Welcome to the Herpetology, Fourth Edition
INFORMATION ABOUT SYSTEMATICS, TAXONOMY, NATURAL HISTORY, AND CONSERVATION
Herpetology, Fourth Edition follows the taxonomic arrangement in AmphibiaWeb in most cases. The site is updated frequently and provides links to important events in the study and conservation of amphibians.
Amphibian Species of the World
The taxonomy presented in this site differs in some respects from Herpetology, Fourth Edition. Species accounts include synonyms (older names by which a species was known), as well as earlier combinations (such as a species that had previously been placed in a different genus). The search function allows you to enter any name, including the names of species, genera, and families, and determine the taxon to which they now belong. This is a convenient way to determine the current name for a species identified by an older synonym in a publication. You can also search the database by country (or state within the U.S.) to retrieve a list of all species currently recognized from that region.
The Reptile Database
Herpetology, Fourth Edition follows the taxonomic arrangement in The Reptile Database in most cases. The site is updated frequently and provides links to important events in reptilian systematics.
IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species
Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America
Smithsonian Herpetological Information Service
The Center for North American Herpetology
Biology of the Reptilia
This 22-volume series edited by Carl Gans and published between 1969 and 2010, played a fundamental role in the development of modern herpetology by assembling and synthesizing information about morphology, physiology, neurobiology, behavior and ecology of reptiles. The full text of all 22 volumes is available online through the Gans Collection and Charitable Fund.
LINKS TO HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETIES
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
The Herpetologists’ League
OPEN-ACCESS HERPETOLOGY JOURNALS
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Reptiles & Amphibians, Conservation and Natural History
The Journal of North American Herpetology
Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, USGS
The Amphibian Specialist Group and Amphibian Survival Alliance, amphibian conservation, research and education
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
Chapter 1 Why Study Herpetology?
Herpetology Hotline for questions about herpetology
Send your herpetology questions to experts at the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Herpetologists’ League, and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Your query will be directed to the appropriate individual and you will receive a response within two weeks.
Links to organizations engaged in basic and applied aspects of herpetology.
Where do herpetologists work?
Who hires herpetologists, what do they do, and how much are they paid?
Chapter 2 Phylogenetic Systematics and the Origins of Amphibians and Reptiles
The Tree of Life Web project
Information about the characteristics of different groups of organisms and their evolutionary history.
The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature
This is the system of rules and recommendations that promotes stability and universality in the scientific names of animals and ensures that the name of each taxon is unique and distinct.
This site provides information about extinct taxa of vertebrates.
Chapter 3 Systematics and Diversity of Extant Amphibians
Life in Cold Blood, Episode 2: Land Invaders
Frogs: The Thin Green Line
Amphibian Species of the World
Foot-flagging frogs of India
Chapter 4 Systematics and Diversity of Extant Reptiles
The Reptile Database
Life in Cold Blood, Episode 3: Dragons of the Dry
Life in Cold Blood, Episode 4: Sophisticated Serpents
Life in Cold Blood, Episode 5: Armoured Giants
Anole Annals blog
Anole Annals is written and edited by scientists who study Anolis lizards.
Chameleons of Madagascar
This two-hour video documents aspects of the ecology and behavior of 28 species of chameleons.
A series of time-lapse photographs illustrate tail regeneration.
Chapter 5 Biogeography of Amphibians and Reptiles
Animated Life: Pangea
This animated documentary tells the story behind continental drift theory.
Library of Paleogeography
Maps showing the positions of the continents from the Late Precambrian to the present.
Giant tortoises used to be even larger than they are now
Although giant tortoises are now restricted to islands, they once occurred on continents.
The Phylogenetic Tree of Anole Lizards
Illustrations of the ecomorphs of Anolis on Puerto Rico.
Replaying The Tape of Life
Lizard evolution proceeds in similar ways on Caribbean islands.
Lookalike Lizards and the Predictability of Evolution
The founder effect in island biogeography of Anolis
Chapter 6 Water and Temperature Relations
A waterproof frog spreading waxy secretions on its skin
This brief sequence is an excerpt from Life in Cold Blood.
Nasal salt gland
Galápagos marine iguanas sneeze to expel the salty excretions of their nasal salt glands.
Water collection by the Namib Desert viper (Bitis peringueyii)
Water collection by the thorny devil (Moloch horridus)
This video has good sequences of jaw motion and behavior during drinking, but gathering dew from spiny plants has never been observed in the wild, whereas harvesting rain as shown in Figure 6.2 has been documented.
Movement of water across the skin of the thorny devil (Moloch horridus)
The video shows water moving across the body after the lizard was placed in a puddle. Transport of water by the scale capillary system described in Figure 6.2 is accurate, but the sequence was staged and it is not known whether thorny devils in the wild use puddles. They do capture raindrops on their backs and collect water by rubbing their bellies on wet sand.
