fish chemicals and others with unconditioned water. T. marmoratus females selected preferentially tubs without predator cues as oviposition sites, whereas the other three species did not show significant preference under these conditions. Absence of chemical recognition capabilities, strong philopatry towards oviposition site or predator avoidance based in habitat characteristics are suggested as possible causes of the lack of chemical predator avoidance detected in this experiment.

Keywords: amphibians, egg-laying, predation, Triturus, trout

pdf 06. European pond tortoise, Emys orbicularis, neonates, overwintering in the nest


Open Access


Authors: Slawomir Mitrus And Maria Zemanek

pdf 07. The mating call of Pelodytes ibericus (Anura, Pelodytidae)


Open Access



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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.