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.

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 webmaster@thebhs.org

  

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Folder Volume 24, Number 4, October 2014

pdf 01. Resource segregation in two herbivorous species of mountain lizards from Argentina

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pp. 201-208
Authors: Corbalán, Valeria & Debandi, Guillermo

Abstract: Lizard assemblages may experience resource partitioning in the spatial, trophic or temporal dimensions of their niche. Niche segregation does not always imply competition, and the role of interspecific competition is better understood when the response of species to the presence or absence of other species is evaluated. The aim of this study is to determine daily activity patterns and food consumption in two phylogenetically related species (Phymaturus roigorum and P. payuniae). These saxicolous and herbivorous species live in sympatry in the volcanic region of Payunia, in central-west Argentina. One of these species can also be found in allopatry, allowing comparative studies on their lifestyle. We evaluated the temporal daily patterns of both species and their diet overlap. Although competition is not evident between the species studied here, it is shown that selectivity towards different plant species and the time schedule of foraging are the primary mechanisms that promote the coexistence of these lizards. Daily basking activity, however, was similar in both species.

Keywords: ACTIVITY PATTERN, PHYMATURUS, PAYUNIA REGION, FOOD SEGREGATION

pdf 02. A new vertebrate species native to the British Isles: Bufo spinosus Daudin, 1803 in Jersey

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Open Access

pp. 209-216
Authors: Arntzen, Jan W.; Wilkinson, John W.; Butôt, Roland & Martínez-Solano, ??ñigo

Abstract: Recent molecular and morphological studies have shown that Bufo bufo and B. spinosus are genetically distinct and morphologically diagnosable across a relatively narrow contact zone in northern France and should be regarded as different species. However, the species identity of the neighbouring populations of Bufo on the British Channel Island of Jersey has not been investigated. We here present new molecular (a mtDNA RFLP assay plus sequences of the nuclear RAG1 gene) and morphological evidence that these populations are to be assigned to B. spinosus, and can thus be considered an addition to the native British herpetofauna. Jersey toad populations are declining and have a distinct breeding ecology compared to other populations in mainland Britain. We discuss the results in the light of amphibian conservation efforts in Jersey.

Keywords: CHANNEL ISLANDS, B. SPINOSUS, BUFO BUFO, MORPHOMETRICS, NDNA, JERSEY, RAG1, MTDNA

pdf 03. Fungal diversity on broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) eggs, and their effects on hatchlings

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pp. 217-223
Authors: Nuñez Otaño, Noelia Betiana; Piña, Carlos I.; Bucsinsky, Ana & Arambarri, Angélica M.M.

Abstract: Studies describing and identifying mycobiota affecting the eggs of wild reptiles are rare, despite the potential importance of mycoses for the survival and performance of individuals and populations. The aim of this study was to identify the fungal species on eggshell and eggshell membranes of C. latirostris and to discover potential compositional changes between these two substrates. Twenty-four species of fungi were isolated from eggshells and 17 species were isolated from membranes; 10 species were shared between both substrates. Saprophytic fungi comprised 64.1% of eggshell and 59.4% of eggshell membranes mycobiota, respectively. Potentially pathogenic fungi occurred more frequently on the eggshell membrane (71.4%). From pathogenic assays we cannot conclude that fungi like Aspergillus fumigatus and Fusarium oxysporum have a negative effect on hatching success, weight and snout-vent length of C. latirostris hatchlings.

Keywords: EGG COLONISATION, FUNGAL DIVERSITY, TRANS-SHELL INFECTION, CAIMAN LATIROSTRIS

pdf 04. Demographic and growth analysis of broad snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) in a disturbed environment in southeastern Brazil

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pp. 223-228
Authors: Passos, Luiza Figueiredo; Coutinho, Marcos Eduardo & Young, Robert John

