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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:45 am

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science Volume # 12 Issue # 7 2/3/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount - But only until February 15, 2012. (Read more)

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus

It was rightfully called a classic.

"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20 years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North America

NOW COMES PART II

And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
(To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.


In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and feature an extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

AND IF YOU ACT NOW WHAT WOULD COST YOU $150 NOW COSTS YOU ONLY $120.00- 20% off and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.

THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL FEBRUARY 15, 2012 __________________________________________________________________
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Table of Contents

1) Severe Mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park
2) Burma officials seize 10,000 snakes bound for China
3) Maryland Man Admits To Turtle Trafficking
4) Current status of alien vertebrates in the Galápagos Islands: invasion history, distribution, and potential impacts
5) Castaway Lizards Provide Insight Into Elusive Evolutionary Process, Founder Effects
6) Cane toads lose their killer touch in east Australia- Invasive weeds may save Australia's blue-tongue lizards from cane toad poison.
7) Road Runoff Spurring Spotted Salamander Evolution
8) Leatherback sea turtles granted massive protected area along U.S. west coast Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, January 23, 2012
9) Trumpets of outrage in the outback (Rhinos and even giant Komodo dragon lizards could be imported into Austrailia) _____________________________________________________
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Books Still Available

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel, go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these books and how to order.
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1) Severe Mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park Michael E. Dorcasa,1, John D. Willsonb, Robert N. Reedc, Ray W. Snowd, Michael R. Rochforde, Melissa A. Millerf, Walter E. Meshaka, Jr.g, Paul T. Andreadish, Frank J. Mazzottie, Christina M. Romagosai, and Kristen M. Hartj
+
PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA, 1/24/12 Author Affiliations aDepartment of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035; bDepartment of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061; cFort Collins Science Center, US Geological Survey, Fort Collins, CO 80526; dEverglades National Park, National Park Service, Homestead, FL 33034; eFort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Davie, FL 33314; fDepartment of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849; gState Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA 17120; hDepartment of Biology, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023; iCenter for Forest Sustainability, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849; and jSoutheast Ecological Science Center, US Geological Survey, Davie, FL 33314 Edited by Peter M. Vitousek, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved December 21, 2011 (received for review September 26, 2011)

Abstract
Invasive species represent a significant threat to global biodiversity and a substantial economic burden. Burmese pythons, giant constricting snakes native to Asia, now are found throughout much of southern Florida, including all of Everglades National Park (ENP). Pythons have increased dramatically in both abundance and geographic range since 2000 and consume a wide variety of mammals and birds. Here we report severe apparent declines in mammal populations that coincide temporally and spatially with the proliferation of pythons in ENP. Before 2000, mammals were encountered frequently during nocturnal road surveys within ENP. In contrast, road surveys totaling 56,971 km from 2003–2011 documented a 99.3% decrease in the frequency of raccoon observations, decreases of 98.9% and 87.5% for opossum and bobcat observations, respectively, and failed to detect rabbits. Road surveys also revealed that these species are more common in areas where pythons have been discovered only rece!
ntly and are most abundant outside the python's current introduced range. These findings suggest that predation by pythons has resulted in dramatic declines in mammals within ENP and that introduced apex predators, such as giant constrictors, can exert significant top-down pressure on prey populations. Severe declines in easily observed and/or common mammals, such as raccoons and bobcats, bode poorly for species of conservation concern, which often are more difficult to sample and occur at lower densities.
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2) Burma officials seize 10,000 snakes bound for China More than 10,000 snakes bound for China were seized recently in Burma.
The Associated Press, 1/20/12

YANGON — Forestry officials in central Burma have seized nearly 10,000 snakes in 400 crates that were to be smuggled to China.

The weekly journal Modern reported Friday that 50 cobras were among the 9,176 snakes seized in Pyin Oo Lwin district near Mandalay on Jan. 12.

Wildlife smuggling is endemic in Asia, where exotic species are used for food and traditional medicine.
The report did not say how many people were arrested but said those involved would be charged under the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas law, which carries a five-year prison sentence.

It said the 7,000 non-poisonous snakes were released into a wildlife reserve, while the vipers and cobras were sent to the state pharmaceutical company for their venom.
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3) Maryland Man Admits To Turtle Trafficking
1/25/2012
WBAL-AM - Online-Steve Fermier and Associated Press



A Maryland man has pleaded guilty in a turtle trafficking case in New York. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo says 57-year-old Michael Johnson of Chestertown, Md., ran a turtle meat processing facility in Millington, Md., in 2007 and 2008, at times buying common snapping turtles for their meat from individuals in various states.



Prosecutors say he twice purchased turtles from undercover conservation officers in New York state, where the turtles are a protected species. 

Johnson faces up to a year in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday to attempted trafficking in prohibited wildlife.



Besides pleading guilty, prosecutors say Johnson has donated $7,500 to the Buffalo Zoo, $5,000 to the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo and $7,500 to Teatown Lake Reservation in Westchester County, all for turtle research and education.
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4) Current status of alien vertebrates in the Galápagos Islands: invasion history, distribution, and potential impacts Brand Phillips, David A. Wiedenfeld and Howard L. Snell Biological Invasions- Volume 14, Number 2, 461-480, DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-0090-z Original Paper Bransphillips@gmail.com for copies and comments.

Abstract
Human activity has promoted the invasion of the Galápagos Islands by alien species from each of the five classes of vertebrates. We review the current distribution of alien vertebrates in the archipelago, their impacts on native species, and management efforts aimed at alien vertebrates. A total of 44 species have been reported in the archipelago, with 20 species establishing feral populations. Mammals were the first group arriving in the archipelago and remain the most numerous, with 10 established species. Alien birds invaded after mammals and four species have established populations. Reptiles, amphibians, and fish invaded later and are represented by three, one, and two species, respectively. Alien mammals are the most injurious to native biota, contributing to the decline or extinction of several species. Aside from mammals, no other class of alien vertebrate has had documented impacts on native species. Several populations of large and medium-sized mammals and birds ha!
ve been eradicated.
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5) Castaway Lizards Provide Insight Into Elusive Evolutionary Process, Founder Effects ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2012)

A University of Rhode Island biologist who released lizards on tiny uninhabited islands in the Bahamas has shed light on the interaction between evolutionary

Jason Kolbe, a URI assistant professor of biological sciences, and colleagues from Duke University, Harvard University and the University of California at Davis, found that the lizards' genetic and morphological traits were determined by both natural selection and a phenomenon called founder effects, which occur when species colonize new territory.

Their research was published recently in the journal Science.

"We rarely observe founder effects as they happen in nature, but we know that it happens because islands are colonized by new species over time," said Kolbe. "What we didn't know was how these evolutionary mechanisms interact with each other. What we learned is that the differences caused by the founder effects persist even as populations adapt to their new environments."

The founder effect is the loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population. It often results in the new population becoming genetically or morphologically different from the original population.

The scientists randomly collected brown anole lizards from a large island near Great Abaco and released one pair on each of seven nearby islands whose lizard populations had been cleared by a recent hurricane. The source island is forested while the other islands have short, scrub vegetation.

Previous research found that anoles living in forests had longer hind limbs than those found in scrub habitat. Lizards with longer limbs can run faster on the broad perches available in forests, while short-limbed lizards are more adept at moving on the narrower perches found in lower vegetation.
The scientists revisited each of the islands over the next four years to measure the lizards' limb length and collect tissue samples for genetic analysis. All of the new populations survived and increased an average of 13-fold in the first two years before leveling off.

"We noticed a founder effect one year after starting the experiment, which resulted in differences among the lizards on the seven islands," Kolbe said. "Some of the islands had lizards with longer limbs and some had lizards with shorter limbs, but that was random with respect to the vegetation on the new islands."

Because the structure of the vegetation on the islands differed from that of the source island, the scientists predicted that natural selection would lead the lizards to develop shorter limbs.
"Over the next four years, the lizards on all the islands experienced a decrease in leg length that is attributable to natural selection," Kolbe explained. "But those that started out with the longest hind limbs still had the longest hind limbs. The fact that the populations maintained their order from longest to shortest limbs throughout the experiment means that both founder effects and natural selection contributed to their current differences."

According to Kolbe, founding effects are rarely observed in nature, with most previous studies being conducted in the laboratory. "Ours is the first to study this process experimentally in a natural setting, and we were able to account for multiple evolutionary mechanisms through time," he said. "We manipulated the founding of these islands, but everything else about it was natural."
The next step in the research will be to determine how long the founder effects persist before other factors erase its signature.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.
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6) Cane toads lose their killer touch in east Australia
11/27/12- Environment-Wendy Zukerman, Asia-Pacific reporter, BBC

Invasive weeds may save Australia's blue-tongue lizards from cane toad poison.
Since the cane toad was introduced to Australia in 1935, it has killed swathes of Australia's native animals including quolls, crocodiles and blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides).
Native species that prey on the alien amphibians die because the toads produce a lethal toxin called bufadienolide.

Some blue-tongue lizards in eastern Australia can dine on the cane toads and live, though. Oddly enough, they might owe their immunity to another invasive species.

An ornamental plant native to Madagascar called mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum delagoense) is common in eastern Australia, and has also become part of the lizards' diet. The plants' flowers contain a poison similar to bufadienolide. Rick Shine at the University of Sydney, Australia, suspected that lizards which have already gained immunity to this toxin might be in a better position to withstand the toad toxin too.

