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 2, April 2013

pdf 01. Geographic (in-)variability of gender-specific traits in Hermann's tortoise

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Authors: Djordjević, Sonja and Tomović, Ljiljana and Golubović, Ana and Simović, Aleksandar and Sterijovskić, Bogoljub and Djurakic, Marko and Bonnet, Xavier

Abstract: We processed 40 morphological characteristics of 676 adult Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni) (310 males and 366 females) from four localities in the central parts of the Balkan Peninsula. Analyses of variance and covariance showed significant differences between males and females in 38 and 35 traits, respectively. On the other hand, analyses of geographic variability within each gender, i.e. analyses of variance and covariance of separate traits between localities showed “constant” dimensions and proportions of several body parts. Most of the invariable traits were the elements of the rear portion of the tortoises' shell and free body parts, in both genders. Among these are some of the most prominent sexually dimorphic traits in T. hermanni. Therefore, we speculate that “standard” sizes of certain superficial bodily attributes in this species are conditioned by their role in gender discrimination, as well as courting and mating endeavours.

Keywords: CENTRAL BALKANS, HERMANN'S TORTOISE, INVARIABLE DIMENSIONS OF BODY PARTS

pdf 02. Frugivory and seed dispersal by Tropidurus torquatus (Squamata: Tropiduridae) in southern Brazil

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pp. 75-79
Authors: Pietczak, Carolina; de Arruda, Jeferson Luis Steindorff & Cechin, Sonia Zanini

Abstract: We investigated frugivory of Tropidurus torquatus in a rocky outcrop in the Pampa biome, southern Brazil over the course of one year. We quantified the number of seeds consumed, seed germination potential and the distance over which the seeds were dispersed, as observed through the analysis of faeces collected. Fruits of Chomelia obtusa, Ficus luschnathiana and two species of the genus Smilax were consumed, but only the former was effectively dispersed, since passage through the digestive tract did not affect its germination and the lizard deposited the seeds away from the mother plant. We discuss the ecological role of seed dispersal by T. torquatus between rocky outcrops.

Keywords: SEED DISPERSAL, HERBIVORY, DISPERSER EFFECTIVENESS, CHOMELIA OBTUSA

pdf 03. Reproductive biology of the snake Liophis anomalus (Günther, 1858, Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae)

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pp. 81-87
Authors: Panzera, Alejandra & Maneyro, Raúl

Abstract: We describe the reproductive pattern of Liophis anomalus based on examination of museum specimens from its entire distribution area. This species shows seasonal activity, although follicles in secondary vitellogenesis were found throughout the year. Our data suggest that multiple clutches occur within a single reproductive period. As in many other snakes, adult females are larger than males when sexual maturity is reached. The sexual size dimorphism index is 0.16, which is consistent with the absence of combat between males (a common feature among species belonging to the Xenodontini tribe). Testicular volume was positively correlated with male size. Clutch size averaged 7.37 eggs, was inversely correlated with mean egg size and positively correlated with female body size. Our results confirm that both phylogeny and climate influence reproductive patterns of this Xenodontini snake.

Keywords: REPRODUCTION, ECOLOGY, LIOPHIS ANOMALUS, SNAKE

pdf 04. Age and growth examined by skeletochronology for the stream-dwelling frog Feirana taihangnicus in central China

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pp. 89-92
Authors: Zhang, Lixia; Lu, Youqiang; Lu, Xin & Chen, Xiaohong

Abstract:  Feirana taihangnicus is a stream-living frog endemic to central China. We determined the demography of a population from north Henan province using skeletochronology. Males were smaller than females (67.1 ± 1.0 and 77.8 ± 1.0 mm snout vent length, respectively), and began reproduction earlier after metamorphosis (2 and 3 years of age, respectively). Accordingly, males attained younger ages (mean age 5.5 ± 0.3 compared to 6.3 ± 0.2 years in females), reached a shorter maximum lifespan (9 years compared to 10 years in females) and grew at a faster rate (von Bertalanffy's growth coefficient: 0.25 compared to 0.16 in females). Because tadpoles take 2–3 years to complete metamorphosis, these data suggest that F. taihangnicus spends at least 5–6 years between the egg stage and reaching adult. The slow life history and resultant low population turnover rates highlight a conservation concern for this high-elevation species.

