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 27, Number 4, October 2017 Volume 27, Number 4, October 2017

pdf 01. Toxicity impact of butachlor on the development of green toad Bufotes viridis


Open Access

pp. 307-317

Authors: Zahra Mossadeghi, Zeinab Parvaresh, Nazihe Seddighi, Fatemeh Roushenas, Samira Rahimi,
Elmira Hasani, Zahra Derakhshan & Mohsen Nokhbatolfoghahai

Abstract: Butachlor is the most commonly used herbicide on rice paddy fields in Asian countries. Paddy fields are habitats commonly
used for reproduction by many species of amphibians. We examined the effects of butachlor on Bufotes viridis development.
Amplectant pairs of B. viridis were kept in the laboratory in an aquarium overnight, and their spawn collected the next morning.
Eggs were exposed to butachlor at different concentrations (0.1, 0.2, 0.8, 1, 2, 3.5, 7, 14μg/l), all lower than the concentration
used in the area (rice paddy fields) by farmers. Eggs were allowed to develop to Gosner stage 24 and their developmental
patterns compared with those reared in normal conditions (control). In order to examine whether jelly coats have a significant
role in the protection of developing eggs from the toxin, another group of eggs were de-jellied and treated in the same
procedure. The LC50 value of butachlor was calculated as 14μg/l and 7μg/l after 96h for jellied eggs and de-jellied eggs
respectively. Butachlor lead to a range of external and internal body malformations. Butachlor concentrations of 2μg/l, 7μg/l
and 14μg/l reduced embryonic growth and development. A high mortality rate and both internal and external abnormalities
were observed at lower concentrations than used in fields, suggesting that butachlor can have significant negative effects on
amphibians where this herbicide is used.

Keywords: amphibian; Bufotes viridis; butachlor; embryo; embryonic development; de-jellied egg

pdf 02. Amphibian species assemblages in a tropical forest of Bangladesh


Open Access

pp. 318-325

Authors: Animesh Ghose, Jiban Chandra Deb, Kwaku Brako Dakwa, Jay Prakash Ray & AHM Ali

Abstract: Tropical forests are considered one of the most important biogeographic zones for amphibian species diversity. As a tropical
country in Asia, Bangladesh implements different types of forest management practices in its forests, which might affect
prevailing forest quality in the existing forest types. The current state of information on the impact of habitat alteration
on amphibian species assemblages in Bangladesh is inadequate. To evaluate this, we conducted a study in Khadimnagar
National Park (KNP) in north-eastern Bangladesh. We used a combination of several common amphibian study techniques
in 15 pre-marked transects covering three major habitat types in KNP: forest edge, forest interior and swamp area. Twelve
anuran species belonging to eleven genera and six families were recorded during the study period. Euphlyctis cyanophlyctis
was the most abundant species, representing 51.7% of the recorded individuals, followed by Fejervarya spp. (18.9%); the
remaining 10 species altogether recorded less than 30% of the total abundance. Duttaphrynus melanostictus, Kaloula pulchra
and Raorchestes parvulus in particular occurred with very low abundance. Species richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity index,
and evenness index value indicated that the amphibian species assemblage in the forest interior is more diverse than the forest
edge and swamp area.

Keywords: Amphibian, species assemblages, abundance, diversity, habitat types, tropical forest

pdf 03. Effects of Chinese tallow leaf litter on water chemistry and surfacing behaviour of anuran larvae


Open Access

pp. 326-332

Authors: Daniel Saenz & Cory K. Adams

Abstract: The establishment of exotic invasive species, including plants, has been linked to the decline of some amphibian populations.
Of particular concern with invasive plants, from an amphibian conservation perspective, is that they are disproportionately
wetland or riparian species. Recent evidence suggests that Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera), an exotic deciduous tree species,
is expanding its range and becoming more abundant where it occurs in the United States. This is particularly relevant to
amphibian conservation considering that Chinese tallow tends to invade wetlands, and recent studies have demonstrated that
the leaf litter causes mortality of anuran eggs and larvae by reducing the dissolved oxygen and pH of water. The lethal effect
of Chinese tallow leaf litter is short lived and concentrated soon after leaf fall, typically December through to February in the
south-eastern United States. In this study, we were interested in determining the sub-lethal effects of Chinese tallow leaf litter
on the surfacing frequency and air-gulping behaviour of overwintering anuran larvae. Lithobates catesbeianus and L. clamitans
clamitans are two frog species that commonly overwinter as aquatic larvae and extensively overlap in range with invasive
Chinese tallow, which may expose their tadpoles to the deleterious effects of the leaf litter. We conducted experiments where
we exposed tadpoles to four different concentrations of tallow leaf litter and recorded water chemistry and tadpole surfacing
frequency. We found that as Chinese tallow concentration increased, oxygen levels decreased. Both anuran species responded
similarly to our treatments and dissolved oxygen levels, where tadpoles swam to the water’s surface to air gulp at a significantly
higher rate in the treatments with greater tallow concentration. Such changes in behaviour induced by Chinese tallow could
have negative consequences on tadpole foraging efficiency and predator avoidance, ultimately reducing fitness. As biological
invasions will continue to be an important part of global change, more attention should be given to sub-lethal impacts, as they
pertain to fitness.

