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 32, Number 1, January 2022 Volume 32, Number 1, January 2022

pdf 01. Phylogenetic position of Tropidophorus assamensis Annandale, 1912 with updated morphological data and distributional records


Open Access


PP. 1-4

Authors: Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Ht Decemson, Mathipi Vabeiryureilai, Fanai Malsawmdawngliana,Van Lalhlimpuia, Lal Muansanga & Lal Biakzuala

Abstract: The poorly known northeastern water skink Tropidophorus assamensis is only known from the type locality (Harigaj Range, Sylhet District) in Bangladesh, and few localities in Assam and Mizoram States, north-eastern India. Little is known about the biology including the systematics of the species. In this study, we present for the first time, genetic data (16s rRNA) and inferred its phylogenetic position. In addition to this, we provide updated morphological data along with new distributional records of the species from Mizoram State of north-east India.

Keywords: Distribution, morphology, northeastern water skink, systematics

pdf 01a. Supplementary materials for 01. Phylogenetic position of Tropidophorus assamensis Annandale, 1912 with updated morphological data and distributional records


Open Access

Authors: Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga, Ht Decemson, Mathipi Vabeiryureilai, Fanai Malsawmdawngliana,Van Lalhlimpuia, Lal Muansanga & Lal Biakzuala

pdf 02. Predicted impact of climate change on the distribution of the Critically Endangered golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) in Madagascar


Open Access


pp. 5-13

Authors: Wayne M. Edwards, Michael J. Bungard, Eddie F Rakotondrasoa, Pierre Razafindraibe, Raphali R Andriantsimanarilafy, Julie H Razafimanahaka, & Richard A. Griffiths

Abstract: The impact of climate change on Malagasy amphibians remains poorly understood. Equally, deforestation, fragmentation, and lack of connectivity between forest patches may leave vulnerable species isolated in habitat that no longer suits their environmental or biological requirements. We assess the predicted impact of climate change by 2085 on the potential distribution of a Critically Endangered frog species, the golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), that is confined to a small area of the central rainforest of Madagascar. We identify potential population distributions and climatically stable areas. Results suggest a potential south-eastwardly shift away from the current range and a decrease in suitable habitat from 2110 km2 under current climate to between 112 km2 – 138 km2 by the year 2085 – less than 7 % of currently available suitable habitat. Results also indicate that the amount of golden mantella habitat falling within protected areas decreases by 86 % over the same period. We recommend research to ascertain future viability and the feasibility of expanding protection to newly identified potential sites. This information can then be used in future conservation actions such as habitat restoration, translocations, re-introductions or the siting of further wildlife corridors or protected areas.

Keywords: Conservation, SDM, amphibian, montane, rainforest, protected area

pdf 03. Diversity of herpetofauna at restored cranberry bogs: A comparative survey of herpetofaunal diversity at a restored wetland in comparison to a retired cranberry bog to assess the restoration success


Open Access


pp. 14-26

Authors: Regina A. Christen, Alexandra K. Dewey, Alexis N. Gouthro & Thilina D. Surasinghe

Abstract: Wetlands perform critical ecological functions and provide wildlife habitats. Yet, wetland degradation continues at a global scale. In Massachusetts, USA, wetland restoration has reached remarkable heights, partly promoted by the retirement of cranberry bogs. In this study, to assess the effectiveness of cranberry-farm restoration for conservation of native herpetofauna, we surveyed both retired and restored cranberry bogs in south-eastern Massachusetts. Using both visual encounter surveys and baited aquatic traps, we documented herpetofaunal species and their relative abundance. Both survey methods combined, the cumulative herpetofaunal species richness at the restored bogs (16) exceeded that of the retired bogs (11). Our trap surveys indicated that the amphibian species richness at the retired bog was significantly greater than that of the restored bog. In contrast, reptilian species richness as well as the relative abundance of both amphibians
and reptiles were significantly greater at the restored bog compared to the retired bog. Subsequent analyses we performed identified that greater habitat heterogeneity emerging from active restoration intervention was the underlying driver of elevated richness and abundance. Most frequently encountered herpetofauna at the restored versus retired bogs were habitat generalists with broader geographic ranges and are not of conservation concern. Our findings suggest that the restored bog we monitored is still in the early-recovery phase after active intervention. We urge the need for long-term herpetofaunal inventories via systematic, standard surveys to assess restoration success.

Keywords: restoration, wetlands, herpetofauna, conservation, community, cranberry bogs

pdf 04. Evolution of sexual dimorphism in the plateau brown frog fails to obey Rensch’s rule


Open Access


pp. 27-33

Authors: Tong Lei Yu, Yujie Li & Jin Dong Zhang

Abstract: Rensch’s rule describes sexual size dimorphism (SSD) that decreases with increasing body size when females are larger than males and SSD that increases when males are larger than females. The plateau brown frog Rana kukunoris, a species endemic to the eastern Tibetan Plateau, exhibits female-biased size dimorphism. Using data on body size from 26 populations and age from 21 populations, we demonstrated that SSD did not increase with increasing mean female snout-vent length (SVL) when controlling for sex-specific age structure, failing to support the Rensch’s rule. Thus, we suggest that fecundity selection (favouring large female size) balances out sexual selection (favouring large male size), which results in a similar divergence between males and females body size. In addition, sex-specific age differences explained most of the variation of SSD across populations.

Keywords: Age difference, Sexual size dimorphism, Rana kukunoris, Rensch's rule

pdf 05. Acanthosaura meridiona sp. nov. (Squamata: Agamidae), a new short-horned lizard from southern Thailand


Open Access


pp. 34-50

Authors: Poramad Trivalairat, Montri Sumontha, Kirati Kunya & Krittiya Chiangkul

Abstract: A new short – horned lizard species of the genus Acanthosaura from southern Thailand, is described herein. The species was previously recognised as Acanthosaura crucigera and has been reported to present a wide distribution across mainland south-east Asia. The combination of modern morphological studies of Acanthosaura meridiona sp. nov. allows its separation from closely related species A. crucigera, on the basis of presenting more nuchal scales, more scales between diastema, more scales bordering rostral scales and more midline ventral scales. Mitochondrial DNA analysis also indicated a sister relationship between A. meridiona sp. nov. and A. crucigera with a 100 % probability according to Bayesian and maximum – likelihood analyses. The pairwise distance between A. meridiona sp. nov. and A. crucigera ranges from 9.9 – 11.1 %, while the distance between A. meridiona populations ranges from 0 – 0.9 %. This new discovery contributes to the redescription of the distribution of A. crucigera under Kra Isthmus and its replacement by A. meridiona sp. nov.

Keywords: crucigera complex, tropical rainforest, Thai – Malay Peninsula, ND2, taxonomy

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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.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.