His team caught 75 lizards that lived in areas containing either the toad and the ornamental plant, just one of the two, or neither of the toxic invaders. Shine injected toad poison into the lizards, administering a dose high enough to provoke a reaction, but not enough to kill the animal. His team then timed how fast the lizards could swim 50 centimetres.

Blue-tongue lizards from areas containing mother-of-millions were affected to a lesser degree than any others. This was true even for lizards that lived in regions of eastern Australia that contain no cane toads.

"Eastern blue-tongue lizards are able to defend themselves well against cane toads even though they've never actually met one," says Shine.

Mother-of-millions has been recorded in Australia for 70 years or so, suggesting that the lizards have gained tolerance to its toxin rapidly. Blue-tongue lizards create a new generation every two to four years, says study co-author Gregory Brown, also at the University of Sydney.

"It is extremely surprising that one of the lizard populations should genetically change over such a relatively short period of time," says Michael Tyler, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, who was not involved in the work. "But I am convinced. There is no other explanation I can find."
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7) Road Runoff Spurring Spotted Salamander Evolution ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012)

Spotted salamanders exposed to contaminated roadside ponds are adapting to their toxic environments, according to a Yale paper in Scientific Reports. This study provides the first documented evidence that a vertebrate has adapted to the negative effects of Salamanders breeding in roadside ponds are exposed to a host of contaminants from road runoff. Chief among these is sodium chloride from road salt, which reaches average concentrations of 70 times higher in roadside ponds compared to woodland ponds located several hundred feet from the road.

"While the evolutionary consequences of roads are largely unknown, we know they are strong agents of natural selection and set the stage for fast evolution," said Steven Brady, the study's author and a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "These animals are growing up in harsh environments where they face a cocktail of contaminants, and it appears that they are evolving to cope with them."

Brady found that salamanders in roadside ponds have higher mortality, grow at a slower rate and are more than likely to develop L-shaped spines and other disfigurements. In roadside ponds, only 56 percent of salamander eggs survive the first 10 weeks of development, whereas 87 percent survive in the woodland ponds. As roadside ponds become more toxic, the surviving salamanders may develop a genetic advantage over their counterparts living in woodland ponds.

The salamanders that survive year after year in the roadside ponds appear to have adapted to the harsh conditions. "The animals that come from roadside ponds actually do better -- substantially better -- than the ones that originate from woodland ponds when they're raised together," Brady said.

That animals adapt to human activities is not altogether new. For example, fish have begun to mature at smaller sizes in response to commercial fishing. But whereas humans directly utilize fish for consumption, salamanders are just bystanders to human activities. This suggests that the majority of species, which are not specifically targeted for human use, may be experiencing profound evolutionary consequences. And it appears that even species not being driven to extinction -- and seldom thought about -- are changing.

"This adaptation is certainly encouraging for conservation," said Brady. "But our modern footprint is fundamentally changing species in ways we don't understand and, critically, we don't know if these adaptive responses will keep pace with environmental change."

Brady observed the development of the salamanders in 10 ponds -- five roadside and five woodland -- at Yale Myers Forest and in the town of Willington, both in northeastern Connecticut.
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8) Leatherback sea turtles granted massive protected area along U.S. west coast Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, January 23, 2012

The U.S. federal government has designated 108,556 square kilometers (41,914 square miles) as critical habitat for the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the largest of the world's marine turtles and one of the most endangered. The protected area, around the size of Guatemala, spans coastal sea waters from California to Washington state, but does not protect the migration routes environmentalists hoped for.

"Habitat protections are vital to the survival of leatherbacks. We urgently need migration safeguards for these ancient animals as they make the longest, most epic journey of any creature on the planet to get to our West Coast every year," said Catherine Kilduff with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in a press release. The CBD along with Turtle Island Restoration Network and Oceana filed a lawsuit in 2009 to push the government to designate critical habitat for the leatherback sea turtle.

The new habitat means the government will consider possible regulations on any activities that could harm leatherbacks or their prey, jellyfish. Such regulations could target agricultural waste, pollution, nuclear power or tidal wave plants, offshore drilling, and aquaculture. Any new regulations would likely benefit more marine species beyond leatherbacks and jellyfish as well.

"This is a major decision to protect feeding hotspots for endangered leatherback sea turtles, but the federal government failed to acknowledge that the turtles need safe passage to get there," said Ben Enticknap, Oceana's project manager for the Pacific Ocean.

Leatherbacks travel around 9,654 kilometers (6,000 miles) from nesting sites in Indonesia to feeding ground off the U.S. West Coast. Conservationists had hoped the U.S. government would designate their migration route as critical habitat as well, safeguarding an extra 74,296 square kilometers (28,686 square miles).

Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, leatherbacks have declined 80 percent since 1980 when there was an estimated global population of 115,000 breeding females. In the Pacific the drop has been even more catastrophic: 95 percent over the same time period.

The great turtles, weighing up to 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds), are imperiled by egg collection for human consumption, plastic pollution that can lead to starvation, ship strikes, and, first and foremost, entanglement in commercial fishing gear such as drift gillnets and longlines. Given that the migration route is not under protection, fisheries will not require additional regulations.

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9) Trumpets of outrage in the outback (Rhinos and even giant Komodo dragon lizards could be imported- Austrailia) 2/1/12, By Richard Black, BBC News Environment correspondent

An Australian biology professor is causing a rumble in the academic jungle by suggesting that his country should import elephants and other foreign species into its wild interior.
Rhinos and even giant Komodo dragon lizards could be imported, David Bowman suggests in an article in Nature.

He says Australia is just not managing its most pressing ecological problems, and something radical is needed.

But some fellow scientists say it is just a bad and dangerous idea.

Others, however, are supportive, seeing potential for helping beleaguered Aboriginal communities and reducing the risk of forest fires, as repairing some damaged ecology.

The problems Prof Bowman proposes solving with his radical zoological armoury stem from the huge changes wrought by the two waves of human arrival - the first by forebears of the Aborigines about 50,000 years ago, and the second by European settlers a few hundred years ago.

The first initiated the slow demise of the spectacular megafauna that once bestrode the giant continent.
They included the marsupial lion, a metre and a half long and a powerful predator; the diprotodon, a wombat bigger than a cow; giant birds such as the Dromornidae family that once boasted Stirton's Thunder Bird, three metres high; and crocodiles, lizards and turtles bigger than any still walking this Earth.

Take so many big species out of an ecosystem, and there are bound to be changes all the way down to its bottom.

If you throw in land clearance across enormous swathes of the continent and the subsequent introduction of rabbits, camels, cane toads, rats, pigs and everything else that came with the European settlers, you have an ecology in profound turmoil.

Attempts have been made to control rabbits, pigs, buffalo and lots of other alien species; but they haven't really worked.

"We have a very unbalanced ecology and it's all just spiralling into a trajectory," lamented Prof Bowman when I spoke to him earlier in the week.

"We're not managing actively, we're just managing bits of the problem - so it's a big mess."

So the root of his idea is that if you can't restore the animals themselves, bring in something that can fulfil a similar ecological role.

Grassed up

What's on his mind particularly is gamba grass, an African species growing up to 4m tall that's been introduced into Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The Queensland government lists it as a "pest plant", as it's out-competing native varieties and also raises the risk of fires - a hazard that causes huge damage routinely in many parts of Australia.
Machines and herbicides could be used to control it, and have been in some places - but not enough to stop its advance.

Growing so big, mature gamba grass is beyond the grazing capacity of any animal currently in Australia, whether native kangaroos or introduced cattle.

But it wouldn't be beyond a really big herbivore like an elephant.

"Imagine bringing in an elephant with a GPS collar on and sterile, so you know where it is all the time and it can't reproduce," he says.

"So I'm not saying 'let's randomly get animals and throw them into Australia', because strangely enough that's what Australians have done.

"I'm trying to say 'let's imagine that we're going to be more co-ordinated and more intelligent about it - where would you start on that process?'"

Deliberate introductions could even help preserve species that are set to go extinct in other more densely-populated parts of the world, he says.

Dingo dealing

Prof Bowman's vision isn't only about introducing novel species. He's also keen to restore those that still exist to something like their original ecological role.

So the dingo culling programmes instigated by sheep farmers should be ended, he feels, and the animals encouraged back into areas where they've been wiped out.

Studies show this could benefit native small mammals.

The irony here, of course, is that the dingo isn't truly ancestral, having been brought over from Asia relatively recently - probably just a few thousand years ago.

The proposals contain a strongly social aspect too, in that Aboriginal communities could be empowered to hunt some of the large animals that could be introduced.

They could also be tasked with carrying out controlled burning of forests and grasslands in order to reduce the ever-present fire risk.

"The answer is hiring Aboriginal people who are disadvantaged, who want to spend time in the bush, and get them to do burning and hunting," he says.

"And ok it might cost a lot of money, but it's also a health intervention, because it's been discovered that Aboriginal people, who have shocking health status - their health improves fantastically when they do outdoor work.

"The health stats are a blot on our reputation internationally, there's so much disadvantage, and Australians do want to improve that, and this is one of those rare situations where everyone can get a win."

Even without elephants or Komodo dragons, he believes there's no reason why Aboriginal hunters shouldn't be encouraged and even funded right now to tackle camels.

On the table

So what's provoked the positive and negative comments that have come in on these ideas?
"His comments are careless given recent proposals for the establishment of game reserves in New South Wales and introduction of new potential feral animals into these reserves," says Dr Ricky Spencer from the Native and Pest Animal Unit at the University of Western Sydney.

