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 29, Number 1, January 2019 Volume 29, Number 1, January 2019

pdf 01. Taxonomic revision of the spider geckos of the genus gamura senso lato Blanford, 1874 (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in the Iranian Plateau


Open Access

pp. 1-12

Authors: Seyyed Saeed Hosseinian Yousefkhani, Mansour Aliabadian, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani & Jamshid Darvish

Abstract: In this study, we present an integrative systematic revision of the spider gecko, Agamura senso lato, in Iran. We sampled 56 geckos of this complex from its distributional range in Iran and western Pakistan and sequenced these for two mitochondrial markers, cytochrome b and 12S ribosomal RNA, and one nuclear marker, melano-cortin 1 receptor. We combined our molecular data with species distribution modelling and morphological examinations to clarify Agamura persica systematics and biogeography. Due to a lack of published data, we used only our data to investigate the spatial and temporal origin of spider geckos within a complete geographic and phylogenetic context. The phylogenetic analyses confirm the monophyly of Agamura. Among spider geckos, Rhinogekko diverged around the early-mid Miocene (17 Mya) from the Lut Block, and then Cyrtopodion diverged from the Agamura clade about 15 Mya in the mid-Miocene as a result of the uplifting of the Zagros Mountains. Subsequent radiation across the Iranian Plateau took place during the mid-Pliocene. Agamura kermanensis exhibits deep divergence from two other species of Agamura (A. persica and A. cruralis), whereas no geographical substructure was observed on the Iranian Plateau for A. persica and A. cruralis. Our findings reveal that diversification is consistent with a biogeographical model explained by different dispersal waves and vicariant events on the Iranian Plateau during the last 18 Mya. The divergence times between clades are compatible with orogenic events in southern Iran that resulted from the collision with Arabia. According to the genetic differentiation of both mtDNA genes (12S and cytochrome b), the systematic status of A. cruralis is confirmed, the new clade was distinguished from the genus Agamura, monophyly of Rhinogekko was confirmed and the allocation of Cyrtopodion gastrophole to the Cyrtopodion clade was confirmed.

Key words: Agamura, agamuroides group, divergence time, Iranian Plateau, Rhinogekko, spider geckos, vicariance

pdf 02. Monitoring amphibian species with complex chromatophore patterns: a non-invasive approach with an evaluation of software effectiveness and reliability


Open Access

pp. 13-22

Authors: Julien Renet, Lisa Leprêtre, Jocelyn Champagnon & Philippe Lambret

Abstract: The estimation of demographic parameters in wild populations is strengthened by individual identification. For amphibians, various techniques are used to either temporarily or permanently mark individuals for identification. Photo-identification of body patterns offers a non-invasive technique. However, the reliability of photo-recognition software is key to the reliable estimation of the true demographic parameters. In the current study, we assessed the effectiveness of fully-automated and semi-automated software: Wild-ID and APHIS. We used the cryptic salamander Hydromantes strinatii as our study species. We used the False Rejection Rate (FRR) of Top 1, Top 5 and Top 10 matches of chest and cloaca pictures. Finally, we assessed the bias induced by our FRR for the estimation of population size through simulation. Wild-ID FRRs ranged from 0.042 to 0.093 while APHIS’ ranged from 0.227 to 0.547. Wild-ID was equally efficient with pictures from the chest and from the cloaca, while APHIS was significantly more efficient with chest pictures than cloaca pictures. Cropping pictures did not significantly improve Wild-ID effectiveness. Our Wild-ID FRRs are among the lowest ever obtained from pictures of an amphibian with a complex chromatophore pattern. Simulation showed that the Top 10 FRR from selected software Wild-ID induced a low bias 2.7% on the estimation of population size. The effectiveness and plasticity of Wild-ID provides opportunities for reliably monitoring amphibian species with complex colour patterns.

Key words: Photographic identification, Wild-ID, APHIS, False Rejection Rate, Hydromantes strinatii, demographic
parameters, monitoring

pdf 03. A new species of Contomastix (Squamata, Teiidae) supported by total evidence, with remarks on diagnostic characters defining the genus


Open Access

pp. 23-36

Authors: Mario R. Cabrera, Santiago Carreira, Diego O. Di Pietro & Paula C. Rivera

Abstract: Formerly Cnemidophorus was thought to be the most speciose genus of Teiidae. This genus comprised four morphological groups that were later defined as four different genera, Ameivula, Aurivela, Cnemidophorus and Contomastix. The last appears as paraphyletic in a recent phylogenetic reconstruction based on morphology, but monophyletic in a reconstruction using molecular characters. Six species are allocated to Contomastix. One of them, C. lacertoides, having an extensive and disjunct geographic distribution in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Preliminary analyses revealed morphological differences among its populations, suggesting that it is actually a complex of species. Here, we describe a new species corresponding to the Argentinian populations hitherto regarded as C. lacertoides, by integrating morphological and molecular evidence. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the presence of notched proximal margin of the tongue is a character that defines the genus Contomastix.