Keywords: LIFE HISTORY, SKELETOCHRONOLOGICAL AGE, PROTECTION, BODY SIZE, FEIRANA TAIHANGNICUS

pdf 05. Conservatism of thermal preferences between parthenogenetic Aspidoscelis cozumela complex (Squamata: Teiidae) and their parental species

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pp. 93-104
Authors: Díaz de la Vega-Pérez, Aníbal H.; Jiménez-Arcos, Víctor H.; Manríquez-Morán, Norma L. & Méndez-de la Cruz, Fausto R.

Abstract: Closely-related species can exhibit similar thermal requirements despite inhabiting different environments. Hybrid species between them can exhibit a diversity of thermal requirements, or can be similar to parental species. In this study, we investigated thermal preference and efficiency in parthenogenetic Aspidoscelis cozumela complex lizards (A. cozumela, A. rodecki, A. maslini) and their parental species (A. angusticeps and A. deppii), to determine whether thermal preferences are conservative. We found that thermal preferences are similar among species and determined by phylogenetic relationships. Aspidoscelis deppii (paternal species), A. cozumela and A. maslinishowed similar thermal preferences, whereas A. rodecki was similar to the maternal species (A. angusticeps). These results suggest that thermal preferences of parthenogenetic lineages match with one of the parental species and are not restricted to one gender. These findings support the “frozen niche variation” hypothesis.

Keywords: THERMAL PREFERENCES, PARTHENOGENESIS, ASPIDOSCELIS COZUMELA COMPLEX, CONSERVATISM

pdf 06. Sesamoid elements in lizards

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pp. 105-114
Authors: Otero, Tatiana & Hoyos, Julio Mario

Abstract: This study reviews the morphology and topological distribution of sesamoid elements in the lizard families Gymnophthalmidae, Polychrotidae, Tropiduridae, Corytophanidae, Teiidae, Scincidae and Gekkonidae. We used cleared and stained specimens of 41 species, and describe 18 sesamoids of both fore and hindlimbs, finding a new sesamoid (fabella lateralis). The toplogical distribution of these elements is compared among lizard families and other vertebrates (mammals, anurans and birds), and we do not find putative synaphomorphies or autapomorphies. We recognize that the intermedium is not yet a clearly defined sesamoid, but state that this is the case for the pisiform.

Keywords: MANUS, FORELIMBS, HINDLIMBS, LIZARDS, OSTEOLOGY, PES

pdf 07. Diet of Melanophryniscus devincenzii (Anura: Bufonidae) from Parque Municipal de Sertão, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

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pp. 115-119
Authors: Bortolini, Schaiani Vanessa; Maneyro, Raúl; Coppes, Federico Achaval & Zanella, Noeli

Abstract: This study describes the diet of Melanophryniscus devincenzii based on the analysis of stomach contents of 46 specimens from the Parque Municipal de Sertão, south Brazil. We found 935 items belonging to 33 prey categories (excluding plant material). The most important prey categories were Acari, ants (subfamilies Myrmicinae and Ponerinae) and beetles (mainly Polyphaga). These taxonomic categories showed the highest percentage by volume (Acari: 3.94%, Myrmicinae: 16.32%, Ponerinae: 12.17%, undetermined Polyphaga: 13.83%) and the highest index of relative importance (5810.05; 1871.06; 756.47 and 784.57, respectively). The rarefaction curves indicated that females have richer diets than males. According to dietary composition, M. devincenzii may be considered a specialist species, as expected for an active forager.

Keywords: BRAZIL, TROPHIC, MELANOPHRYNISCUS DEVINCENZII, NICHE