The British Herpetological Society


The Herpetological Journal

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 2014 impact factor of the Herpetological Journal (released end June 2015) is 0.90. 

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Folder Volume 23, Number 1, January 2013

pdf 01. Conference report 2012

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pdf 02. Ecological data of Nigerian Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Colubridae) populations

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Authors: Eniang, Edem A.; Akani, Godfrey C.; Rugiero, Lorenzo; Vignoli, Leonardo & Luiselli, Luca

Abstract: We present field ecological data for the snake Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Colubridae) from southern Nigeria. Adult sex-ratio was close to equal, and females attained significantly larger body size than males (on average 470 mm versus 400 mm SVL). Annual above-ground activity peaked during the wet months. A preponderance of snakes were captured in agricultural lands (plantations and farmlands), whereas few snakes were captured in both mangroves and mature forests. Anurans accounted for over 70% of the total prey items; lizards (Scincidae and Agamidae) were also frequently preyed upon. The food niche breadth and diet composition was similar between sexes. There was no apparent ontogenetic dietary change in this species.


pdf 03. Strandings of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles along the eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey

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Authors: Türkozan, Oğuz; Özdilek, Şükran Yalçın; Ergene, Serap; Uçar, Aşkın Hasan; Sönmez, Bektaş; Yılmaz, Can; Kaçar, Yasemin & Aymak, Cemil

Abstract: Data on strandings of dead loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles were collected from the eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey during the nesting seasons between 2002 and 2009. A total of 276 strandings were recorded (142 C. caretta and 128 C. mydas). The curved carapace length (CCL) of C. caretta ranged from 12.6–85 cm (mean 63.50±1.06 cm). The CCL of C. mydas ranged from 20–93 cm with a mean of 40.97±1.41 cm. 2.4% and 31.7% of the loggerheads were oceanic stage small juveniles (≤30 cm CCL) and adults (≥70 cm CCL), respectively. Of the green turtles, 33.3% (≤31.5 cm CCL) and 4.6% (≥85 cm CCL) were small juveniles and adults, respectively. The source populations of these turtles could become identified with genetic mixed stock analysis.


pdf 04. Sperm traits in relation to male amplexus position in the Omei treefrog Rhacophorus omeimontis, a species with group spawning

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pp. 17-21
Authors: Liao, Wen Bo; Mi, Zhi Ping; Li, Chen Liang; Wei, Shi Chao & Wu, Hua

Abstract: Sperm competition theory predicts that subordinate males may experience a higher intensity of sperm competition than dominant males if mating tactics are constant, resulting in larger testes, larger sperm and greater longevity. We tested if these predictions can be applied to the polyandrous Omei treefrog (Rhacophorus omeimontis). Our results showed that relative testes size did not differ between amplexed males and satellite males, indicating that satellite males might not show signs of higher intensity of sperm competition compared to amplexed counterparts. Sperm size and longevity did not differ significantly between amplexed males and satellite males. Sperm size and longevity were not significantly correlated with each other, and sperm size does not correlate with sperm competition intensity. Our findings suggest that mating position is not related to measures of sperm competition intensity in the Omei treefrog.


pdf 05. Egg laying duration in the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea and its relevance for the estimation of mass nesting population size

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pp. 23-28
Authors: Kumar, R. Suresh; John, Sajan; Sivakumar, K. & Choudhury, Binod C.

Abstract: The olive ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea is known for its unusual behaviour of locally nesting en masse in the eastern Pacific and the east coast of India, leading to difficulties in quantifying population size. In the present study we estimate nesting population sizes in the state of Orissa, taking average egg laying or oviposition duration (OD) into account. We observed 182 and 263 nesting turtles during mass nesting events of 2009 and 2010 to estimate ODs of 19.8±5.8 and 17.2±5.9 minutes, respectively. Clutch size averaged 123.1±10.5 for 2009 and 124.3±18.6 for 2010, which is 10 to 20% more than the global clutch size of 100–110 eggs, and appears to have resulted in a longer OD than previously assumed. Using the average OD from this study, 172,407±7509 and 134,478±6204 turtles were estimated to have nested during 2009 and 2010 respectively, contrasting the 200,000–250,000 turtles reported by the Forest Department. Our results suggest that a minimum of 150 egg laying turtles across each night of the mass nesting period is required to be observed for an accurate quantification of OD.


pdf 06. Diet, activity patterns, microhabitat use and defensive strategies of Rhinella hoogmoedi Caramaschi & Pombal, 2006 from a humid forest in northeast Brazil

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pp. 29-37
Authors: de Mattos Brito, Lucas Bezerra; Aguiar, Felipe; Moura-Neto, Célio; Zucco, Carlos André & Cascon, Paulo

Abstract: We studied the natural history of the leaf-litter toad, Rhinella hoogmoedi Caramaschi & Pombal, 2006, in a rain forest located in an altitudinal rocky remain within the Brazilian caatinga biome. Rhinella hoogmoedi was more abundant during the first half of the wet season, when recruitment of new cohorts was observed. Leaf litter was the most commonly used substrate and activity was mainly diurnal. There was a positive relation between maximum prey size (length/volume) and predator size; ants and mites were the predominant prey in adults and froglets, respectively. The following defensive strategies were registered: cryptic and polymorphic colour pattern, immobility, thanatosis, generation of distress calls and production of a foamy substance by the paratoid glands. The similarities in natural history aspects among members of the R. margaritifera species group indicate a case of ecological niche conservatism.


pdf 07. Reproductive biology of Philodryas olfersii (Serpentes, Dipsadidae) in a subtropical region of Brazil

