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.

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Folder Volume 1, Number 12, June 1991

Volume 1, Number 12, June 1991

pdf 01. The Orientation behaviour of amphibians

181 downloads

Open Access

pp.541-544

Authors: Ulrich Sinsch

pdf 02. Summer activity patterns and thermoregulation in the wall l izard, Podarcis muralis

164 downloads

Open Access

pp.544-549

Authors: Florentino Braña

Abstract: Body temperature of active Podarcis muralis from Norefia (Asturias; Northern Spain) during summer averages 33. 8°C (SO= 2.0, n = 116), and similar values were found in other close populations (grand mean: 33. 8°C, SO = 2.3, n = 171 ). There were no significant differences neither in body temperatures between populations nor between sex/age groups within populations. Daily activity pattern is bimodal, with depressed activity during the warmer hours at the midday. This pattern of activity, as well as the significant negative correlation between the percentage of lizards at sun and the environmental temperatures, are indicative of behavioural thermoregulation. The standard deviations of the mean body temperature and the slopes of the regressions of body temperature on environment temperatures are indicative of a relatively imprecise thermoregulation. Populations from the highest altitudes show a higher variability in body temperature and a greater dependence on the thermal environment.

pdf 03. The distribution and breeding site characteristics of newts in Cumbria, England

227 downloads

Open Access

pp.549-554

Authors: J. S. Denton

Abstract: The distribution and breeding site characteristics of the smooth newt, Triturus vulgaris, the palmate newt, T. he!veticus and the warty newt, T. crisrarus were investigated in Cumbria. T. he!veticus was the commonest species on the acidic rocks in the Lake District , but was not found in limestone areas. T. crisrarus was seldom found without the commoner T. vulgaris, and there was no evidence of the former preferring larger, deeper ponds than the latter.
T. vulgaris and T. cristatus, unlike T. helvericus were rarely found in water with pH<6. T. vulgaris was usually found in water relatively rich in metal ions, while the reverse was true for T. helveticus.
Newts were found in ponds in a wide variety of terrestrial habitats, but most often in rough pasture land.

pdf 04. Partitioning of water within the alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) egg after 60 days of incubation

234 downloads

Open Access

pp.554-558

Authors: D. C. Deeming And M. W. J. Ferguson

Abstract: Eggs of Alligator mississippiensis were incubated up to day 60 of incubation under either dry conditions (on metal shelves, without a substrate) or wet conditions (on vermiculite). Incubation temperatures were 30°C and 33°C. Eggs on the shelves lost water during incubation; water loss from eggs on vermiculite was small, and in some cases, negligible. On day 60, after incubation at 30°C, eggs incubated on shelves had significantly less amniotic fluid and yolk sac than eggs incubated on vermiculite. In eggs incubated at 33°C, on day 60 amniotic fluid was absent and the mass of the yolk sac was smaller in eggs incubated under dry conditions. Embryo mass and the amount of allantoic fluid were unaffected by the extent of water loss from the eggs at both temperatures. The mass of allantoic fluid was correlated with the mass of the egg on day 60. Yolk sac mass at both temperatures was not correlated with egg mass on day 60 but was correlated with the water lost from the egg. These results suggest that (1) in alligator eggs, loss of water is borne primarily by the yolk sac; and (2) that retention of water in the allantois may be associated with a need to prevent a deleterious build-up of waste metabolites. This contrasts with the situation in avian eggs where water loss is borne primarily by the allantois and embryonic tissues.

pdf 05. Differences in thermoregulation between Testudo hermanni and Testudo marginata and their ecological significance

