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 19, Number 2, April 2009 Volume 19, Number 2, April 2009

pdf 01. A genetic assessment of the two remnant populations of the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) in Luxembourg


Open Access

pp. 53-59
Authors: Frantz, A.C.; Proess, R.; Burke, T. & Schley, L.

Abstract: The natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) has experienced a dramatic decline in Luxembourg over the last 100 years. Today, only two remnant populations are known. Here, we examine their genetic constitution at 10 microsatellite loci in order to assess the genetic risk from isolation and inbreeding to the species' long-term survival in the country. Genetic diversity in both populations was relatively high, and we did not find evidence for inbreeding. However, the natterjack toads have experienced a recent reduction in their effective population sizes, and there was no evidence of recent gene flow between the two localities. The main short-term objective of conservation measures should be to increase population sizes by continuous safeguarding and management of the two sites.


pdf 02. Microhabitat use by the sand dune lizard Liolaemus multimaculatus in a pampean coastal area in Argentina


Open Access

pp. 61-67
Authors: Kacoliris, Federico Pablo; Eleonora Celsi, Cintia & Laura Monserrat, Ana

Abstract: The sand dune lizard (Liolaemus multimaculatus) is a vulnerable species, endemic to the Pampean coasts in Argentina, yet no studies exist on its preferences for microhabitats. This work has three primary goals: 1) to assess preferences in microhabitat use in relation to their availability; 2) to evaluate differences in male, female and juvenile microhabitat use; and 3) to describe the microhabitat structure required and preferred by lizards. The study was carried out at Mar Chiquita Provincial Nature Reserve, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. We assessed microhabitat selection and evaluated differences in microhabitat use between individual categories, by applying null models. Magnitude of selection was evaluated using Jacobs' index of selectivity. Spatial niche width and overlap were calculated using Hurlbert's measurement and Pianka's index respectively. Results showed that the sand dune lizard did not use microhabitats according to their availability, but rather that it prefers microhabitats with low to medium vegetation cover, and tends to avoid those with high or no vegetation cover. No differences between individual categories were found. Preferred microhabitats allow sand burying and rapid movements and offer refuges from predators. This study allows us to identify suitable microhabitats for this species, thus contributing to the development of conservation plans.


pdf 03. The phylogenetic signal in cranial morphology of Vipera aspis: a contribution from geometric morphometrics


Open Access

pp. 69-77
Authors: Gentilli, A.; Cardini, A.; Fontaneto, D. & Zuffi, M.A.L.

Abstract: Morphological variation in the frontal bone and cranial base of Vipera aspis was studied using geometric morphometrics. Significant differences in shape were found among samples from subspecies present in Italy (V. a. aspis, V. a. francisciredi, V. a. hugyi). Sexual dimorphism was negligible as well as allometry and size differences. The most divergent subspecies was V. a. aspis, possibly in relation to its recent history of geographic isolation in a glacial refugium. Shape clusters were in good agreement with clusters from studies of external morphology and completely congruent with results from molecular studies of mtDNA.


pdf 04. Responses of grey treefrog and American toad tadpoles to the presence of cues from multiple predators


Open Access

pp. 79-83
Authors: Smith, Geoffrey R.; Boyd, Allison; Dayer, Christopher B.; Ogle, Megan E. & Terlecky, Andrew J.

Abstract: Prey may often need to confront and integrate cues from multiple predators simultaneously. We examined the effects of the cues of two potential predators, mosquitofish and odonates, individually and in combination, on the behaviour of two species of anuran tadpoles, grey treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and American toad (Bufo americanus). Mosquitofish cues alone reduced the activity of tadpoles of Hyla versicolor, but had no effect on activity of the tadpoles of Bufo americanus. Odonate cues had no independent effects on the behaviour of B. americanus or H. versicolor. The behaviour of neither species was affected differently by the simultaneous exposure to mosquitofish and odonate cues compared to the independent effects of each predator cue. Habitat use was not affected by any cues or combination of cues in either species. Our results suggest that grey treefrog tadpoles and American toad tadpoles do not respond to the combination of cues from multiple predators any differently than would be expected from their exposure to each cue independently. Our results also demonstrate that the behavioural response of tadpoles to predator cues can be variable among species of prey, as well as among species of predator.