"If we did go down the road of introducing elephants to Australia, we had better develop the technology to clone sabre-tooth tigers to eventually control the elephants."

Given Australia's difficult hisory of disastrous species introductions, you'd think some academics would slam the idea simply on the basis that you shouldn't do any more of them - and this was a point picked up by Prof Patricia Werner from the Australian National University (ANU).

"Are we in Australia prepared to try yet another landscape-scale experiment as we did with foxes, rabbits, etc, and merely hope that the elephants don't find our native Australian trees tasty?" she asks.
"There are countless studies in Africa showing that when elephants are removed from an area, tree cover increases. Can we somehow command them to eat only introduced African grasses?"

However, her ANU colleague Dr Don Driscoll says it's right to acknowledge that Australian ecosystems are in a dire state.

"Because of this ongoing environmental catastrophe, we need to put all of the management options on the table to try to find ways of reducing the rate at which our biodiversity succumbs to the impacts of invasive alien species," he says.

"We should therefore consider introducing elephants and rhinoceros to Australia. We should also reconsider widely implemented practices such as culling dingos or burning forests to reduce fuels in southern Australia as an asset-protection measure."

Once these options are put on the table and properly evaluated, he says, some will be accepted and others rejected. He believes that elephants, for example, would not be approved - but the idea should be discussed.

And at the most fundamental level, this is what Prof Bowman is aiming for - to raise the severity of the ecological decline, and get people to think outside the accepted boxes.

"We're not talking about turning up with a barge and unleashing a whole lot of animals and watching the show - that's already happened," he says.

"If people can go through these options carefully and seriously and rule them out and tell me how we're going to manage gamba grass then I'll be very happy; but just to be laughed at and told 'that's a ridiculous idea' - well ok, tell me a good idea."
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures Paperback, c2011, For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike."
˘Richard Seigel, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes˘but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond."
˘Rick Shine, University of Sydney

"This meticulously researched and profusely illustrated work shines a spotlight on the dangers caused by introduction of non-native pythons into South Florida while providing a comprehensive account of what we know about the ecology of Burmese pythons, both in the United States and in their native range. This book will be of considerable interest to a wide range of readers including scholars, researchers, outdoors people, wildlife enthusiasts, and those concerned about the environmental and human threats posed by this invasive species in the United States."
˘Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, and Vice President, IUCN

≥Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide a much-needed examination of the growing impact of Burmese pythons as an invasive species in the United States. By highlighting the many dangers and detrimental effects the introduction of non-native pythons has caused in the Everglades, this book documents the mounting threat which invasives pose to ecosystems everywhere. The first book to focus solely on this issue, Invasive Pythons is well-researched, well-illustrated, and well-timed.≈˘Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Harvard University

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons.
Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.
Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range Research on pythons in the United States history Status of introduced pythons in Florida, Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere Methods to control python populations other boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the United State


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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin Barbara Brennessel University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

„Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

„Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

„More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

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HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science Volume # 12 Issue # 8 2/9/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount - But only until February 15, 2012. (Read more)

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus

It was rightfully called a classic.

"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20 years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North America

NOW COMES PART II

And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
(To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.


In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and feature an extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

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THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL MARCH 1, 2012 __________________________________________________________________
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Table of Contents

1) Varying Responses of Northeastern North American Amphibians to the Chytrid Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
2) Predicting Species Distributions from Samples Collected along Roadsides (From Editor- A recent paper came out about how the pythons are affecting mid-size mammals in the Glades. Some of the conclusions were based on exactly what this article talks about.)
3) The Roles of Climate, Phylogenetic Relatedness, Introduction Effort, and Reproductive Traits in the Establishment of Non-Native Reptiles and Amphibians
4) Puerto Rico plans massacre of invasive iguanas, export of harvested meat
5) Why staying warm in winter is a bit more complicated if you're a lizard
6) Climate change is linked to long-term decline in a stream salamander
7) Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko
8) Sea Turtles tracked to 2 unknown feeding 'hot spots' (Loggerhead in Gulf of Mexico) _____________________________________________________
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Books Still Available

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel, go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these books and how to order.
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1) Varying Responses of Northeastern North American Amphibians to the Chytrid Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis MEGAN K. GAHL1,*, JOYCE E. LONGCORE2, JEFF E. HOULAHAN1 Conservation Biology Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 135–141, February 2012 Article first published online: 19 DEC 2011 Author Information
1 Department of Biology, Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 5050, St. John, New Brunswick, E2L 4L5, Canada
2 School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, 5722 Deering Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5722, U.S.A.
* Environmental Studies Program, Bates College, 7 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240, U.S.A. email mgahl@bates.edu

Abstract: Chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is widespread among amphibians in northeastern North America. It is unknown, however, whether Bd has the potential to cause extensive amphibian mortalities in northeastern North America as have occurred elsewhere. In the laboratory, we exposed seven common northeastern North American amphibian species to Bd to assess the likelihood of population-level effects from the disease. We exposed larval wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) and postmetamorphic frogs of six other species to two different strains of Bd, a northeastern strain (JEL404) and a strain that caused die-offs of amphibians in Panama (JEL423), under ideal in vitro growth conditions for Bd. Exposed American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) all died; thus, this species may be the most likely to die from Bd-caused disease in the wild. Both Bd strains were associated with m!
ortalities of wood frogs, although half the metamorphs survived. The Bd strain from Panama killed metamorphic green frogs (L. clamitans), whereas the northeastern strain did not, which means novel strains of Bd may lead to death even when local strains may not. No mortality was observed in four species (bullfrogs [L. catesbeianus], northern leopard frogs [L. pipiens], spring peepers [Pseudacris crucifer], and blue-spotted salamanders [Ambystoma laterale]) and in some individuals of green frogs and wood frogs that we exposed. This finding suggests these six species may be Bd vectors. Our results show that systematic exposures of amphibian species to Bd in the laboratory may be a good first step in the identification of species susceptible to Bd-caused declines and in directing regional conservation efforts aimed at susceptible species.
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2) Predicting Species Distributions from Samples Collected along Roadsides (A recent paper came out about how the pythons are affecting mid-size mammals in the Glades. Some of the conclusions were based on exactly what this article talks about.) KYLE P. MCCARTHY1,*, ROBERT J. FLETCHER JR1,*, CHRISTOPHER T. ROTA2, RICHARD L. HUTTO3 Conservation Biology Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 68–77, February 2012 Article first published online: 19 OCT 2011 Author Information
1 Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, U.S.A.
2 Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, U.S.A.
3 Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, U.S.A.
*Current address: Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, 531 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19716, U.S.A.
R. J. Fletcher Jr., email robert.fletcher@ufl.edu

Abstract: Predictive models of species distributions are typically developed with data collected along roads. Roadside sampling may provide a biased (nonrandom) sample; however, it is currently unknown whether roadside sampling limits the accuracy of predictions generated by species distribution models. We tested whether roadside sampling affects the accuracy of predictions generated by species distribution models by using a prospective sampling strategy designed specifically to address this issue. We built models from roadside data and validated model predictions at paired locations on unpaved roads and 200 m away from roads (off road), spatially and temporally independent from the data used for model building. We predicted species distributions of 15 bird species on the basis of point-count data from a landbird monitoring program in Montana and Idaho (U.S.A.). We used hierarchical occupancy models to account for imperfect detection. We expected predictions of species!
distributions derived from roadside-sampling data would be less accurate when validated with data from off-road sampling than when it was validated with data from roadside sampling and that model accuracy would be differentially affected by whether species were generalists, associated with edges, or associated with interior forest. Model performance measures (kappa, area under the curve of a receiver operating characteristic plot, and true skill statistic) did not differ between model predictions of roadside and off-road distributions of species. Furthermore, performance measures did not differ among edge, generalist, and interior species, despite a difference in vegetation structure along roadsides and off road and that 2 of the 15 species were more likely to occur along roadsides. If the range of environmental gradients is surveyed in roadside-sampling efforts, our results suggest that surveys along unpaved roads can be a valuable, unbiased source of information for spec!
ies distribution models.
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3) The Roles of Climate, Phylogenetic Relatedness, Introduction Effort, and Reproductive Traits in the Establishment of Non-Native Reptiles and Amphibians Conservation Biology- Article first published online: 1/11/12 No issue set for when in print.
If you subscribe you can download the article at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... x/abstract
NICOLA J. VAN WILGEN1,2,
DAVID M. RICHARDSON1

1 Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
2 Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks Scientific Services, P.O. Box 216, Steenberg 7947, South Africa, email nvanwilgen@gmail.com or nicola.vanwilgen@sanparks.org

Abstract: We developed a method to predict the potential of non-native reptiles and amphibians (herpetofauna) to establish populations. This method may inform efforts to prevent the introduction of invasive non-native species. We used boosted regression trees to determine whether nine variables influence establishment success of introduced herpetofauna in California and Florida. We used an independent data set to assess model performance. Propagule pressure was the variable most strongly associated with establishment success. Species with short juvenile periods and species with phylogenetically more distant relatives in regional biotas were more likely to establish than species that start breeding later and those that have close relatives. Average climate match (the similarity of climate between native and non-native range) and life form were also important. Frogs and lizards were the taxonomic groups most likely to establish, whereas a much lower proportion of snakes !
and turtles established. We used results from our best model to compile a spreadsheet-based model for easy use and interpretation. Probability scores obtained from the spreadsheet model were strongly correlated with establishment success as were probabilities predicted for independent data by the boosted regression tree model. However, the error rate for predictions made with independent data was much higher than with cross validation using training data. This difference in predictive power does not preclude use of the model to assess the probability of establishment of herpetofauna because (1) the independent data had no information for two variables (meaning the full predictive capacity of the model could not be realized) and (2) the model structure is consistent with the recent literature on the primary determinants of establishment success for herpetofauna. It may still be difficult to predict the establishment probability of poorly studied taxa, but it is clear that no!
n-native species (especially lizards and frogs) that mature ea!
rly and
come from environments similar to that of the introduction region have the highest probability of establishment.
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4) Puerto Rico plans massacre of invasive iguanas, export of harvested meat- The invasive species outnumber humans on the US Caribbean territory but the local government is drawing up plans for a volunteer force to eradicate the lizards.

