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 2016  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 0.90.

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Folder Volume 28, Number 2, April 2018

pdf 01. Genetic contributions to herpetofauna conservation in the British Isles

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pp. 51-62

Authors: Trevor J. C. Beebee

Abstract: The use of molecular genetic markers is considered in the context of their application to conservation of amphibians and reptiles in the British Isles. Aspects reviewed include population viability, connectivity and origins together with developments in molecular identification. Genetic diversity measures are not in themselves sufficient to identify risks of inbreeding or genetic erosion in the absence of direct measures of individual fitness. Neutral markers are however useful for defining populations, the extent of migration between them and the identification of permeable habitat corridors. Phylogeography has resolved previously uncertain origins of several populations and species found in the British Isles, including Pelophylax lessonae, Bufo calamita and Triturus cristatus. Molecular studies have clarified the species status of toads Bufo bufo, B. spinosus, and grass snakes Natrix helvetica in the British Isles and provided methods for species and clade identifications where this is difficult using morphology alone. DNA-based techniques have revealed the distributions of viral and fungal pathogens and environmental DNA (eDNA) has proved its worth as a technique for surveying pond-breeding amphibians.

Key words: DNA, genetics, amphibians, reptiles, conservation, British Isles

pdf 02. A reassessment of the biogeographic range of northern clade pool frogs (Pelophylax lessonae)

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Open Access

pp. 63-72

Authors: Inga Zeisset & Tom Hoogesteger

Abstract: Distinguishing between native and introduced species can be difficult, particularly at range borders where patchily distributed populations may occur away from a species’ natural core range. The case of native pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) populations at their northern range limit in Europe is particularly interesting. These are morphologically and genetically distinct populations that are patchily distributed and have been reported from the UK, Sweden and Norway, but up until 2013 were thought to be absent from Finland. When pool frog populations were discovered in south-western Finland they were morphologically classified as belonging to this northern clade. However, the origin of these populations has been unclear and it is possible that the Finnish populations originated through human aided introductions, established themselves recently through natural migration, or are indeed previously undiscovered relic populations. To establish the origin and relationship of these frogs to other populations across Europe we used phylogeographical analysis based on microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA markers. Our results indicate that the Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, UK, as well as Estonian populations belong to the northern clade.  The Finnish frogs are most closely related to Swedish northern pool frogs, but are genetically more diverse. This suggests that the Finnish pool frogs are most likely a relic from postglacial migration, though we could not entirely rule out the possibility of a recent natural or human aided colonisation from Sweden. This has implications for the conservation status of the pool frog in Finland, where it thus far has been considered an invasive alien species.

Key words: Pelophylax lessonae, microsatellites, phylogeography, northern clade, pool frogs

pdf 03. Re-examination of the giant fossil tortoise Hesperotestudo from near the Illinois glacial-sangamon interglacial boundary in North America with commentary on zoogeography

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pp. 73-86

Authors: Lauren E. Brown, Don Moll & Evan S. Brown

Abstract: The Illinois Episode was the most extensive Quaternary glaciation in North America and extended deep into the central USA, further south than any other glacial episodes. It was followed by a period of mild climate termed the Sangamon Interglacial Episode. Relatively few reptile fossil sites have been found along the Illinois-Sangamon boundary. Thus, the 1986 report of isolated fossil remains of a giant tortoise (Hesperotestudo) near the boundary is of particular significance. We re-examined this important fossil because of inconsistencies and misinterpretations of prior researchers. The three morphological characters used for prior species identification of the tortoise are faulty and unreliable. Lack of additional, pertinent, diagnostic fossil elements presently prevents positive species identification. We critically appraised the pollen-based analysis of climate and environment at the tortoise strata by prior researchers. Their data suggest a transitional area between forest and prairie, or savannah, but the prior researchers misinterpreted their own data, concluding the vegetation was “relatively xeric grassland”. Consequently, the climate and environment at the tortoise stratum are yet to be determined. We present several zoogeographical scenarios pertaining to the origin and movement of the tortoise to the collection site. The most likely is perhaps northward movement from the central Gulf Coast along the Mississippi River floodplain before the major meltdown of the Illinois glaciation. East of St. Louis, the glacier met the Mississippi River floodplain and as the meltdown progressed, the tortoise could have travelled on the till plain north-east to the collection site. Hesperotestudo likely had considerable coldadaptation and thus may have tracked the Illinois glacier relatively closely as it melted northward.

