The British Herpetological Society

 

The Herpetological Journal

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.

The 2016  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 0.90.

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Folder Volume 28, Number 1, January 2018

pdf 01. Morphological and mitochondrial variation of spur-thighed tortoises, Testudo graeca, in Turkey

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pp. 1-9

Authors: Oguz Turkozan, Ferhat Kiremit, Brian R. Lavin, Fevzi Bardakcı & James F. Parham

Abstract: Testudo graeca has a wide distribution under different geographic, climatic and ecological conditions, and shows high morphological differences especially in the Asian (Middle Eastern and Caucasian) parts of the range. This study investigates
morphometric and genetic differentiation in the T. graeca complex in Turkey using the densest sampling to date. We sequenced two mt-DNA loci (ND4 and cyt b) of 199 samples and combined them with previously published data. Bayesian analysis yielded six well-supported clades, four of which occur in Turkey (ibera, [/i]terrestris[/i], armeniaca and [/i]buxtoni[/i]). The armeniaca mtDNA clade
locally represents a morphometrically distinct burrowing ecomorph. However, previous studies have shown that individuals
outside Turkey possessing armeniaca mtDNA lack the distinctive armeniaca morphotype we observed, precluding taxonomic
conclusions.

Keywords: mtDNA, morphometry, Testudinidae, Testudo, Turkey

pdf 02. Intra-individual variation in exploration behaviour in a largely aquatic frog: effects of sex and personality traits

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pp.10-18

Authors: Mathieu Videlier, Camille Bonneaud & Anthony Herrel

Abstract: Behavioural plasticity is important for survival and to adapt to a dynamic environment. However, it is known that many animals
exhibit fixed behavioural responses termed behavioural syndromes. That said, even when exhibiting such fixed behavioural
responses, animals still show variability in their behaviour. We here evaluate the variability in exploration behaviour in the
frog Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis by quantifying two different metrics of variability: the absolute difference between two
sets of measurements, and the individual stability statistic. Our results show differences in the intra-individual variability
between groups of frogs that can be assigned to different behavioural syndromes. Marked differences in variability also occur
between males and females, with males being more stereotyped in their responses. Frogs identified as belonging to different
behavioural groups (i.e. shy, intermediate, and bold) differed in the variability of the expression of these strategies, with
bold individuals being more stereotypic in the exploration of an identical, novel environment. These observations may have
implications for the evolution of behaviour in natural populations.

Keywords: locomotion, amphibian, variability, behaviour, exploration

pdf 03. Autecology of neotropical lizard species Anotosaura vanzolinia (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae) in a Caatinga region, north-eastern Brazil

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pp.19-26

Authors: Bruno Halluan Soares Oliveira, Romilda Narciza Mendonça de Queiroz, Lucas Barbosa de
Queiroga Cavalcanti & Daniel Oliveira Mesquita

Abstract: Here we investigate the autecology of the poorly known lizard Anotosaura vanzolinia (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) and
describe diet, reproductive biology and morphological aspects, testing hypotheses of seasonality and ontogenetic differences.
We collected 154 specimens (44 males, 41 females and 69 juveniles) from April 2011 to June 2014, where 101 were found
buried in soil. Their diet consists mainly of arthropods found within its microhabitat, including ants and termites, but differences
were found between adults and juveniles, and between seasons. Reproduction occurs during the wet season, even though
reproductive males could be found in almost all months of the year. Females have fixed clutch size of two eggs, producing more
than one clutch during the reproductive season; the incubation period is about 43 to 49 days.

Keywords: microhabitat use, diet, reproduction, sexual dimorphism, hatchling size, semiarid.

pdf 04. The influence of visual cues of conspecifics based on density and habitat features on the growth of Bufo gargarizans minshanicus larvae: an experimental approach

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pp.27-30

Authors: Tong Lei Yu, Ting Ting Wang & Michael Busam

Abstract: Anuran larvae may use chemical, visual and tactile cues to assess habitat features, and subsequently mediate their growth and
development. Of the three cues, chemical ones have been analysed the most, but little is known about the role of visual cues
and the extent to which tadpoles rely on their vision for intraspecific social assessment. In this study, we investigated whether
conspecific visual cues affect development and growth of Bufo gargarizans minshanicus tadpoles, and analysed whether they
use visual cues as indicators of density. The tadpoles did not significantly alter their growth and development in response
to low visual stimulation. However, tadpoles under high visual stimulation were significantly smaller than single tadpoles
without visual cues. Therefore, we suggest that B. g. minshanicus tadpoles are susceptible to high visual stimulation when
the environment changes (little vegetation and clear water), allowing for decreased growth in the presence of high-density
conspecifics.