Global Post.com, News Desk, February 3, 2012 , Puerto Rico has announced plans for a massive cull of an invasive species of iguana and for the sale of harvested meat, according to The Associated Press.

The US territory hopes to eradicate the species with a population of four million, which the AP says outnumbers humans on the island and has long been considered an invasive nuisance.
More from GlobalPost: Coquí llanero, tiny frog, should be endangered species, say U.S. officials According to the AP, Daniel Galan Kercad, secretary of natural resources, said his agency had been granted permission to draft plans for volunteers to bring the iguanas to a slaughter house which would distribute the meat.

The AP said he claimed the meat was popular in areas with large Asian and Latino populations.
Puerto Rico may not be the only place trying to eradicate pesky herbivorous lizards. Daniel Klein of The Huffington Post wrote yesterday that the city of Boca Grande in Florida “has hired a man to drive around in a golf cart, shooting iguanas.” Klein said the Florida Iguana was just one of many invasive species in the US that authorities were encouraging people to hunt and which were increasingly considered for sustainable food dishes.

Despite their plentiful population, iguanas may still be valuable. Reuters reported in June that US Customs and Border Protection agents on the Mexican border had seized 159 pounds of smuggled iguana meat with an estimated value of $4,500.

"There could be a number of reasons but one of the main ones that comes to mind is that there are parts of the world where people do eat iguana meat as a delicacy," Jackie Wasiluk, a spokeswoman, said.
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5) Why staying warm in winter is a bit more complicated if you're a lizard PHYS.ORG.com, 2/9/12

Recent studies at the ISIS neutron source, the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) world leading research centre, have given a new insight into the mysterious ‘anti-freeze’ capabilities of glycerol – a property successfully used in nature, by animals such as lizards, for survival at sub-zero temperatures. In research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, new molecular structure data collected at ISIS shows how mixing glycerol with water lowers the freezing point of water by preventing water molecules from forming into rigid ice networks.

This new fundamental understanding of the role of glycerol will be helpful in a range of applications. Group leader, Dr. Lorna Dougan, from the University of Leeds said: “Knowledge generated in this area will improve our fundamental knowledge of cryopreservation which may lead to improved storage and recovery of tissue for fertility treatment, better storage of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry and transport of organs for surgery, and better storage of food in the agricultural industry.”

Cold-blooded animals such as lizards have little or no ability to regulate their own body temperature. When temperatures fall in winter, so does their body temperature, putting their tissues, cells and biological activity at risk of irreparable damage from ice crystals.

Faced with this situation, some animals choose to avoid the cold by migrating to warmer climates or hibernating, whilst others such as lizards have developed adaptive techniques to avoid becoming an ice statue.

To prevent lethal ice crystals forming in and between cells in their body, lizards use chemical compounds such as glycerol to reduce the freezing temperature of water. Glycerol is a common cellular component in many cold-blooded organisms. It acts as a cryoprotectant compound, protecting cells and tissues during prolonged exposure to subzero temperatures by effectively pausing cell activity until temperatures rise again and normal cell activity can safely resume.

The method of preserving cells or whole tissues by cooling to sub-zero temperatures (known as cryopreservation) is used in many industries, medical protocols and everyday items ranging from car antifreeze to reducing the amount of ice in your ice-cream.

Whilst the natural process has been replicated in laboratories for more than 60 years, understanding how the molecular mechanisms allow glycerol to provide this cryo-protection is still limited. Researchers from the Dougan Research group at Leeds University have used neutron diffraction data from ISIS alongside computer modelling to look in detail at glycerol’s molecular mechanisms, in particular how glycerol-hydrogen bonds form.

Dr. Dougan added: “Neutron diffraction is ideal for the structural study of liquid glycerol. Over the past decade, significant advances have been made in the methods of neutron diffraction and in the development of more powerful computational tools. Our study provides the first detailed experimental, structural insight and allows a number of hypotheses to be tested for the first time.”

The ISIS data revealed that the presence of only small quantities of glycerol in water had the same impact on the water structure as increasing the pressure – reducing the freezing temperature of water and preventing the formation of ice.

The team has now begun a new collaboration with Dr. Giovambattista from City University of New York, an experienced researcher in the fields of supercooled and glassy systems. They are also engaged with researchers who use cryopreservation for fertility treatment in reproductive medicine and in the storage of transplant organs. Whilst cryopreservation protocols to freeze-store these cells and complex tissues are already in use, the methods used will greatly benefit from further investigation and optimization.
This research has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B.
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6) Climate change is linked to long-term decline in a stream salamander Biological Conservation-Volume 145, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 48–53

Winsor H. Lowe,
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812-4824, USA Received 3 August 2011. Revised 28 September 2011. Accepted 3 October 2011. Available online 8 November 2011.

Abstract: Amphibian declines have been documented worldwide and several have been linked to climate change, but the long-term data needed to detect declines are largely restricted to pond-breeding species. This limits our knowledge of population trends in other major groups of amphibians, including stream salamanders, which have their greatest diversity in North America. I hypothesized that increasing air temperature and precipitation in northeastern North America caused abundance of the stream salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus in a New Hampshire population to decline between 1999 and 2010. I found a significant decline in abundance of G. porphyriticus adults over this 12-year period, and no trend in larval abundance. Adult abundance was negatively related to annual precipitation, which is predicted to increase further in the Northeast due to climate change. Analysis of a 6-year capture–mark–recapture data set for the same population showed no temporal variation in larv!
al and adult detectability, validating the abundance data, and no variation in larval and adult survival. However, survival during metamorphosis from the larval to adult stage declined dramatically. These results suggest that increasing precipitation is causing a decline in adult recruitment, which, if it persists, will lead to local extinction. A likely mechanism for the decline in adult recruitment is mortality of metamorphosing individuals during spring and fall floods, which have increased in volume and frequency with the increase in precipitation. More broadly, this study presents strong evidence that the amphibian decline crisis extends to North America’s stream salamanders, and shows the critical need to collect population data on these species.

Highlights
► I examined long-term trends in a population of the stream salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus. ► Abundance of G. porphyriticus declined between 1999 and 2010. ► Abundance was negatively related to precipitation, which is increasing due to climate change. ► The decline may be caused by mortality of individuals during spring and fall floods. ► My results show that the amphibian decline crisis extends to North America’s stream salamanders.
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7) Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko Biological Conservation, Volume 145, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 139–147 Annabel L. Smitha, , , C. Michael Bullb, Don A. Driscolla a Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Forestry Building 48, Linneaus Way, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia b School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia Received 3 June 2011. Revised 15 September 2011. Accepted 25 October 2011. Available online 20 November 2011.

Abstract: Altered fire regimes threaten the persistence of many animal species globally, thus understanding how fire affects demographic processes is critical for conservation. Using 2 years of mark-recapture data from the Australian gecko Nephrurus stellatus, we investigated the effect of fire on (i) detectability to reliably measure post-fire changes in abundance, and (ii) survival and reproductive rates to investigate the mechanisms of successional change. Data were collected from two conservation reserves each with three different fire categories based on time since the last fire. “Early”, “medium” and “late” sites had 2–3, 7–9 and 42–48 years since fire, respectively. A robust design modelling framework was used to estimate the effect of fire category on abundance, survival and capture probability while also examining the influence of temperature and behaviour on detectability. Geckos showed trap-shy behaviour and detectability increased significantly with increasing te!
mperature but was not affected by time since fire. Accounting for detectability, geckos were more abundant in the medium than the early sites, and were rare in the late sites. Although trends in survival are more difficult to address with short-term data, our results showed lower monthly survival rates, but higher fecundity in the early than the medium sites. These results were possibly related to successional changes in predation, the thermal environment, and food availability. We demonstrated how mark-recapture analysis can show the causes of animal fire responses while realistically accounting for detectability. Such information is necessary to provide a predictive framework to guide fire management for biodiversity.

Highlights
&#9658; Mark-recapture modelling showed no effect of post-fire succession on detectability. &#9658; Abundance increased for up to 9 years after fire then declined. &#9658; In recently (<3 years) burnt sites survival was lower, but fecundity was higher. &#9658; Successional changes in predation, thermoregulation and resources are likely causes.
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8) Sea Turtles tracked to 2 unknown feeding 'hot spots' (Loggerhead in Gulf of Mexico)

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Satellite tracking of threatened loggerhead sea turtles has revealed two previously unknown feeding "hot spots" in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. researchers say.

The locations are providing important habitat for at least three separate populations of the turtles, a study published in the journal Biological Conservation found.

The two sites, located in the open waters off the coast of Southwest Florida and the northern tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, hold the first clues about how loggerhead sea turtles spend time at sea, in essence most of their lives, researchers said.