Keywords: Anuran larvae; air gulping; Chinese tallow; leaf litter; invasive plants

pdf 04. Social spacing of the montane lizard Tropidurus montanus


Open Access

pp. 333-338

Authors: Conrado A. B. Galdino Stefania P. R. Ventura, Clara Cabral Lisboa & Robert J. Young

Abstract: The way in which individuals use their surrounding space can be key to understanding species’ sociobiology. We studied the
social spacing of the lizard Tropidurus montanus. Males were found to have larger home ranges than females. Male body
size was not associated with home range area, and the number of females associated with a male’s home range was small
when compared to other Iguanian lizards, thus forming small harems. The larger home range areas and overlaps found during
the final period of the reproductive season might occur as a consequence of reduced social interactions at the end of the
reproductive season. We provide evidence that the tropidurid T. montanus may be establishing short-term exclusive-use areas.

Keywords: Home range, site fidelity, space use, Tropiduridade

pdf 05. Tadpole species richness within lentic and lotic microhabitats: an interactive influence of environmental and spatial factors


Open Access

pp. 339-345

Authors: Lilian Sayuri Ouchi de Melo, Thiago Gonçalves-Souza, Michel Varajão Garey & Denise de

Abstract: Anurans inhabiting lentic and lotic water bodies show distinct responses to environmental and spatial variables due to dispersal
by adults and microhabitat selection by tadpoles, which creates a hierarchical structure in these metacommunities. Aiming to
understand the influence of tadpole microhabitat selection and adult dispersal on species richness distribution, we tested the
influence of microhabitat environmental variables and habitat spatial variables on tadpole richness in lentic and lotic water
bodies located in the Atlantic Rainforest. We sampled tadpoles in 99 lentic microhabitats and 288 lotic microhabitats for
seven months. We performed a Hierarchical Partitioning Analysis to test the influence of environmental and spatial variables.
The percentage of aquatic vegetation within microhabitats and the main spatial gradient (dbMEM1) affected species richness
in lentic water bodies. Sand percentage, aquatic vegetation, and depth in the microhabitat and small-scale spatial gradient
(dbMEM4) affected species richness in lotic water bodies. Spatial processes indicate an influence of adult dispersal limitation
in search of reproductive habitats. The influence of microhabitat variables was mostly related to the amount of aquatic
vegetation, indicating the influence of environmental processes on the larval phase of anuran life cycle. In conclusion, both
environmental and spatial processes are driving the species richness in microhabitats inside lentic and lotic water bodies in
the Atlantic Rainforest.

Keywords: Amphibians; biodiversity hotspot; microhabitat; species number; Tropical Rainforest

pdf 06. Evolutionary patterns in life-history traits of lizards of the genus Xenosaurus


Open Access

pp. 346-360

Authors: J. Jaime Zúñiga-Vega, Jesualdo A. Fuentes-G., J. Gastón Zamora-Abrego, Uri O. García-
Vázquez, Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca & Emília P. Martins