Life in Cold Blood, Episode 2: The Cold-Blooded Truth
This video uses infrared photography to illustrate behavioral and physiological thermoregulation. Additional topics include temperature dependent sex determination, freeze tolerance, and Phyllomedusa sauvagii waterproofing its skin by spreading waxy secretions of skin glands.
Chapter 7 Energetics and Performance
Lake Titicaca frog (Telmatobius culeus)
This video shows the flaps of skin that increase the surface area for cutaneous gas exchange.
Gular pumping by a monitor lizard
This video is the source for Figure 7.6B.
Galápagos hawks capturing a juvenile land iguana
Galápagos hawks are unusual in that they hunt cooperatively. The sprint speed of this iguana was too slow to allow it to escape, and the dark color of the lizard’s skin suggests that its body temperature was low.
A thawing wood frog
This time-lapse video shows the appearance of functions illustrated in Figure 7.26.
Chapter 8 Reproduction and Life Histories of Amphibians
Convergent evolution of foot-flagging behavior by streamside frogs
Courtship by the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)
http://www.arkive.org/smooth-newt/triturus-vulgaris/video-09a.html The male is shown fanning pheromones to the female and depositing a spermatophore that she picks up with her cloacal lips.
Tailwalk and spermatophore transfer by the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani)
Male Japanese giant salamanders
A resident male, guarding eggs in a nest, fights an intruding male.
Male midwife toad (Alytes muletensis) carrying eggs
Reproductive behavior of the Kumbara night frog (Nyctibatrachus kumbara)
This three-part series shows the male’s advertisement behavior, amplexus, and egg deposition.
A Darwin’s frog (Rhinodema sp.) releasing young from his vocal sac
Birth of Kaup’s caecilian (Potomotyphlus kaupii)
Birth of Suriname toads (Pipa pipa)
Fully metamorphosed froglets are emerging from depressions on the mother’s back.
A female chicken frog (Leptodactylus fallax) feeding unfertilized eggs to tadpoles
Tadpole transport and feeding by a female strawberry poison frog (Oophaga pumilio)
Neotenic tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Excellent images of the salamanders, although the narration is not entirely accurate
Chapter 9 Reproduction and Life Histories of Reptiles
Tree of Sex
This is an open-access database providing information about mechanisms of sex determination.
Copulation by the European adder (Vipera berus)
The left hemipenis of the male is inserted into the female’s cloaca.
Sex organs of male turtles
Mating, egg laying, and hatching of Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii)
Courtship and birth of the shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa)
An American alligator opens her nest and transports a hatchling to the water
Embryonic development. These videos show chickens; the development of non-avian reptiles is very similar.
- Time-lapse photographic sequence
- Animation of development
Chapter 10 Body Support and Locomotion
Zebra-tailed lizard running bipedally
Basilisk lizard (Basiliscus plumifrons) running on water
- High-speed video of a basilisk lizard in a laboratory setting
Gaits of the Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni)
This video shows the high walk and galloping.
- The leg muscles are stretched before the jump starts
As a result, elastic recoil contributes to the force exerted by the legs.
- Long legs increase velocity by extending the time that force is exerted on the substrate
Gap-bridging by the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis)
Curvilinear and concertina locomotion by snakes
Rectilinear locomotion by boas
- In this sequence a light shining beneath the snake shows portions of the body being lifted off the substrate
A Namib Desert sidewinder (Bitis peringueyi)
Locomotion by sidewinders and other vipers
These links to videos show the ease with which sidewinders move on loose sand and the difficulty that non-sidewinding vipers experience. Another video shows a sidewinder robot in action.
Couch’s spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus couchii)
The toad is using the spades on its hind feet to dig backward into the substrate.
Although the video is titled sand-swimming, we characterize these three lizards as sand-divers.
- By the sandfish lizard (Scincus scincus)
(Scroll to the movie links at the bottom of the page.)
- By the shovel-nosed sand snake (Chionactis)
Parachuting and gliding by frogs, lizards, and snakes
- The paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
- Aerodynamic aspects of gliding by the paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
This video shows how specialized muscles move snake skin and propel the skeleton forward during rectilinear movement.
This video shows how brown tree snakes cantilever their bodies to bridge gaps.
This video shows how the cross-sectional body shape of a snake interacts with the surface texture of the substrate and the angle of incline as snakes climb.
Chapter 11 Feeding
Suction feeding by a smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)
Leatherback turtles using suction to capture jellyfish
High-speed videos of tongue projection by amphibians and reptiles
These videos were made by Stephen Deban and his students.
Rotational feeding by the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
Slicing action of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) jaws
Feeding by the caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis)
Measuring the force of tongue adhesion of the horned frog (Ceratophrys sp.)
(Scroll to Supplementary Information at the bottom of the page for links to the videos.)
Intertial feeding by a crocodile monitor (Varanus salvadorii)
These videos by Nate Kley and his students show a Texas blind snake (Rena dulcis) using mandibular raking and a African lined worm snake (Afrotyphlops lineolatus) using maxillary raking.