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pp. 39-44
Authors: Dourado de Mesquita, Paulo Cesar Mattos; Sá-Polidoro, George Lucas & Cechin, Sonia Zanini

Abstract: We studied the reproductive biology of a subtropical population of Philodryas olfersii through the analysis of 263 museum specimens. Females were found to have larger bodies with males having longer tails. Testicular volume has a tendency to decrease in colder months but histological analyses are still needed to validate the macroscopic evidence. In females, secondary follicles were found throughout the year but ovulation was restricted to three months during the warmer period. Clutch size was correlated with female size and varied between 4 and 11 eggs, with a mean relative clutch mass of 0.187. Ovigerous females frequently also presented secondary follicles, and potential fecundity was significantly higher than real fecundity. We suggest that estimates of clutch size based on the number of vitellogenic follicles may be inappropriate. In addition, although some patterns of the reproductive biology of Philodryas olfersii were similar to other members of the tribe Philodryadini, we found important differences such as shorter reproductive season of females, indicating that phylogenetical traits and environmental conditions influence aspects of the life history of the species.


pdf 08. Do anurans living in higher altitudes have higher prehibernation energy storage? Investigations from a high-altitude frog

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pp. 45-49
Authors: Chen, Wei; Wang, Xinyi & Fan, Xiaogang

Abstract: The temporal dynamics of energy storage is an important life history aspect of temperate anurans, but comparative studies of pre-hibernation energy storage of anuran populations from different altitudes are scarce. We investigated energy storage patterns for three Rana kukunoris populations living at different altitudes in the Tibetan plateau (2300 m, 2900 m and 3500 m a.s.l.). Analyses of relative energy organ weights and relative carcass weights revealed that pre-hibernation energy stores decreased with increasing altitude, and that males deposit larger energy reserves in fat bodies and liver, while females have larger energy storage in gonads. Lower pre-hibernation energy reserves with increasing altitude may be an adaptive response to a shorter activity period and lower food availability at higher altitudes, while the observed sex difference may result from differential timing of energy allocation for reproduction.


pdf 09. Oviposition site selection by rice frogs on Taohua Island and the nearby mainland

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pp. 51-53
Authors: Xu, Feng & Li, Yiming

Abstract: Oviposition site selection influences adult reproductive success as well as offspring fitness. Between 2007 and 2009 we studied oviposition site selection of the rice frog (Fejervarya limnocharis), one of the most abundant frogs in China, on Taohua Island and the nearby mainland in eastern China. The distance to the nearest road affected oviposition site selection both on Taohua island and the mainland. On the mainland, vegetation coverage also has positive effects on oviposition site selection. We suggest that human disturbance and predator pressure affect rice frog oviposition site selection at both sites.


pdf 10. Sampling for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Russia

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pp. 55-58
Authors: Civiš, Petr and Vojar, Jiří and Baláž, Vojtech and Kohutka, Alexandr and Ulbrichová, Iva and Dvořák, Vít

Abstract: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungus causing the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, is decimating populations around the globe. Nevertheless, the biggest continent, Asia, has been studied only infrequently and huge areas remain unsampled. We collected samples in the far eastern part of the Russian Federation. No amphibians were detected to be positive for Bd. Our results correspond with presumptions of low prevalence in the north of Asia and show that Bd-free areas are still to be found and harbour naïve and potentially susceptible populations.


pdf 11. Sex and size affect annual survival in a threatened sand lizard

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pp. 59-62
Authors: Kacoliris, Federico Pablo; Berkunsky, Igor & Velasco, Melina Alicia

Abstract: The sand-dune lizard Liolaemus multimaculatus is a threatened species endemic to the coastal ecosystems of Argentina. We assessed annual survival in one of largest known populations, using a mark recapture approach to estimate survival rates between 2006 and 2008. We found effects of size class, sex and year on survival rates. Average survival was 0.474 in adult males, 0.672 in adult females, 0.415 in juvenile males and 0.470 in juvenile females. The observed differences could be related to higher predation of juvenile and male lizards.


pdf 12. Field evidence of coupled cycles of arthropod predator-tadpole prey abundance in six aquatic systems of an Atlantic Rainforest site in Brazil

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pp. 63-66
Authors: Bertoluci, Jaime; da Rocha, Pedro Luís Bernardo & Rodrigues, Miguel Trefaut

Abstract: Field evidence of coupled cycles of arthropod predatortadpole prey abundance in six aquatic systems of an Atlantic Rainforest site in Brazil Jaime Bertoluci, Pedro Luís Bernardo da We evaluated the patterns of abundance association between tadpoles and their aquatic arthropod predators in natural communities of Atlantic Forest in south-eastern Brazil. We distributed 10 traps in each one of six aquatic systems and counted the numbers of tadpoles and of predators captured monthly for 13 months. For each system, we quantified the temporal association between tadpoles and predator abundances and measured its strength (using Spearmańs rho coefficient) for timelags ranging from -6 to +6 months, followed by testing the hypothesis that the strength of the association differs among time-lag values. The associations were always stronger in streams than in ponds, and strongest (r 2>0.42) and always significant (p<0.016) when time-lag was zero months, resulting in significant differences of mean values of r 2 across time-lags (p<0.001). A time-lag shorter than one month agrees with predictions from the model of predator-prey coupled cycles. The results also suggest that the importance of secondary factors driving abundance values in streams is stronger than in ponds, where conditions tend to be more unstable. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of coupled cycles of predator-prey abundance with delayed dependence demonstrated with tadpoles and insects in aquatic forest systems.