"Up until now, management actions that affect loggerheads have often focused on their limited time at nesting beaches, or on fisheries regulations," said Kristen Hart, a U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist who led the research.

Researchers intercepted female loggerheads after their nesting forays to beaches and outfitted them with satellite tags to track when they had arrived at "hot spot" foraging areas in two geographically different locations.

Researchers don't yet know what attracts loggerheads from around the gulf to these specific feeding areas, although loggerheads generally forage on the bottom of the seafloor for crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters, clams or conchs.

"The logical next step is to investigate what makes these particular sites 'prime' foraging grounds by mapping and sampling the habitat types found on the sea floor," Hart said. "It would also be useful to tag loggerheads at these foraging sites to confirm how long they reside in these areas, or alternatively to see where they go next."
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. * Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00 _______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures Paperback, c2011, For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike."&#8232;&#728;Richard Seigel, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes&#728;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond."&#8232;&#728;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

"This meticulously researched and profusely illustrated work shines a spotlight on the dangers caused by introduction of non-native pythons into South Florida while providing a comprehensive account of what we know about the ecology of Burmese pythons, both in the United States and in their native range. This book will be of considerable interest to a wide range of readers including scholars, researchers, outdoors people, wildlife enthusiasts, and those concerned about the environmental and human threats posed by this invasive species in the United States."
&#728;Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, and Vice President, IUCN

&#8805;Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide a much-needed examination of the growing impact of Burmese pythons as an invasive species in the United States. By highlighting the many dangers and detrimental effects the introduction of non-native pythons has caused in the Everglades, this book documents the mounting threat which invasives pose to ecosystems everywhere. The first book to focus solely on this issue, Invasive Pythons is well-researched, well-illustrated, and well-timed.&#8776;&#728;Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Harvard University

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons.
Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.
Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range Research on pythons in the United States history Status of introduced pythons in Florida, Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere Methods to control python populations other boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the United State TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin Barbara Brennessel University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

„Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

„Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

„More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:40 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science Volume # 12 Issue # 9 2/19/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
Send all correspondence to asalzberg@nyc.rr.com. Do not hit reply. We will not receive your message.
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HerpDigest is a Not-For-Profit Publication That is Entirely Based on Your Donations to Continue.
Wouldn’t you like to help HerpDigest keep going. Donations of any size are appreciated from $1.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 to...?
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount - But only until February 15, 2012. (Read more)

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus

It was rightfully called a classic.

"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20 years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North America

NOW COMES PART II

And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US, Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com (To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.


In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and feature an extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

AND IF YOU ACT NOW WHAT WOULD COST YOU $150 NOW COSTS YOU ONLY $120.00- 20% off Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US, Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and is signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.

THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL FEBRUARY 29, 2012 __________________________________________________________________
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Table of Contents

1) Researchers fight time to save ‘secretive’ alpine frog-Baw Baw frog
2) Petition Filed to Stop Abuse of Turtles at "Snapperfest" Following Undercover Investigation of Cruelty
3) World’s Tiniest Chameleons Found in Madagascar
4) Deadly ranavirus hits box turtles, tadpoles in Montgomery County, Maryland
5) Rare Pygmy Nile Crocodile Found in New Spots
6) Appeals court rejects sea turtle protection lawsuit, leaves door open for other challenges
7) Loneliest frog in the world is the last of his kind (Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog)
8) Paleontologists reveal ancient Arctic ecosystem teeming with life- populated by prehistoric creatures akin to alligators, hippos and flying lemurs — that prevailed some 40 million years ago in what is now Canada's northernmost landmass: Ellesmere Island.
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a
skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be.
and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel, go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these books and how to order.
__________________________________________________________________
1) Researchers fight time to save ‘secretive’ alpine frog-Baw Baw frog by ifrog boss on February 16, 2012

FIFTEEN tadpoles hatched since Christmas might not sound exciting. But for those who know about the plight of the Baw Baw frog, it is a big deal.

The alpine amphibian is among the state’s most endangered species. Researchers fighting to save it admit they know little about the secretive, underground-dwelling frog.

But thanks to a precious egg mass found in the wild just before Christmas, they are learning. The gelatinous mass of 93 eggs now at Melbourne Zoo has produced 15 white tadpoles, which, it is fair to say, are the most documented tadpoles in the country. The data is analysed daily for development trends.

‘I go in there five to 10 times a day to check on them, the temperature and the water, and take notes each time,” said amphibian keeper Raelene Hobbs.

So precious are the tadpoles that the 15 have been separated into four tanks as a ”hedging” method to ensure if something goes wrong, loss is minimised.

Researchers say everything they learn about the Baw Baw frog’s development will aid future captive breeding programs and the fate of the critically endangered species.

”This is the first time that a zoo has kept them and there is very little published literature on the Baw Baw frog in captivity … so a lot of it is us starting from scratch, and that’s certainly a challenge,” Ms Hobbs said.

Among the mysteries is what to feed metamorph frogs. ”We need something that fits in their mouths, moves around in cold temperatures and that we can cultivate in captivity in large numbers,” she said.
The alpine frog numbers no more than 7000 in the wild and is only found on the Mount Baw Baw plateau, 120 kilometres east of Melbourne.

There has been a 98 per cent decline in Baw Baw frogs since the 1980s due to a combination of factors, including chytrid fungus and a shrinking habitat.

”We are hoping that at least 50 per cent of the tadpoles will make it through to frogs,” Ms Hobbs said.
”This is all new and we are learning. But we have to try.”
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2) Petition Filed to Stop Abuse of Turtles at "Snapperfest" Following Undercover Investigation of Cruelty Animal Groups Urge Indiana to Correct Legal Snafu that Has Allowed Abuse of Turtles at Annual Event as Appalling Footage from Indiana's Snapperfest 2011 Is Released

&#8232;&#8232;For immediate release&#8232;&#8232; Contact:Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund&#8232;Indianapolis – 1/19/12 This morning, the national non-profits Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Best Friends Animal Society submitted a petition for rulemaking to the Indiana Natural Resources Commission, arguing that the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) misinterpretation of state law has allowed for illegal cruelty at Ohio County’s annual "Snapperfest." Never before seen undercover footage provided by the World Animal Awareness Society - WA2S.org at last summer’s Snapperfest—an event where "contestants" demonstrate their prowess by pulling the heads of live turtles far outside of their shells—reveals numerous acts of cruelty that are in violation of state law. However, the DNR has condoned these actions by stating that Snapperfest participants are exempt from anti-cruelty law under an exception for activities including hunting and trapping, because, so they say, the turtles were trapped prior to their mistreat!
ment at Snapperfest. ALDF and Best Friends Animal Society’s petition asks the Commission to clarify that this exception does not and should not apply to the turtles at Snapperfest—which would render the appalling conduct at the annual event illegal. The petition was filed locally by the Law Offices of Lawrence M. Reuben.
“Neither Anheuser-Busch nor our local independent wholesaler is a sponsor of Snapperfest. We had no knowledge of the banner until it was brought to our attention after the event. For more than a century, we have prided ourselves on our reputation for treating animals with respect – from animal protection to animal rescue and rehabilitation to wildlife habitat preservation.”

Why are animal advocates and attorneys sticking their necks out for snapping turtles? The undercover video shot at Snapperfest in August 2011 and released today reveals:

Turtles held by their tails, which can cause severe damage to their vertebra and internal organs.
Turtles repeatedly dropped and thrown to the ground during relays in which contestants run while carrying them. Turtles’ heads pulled out of their shells and turtles held up by their heads during the “main event.” Footage shows contestants violently wrestling on the ground with terrified turtles in an effort to pull their necks out of their shells.

Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally neglecting a vertebrate animal, as is done during Snapperfest, is a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana.

“While an exception to Indiana’s cruelty statute states that it does not apply to fishing, hunting, or trapping, it does not allow for wanton abuse of any animal after that animal has been trapped,” explains ALDF’s director of litigation Carter Dillard. “The Department of Natural Resources’ misinterpretation of this law has allowed the shameful abuse of turtles at Snapperfest for the past fifteen years—and would literally allow someone to torture a turtle, a deer, a coyote, or any animal to death, so long as that animal had been trapped first. It is time for this legal misinterpretation to be corrected and for the state to put an end to this pathetic event once and for all.”

Copies of the petition to the Natural Resources Commission and footage of the 2011 Snapperfest investigation are available upon request. Spokespeople in Indianapolis are available for interviews.

ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org.

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization that strives to create a better world through kindness to animals while building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. For more information, please visit www.bestfriends.org.

World Animal Awareness Society - WA2S.org is a domestic 501(c)3 non-profit public charity, incorporated for the purpose of filming contemporary human-animal interactions and collecting non-biased visual data to share with the world. For more information, visit the World Animal Awareness Society here: www.WA2S.org.

Update: In undercover footage from last year’s event, a “Welcome to Snapperfest” banner appeared with Budweiser’s logo suggesting Budweiser endorsed the event. In response to outraged Indianans and people across the country, Budweiser has clarified they in no way support Snapperfest and decry the cruelty that takes place there. The Animal Legal Defense Fund received the following official statement from Anheuser-Busch.
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3) World’s Tiniest Chameleons Found in Madagascar by Adam Mann, 2/14/12

Researchers have recently discovered four new chameleon species, which rank among the world’s tiniest reptiles. Adults of the smallest species are just over an inch from snout to tail.