A European grass snake (Natrix natrix) swallowing a toad
The independent movements of the left and right maxillae and mandibles are apparent as the snake completes swallowing.
Feeding by the egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis sp.)
The Asian snail-eating snake (Pareas iwasakii)
The snake successfully extracts a snail from a shell with a right-handed twist, but cannot extract a snail from a shell with a left-handed twist.
A Gerard’s water snake (Gerarda prevostiana) tearing a soft-shelled crab into pieces small enough to swallow
These infrared videos show how three closely related species of snakes eat snapping shrimp and hard- and soft-shelled crabs.
Chapter 12 Spatial Ecology
An overview of migration by sea turtles
Satellite tracking of sea turtles
Navigation by sea turtles
Testing hypotheses about methods of navigation by sea turtles
Tracking hatchling flatback sea turtles (Natator depressus)
Spring breeding migration of amphibians in southern Michigan
Chapter 13 Communication
North American frogs calling
Calls of eight species filmed in the field.
Bolivian frogs calling
Calls of 23 of more than 40 species of frogs that occur at the site. The videos show the intensity of calling effort, and in the background of several segments you can hear the calls of multiple species. There are brief views of tadpole transport, amplexus, and foam nest construction.
Túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulasus)
This brief video touches on the competing demands of sexual selection (females prefer males giving complex calls) and predation (males giving complex calls are easier for bats to locate).
- Foot flagging behavior of the Wayanad dancing frog of India (Micrixalus saxicola)
- Foot-flagging display by the Brazilian torrent frog (Hylodes asper)
Vibrational communication by the red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Visual displays of jacky dragons (Amphibolurus muricatus)
Frill-necked lizard displays (Platysaurus sp.)
These lizards use their brightly colored ventral surfaces for display, while their dorsal surfaces blend with the rocks outcrops they inhabit.
Color change by panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis)
- The color change is produced by guanine nanocrystals in a superficial layer of dermal iridophores and a layer of larger iridophores beneath
- Aggressive display by a male panther chameleon
The brightly colored male is dominant.
Vocalization by a male alligator
The dancing water droplets are produced by subaudible vibrations.
Advertisement display of a male green iguana (Iguana iguana)
Chapter 14 Mating Systems and Sexual Selection
- Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum)
- Moor frogs (Rana arvalis)
- Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)
- Red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis)
Courtship of the crested newt (Triturus cristatus)
This video shows a courtship display by a male, spermatophore transfer, egg deposition, and hatching.
- European adder (Vipera berus)
- Green frogs (Rana clamitans) wrestling
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LctS9U6oWBg The bonks are advertisement calls from other males in the pond, the growl is an aggressive call.
- Bullfrogs wrestling
- Strawberry dart poison frogs wrestling
- A territorial male Galápagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) chases intruding males from his harem
Chapter 15 Diets, Foraging, and Interactions with Parasites and Predators
Rapid evolution herbivorous specializations by the Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus)
Use of the tongue decoy by an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii)
Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) preying on zebras crossing a river
Caudal luring by the spider-tailed viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides)
Stridulation by a saw-scaled viper (Echis coloratus)
Blood-squirting by a regal horned lizard (Phrynosoma solare):
- Simulated squirt
The blood squirting from the lizard’s eye is real, but the squirt at the coyote is faked (there is too much blood and it is not delivered at the appropriate time or place).
- This video shows the reaction of a bobcat to an actual squirt
Toxic Mantella frogs
Chapter 16 Populations and Species Assemblages
Habitat partitioning by anoles in Puerto Rico
Impact of invasive species of Anolis in Florida
Habitat destruction and its effect on frogs
Metapopulation dynamics of the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii)
Chapter 17 Conservation and the Future of Amphibians and Reptiles
Invasive pythons in the Everglades:
- Python Wars
- New York Times
Cane toads: An unnatural history
The classic comedy/horror documentary about the introduction of cane toads (Rhinella marina) to Australia and their impact on agriculture and humans.
Controlling cane toads:
- With fences
- With catfood
- With oophagy for control of cane toads
- With parasites
Amphibian Crossing Project
- Amphibian Medicine Tutorials: Chytridiomycosis and Ranavirus
- Bd-maps, The Global BD Mapping Project
- Bd reaches Madagascar
- The Global Ranavirus Consortium
Species-level conservation efforts:
- Tuatara recovery program
- Attempt to breed the last known male and female of the Shanghai softshell turtle, Rafetus swinhoei
- Conservation of the gharial and false gharial
- The plight of the Chinese giant salamander
- Conservation of the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus)
- Sea turtle hatcheries in Sri Lanka. Does this commercialization of sea turtles contribute to or harm conservation?
- Conservation of hawksbill sea turtles
- Evidence & Causes, National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Rediscovery and deExtinction:
- Robin Moore’s account of searching for endangered species of amphibians
- Michael Archer deExtinction: How we’ll resurrect the gastric brooding frog and the Tasmanian tiger