178 downloads

Open Access

pp.559-567

Authors: Ronald E. Willemsen

Abstract: The activity patterns and body temperatures of T. hermanni and T. marginata were studied in the Peloponnese (southern Greece) during May, June, August and October 1984.
T. hermanni:
In May the daily activity patterns of T. hermanni were uni modal , in June and August they were bi modal. In August during the afternoon the activity increased significantly. in October the activity was very low. In August basking decreased significantly and mating increased significantly. During these four months no significant differences in body temperatures were found. In May a maximum body temperature of 35°C was found; in feeding tortoises a maximum temperature of 34°C. After May no temperatures over 32°C were found.
T. marginata:
In May and June the activity patterns of T. marginata were bimodal with the highest activity during the afternoon. In August an uni modal low activity pattern was found during the afternoon. In October the activity of T. marginata was uni modal and shifted towards the middle of the day. Sexual activity was seen in October only. Body temperatures in all T. marginata samples were significantly higher than those in T. hermanni. During May a maximum body temperature of 36°C was found in basking tortoises, a maximum of 37°C in feeding tortoises. The trend towards lower body temperatures in summer was greater in T. marginata than in T. hermanni. Body temperatures found in feeding tortoises in October equalled those found in May.
Ecological Consequences:
In southern Greece the habitat separation between T. hermanni and T. marginata can be explained by morphological differences and a higher body temperature tolerance in T. marginata. Differences in the annual cycle of activities might also be of importance as regards the habitat separation between both species.

pdf 06. Amphibians of the Whitemoor Channel early Flandrian site near Bosley, East Cheshire; with remarks on the fossil distribution of Bufo calamita in Brita

243 downloads

Open Access

pp.568-573

Authors: J. Alan Holman And Anthony J. Stuart

Abstract: A lacustrine Chara marl (ea. 10,000-8,800 radiocarbon years BP) at the Whitemoor Channel Site near Bosley, East Cheshire, yielded fossil amphibian remains, including palmate newt Trirurus helvericus, smooth newt Triturus vulgaris, natterjack toad Bufo calamira, common toad Bufo bufo, common frog Rana temporaria and material belonging to these genera which probably represent the same five species. All of these species are extant and occur naturally in Britain today, although for the past two hundred years the natterjack toad Bufo calamira has occurred only locally in Britain, being essentially restricted to coastal dunes and inland heaths. The well-dated Flandrian (early Holocene) finds from Whitemoor Channel are an important addition to previous, poorly stratified, records from Cow Cave, Chudleigh, Devon, and Ightham Fissures, Sevenoaks, Kent. Taken together, these records demonstrate early colonisation of England by B. calamira after the last Cold Stage and suggest a wider geographical occurrence of the natterjack than in Britain today.

pdf 07. Preliminary study on the breeding pattern of the Egyptian tortoise, Testudo kleinmanni, in Israel

210 downloads

Open Access

pp.574-577

Authors: Eli Geffen And Heinrich Mendelssohn

Abstract: Egyptian tortoises were collected in the field and X-rayed at 2-4 week intervals during two breeding seasons. Females laid 2-3 clutches per year, each consisting of 1-3 large eggs. The internesting period was estimated to be 20-30 days. The nest was a shallow pit at a base of a bush. The breeding biology of Testudo kleinmanni is similar to that of other small highly specialised tortoises.

pdf 08. Visual stimuli and spontaneous locomotor patterns of common lizards, Lacerta vivipara

165 downloads

Open Access

pp.577-579

Authors: G. Cowlishaw And R. A. Avery

Abstract: The movement pattern of adult male Lacerta vivipara travelling spontaneously along a wooden-walled channel was similar to the previously measured pattern of animals moving across an open space, comprising an alternation of short (-1 s) bursts of locomotion with even shorter (-0.1 s) pauses. Changing the structure and appearance of the walls of the channel altered the locomotor pattern. Grass turf separated from the lizards by glass h ad the greatest effect, causing a decrease in mean burst speed and an increase in mean pause duration. This persisted for 25 trials, suggesting that the response to the visual stimulus presented by turf was investigatory and not merely due to its novelty, whereas the smaller effect seen when the walls were of white card waned with time and so may have been primarily a response to change.

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