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 02. Ontogeny of pileus shape in Natrix natrix and N. tessellata


Subscription / purchase required

pp. 3-9

Authors:  Marko Andjelković, Veljko Blagojević, Ljiljana Tomović, & Ana Ivanović

Abstract: We examined the divergence in pileus shape and ontogenetic allometric changes in pileus shape in two closely related species of snakes - Natrix natrix and N. tessellata. These two species have similar ecology, but different microhabitat and diet preferences. We analysed the ontogenetic series from hatchlings to adults. Hatchlings of two species significantly diverged in pileus size and shape. At the adult stage, significant sexual dimorphism in pileus size and shape was found within both species. Adults of N. natrix and N. tessellata (females and males) diverged in pileus shape, but not in size. Allometric shape changes accounted for significant amount of variance in pileus shape among different age classes, and appear to be species- and sex-specific. Our results suggested that allometries of pileus shape are highly evolvable traits, which may result from natural selection for functional optimisation of head shape in Natricine species.

Keywords: geometric morphometrics, head scales, Natricinae, ontogenetic trajectories, sexual dimorphism

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