Abstract: Crocodilian life history traits exhibit strong size and age dependence, which is determined, ultimately, by how fast individuals grow. Crocodilian population dynamics are dependent on environmental conditions such as local temperatures and hydrology. From February 2010 to October 2011 we conducted monthly spotlight surveys to study a broad-snouted caiman population at the Três Marias Hydro-electric Reservoir, southeast Brazil. A total of 12 spotlight surveys were conducted (17.3 to 48.0 km in length), and animals were captured, measured and marked whenever possible. Data were obtained on population size, sex structure, survival, distribution and growth. The number of caimans counted, including hatchlings, varied from 6 to 78 per survey. Marked individuals showed a growth rate that varied between 0.0 and 0.3 cm*day-1 SVL, and between -6.0 and 8.0 g*day-1 body mass. Polyphasic growth was associated with rainfall and water level, which in turn were associated with changes in temperature and diet. The species seems to be resistant to the ecological impacts of damming, an important conservation conclusion considering the large number of hydroelectric dams within the species' range in Brazil.

Keywords: DEMOGRAPHY, CAIMAN LATIROSTRIS, BRAZIL, GROWTH ANALYSIS

pdf 05. Chondrocranial and hyobranchial morphology in larvae of the genus Rhinella Fitzinger, 1826 (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae)

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pp. 229-237
Authors: Rodrigues de Oliveira, Marianna Isabella Rosa; Weber, Luiz Norberto & Napoli, Marcelo Felgueiras

Abstract: The chondrocranium and hyobranchial skeleton of Rhinella abei, R. crucifer, R. granulosa, R. henseli, R. hoogmoedi, R. icterica, R. jimi, R. ornata, R. pombali, R. pygmaea and R. schneideri are described, and compared with each other and other bufonids based on the descriptions available in the literature. The chondrocranium and hyobranchial skeleton of Rhinella is conserved in many aspects. These similarities are associated with suprarostral components, the distal end of the cornua trabeculae, cartilago orbitalis, palatoquadrate and processes of the ceratohyal and ceratobranchial IV. Rhinella granulosa is the most distinct species of the genus described here, differing from other species in the shape of its pars corporis, its ethmoid plate width, the shape of the fenestra subocularis, the inclination of the processus muscularis quadrati, the commissura quadratoorbitalis, the length of the processus ascendens and the shape of the processus anterior hyalis.

Keywords: BUFONIDS, CRANIAL MORPHOLOGY, TADPOLES, TAXONOMY

pdf 06. Anomalous tadpoles in a Brazilian oceanic archipelago: implications of oral anomalies on foraging behaviour, food intake and metamorphosis Herpetological Society

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pp. 237-243
Authors: Tolledo, Julia; Silva, Emanuel T.; Nunes-De-Almeida, Carlos Henrique & Toledo, Luís Felipe L.

Abstract:  Rhinella jimi (Anura, Bufonidae) is an introduced species in the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, north-eastern Brazil. It is known as one of the greatest amphibian anomaly hotspots in the world, with almost half of the adult individuals in the population having external anomalies, but tadpoles from this population have not previously been examined. Therefore, we evaluated the presence of anomalies in tadpoles of this population, described their types and identified possible handicaps of anomalous tadpoles in foraging behaviour and food intake. We found anomalies in 52.5% of all tadpoles inspected, mostly involving labial teeth. Anomalous tadpoles, when compared to normal individuals, spend less time foraging and have a lower foraging efficiency. We also observed that anomalous toadlets originate both from normal and anomalous tadpoles. We suggest that the reduced feeding fitness may result in a reduced growing rate, longer time spent until metamorphosis, higher predation risk, different body mass, size and morphology in metamorphs and adults. However, this apparent handicap may not affect the post-metamorphic population, as anomalous adults may rise from normal tadpoles.