The four new species belong to the genus Brookesia, also known as the leaf chameleons, which live in remote rainforests in northern Madagascar. The genus is already known to contain some very small species, with members typically resembling juvenile versions of larger species.

As small as these guys are, a super-tiny dwarf gecko found in the British Virgin Islands might be just a tad more wee.

Since the chameleons all look extremely similar, researchers used genetic analysis to determine that they belonged to separate species. The findings appear Feb. 14 in PLoS ONE.

Brookesia species tend to live within a very small range. Half the members of this genus are found in only a single location and the smallest of the newly found species — Brookesia micra — lives only on a small island called Nosy Hara. Extreme miniaturization of this sort is common in island populations. Known as island dwarfism, it may occur due to limited resources and pressure to reproduce faster.

“The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the body plan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research,” said herpetologist Frank Glaw, lead author of the study, in a press release. “But most urgent is to focus conservation efforts on these and other microendemic species in Madagascar which are heavily threatened by deforestation.”

Citation: “Rivaling the World’s Smallest Reptiles: Discovery of Miniaturized and Microendemic New Species of Leaf Chameleons (Brookesia) from Northern Madagascar.” Frank Glaw, Jorn Kohler, Ted M. Townsend, Miguel Vences, PLoS ONE, Vol 7, Issue 2, http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031314
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4) Deadly ranavirus hits box turtles, tadpoles in Montgomery County, Maryland By Katherine Shaver, 2/12/12, Washington Post

Maryland biologists study­ing box turtles rescued from the bulldozers on the Intercounty Connector construction site have made a grisly find: An alarming number of the tiny turtles later died, and biologists say their demise appears to be unrelated to the highway.

Worse yet, the cause of their death — an animal disease called ranavirus taking root across the United States — also is believed to have killed nearly every tadpole and young salamander in the study area in Montgomery County’s North Branch Stream Valley Park since spring 2010.

The discoveries have alarmed state wildlife officials and biologists, who worry about how far ranavirus has spread, how widely it has affected the ecosystem, and how it apparently jumped between turtles — which are reptiles — and amphibians. If the virus spreads or goes unchecked for long, wildlife experts say, it could devastate some local populations of box turtles, frogs and salamanders. That loss, biologists say, would ripple along the food chain to other animals.

In all, 31 adult turtles were found dead near the ICC construction site between 2008 and 2011. Three had been hit by cars or construction equipment. The rest, apparently dead from illness, amounted to about one-quarter of the turtles monitored by Towson University researchers via radio transponders glued atop the tiny shells. Twenty-six of the deaths resulted from suspected or confirmed cases of ranavirus, which left some turtles gasping for breath as they gradually suffocated in their own mucus, researchers said.

“Finding even one dead turtle is unusual,” said Richard Seigel, the Towson biology professor who led the ICC study. “Finding over 27 dead turtles in a two-to-three-year period was bizarre.”
Box turtles can live 50 years or more in the wild. The ability of their hard shells to withstand predators usually affords them a 98 percent survival rate from one year to the next before they die of old age, usually alone and undetected beneath brush, Seigel said.

“This is a major concern to see these emerging pathogens,” he said.

Ecological implications

Experts on animal diseases say ranavirus, whose origin is unknown, has never been detected in humans, livestock or common household pets because it cannot survive in mammals’ relatively warm bodies.
Its long-term effects on local turtles, frogs and salamanders are not yet known and will depend on how long the virus lingers, how far it spreads and how quickly surviving animals build up immunity, biologists said. But several wildlife experts said the disease’s short-term effects are probably affecting the food chain in the ICC study area between Muncaster Mill Road and Emory Lane, just west of Georgia Avenue in northern Silver Spring.

The birds, snakes and raccoons that dine on salamanders and tadpoles have less food at their disposal, experts say.

Meanwhile, the loss of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tadpoles and salamander larvae wiped out in two consecutive breeding seasons has probably left far more of the insects that young salamanders and frogs eat.

“What is the ecological significance of a virus that can kill every one of an animal’s offspring? The implications of that baffle me,” said David Green, a veterinary pathologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

Wildlife experts say they’re also concerned that the sudden appearance of ranavirus, a disease that some believe has been lurking in the United States for a century, might signal that local ponds and wetlands are becoming more susceptible to disease under the stresses of climate change, pollution and development.

“Amphibians are very good indicators of the health of our ecosystem,” said Scott Smith, a wildlife ecologist for Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. “When we see things happen to them, it means our environment is unhealthy.”

Green, the veterinary pathologist, said ranavirus causes measles-like or severe herpes-like symptoms. Often, turtles discharge mucus from their eyes and noses. He said the virus damages their skin, palate, esophagus, stomach, liver, spleen and blood vessels. ICC researchers said they found some turtles dead within four days of their first symptoms.

The ICC tadpoles and young salamanders became sluggish and were seen swimming off-kilter before bleeding into the skin of their bellies, thighs and feet.

“It’s a really, really, really horrible disease,” Seigel said.

Confirmed cases

Ranavirus, first identified in the United States in 1968, has been suspected or confirmed in turtle and amphibian deaths in 29 states 71 times since 1997, according to the USGS, which tracks animal diseases at its National Wildlife Health Center.

Maryland’s first confirmed case came in 2005, when it and the Chytrid fungus killed more than 2,000 young wood frogs and spotted salamanders near Montgomery’s portion of the C&O Canal, Smith said. Since 2000, ranavirus has been confirmed in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties.
Virginia’s only confirmed outbreak hit in 2003, when ranavirus killed 20 Southern leopard frogs in the Virginia Beach area, according to the USGS. No cases have been reported in the District.

Ken Ferebee, a National Park Service wildlife specialist in the city’s Rock Creek Park, said he’s seen no signs of the disease in the box turtles and pond life that he monitors about 12 miles south of the Montgomery outbreak area. He said he hopes box turtles’ slow pace and propensity to stick close to home will keep the disease contained near the ICC.

“I don’t think it’s something we can stop,” Ferebee said. “If we find it in the park, it will probably be way too late.”

‘Devastating impacts’

The Towson University findings, which are just beginning to circulate among biologists in the Northeast, stemmed from a $300,000 state-funded study of how to best save the turtles that, unlike deer and foxes, needed help to escape 18 miles of woods and wetlands ahead of the bulldozers. A team of Towson students attached radio transmitters to 123 of the more than 900 turtles rescued, allowing them to track the animals’ every move.

The idea was to study whether the turtles fared better by being relocated about six miles away or to an adjacent area separated from the construction site by a fence. The study was considered potentially important to highway agencies and developers across the country, who are under pressure to reduce the environmental effects of road and building construction.

Rob Shreeve, the Maryland State Highway Administration’s ICC environmental manager, said the study was helpful in concluding that the turtles’ survival rates — even with ranavirus — were about the same even when they were moved to different locations with similar living conditions.

Seigel, the Towson researcher, said he has no data to show that turtles that were moved from the ICC’s path started the outbreak or were more susceptible to illness. He said his team checked the turtles’ mouths, eyes, noses and weight to make sure they were healthy before moving them.

The ranavirus death rate in turtles that were moved from the ICC site was roughly the same as the mortality rate in a control group of turtles that already lived in the area and never relocated, Seigel said. The apparently fast-acting virus didn’t begin affecting any of the turtles until about 18 months after the ICC animals were moved, making it less likely that the relocation was at the source, he said.

Smith of the Natural Resources Department said state wildlife officials are so concerned that they have applied for research funding from the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians. State budgets are too strapped to fund the necessary research, he said.

Scott Farnsworth, Seigel’s graduate research assistant on the ICC study, said he’s less worried about the local amphibian population’s ability to recover because frogs and salamanders begin breeding when they’re a few years old and each lay hundreds of eggs. If the virus dies off soon, he said, the overall population could bounce back relatively quickly.

But the population of tiny box turtles, most so small that they fit in the palm of a hand, isn’t as resilient, he said. Box turtles don’t breed until they reach 10 to 15 years old and females typically lay only eight to 10 eggs per year, he said. That means it wouldn’t take as long for a virus killing off reproductive adults to send the species into a steep decline.

“If it’s chronic, it could have devastating impacts on the turtle population,” Farnsworth said. “It could take decades for them to recover from it, if they do recover.”
____________________________________________________________________
5) Rare Pygmy Nile Crocodile Found in New Spots By OurAmazingPlanet Staff, 2/9/12

Conservationists working in Uganda are finding new areas that are home to one of the least known crocodilians in Africa, the pygmy Nile crocodile.

A team of Ugandan researchers trained by the late John Thorbjarnarson, a noted crocodilian expert with the Wildlife Conservation Society, is conducting population surveys of these poorly understood crocodiles in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Pygmy Nile crocodiles were reconfirmed as still present in Uganda only three years ago, and their conservation status remains unknown.

Crocodilians are an order of animals that includes alligators, crocodiles and other large reptiles.
In 2011, scientists lead by Matthew H. Shirley of the University of Florida discovered that pygmy Nile crocodiles are not a smaller race of the more common Nile crocodile but actually a unique population of a distinct crocodile species distributed throughout West Africa.

The Wildlife Conservation Society research team also has found evidence of young crocodiles in new areas.

Thorbjarnarson died at the age of 52 on Feb. 14, 2010, from malaria.