pdf 05. Systematics of the Protobothrops jerdonii complex (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae) inferred from morphometric data and molecular phylogeny


Open Access

pp. 85-96
Authors: Guo, Peng; Malhotra, Anita; Li, Cao; Creer, Simon; Pook, Catharine E. & Wen, Tao

Abstract: Although the systematics of Protobothrops is well resolved at the interspecific level, the intraspecific taxonomy and geographical boundaries of P. jerdonii are still controversial. In the present work, based on a combination of multivariate morphometric analysis and molecular phylogeny, the intra-specific relationships among lineages of P. jerdonii, as well as the relationship between P. jerdonii and P. xiangchengensis, were explored. Both parsimony and Bayesian inference showed that P. xiangchengensis was nested within P. jerdonii. Specimens of P. jerdonii fell into three distinct clades, but relationships among these three clades, and with P. xiangchengensis, were not well resolved. Morphometric trait analysis could not reveal distinct clusters among P. jerdonii, but P. xiangchengensis was shown to be significantly different from all P. jerdonii specimens. Colour pattern differences among P. jerdonii populations do not correspond to mitochondrial clades. Taking the results of the morphological comparison and molecular analysis into consideration, we affirm the validity of P. xiangchengensis, and suggest that P. jerdonii should be considered a monotypic species.


pdf 06. A new, but probably extinct, species of Cnemidophorus (Squamata, Teiidae) from Uruguay


Open Access

pp. 97-105
Authors: Cabrera, Mario R. & Carreira, Santiago

Abstract: A new species of Cnemidophorus related to the lacertoides group is described. The new taxon is distinguished from all other species of the genus by the following combination of character states: 81–98 granular dorsal scales across midbody; 201–206 dorsal scales along midline from nape to rump in males, 208–229 in females; 10 longitudinal rows of ventral scales in both sexes; 19–22 femoral pores in total; 13–15 subdigital lamellae under fourth finger, 20–25 lamellae under fourth toe; 3–4 supraoculars on each side; reduced expression of the “lacertoides pattern”, which may be absent and replaced by a broad greenish mid-dorsal stripe on a brownish-grey background; ventral surfaces of head, body, limbs and tail pearly white, with the most lateral ventral scales of the body completely dark along the belly. The new species also exhibits some anatomical differences from its most closest related species, C. lacertoides. The hyobranchial apparatus of Cnemidophorus new sp. has a pair of short cartilaginous second ceratobranchials, articulated behind the basihyal–first ceratobranchial joint. This structure is absent in the hyobranchial apparatus of C. lacertoides sensu stricto which, moreover, has hypohyals that are relatively longer than in the new species. The new taxon is known only from the type locality, Cabo Polonio, Rocha Department, on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay, in a habitat of rocky grassland. Records of individuals are lacking from three decades to date and detailed field surveys in recent years in search of the lizard were unfruitful. We assume that this taxon is probably extinct. The pressure of increased human presence on the limited suitable habitat in the Cabo Polonio region could have caused its extinction.


pdf 07. Growth rings in young turtles Emys orbicularis – marking is the only reliable criterion for distinguishing between wild and headstarted animals


Open Access

pp. 107-109
Authors: Mitrus, Sławomir

Abstract: In 2006, 11 wild and 16 headstarted European pond turtles Emys orbicularis, that hatched in the years 1997–2001 and were marked during previous studies, were recaptured in central Poland. Wild turtles produced one growth ring per year, although variations were observed in headstarted individuals. Some headstarted turtles presented a pattern in which some of the growth rings were composed of false rings. Such a pattern was not observed in wild individuals. However, the growth ring pattern alone is not a reliable criterion for distinguishing between wild and headstarted turtles after being released into the wild.


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