Abstract: Life histories are directly related to fitness and, hence, are the focus of strong selective pressures. However, different life-history
traits may evolve at different paces and may respond differentially to particular selective pressures. We examined patterns
of evolutionary change in the following life-history traits of xenosaurid lizards: size at maturity, average size of adult females,
litter size, neonate size, and relative litter mass. We used a phylogenetic hypothesis of the genus Xenosaurus and different
phylogenetic comparative methods to search for evolutionary relationships between traits as well as to estimate ancestral
states, rates of evolution, and the amount of phylogenetic signal on each trait. In addition, we searched for differences in
these life-history traits among the different environments where these lizards inhabit (cloud forest, tropical forest, oak-pine
forest, and xeric scrub). We found an evolutionary relationship between size at maturity and average adult size, with larger
species maturing at larger sizes. We also found an evolutionary trade-off between litter size and neonate size. Ancestral state
reconstructions revealed differences among traits in the relative timing of diversification. Litter size and neonate size began
diversification early in the history of the genus. In contrast, size at maturity and relative litter mass remained phenotypically
invariant for a long time period before diverging into distinct phenotypic values. Litter size exhibited significant phylogenetic
signal because the diversification history of this trait has tracked the phylogeny closely. The observed variation among species
in neonate size also showed some trace of the phylogenetic relationships. The remaining three traits diverged throughout time
without a clear phylogenetic pattern. In addition, litter size and relative litter mass exhibited the highest evolutionary rates
whereas average adult size and neonate size exhibited the lowest rates. Litter size was the only trait that differed significantly
among environments, with largest litters in cloud forests. We discuss potential hypotheses to explain the observed differences
among life-history traits in the tempo and mode of evolution.

Keywords: ancestral state reconstructions, evolutionary rates, life histories, phylogenetic signal, trade-offs, xenosaurid lizards

pdf 07. The trade of Kinosternon scorpioides on Marajó island, Brazilian Amazon: from hunting to consumption


Open Access

pp. 361-367

Authors: Samuel Silva de Cristo, Pedro Chaves Baía Júnior, Joilson Silva da Silva, José Ribamar Felipe
Marques & Diva Anelie de Araújo Guimarães

Abstract: We studied the trade network of the Scorpion Mud Turtle, Kinosternon scorpioides, on Marajó Island, Brazil, from hunting to
the final product consumption. We conducted semi-structured interviews at the urban centers of the cities of Soure, Salvaterra
and Cachoeira do Arari, where we investigated: A) the socioeconomic profile of the merchants and their activity; B) the origin,
form and the frequency of marketing K. scorpioides; and C) the demand for the product. Scorpion Mud Turtle hunting was
carried out using the following methods: hand-collection (100%), probing (62%) and burning (54%). They were hunted for two
reasons: personal consumption and sale, which was conducted in urban centers. The hunters knew the empirical aspects of the
species biology in the wild: habitat, trophic ecology, and reproduction, among others. The trade of K. scorpioides is still a strong
activity on Marajó Island, and the legal regulations are not enough to inhibit this practice, which poses a threat to the future of
this species in this area. The establishment of educational efforts and captive breeding programs of this species will contribute
to employment, to local family income, and to the conservation of this genetic resource. These efforts also be important for
that the local population could produce and consume this species in a more sustainable way.

Keywords: biodiversity; ethnobiology; scorpion mud turtle; chelonians

pdf 08. Frogs in pre-industrial Britain


Open Access

pp. 368-378

Authors: Lee Raye

Abstract: This paper examines the pre-industrial historical record of Britain’s anuran species. The records examined include especially
the writings of naturalists and physicians, most notably Gerald of Wales (1188), John of Gaddesden (c.1314), Edward Wotton
(1552), Timothie Bright (1580), Thomas Brown (1646), Robert Lovell (1660), Christopher Merrett (1667), Robert Sibbald (1684)
and John Morton (1712). The common frog is attested as present throughout the period. Several reliable historical records
are located that describe the presence or absence of a water frog species (Peloyphylax spp.: two records of presence, two of
absence) and the tree frog (Hyla arborea: five records of presence, three of absence). The moor frog (Rana arvalis) and agile
frog (Rana dalmatina) are not described separately – if present in the time period, they may have been considered varieties
of the common frog. The evidence of presence comes exclusively from England. The records taken together confirm the
presence of populations of water frogs between (at least) the fifteenth and eighteenth century, and provide new evidence
attesting to populations of tree frogs between the sixteenth century (when the species may have been introduced) and the
eighteenth century (when the species seems to have become locally extinct/locally distributed).

Keywords: pool frog, tree frog, native status, species history, historical analysis

pdf Online appendix for 05. Tadpole species richness within lentic and lotic microhabitats: an interactive influence of environmental and spatial factors


Open Access

pp. 339-345

Authors: Lilian Sayuri Ouchi de Melo, Thiago Gonçalves-Souza, Michel Varajão Garey & Denise de Cerqueira

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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

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