Keywords: body mass, visual cues, density, intraspecific competition, habitat features, Bufo gargarizans minshanicus

pdf 05. Effectiveness of the field identification of individual natterjack toads (Epidalea calamita) using comparisons of dorsal features through citizen science

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Open Access

pp.31-38

Authors: Stephen Smith, Tamsin Young & David Skydmore

Abstract: Citizen science is now making an important contribution, both in the collection of large amounts of data over wide geographical
areas and in promoting environmental awareness and engagement communities. However, as there are many participating
observers, the reliability of the data collected needs to be assessed. This study used a citizen science approach to investigate
whether dorsal features, when photographed, can be used in the identification of individual natterjack toads (Epidalea calamita).
Epidalea calamita individuals from a population located at Prestatyn, North Wales, were captured, photographed and released
in a legally compliant manner. Forty human participants each completed a timed exercise to match photographs of individual
toads that had been taken from different angles. Sixty-five percent of the participants accurately matched photographs on
their first attempt. The effect of training on the accuracy and speed at which participants could identify individuals from
photographs was then assessed. Twenty of the participants received basic training on recognising the key features of dorsal
patterns before carrying out the exercise again. Following training, average accuracy increased to 90% and participants were
41.5% quicker in completing the exercise than those that were untrained. The study revealed that basic training of participants
who are involved in citizen science projects was beneficial by having a significant impact on accuracy and speed. In addition, we
demonstrate that the dorsal features of tubercles and scarring are useful in identifying individuals of E. calamita in the field.

Keywords: Epidalea calamita, natterjack toad, photo-identification technique, training, mark recapture, citizen science

pdf 06. Colouration in male blue-throated keeled lizards (Algyroides nigropunctatus): Evidence for ultraviolet reflectance of throat and lateral patches

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pp.39-42

Authors: Arnaud Badiane, Pau Carazo & Enrique Font

Abstract: The blue-throated keeled lizard, Algyroides nigropunctatus, is distributed along the Adriatic coast from Italy to Greece
and is sexually dichromatic. Males display a striking blue on their throat, an orange ventrum, and a dark brown dorsal colouration, but their colouration has never been objectively assessed. Here, we describe the colouration of 13 male blue-throated keeled lizards from Cres Island (Croatia) using spectrophotometry and ultraviolet (UV) photography, and show that the blue throat and the blue spots located on the flanks reflect in the UV part of the spectrum. We discuss the potential role of UV-blue colouration in social signalling.

Keywords: Chromatic signal, Ultraviolet, Spectrophotometry, Lizards, Squamates

pdf 07. Effect of fish stocking on alpine populations of European common frog (Rana temporaria) in the Pyrénées National Park

170 downloads

Open Access

pp.43-49

Authors: Luz Calia Miramontes Sequeiros, Nicolás Palanca Castán & Antonio Palanca Soler

Abstract: The introduction of non-native species is one of the factors driving the global decline of amphibians. We examined the
effect of fish stocking in naturally fishless mountain lakes and ponds on the local populations of the European common frog (Rana temporaria). We surveyed 215 mountain lakes and ponds and noted the presence or absence of frogs and signs of frog reproduction (i.e. tadpoles, eggs). We compared these data with fish stocking data from the regional park management (all surveyed lakes and ponds). Our results show a strong negative effect of fish stocking on the presence of R. temporaria, and an even stronger effect on its breeding presence, but we found a small number of lakes and ponds where coexistence occurred. In addition, the preferential stocking of large, deep lakes and ponds left smaller ponds as the only remaining habitats, a number of which are likely to become temporary due to increased summer temperatures. We recommend a series of measures to conciliate fish stocking for recreational fishing whilst conserving R. temporaria populations, which might be extensible to other high mountain environments.

Keywords: Fish stocking, Rana temporaria, Oncorhynchus mykiss, amphibian conservation, Pyrénées National Park

pdf 28(1) - Full issue

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pp. 1-49

pdf 28(1) back cover

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pdf 28(1) Front Cover

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