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 33, Number 2, April 2023 Volume 33, Number 2, April 2023

pdf 01. Dichotomy in morphology of the same genetic lineage of green turtles


Open Access


pp. 25-33

Authors: Bektaş Sönmez, Burcu Mestav, Selma Kırbeci & Şükran Yalçın Özdilek

Abstract: Morphological studies of marine turtles are important to provide insight into changes in their developmental environment. This study aimed to determine green turtles' Chelonia mydas morphological differences within the same genetic lineage in the eastern Mediterranean MED3 management unit and to find the best conversion equations between carapace size. A total of 106 adult green turtles (curved carapace length [CCL] range 79–105 cm) were measured on the five major nesting beaches of the eastern Mediterranean during 2020 and 2021. Morphological differences were tested with PERMANOVA and the relationship among body sizes was tested by linear regression. In the eastern Mediterranean green turtles, the mean CCL and SCL (straight carapace length) were 88.5 cm and 83.5 cm, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in any of the examined morphological characteristics of green turtles collected from five nesting beaches. In the clustering analysis, however, it was found that all the turtles fell into two distinct groups: larger (> 95.2 cm) and smaller (< 85.2 cm) turtles. As well, the conversion equations between CCL and SCL showed a high coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.938). We suggest that the conversion equations may be applied to all green turtles belonging to this population and nesting in the eastern Mediterranean.

Keywords: Chelonia mydas, morphology, conversion equation, K-means, eastern Mediterranean

pdf 01a. Supplementary material for 01. Dichotomy in morphology of the same genetic lineage of green turtles


Open Access

Authors: Bektaş Sönmez, Burcu Mestav, Selma Kırbeci & Şükran Yalçın Özdilek

pdf 02. Acoustic monitoring of anuran communities in road noise disturbed soundscapes


Subscription / purchase required


pp. 34-42

Authors: Gerson M. Muzzi, Marina H.L Duarte, Nathália O. Braga, Rogério P. Bastos & Luciana B. Nascimento

Abstract: Vocalisation is the main form of communication in frogs. These signals have different social structures and functions. Road noise has increased over the past few decades to the point where it can mask acoustic signals with impacts for animal communication. Anurans are sensitive to noise masking, but few studies have investigated how noise impacts their vocal behaviour. Here, we compared noise levels and activity, as well as calling activity and richness of aurally-identified species, between two sites; one near and one far from a road. We also assessed the potential of noise masking. Noise was significantly higher at the site near the road and during the day at both sites, while vocalisations were more frequent at the far site and during the night. Species richness and composition was the same at both sites, however, Boana albopunctata, B. cipoensis, and Scinax curicica had greater vocal activity at the far site while S. squalirostris, Leptodactylus jolyi, and Dendropsophus minutus had greater vocal activity at the near site. Traffic noise was found to overlap with the frequencies occupied by vocalisations. Since many natural areas around the world are bordered by roads, we emphasise the importance of establishing regulations for the control and monitoring of road noise.

Keywords: Anurans, vocalisation, passive acoustic monitoring, noise pollution

pdf 02a. Supplementary material for 02. Acoustic monitoring of anuran communities in road noise disturbed soundscapes


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Authors: Gerson M. Muzzi, Marina H.L Duarte, Nathália O. Braga, Rogério P. Bastos & Luciana B. Nascimento

pdf 03. Activity budgets, responses to disturbance and novel behaviours in captive mountain chicken frogs Leptodactylus fallax


Open Access


pp. 43-54

Authors: Eve Mannings, Francesca Servini, Benjamin Tapley & Christopher J. Michaels

Abstract: Mountain chicken frogs Leptodactylus fallax are assessed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List due to threats including chytridiomycosis and habitat loss. Ex-situ populations underpin species survival, but captive management is hampered by incomplete species knowledge, including its behavioural biology. In sixteen adult frogs, we investigated enclosure usage, nocturnal activity budgets, and behavioural responses to varying levels of husbandry-related disturbance through instantaneous scan sampling of camera trap footage over forty-two consecutive nights. Enclosure usage was quantified through the application of modified Spread of Participation Indices (mSPI). We present the first detailed activity budgets published for this species and found that broad activity patterns of captive animals corresponded well with their wild conspecifics; taking refuge during the day and emerging at dusk into exposed areas of the enclosure. Some behaviours, especially hunting and bathing, were partially phased throughout the nocturnal period. Enclosure use was not even, with disproportionately large amounts of time spent using nest boxes and deep leaf litter, even at night, and the converse in thin leaf litter and elevated perches. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) identified a bold-shy behavioural grouping (movement and resting opposed to refuge behaviours) that was consistent across husbandry-related disturbance conditions. Randomisation analyses showed that disturbance significantly affected multiple measured behaviour, especially feeding, social interactions and vocalisation; the impact was associated with the degree of disturbance. Novel behaviours were also documented, which are thought to be related to courtship. Our data provide insights into the behaviour of mountain chicken frogs and highlight potential trade-offs between enclosure maintenance, veterinary intervention, and animal welfare.

Keywords: Amphibians, behaviour, mSPI, disturbance, welfare, Zoo

pdf 04. First report of chytridiomycosis in the Southern Yungas Andean forest: a threat to the endangered La Banderita marsupial frog Gastrotheca gracilis


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pp. 55-57

Authors: Judit E. Dopazo, Alejandra Kruger, Elena Correa, Walter J. Lértora, Martin Boullhesen, Igor Berkunsky, Mauricio S. Akmentins

Abstract: This work reports the first record of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection in the endangered La Banderita marsupial frog Gastrotheca gracilis from the Southern Yungas Andean forest. We analysed swab samples from the oral discs of 20 tadpoles and histological sections from two post-metamorphic individuals. We found 60 % of the tadpoles to be infected, and the histological sections revealed the presence of zoosporangia of Bd in different maturation stages. The signs of infection confirm the presence of Bd, which may pose a threat to the endangered La Banderita marsupial frog populations.

Keywords: conservation, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, chytridfungus infection, Hemiphractidae, tadpoles

pdf Volume 33, Number 2, April 2023


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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.