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 15, Number 2, April 2005 Volume 15, Number 2, April 2005

pdf 01. Phylogenetic Relationships Among Chinese Ranids Inferred from Sequence Data Set of 12s and 16s rDNA


Open Access

Authors: Jiang, Jianping & Zhou, Kaiya

Abstract: Phylogenetic relationships among twenty-nine species of Ranidae representing thirteen genera were investigated on the basis of 1005 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA sequences of 12S and 16S rRNA gene fragments. Sequence data were analyzed using maximum parsimony, likelihood maximum, and neighbour joining with all indel and missing/ambiguous sites deleted. Among the twenty-nine ranids studied, two clades are well supported by the results of the three analyses, the first consists of twenty-one species in the genera Rana, Glandirana, Rugosa, Pelophylax, Amolops, Odorrana, and Hylarana; and the second includes eight species in the genera Fejervarya, Hoplobatrachus, Paa, Nanorana, Altirana, and Limnonectes; the six genera with multi-species samples – including Amolops, Pelophylax, Rugosa, Rana, Odorrana, and Paa – are recognized as distinct lineages with higher bootstrap and quartet puzzling supports: the phylogenetic relationships between species within each lineage are resolved well. The results testify that the traditional genus Rana is heterogeneous. On the basis of the phylogenetic relationships of these taxa, it is suggested that the genera Paa, Nanorana, and Altirana should be removed from the subfamily Raninae and to be included in the subfamily Dicroglossinae. The torrent frog of the genus Amolops should be retained in the subfamily Raninae rather than in a distinct subfamily Amolopinae of its own. The inclusion of Fejervarya limnocharis in the genus Limnonectes is not supported.


pdf 02. Reproductive Biology of the #Glass##Snake# Ophiodes fragilis (Squamata: Anguidae) in South-East Brazil


Open Access

Authors: Pizzatto, L.

Abstract: The reproductive cycles of tropical lizards can be continuous or seasonal, depending on a wide variety of factors, some of which are historical. Most studies on reproductive biology of lizards have been conducted on species in the Iguanidae, Gekkonidae, Teiidae, Lacertidae, and Scincidae. The few studies on anguid lizards have been on various alligator lizards and one species of Ophisaurus. This study presents data on sexual maturity, adult body size, neonate body size and body mass, fecundity, and male and female reproductive cycles of a population of Ophiodes fragilis from São Paulo and Paraná states in south-east Brazil. Females are larger and attain sexual maturity at a larger SVL than males. The female reproductive cycle is highly seasonal with secondary vitellogenesis starting in the middle of the rainy season (February). Embryos in early stages of development occur in the dry season (June) and parturition occurs at the transition from the dry season to the rainy season (August-December). Clutch size averages 7.5 young and is not related to maternal female size as in many other lizard species. Neonates were 33-57 mm in SVL and 0.45-0.85 g in mass. The residual volume of testes does not vary throughout the year suggesting a continuous spermatogenic cycle. Diameter of the deferent duct is largest from January to March (onset of the rainy season), suggesting that even though males produce sperm continuously, they store sperm until mating season.


pdf 03. The Complex Vomeronasal Structure of Dipsochelys Giant Tortoises and its Identification as a True Jacobson's Organ


Open Access

pp. 15-20
Authors: Gerlach, J.

Abstract: The nasal structure of the western Indian Ocean Dipsochelys giant tortoises is described. These tortoises are known to possess structures facilitating 'nasal drinking'. Additional unique nasal features include the processus dorsalis vomerinus supporting an enlarged medial nasal gland and a 'tuberculum palatinum'. The medial nasal gland can be considered homologous to the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson's organ) and is connected directly to the tuberculum palatinum in the buccal cavity through the foramina praepalatina. An homologous vomeronasal organ with a direct buccal connection is also identified in existing literature accounts of the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea and may have been overlooked in other Chelonia.


pdf 04. Chemical Assessment of Predation Risk in the Wall Lizard, Podarcis muralis, is Influenced by Time Exposed to Chemical Cues of Ambush Snakes


Open Access

pp. 21-25
Authors: Amo, Luisa; López, Pilar & Martín, José

Abstract: Lizards often respond to predator presence by increasing refuge use. However, this behaviour may expose lizards to saurophagous snakes, which inhabit the same refuges to ambush their lizard prey. Snakes, which are not always visible, deposit chemical trails that can be detected by lizards. Even though there are obvious advantages of using chemical cues, chemical detection of predators might lead to very conservative estimates of risk. This is because chemical cues might indicate that an area was risky in the recent past, but not necessarily at the current time. We examined experimentally whether wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) avoid using refuges that contain chemical cues of smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca), and whether this avoidance response is maintained long term or whether it can be modified. Results suggest that wall lizards detected the chemical cues of smooth snakes inside refuges, and, in the short term, decreased the use of predator-scented refuges and increased their escape movements. However, this avoidance response seemed to decrease in the long term. By investigating the refuge again over subsequent time periods, lizards reassessed whether the snake was actually present, modified their refuge use and decreased their avoidance response. Therefore, wall lizards seem able to assess temporal variations in predation risk by snakes inside refuges and to respond accordingly.


pdf 05. A New Species of Agama (Sauria: Agamidae) from Mauritania


Open Access

pp. 27-35
Authors: Padial, José M.