Keywords: HANDICAPPED INDIVIDUALS, INTRODUCED SPECIES, FEEDING, AMPHIBIAN ANOMALIES

pdf 07. Variation in dietary composition of granular spiny frogs (Quasipaa verrucospinosa) in central Vietnam

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pp. 245-253
Authors: Van Ngo, Binh; Lee & Ngo, Chung Dac

Abstract: The granular spiny frog, Quasipaa verrucospinosa (Bourret, 1937), is native to Vietnam and classified as Near Threatened due to environmental degradation, loss of forest and stream habitats and human exploitation. We collected stomach contents of Q. verrucospinosa using a nonlethal stomach-flushing technique from three stream sites in the rain forests of Thù;a ThiênHuê Province, central Vietnam, to investigate their food habits. Dietary analysis identified 2645 prey items of 27 orders and nine classes. Prey comprised mainly invertebrates, but also fishes, frogs and conspecific sub-adults. The major prey items as determined by frequency of occurrence, item count and percent volume were spiders, beetles, crabs, hymenopterans, grasshoppers, crickets and cicadas. Insects alone accounted for an importance value of 59.8%. The mean monthly prey volume consumed was positively and negatively correlated to temperature and rainfall, respectively. Consistent with the increased energetic needs prior to the main breeding season, the number of prey items and volume of prey consumed per frog were highest in the little rainy season. The volume of prey consumed was positively correlated with snout-vent length and mouth width of frogs, supporting the gape limitation hypothesis. Despite their larger size, however, females did not consume greater numbers of prey items or larger-sized prey than males. Adults consumed a higher diversity of prey and higher proportions of Araneae and Hemiptera than sub-adults, whereas females had a more even diet than males and consumed a higher proportion of Orthoptera.

Keywords: FROGS, VIETNAM, FEEDING, STOMACH CONTENT, ANURA, DIET, QUASIPAA VERRUCOSPINOSA

pdf 08. Non-lethal DNA sampling for caecilian amphibians

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Open Access

pp. 255-260
Authors: Maddock, Simon T.; Lewis, Claire J.; Wilkinson, Mark; Day, Julia J.; Morel, Charles; Kouete, Marcel & Gower, David T.J.

Abstract: For amphibians, non-lethal sampling methods have been developed and evaluated for only two of the three extant orders, with the limbless caecilians (Gymnophiona) thus far overlooked. Here we assess 16 different methods in five caecilian species representing five families with differing morphologies and ecologies. DNA was successfully extracted and amplified for multiple genetic markers using all tested methods in at least some cases although yields are, unsurprisingly, generally substantially lower than for DNA extractions from (lethally sampled) liver. Based on PCR performance, DNA yield and sampling considerations, buccal swabs, skin scrapes, blood pricks and dermal scalepocket biopsies performed the best.

Keywords: MOLECULAR, GYMNOPHIONA, CONSERVATION, AMPHIBIA, POPULATION GENETICS

pdf 09. Isolation and characterisation of novel polymorphic microsatellite loci in Iberian painted frogs (Discoglossus galganoi and D. jeanneae), with data on cross-species amplification in Discoglossus and Latonia (Alytidae)

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pp. 261-265
Authors: Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Jorge; Salvi, Daniele; Geffen, Eli; Gafny, Sarig & Martínez-Solano, ??ñigo

Abstract: Mediterranean painted frogs (genus Discoglossus Otth, 1837) are distributed across western Europe, North Africa and some Mediterranean islands. Previous studies have focused on their phylogenetic relationships, but the taxonomic position of the Iberian taxa ( D. galganoi and D. jeanneae) is still under debate. By using microsatellites, patterns and rates of admixture can be quantified. We report the characterisation of eighteen novel polymorphic microsatellite loci in Iberian painted frogs. These loci were also tested in all other species of Discoglossus and in the recently rediscovered and highly endangered relative Latonia nigriventer. Two to eleven loci amplified in these species, and the number of polymorphic loci ranged from zero (in Latonia) to eight (in D. scovazzi). The new markers will be useful in addressing questions related to the evolutionary history, population structure, and conservation of Iberian Discoglossus. They also have potential for use in the North African species D. scovazzi and D. pictus, the latter of which is an invasive species rapidly expanding its range in southeast France and northeast Spain.

Keywords: IBERIAN PENINSULA, LATONIA NIGRIVENTER, MICROSATELLITES, AMPHIBIANS, DISCOGLOSSUS