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Posts Tagged "herpetology"

The Artful Amoeba

Alpine Toads and the Chytrids that Love Them

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When you read a story, you may occasionally wonder what the reporter went through to get it. About a month ago I arose at 5 a.m. to  accompany two wildlife biologists and three fisheries volunteers into the high country of Colorado in order to report a story that came out in High Country News this [...]

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Symbiartic

Road Kill So Perty You Can Bring It Home To Ma

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Most people swerve around road kill in hopes of avoiding the gore, or worse, the dreaded thwump that indicates you added your treadmarks to the list of said road kill’s insults. But a few crazy people will screech to a halt to see what got hit. Two of these folks just happen to be researchers, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

People Are Modifying Monitors to Make Gargantuan Geckos

Note the long, slender tail, the five-toed foot, five-fingered hand, and the blunt tips to the digits. The animal's right eye might be visible in this shot. It's gecko-like, but not like any gecko we know.

Over the last several days a consortium of people interested in herpetology, weird animals, animal lore, and special effects have worked together to help resolve an incredible and bizarre ‘mystery’*. People in Indonesia (and perhaps elsewhere in tropical Asia) are modifying live monitor lizards to make them look like gargantuan Tokay geckos Gekko gecko. * [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A Fine First Finding of Darevskia

Here's the refresher for squamate head scalation you were looking for. This image (depicting a lacertid) is from Arnold (1989). In case it isn't obvious, you need to obtain and read Nick Arnold's papers if you're really interested in lacertid diversity and evolution.

While in Romania back in 2011, I photographed the lizard you see here. It’s clearly a lacertid: a member of the Eurasian-African group that contains the familiar Lacerta sand lizards and green lizards as well as many other groups. But, beyond that, I couldn’t identify it in the field. Back at Tet Zoo Towers, and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Atomic Worm-Lizard and Other Aprasia Flapfoots

Flinders worm-lizard (Aprasia pseudopulchella). Note the strong superficial resemblance to a typhlopid blindsnake.

I’m feeling the urge to blog about lizards. So, today I’d like to talk about the Aprasia species, a group of short-tailed, near-limbless gekkotans that belong to the Australian Pygopodidae family, the so-called flapfoots, flap-footed lizards or pygopods. Historically, the term Pygopodidae has been used in more than one fashion. For the purposes of removing [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Strange Bedfellow Frogs (Part 2): Pig-Nosed and Shovel-Nosed Frogs (aka Snout-Burrowers)

Marbled snout-burrower (Hemisus marmoratus); image by Ryanvanhuyssteen, CC BY-SA 4.0

A few weeks back – during the Tet Zoo frog event – I wrote about the peculiar African brevicipitid frogs, variously termed short-headed frogs or rain frogs. The plan when compiling that article was to write about a second group of frogs, closely related to brevicipitids. But time was short, the article became too long, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A brief introduction to reed, sedge and lily frogs

Hyperolius viridiflavus, photographed in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Nick Hobgood. Image CC BY-SA 3.0.

Here’s a very brief article to a group of frogs. It’s a slightly modified version of an article that initially appeared on Tet Zoo ver 2 during November 2007. Reed, sedge and lily frogs, or hyperoliids, are a moderately large group (containing approximately 215 species) of mostly arboreal ranoids that climb in vegetation at or [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

It’s the Helmeted water toad… this time, with information!

C. gayi, drawn from a photo. Illustration by Darren Naish.

Back in October 2007 (at Tet Zoo ver 2) I wrote a very brief article on a poorly known, gigantic, deeply weird South American frog: the Helmeted water toad, Chilean giant frog or Gay’s frog* Calyptocephalella gayi (long known – incorrectly it turns out – as Caudiverbera caudiverbera). Back in 2007, so little information was [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

‘Strange bedfellow frogs’ (part I): rotund, adorable brevicipitids

Breviceps frogs are not exactly the ideal shape for normal amplexus. This is B. montanus. Photo by Abu Shawka, in the public domain.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, I have the urge to write about frogs. Today we look briefly at the first of two behaviourally peculiar, anatomically surprising groups, both of which are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, both of which belong to a major neobatrachian frog clade called Allodapanura, and both of which have been united in a clade [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

There is so much more to flying frogs than flying frogs

Beautiful painting of Wallace's flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) by the unique Carel Brest van Kampen.

Episode 2 of David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies appeared on TV the other day, and I watched it (in fact, I livetweeted throughout, mostly because I wanted to talk about their portrayal of pterosaurs and Mesozoic theropods). And hence I have rhacophorid frogs on my mind – the mostly tropical Afro-Asian frog group that [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Frogs you may not have heard of: Brazil’s Cycloramphus ‘button frogs’

Things are not looking good for many of the Cycloramphus species. This is is C. boraceiensis. Photo (c) Ariovaldo Giaretta, CC BY-SA 2.5.

The world is full of frogs, and while I’ve made reasonable efforts over Tet Zoo’s nearly nine years of operation to cover some of this diversity (see the links at the bottom of this article), there are many groups that I’ve never even mentioned. Today I want to talk about the Cycloramphus ‘button frogs’, the [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Gladiatorial glassfrogs, redux

The same individual as that shown above, photographed 31 hours after a fight, and with injuries visible on his dorsal surface. Images from Hutter et al. (2013).

Readers with supernaturally good memories might remember the two articles, published here back in January and February 2013, on glassfrogs, a highly unusual and poorly known group of Neotropical frogs, so named due to their incredible translucent or transparent ventral skin. Glassfrogs (properly: Centrolenidae) are weird and fascinating for all sorts of reasons (if you [...]

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