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.

The 2017/18  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 1.268

pdf 04. An evaluation of non-invasive sampling for genetic analysis in northern European reptiles


Open Access

pp. 32-39
Authors: Jones, Rhys; Cable, Joanne & Bruford, Michael W.

Abstract: Genetic studies of native herpetofauna populations are important for the conservation of European biodiversity, but previous studies have been largely dependent on invasive sample collection. Here we explore the efficiency of noninvasive sampling (NIS) for molecular studies and review the various potential sources of such samples. Snakes produce a multitude of by-products, such as sloughed skin, faeces and eggs or embryos, that, along with road kills, predated specimens and museum samples, could potentially be used in molecular studies. We describe a new method for obtaining snake faeces in the field and, using mitochondrial cytochrome b primers, we successfully amplified 500 and 758 bp sequences from a variety of tissues collected by NIS. The availability and degradation of such material differed greatly, and both DNA extraction and PCR success appeared dependent upon sample origin and storage. Nevertheless, for the first time we demonstrate that faecal, egg and foetal tissues, as well as sloughed skin and carcasses, represent valuable NIS source material permitting genetic studies with minimal disturbance to the individual and its population.


Download Access:

The latest 20 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.

Individual articles can be purchased for download.

Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download


For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

pdfBHS Ethics Policy

NOTE: as of January 2017, all new editions of the HJ are ONLY available online via the BHS website. The BHS no longer has a commercial hosting agreement with Ingenta  -  although editions prior to end 2016 remain accessible on Ingenta .  Those editions are of course also accessible on the BHS website for subscribers with an active and valid membership.  Should you experience any difficulty accessing HJ editions via the website or have any queries in this regard, please contact