"It is an honor to continue John’s work in Uganda to protect the pygmy Nile crocodile," said Carol Bogezi, a WCS field coordinator in Uganda. "John trained us on how to survey and handle crocodiles, and we apply what he taught us every day."
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6) Appeals court rejects sea turtle protection lawsuit, leaves door open for other challenges
By: Bay City News | 02/17/12,

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday rejected a bid by a Marin County-based conservation group for more environmental study of whether foreign shrimp fishing vessels are harming sea turtles.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lawsuit filed against the U.S. State Department by the Turtle Island Restoration Network, or TIRN, in 2009 is foreclosed because the group could have raised its claims in earlier lawsuits.

But the appeals court left the door open for other groups to file a similar challenge in a different lawsuit.
Chief Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote that while TIRN "forfeited its opportunity" to raise environmental claims, "our decision doesn't preclude judicial review of this issue."

Kozinski wrote, "Another plaintiff is still free to bring this challenge."

TIRN, which is headquartered in Olema, is devoted to preserving sea turtles and other marine life internationally.

The group says sea turtles sometimes get trapped and drown in trawl nets used by foreign commercial shrimp fishing vessels, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. Six out of seven species of sea turtles are listed as either endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species.

The group claimed in the lawsuit that the State Department should prepare environmental impact statements and consult with federal agencies before allowing foreign shrimp fishers to sell their products in the United States.

A federal law requires the State Department to certify that other countries have sea turtle protections comparable to those required in the United States in order for fishing companies from those countries to sell in the United States.

The department certifies about 15 Central and South American countries to sell Gulf of Mexico shrimp in the United States each year, according to TIRN's attorney Deborah Sivas.

Sivas, who heads the Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford University, said, "We're disappointed in the ruling but I think it is likely that another group will step up to take this challenge."

"The court very explicitly left the door open because this issue has never been litigated," she said.
Sivas said environmental review procedures would bring more transparency and public comment to the certification process.

She said sea turtles can be protected by a simple mechanism called a turtle excluder device in trawl nets, but TIRN is concerned that some foreign fishing vessels don't use these devices or comparable measures.
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7) Loneliest frog in the world is the last of his kind (Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog) Atlabbta, GA, 2/18/11 by Paul Cockerton

There were believed to be just two Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frogs left on Earth after a fungus killed off their species in the wild

A Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog is the loneliest little amphibian in the world after the only other one of his kind croaked it.

There were believed to be just two left on Earth after a fungus killed off their species in the wild.
But zoo officials in Atlanta in the US said it had to put down one frog due to ill health.

That leaves just one remaining example of the species, living in the botanical garden in Atlanta.
Amphibian populations are declining around the world and some of the last survivors of Central America’s once rich diversity of frogs now exist only in captivity.

The species was identified by Zoo Atlanta's herpetology curator Joseph Mendelson during a 2005 trip to Panama.

He hopes that they can preserve genetic material from the deceased frog to help to study the species.
He said: “Had the frog passed away overnight when no staff members were present, we would have lost any opportunity to preserve precious genetic material.

“To lose that chance would have made this extinction an even greater tragedy in terms of conservation, education and biology.”

The Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog has not been observed in the wild since 2007 and is believed to be extinct.

Zoo Atlanta is a leader in the effort to combat the crisis of global amphibian decline.
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8) Paleontologists reveal ancient Arctic ecosystem teeming with life- populated by prehistoric creatures akin to alligators, hippos and flying lemurs — that prevailed some 40 million years ago in what is now Canada's northernmost landmass: Ellesmere Island.
By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News February 10, 2012

Two Canadian scientists have completed a comprehensive portrait of the lush, rainforest-like ecosystem — populated by prehistoric creatures akin to alligators, hippos and flying lemurs — that prevailed some 40 million years ago in what is now Canada's northernmost landmass: Ellesmere Island.

The study of hundreds of fossilized species, published in the latest issue of the journal Geological Society of America Bulletin, paints a picture of the ancient Arctic that contrasts sharply with the barren and bone-chilling place it is today.

But Ellesmere Island's rugged and windswept terrain, a bleak domain now ruled by the shaggy muskox, was once teeming with a diverse array of plant and animal life in a long-lost world that's only recognizable today from Earth's southern latitudes.

Glimpses of Ellesmere's extinct rainforest have been provided in previous scientific studies, including several by Saskatchewan-born paleontologist Jaelyn Eberle. Now a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and curator of fossil vertebrates at the university's natural history museum, Eberle co-authored the new GSA Bulletin paper with Manitoba scientist David Greenwood, a paleobiologist at Brandon University.

Their exhaustive inventory of the known flora and fauna of the Eocene Arctic, a period that lasted from about 50 million to 38 million years ago, reveals what Eberle calls — in refreshingly unscientific phrasing — "a pretty amazing place" at the northern extreme of the future Canada.

"Who would have guessed we had all of those turtle species and primates living in the ancient Arctic?" Eberle told Postmedia News, adding that, "despite all of the fossil discoveries though, there are still a lot of questions unanswered. The Canadian Arctic was, and still is, the last frontier for paleontology."

Among the unexpected inhabitants of ancient Ellesmere was the coryphodon, a semi-aquatic mammal resembling the modern hippopotamus and known from fossilized bone and teeth found on the High Arctic island.

Even though Ellesmere was situated nearly as close to the North Pole 50 million years ago as it is today, the coryphodon — notable for its massive size and fang-like tusks — lived in temperate, swampy forests that thrived in the greenhouse-heated planet of the Eocene age.

Coryphodon — which stood up to one metre tall at the shoulder, was about two metres long and weighed 500 kilograms or more — was one of the largest mammals on Earth at the time. A herbivore, it fed on flowers, leaves and marsh vegetation in the summer months and ate pine needles and fungus during the long, dark winter months that marked life at Arctic latitudes — both then and now.

Eberle said she studies the Eocene environment partly to compare its evolutionary features with today's Arctic. Although the climate warming that the region is undergoing today is happening on a much lesser scale, the Arctic biosphere has nevertheless begun to exhibit significant shifts in the ranges of certain plants and animals.

"The Eocene Arctic biota is arguably our best 'deep time laboratory' for understanding and predicting the impacts of current and future global warming on today's polar biota," Eberle said.

Eberle and Greenwood's prehistoric portrait of the region includes fossil evidence gathered from nearby Axel Heiberg Island and other sites in the vicinity of Ellesmere Island.

The region's fossil deposits are considered a world-class treasure among vertebrate paleontologists, several of which — including Eberle — recently expressed concerns about a proposed coal-mining project near a popular research site on Ellesmere Island.

In 2010, the controversial proposal — potentially one of the planet's most northerly industrial operations — hit a major roadblock after a Nunavut review agency ruled that "the high likelihood of immitigable impacts" to wildlife and globally significant fossil beds demanded that the project be "modified or abandoned" by its British Columbia-based proponent.

The recommendation was hailed at the time by the U.S.-based Society of Vertebrate Paleontology as a major victory for science.

"The news couldn't be better," society president Blaire Van Valkenburgh said in a March 2010 statement. "This is the strongest possible outcome in our favour."

Less than a year earlier, Eberle had revealed the discovery on of a set of coryphodon teeth on Ellesmere Island that was called potential "smoking-gun" evidence showing how a host of prehistoric mammal species arrived in North America.

Eberle's submission to the review board, later quoted in the agency's report to the federal government, said the island's fossils "are a part of Nunavut's heritage and a legacy for generations of Nunavut children. These fossils, and the clues they reveal about Nunavut's ancient past, are irreplaceable."
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. * Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00 _______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures Paperback, c2011, For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike."&#8232;&#728;Richard Seigel, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes&#728;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond."&#8232;&#728;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

"This meticulously researched and profusely illustrated work shines a spotlight on the dangers caused by introduction of non-native pythons into South Florida while providing a comprehensive account of what we know about the ecology of Burmese pythons, both in the United States and in their native range. This book will be of considerable interest to a wide range of readers including scholars, researchers, outdoors people, wildlife enthusiasts, and those concerned about the environmental and human threats posed by this invasive species in the United States."
&#728;Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, and Vice President, IUCN

&#8805;Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide a much-needed examination of the growing impact of Burmese pythons as an invasive species in the United States. By highlighting the many dangers and detrimental effects the introduction of non-native pythons has caused in the Everglades, this book documents the mounting threat which invasives pose to ecosystems everywhere. The first book to focus solely on this issue, Invasive Pythons is well-researched, well-illustrated, and well-timed.&#8776;&#728;Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Harvard University

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons.
Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.
Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range Research on pythons in the United States history Status of introduced pythons in Florida, Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere Methods to control python populations other boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the United State TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin Barbara Brennessel University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

„Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

„Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

„More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.
Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:40 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 10 2/24/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HerpDigest is a Not-For-Profit Publication That is Entirely Based on Your Donations to Continue.
Wouldn‚t you like to help HerpDigest keep going. Donations of any size are appreciated from $1.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 to...?
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount - But
only until February 15, 2012. (Read more)

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus

It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US, Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com
(To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

AND IF YOU ACT NOW WHAT WOULD COST YOU $150 NOW COSTS YOU ONLY $120.00-20% off-Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US,
Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.