Abstract: A new agama species of the Agama agama species group, is described from the Adrar Mountains of Mauritania, in the Meridional Sahara. This species is morphologically similar and genetically related to Agama impalearis. It is characterized by small size (snout-vent length of adults: 67.6-74.88 mm); long hind legs; gular region with brown irregular longitudinal lines; 10 preanal pores; fourth finger longer than first; small nuchal crest (composed of six spines) and absence of caudal crest; reddish eyelid in males; smooth head scales; regular keeled and mucronate dorsal scales; ventral scales smaller than dorsals; 55-63 scales around mid body; 10-12 surpralabials; 9-12 infralabials; 8-9 group of spines between the anterior margin of the ear opening and the shoulder; 12 lamellae under fourth finger; 19-21 lamellae under fourth toe. It is a solitary rock dweller inhabiting extremely dry habitats with scarce vegetation.


pdf 06. A New Species of Mantidactylus from the East Coast of Madagascar and its Molecular Phylogenetic Relationships within the Subgenus Guibemantis


Open Access

pp. 37-44
Authors: Vences, Miguel & Glaw, Frank

Abstract: We describe a new species of arboreal frog of the genus Mantidactylus from low altitude sites on the eastern coast of Madagascar. Mantidactylus timidus sp. n. has hitherto been considered as Mantidactylus tornieri, but some of the characters that distinguish it from typical populations of this species from mid-altitude localities had already been detected. The new species mainly differs from M. tornieri and all related species in the subgenus Guibemantis by a shorter relative hand length. Furthermore, it has shorter hind limbs, a smaller tympanum diameter and – at least in some populations – green egg pigmentation (as opposed to brown or white). Vocalizations of M. timidus were irregular and unstructured blasts and moans but the available recordings may not represent the real advertisement calls. A molecular phylogeny based on analysis of 539 nucleotides of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene placed the new species sister to a clade containing M. tornieri, M. depressiceps and M. kathrinae. Genetic differentiation from these related species was large, with uncorrected pairwise divergences of more than 8% in all cases. We discuss the recently increasing use of mitochondrial genetic markers to draw taxonomic conclusions and suggest that mitochondrial differentiation should not be used as an exclusive character to describe new amphibian taxa. Instead, phylogenetic placement of populations and morphological, ecological and behavioural arguments need to be carefully evaluated in each case to understand whether a population merits the status of a separate species.


pdf 07. Canalization of Size at Metamorphosis Despite Temperature and Density Variations in Pelodytes punctatus


Open Access

pp. 45-50
Authors: Joly, Pierre; Morand, Alain; Plénet, Sandrine & Grolet, Odile

Abstract: We investigated variation in length of larval period and size at metamorphosis in Pelodytes punctatus in response to temperature and density. Experiments followed a 3 × 2 factorial design, with density and temperature as fixed factors. Length of the larval period was very sensitive to temperature. Although significant, size at metamorphosis showed less variation. Density did not strongly affect the studied variables. No trade-off between length of larval period and size at metamorphosis was detected, even when a trend was perceptible at low density. Pelodytes punctatus differs from most other European species of tailless amphibian with regard to these traits, but is similar to Bombina variegata. These two species both belong to taxa of ancient origin, but also use habitats in the early stages of ecological succession (e.g. those following physical disturbance). Further studies are required to distinguish the influence of phylogenetic factors from those ecological factors that drive the evolution of such biological traits.


pdf 08. Variation in Preferred Body Temperature in an Oviparous Population of Lacerta (Zootoca) Vivipara


Open Access

pp. 51-55
Authors: Carretero, M. A.; Roig, J. M. & Llorente, G. A.

Abstract: The intraspecific variation of preferred temperatures (Tp) was analysed in an oviparous population of Lacerta vivipara and compared with viviparous populations. Lizards collected in central Pyrenees were exposed to a thermal gradient and Tp was measured at four time intervals. Tp was strongly dependent on lizard condition (males > non-pregnant females > pregnant females = immatures) and more weakly with time of day (early morning > mid-day). Individual females increased their Tp after egg-laying. Class-by-class comparisons did not reveal substantial differences with viviparous populations as expected for the thermal rigidity hypothesis. Nevertheless, on a short time scale, Tp should be interpreted as a compromise between different selective pressures including not only thermal environment but also reproductive condition and energy allocation.


pdf 09. Book Review


Open Access

pp. 57-60
Authors: Werner, Yehudah L.



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