Key words: giant fossil tortoises, Hesperotestudo, climate, zoogeography

pdf 04. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and treatment in the salamanders Ambystoma andersoni, A. dumerilii and A. mexicanum

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pp.87-92

Authors: Christopher J. Michaels, Matthew Rendle, Cathy Gibault, Javier Lopez, Gerardo Garcia, Matthew W. Perkins, Suzetta Cameron & Benjamin Tapley

Abstract: In order to better understand the impacts and treatment of infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) it is important to document host species, the effect of infection and response to treatment protocols. Here we report asymptomatic Bd infection detected through duplex qPCR screening of three Mexican ambystomatid salamanders; Ambystoma andersoni, Ambystoma dumerilii and Ambystoma mexicanum at three zoo collections, and A. andersoni and A. mexicanum in a private collection. Bsal was tested for but not detected. We also report the effectiveness and side effects of five treatment protocols in these species. Using the antifungal agent itraconazole, A. dumerilii were cleared of infection without side-effects using the granulated preparation (Sporanox). Morbidity and mortality occurred when A. dumerilii and A. andersoni were treated using a liquid oral preparation of the itraconazole (Itrafungol); infection was successfully cleared in surviving specimens of the latter species. Ambystoma mexicanum was successfully cleared without any side-effects using Itrafungol. Mortality and morbidity were likely caused by toxic effects of some component on the liquid preparation of itraconazole, but aspects of water quality and husbandry cannot be ruled out.

Key words: Bd, axolotl, Ambystoma, chytridiomycosis, itraconazole

pdf 05. Intersexuality in Helicops infrataeniatus Jan, 1865 (Dipsadidae: Hydropsini)

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pp. 93-95

Authors: Ruth A. Regnet, Fernando M. Quintela, Wolfgang Böhme & Daniel Loebmann

Abstract: Herein, we describe the first case of intersexuality in the Hydropsini tribe. After examination of 720 specimens of Helicops infrataeniatus Jan, 1865, we discovered one individual that presented feminine and masculine reproductive features. The specimen was 619 mm long, with seven follicles in secondary stage, of different shapes and sizes, and a hemipenis with 13.32 and 13.57 mm in length. The general shape of this organ is similar to that observed in males, although it is smaller and does not present conspicuous spines along its body. Deformities found in feminine and masculine structures suggest that this specimen might not be reproductively functional.

Key words: Follicles, hemipenis, hermaphroditism, water snake.

pdf 06. New record of the introduced species Eleutherodactylus planirostris (Anura: Eleutherodactylidae) in the state of Veracruz, Mexico

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pp. 96-99

Authors: Angel Ivan Contreras-Calvario, Abigail Mora-Reyes, Gabriela Parra-Olea & Ángela María
Mendoza

Abstract: Numerous direct developing species of the genus Eleutherodactylus native to the Caribbean Islands have been introduced outside its natural range by human activities. The greenhouse frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris is native to Cuba and the Bahamas and has been introduced to many parts of the world. Here, we report the rediscovery of E. planirostris in the Mexican Gulf. The species was not reported in the region since 1974. Molecular identification of the species was possible by comparing 16S and COI sequences with samples from the type locality, five introduced populations and 20 other Eleutherodactylus species. The species was also verified by morphological characters. By means of phylogenetic reconstruction we propose that its introduction in Veracruz is independent to the Mexican Caribbean event. This is the first record of the species in a small rural region from Veracruz, and thus a comprehensive evaluation of the distribution of the species in Mexico is needed.

Key words: Introduced species, DNA barcoding, Mexico, Eleutherodactylus

pdf 28(2) - Full issue

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pp. 51-100

pdf Inside cover

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