Key words: C. lacertoides species group, lizards, Reptilia, South America, systematics

pdf 04. Population genetic structure of the endangered yellow spotted mountain newt (Neurergus derjugini: Amphibia, Caudata) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences


Open Access

pp. 37-47

Authors: Tayebe Salehi, Vahid Akmali & Mozafar Sharifi

Abstract: The yellow spotted mountain newt (Neurergus derjugini) is a critically endangered species restricted to fragmented habitats in highland streams of the middle Zagros Mountain in Iran and Iraq. We examined the species phylogeography by investigating sequences of a mitochondrial fragment of the ND2 gene for 77 individuals from 15 locations throughout the species known distribution. We found relatively high haplotype diversity (0.82 ± 0.025) but low nucleotide diversity (0.0038 ± 0.00022) across all populations. Phylogenetic trees supported monophyly, and the segregation of haplotypes was concordant with the haplotype network. We found a significant correlation between geographical and genetic distances among populations (r = 0.54, P ˂ 0.01), suggesting restricted gene flow. Molecular dating suggested that haplogroups diverged during the early or middle Pleistocene. Bayesian skyline plot provided evidence for an expansion of populations during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition period. Taken together, isolation by distance due to low dispersal capability, habitat fragmentation, and historical factors have shaped the current population structure of N. derjugini.

Key words: phylogeography, endangered species, demography, evolutionary history, climate oscillation, conservation.

pdf 05. Longitudinal monitoring of turtle trade through Facebook in Vietnam


Open Access

pp. 48-56

Authors: Thong Pham Van, Vinh Quang Luu, Thinh Vu Tien, Benjamin Leprince, Linh Tran Thi Khanh & Luca Luiselli

Abstract: Trade of turtles, for both food and pet, represents a substantial business in Vietnam, especially because this country is a
cross-bridge for wildlife trade from Indochina to China. Vietnam is also one of the main countries worldwide in terms of the number of Facebook members, and a considerable portion of the business has gone online through Facebook trading, including turtle trade. Here, the advertisements of turtles for sale in Vietnamese Facebook groups were monitored for the period 2013-2018, obtaining a total of 481 advertisement cases concerning 5,758 individuals belonging to 53 species and 12 families. There has been a rapidly rising trade of turtles online, especially in the last two years. Many traded species were allochthonous, but native species accounted for 22 species and over 36 % of the traded individuals. Most allochthonous species were traded as hatchlings and juveniles, whereas most of the native species were traded as subadults and adults, thus suggesting a high frequency of illegal trade in wild caught animals. Five traded native species are considered among the 50 most threatened turtle species in the world. Turtle trade occurred mostly in the two biggest cites of Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi), which accounted for 68 % of the total trade. Turtle price varied substantially across species and by different lifestages (i.e. hatchlings, juveniles, sub-adults and adults), and increased considerably in comparison to 1993 estimates.

Key words: turtle trade, Facebook, Asia, Vietnam

pdf 06. Make the Adder Count: population trends from a citizen science survey of UK adders


Open Access

pp. 57-70

Authors: Emma Gardner, Angela Julian, Chris Monk & John Baker

Abstract: Concern has been growing about the status of UK adder populations, with expert opinion reporting widespread declines. Assessing the true scale of these declines, however, has been hampered by a lack of quantitative data. Make the Adder Count began in 2005 as a national surveillance programme collecting standardised counts of adders lying-out after emerging from hibernation. 260 sites have contributed data, confirming a significant decline, on average, across sites with small populations, while the few with large populations (<10 % of sites) are weakly increasing. If these trends continue, within 15‒20 years, adders will be restricted to a few large population sites, significantly increasing the extinction risk for this priority species in the UK. Public pressure/disturbance was reported as the most frequent negative factor affecting sites, followed by habitat management and habitat fragmentation. Negative impacts from habitat management were reported almost as frequently as positive impacts, suggesting many management plans do not adequately consider the requirements of adders. The dataset also demonstrated earlier emergence among males, in warmer springs and at more northerly sites.

Key words: adders, population trends, habitat management, conservation, emergence survey, citizen science

pdf 08. Supplementary Materials to article 01. Taxanomic revision of the spider geckos of the genus Agamura senso lato Blanford, 1874 (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in the Iranian Plateau


Open Access

Authors: Seyyed Saeed Hosseinian Yousefkhani, Mansour Aliabadian, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani & Jamshid Darvish

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