THIS OFFER IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL FEBRUARY 29, 2012
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Table of Contents

1. The Power of Estrogen: Male Snakes Attract Other Males
2. Rainforest Science: Researcher Licks Frogs to Tell if They’re Poisonous
3. Snapping Turtles in Canada facing triple threat
4. Zimbabwe Tortoises Eaten By Chinese Tourists
5. Fungus Hits Endangered Snakes in Illinois (Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes)
6. Snakes use sponge action to drink
7. Invasive plant saving Australian lizards
8. Zoo needs help with unique frog conservation efforts - Search on Net “FrogWatch” to ask about counts in your area
9. Top Houston Toad Experts Help Drive Bastrop Recovery
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) The Power of Estrogen: Male Snakes Attract Other Males
ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2012) — A new study has shown that boosting the estrogen levels of male garter snakes causes them to secrete the same pheromones that females use to attract suitors, and turned the males into just about the sexiest snake in the neighborhood -- attracting dozens of other males eager to mate.
This experiment in the famed garter snake caverns of Manitoba, Canada, was one of the first in a field setting to ever quantify the effects of estrogen as a stimulant of pheromones, scientists said, in research just published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
This estrogen, they said, is the same exact chemical found in many animal species, ranging from snakes to amphibians, fish, mammals and humans. The research confirms once again the unusually powerful role that estrogen can play in biology, and is also relevant to widespread concern about the environmental impact of compounds that mimic the effect of estrogen, found in some chemicals and pesticides.
In this study, male snakes were implanted with a small capsule that raised their estrogen level to about that of female snakes. After one year of this estrogen supplementation, the male snakes exuded a pheromone that caused other males to swarm to them and form the writhing "mating balls" that this species of garter snake is known for.
And just as the pheromone production could be stimulated, it could be taken away, the scientists found. When the supplementation was removed for a year, the males reverted to normal function and behavior.
"We thought this might work, but we we're surprised the results were so compelling," said Robert Mason, a professor of zoology and one of the world's leading experts on reptilian pheromones. "The amount of estrogen the male snakes received was nothing unusual, just about what a normal female would produce.
"And this was not just some laboratory test," he said. "These snakes were trying to mate in a natural outdoor environment, in which the males were absolutely sure they had identified a female snake."
The red-sided garter snake studied in this research depends totally upon pheromones for males to be attracted to and identify female snakes, by actually licking the female with a quick flick of their tongue. But the chemical cues are so extraordinary that in an instant, from one lick, the male can determine the species, sex, population, season, reproductive condition, size and age of its possible partner.
Pheromones are chemical cues that can provide a range of information, and often play a critical role in sexual attraction and reproduction. Snakes are a good model for studying them, Mason said, because they are totally dependent upon them for reproduction.
In garter snakes, the experiments showed just how powerful the mechanism is. Large and older females, preferred by male snakes because they can produce more babies, also have a slightly different chemical signature in their pheromone. Young, small, females can still attract suitors, but not as readily.
When male snakes had their estrogen levels elevated, their pheromone production was so strong that other male snakes actually preferred them to small female snakes.
Snakes use a "vomeronasal" organ in the upper palate of their mouth that plays a key role in this sensing process. Other animals, such as dogs, also have keen vomeronasal sensing abilities. Humans still have this organ, but it's unclear what role, if any, it plays in human sensory ability, Mason said.
The area where this research was done is a natural wonder, many scientists say, attracting hordes of tourists. Each spring, tens of thousands of snakes emerge from limestone caves north of Manitoba, Canada, in an intense competition to mate. Female snakes are swarmed as they emerge from the caves by multiple males that form large, twisting balls, attempting to be the first to mate with the female.
After that, a different pheromone is emitted which confirms the mating has been accomplished, and the other males lose interest and leave.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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2) Rainforest Science: Researcher Licks Frogs to Tell if They’re Poisonous
There’s a certain school of thought among wildlife biologists that you should eat any organism you study. Frog scientists—who study toxic frogs, mind you—have a similar habit: lick any frog you study. “Sometimes I just can’t wait till I get back to the lab to do the chemistry, and I want to get an idea if there is something nasty,” said frog scientist Valerie Clark to National Geographic. With limited equipment out in the rainforest, a taste test is the quickest way to tell whether a frog is poisonous. Most of them can’t kill a human, but the poison can make your throat burn and constrict.
While frog-licking works in a pinch out in the field, discussing how skin secretions tickle your palate isn’t going to pass the rigors of peer review. Clark’s new study used electrical stimulation to extract skin secretions from frogs and analyzed them in a mass spectrometer. Among the products: sucrose and a new bile acid called tauromantellic acid.
Why does the frog have a bile acid, usually found in the gut, on its skin? Poisonous frogs get their toxins from the insects they eat, and they need some kind of sequestering system so that they don’t poison themselves. Clark hypothesizes that tauromantellic acid is involved in transporting toxins from food the frog eats onto the frog’s skin. Humans haven’t evolved that system, so no, licking a lot of frogs will not make your skin secrete poisons. Depending on your feelings about hallucination, licking toads might be more up your alley.
Go to http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/disco ... poisonous/ For video.
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3) Snapping Turtles in Canada facing triple threat
OTTAWA, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Snapping turtles in Ontario, Canada, are threatened by hunters, road kill and toxins, researchers said Tuesday in calling for an end to hunting the animals.
The species that has been around for 40 million years is being pushed to the edge of extinction, a report issued Tuesday by the David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Center said.
The report calls for the end of a controversial provincial policy that allows snapping turtles to be hunted despite being listed as a species at risk.
The policy allows anyone with a provincial game or fishing license to "bag" up to two snapping turtles a day.
"This report demonstrates that snapping turtles cannot withstand such high mortality rates," Anne Bell, director of conservation and education with Ontario Nature, said.
"It is our hope that the province will act on our recommendation to ban the hunt -- one simple step towards protecting this amazing animal."
The report also identifies eight hot spots where thousands of turtles are being run over and killed by cars each year.
"Snapping turtles face an uncertain future in Ontario because we have paved over 70 percent of southern Ontario's wetlands and created corridors of death with our roads and highways," Sue Carstairs at the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Center said.
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4) Zimbabwe Tortoises Eaten By Chinese Tourists
02/16/2012 7:50 am- HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Four Chinese nationals have been arrested on cruelty charges after they cut up and ate rare tortoises, an animal protection group said Thursday.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the men admitted to killing 40 of the Bell's hinged species, which are listed as endangered. Investigators found 40 skeletons, 13 live tortoises and tortoise meat when they raided a house in rural southern Zimbabwe, the group said.
These are the first arrests in Zimbabwe of Chinese citizens on charges related to their eating habits. After the arrests, villagers told police and wildlife rangers they sold the tortoises to the Chinese household. Villagers testified the reptiles were dropped into boiling water to dislodge their shells before being butchered, the group said.
Investigators said Zhang Hong Yuan, Chen Caijan, Lin Guibin and Shi Jiahua stored the tortoises in their own droppings and without food or water in 50 gallon (200 liter) drums.
The four, fined separately on charges of "extreme cruelty" under the nation's animal welfare laws, were found to have illegally entered Zimbabwe and were now in jail awaiting deportation, the group said. The men worked without permits in the small scale mining district of Bikita, about 190 miles (300 kilometers) south of Harare.
In a recent influx from Asia, Chinese companies have won construction and mining contracts across Zimbabwe where neighborhood groups have also reported them offering to buy snakes, bullfrogs and dogs, part of their customary diet, from impoverished locals.
Authorities have frequently urged Chinese citizens to observe norms of behavior accepted in Zimbabwe and have warned communities near Chinese work camps not to provide unconventional food supplies.
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5) Fungus Hits Endangered Snakes in Illinois (Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a rare fungus not normally found in the wild is killing endangered rattlesnakes in southern Illinois.
A small population of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes already in decline shows evidence of debilitating fungal infections, the University of Illinois reported Tuesday.
Researcher Matthew Allender conducted necropsies on dead snakes and identified the pathogen that had killed them as the fungus Chrysosporium.
The fungus plagues portions of the pet reptile industry but is not normally seen in the wild, he said.
"Chrysosporium causes disease in bearded dragons and in other snakes and it's a bad bug," Allender said. "We see it in captive animals worldwide, but we don't typically find it in free-ranging animals."
Chrysosporium also is emerging as a dangerous infection in humans with weakened immune systems, he said.
Allender said he has heard of similar reports of the fungus in other snake populations.
"They seem to be having a similar problem in timber rattlesnakes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts," he said.
The outbreak of a fungal infection in endangered snakes is a "yellow flag" that warrants more study, he said.
"Wildlife diseases and human health are not that different. And often wildlife are our window into a weakened environment that leads to disease in both people and animals."
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6) Snakes use sponge action to drink
2/20/12, New Scientist Magazine issue 2852.
WHAT do a snake's mouth and a sponge have in common? Capillary action. Some species may use skin folds in their lower jaw like a sponge, to soak up water and ferry it into their gut.
In 1993, researchers found that boa constrictors sucked water in through a tiny hole in their mouths as if they were drinking through a straw. But David Cundall of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, found no evidence of suction when he placed pressure sensors inside the mouths of three other species, Agkistrodon piscivorus, Heterodon platirhinos and Pantherophis spiloides (Journal of Experimental Zoology, DOI: 10.1002/jez.1710).
Instead, Cundall thinks that skin creases in their lower jaw, which expand when the snakes swallow large prey, help them drink. Their tongues, he notes, are too small to lap up water, and are covered in a sheath that would prevent this even if they were larger. And snakes can't tip their heads back to scoop in water like humans do.
Instead, he says, the skin folds work like tiny tubes in a sponge, drawing water into the mouth through capillary action. Muscle action then squeezes the water down into the snake's gut. Kurt Schwenk at the University of Connecticut in Storrs is convinced. "How animals drink is surprisingly complicated. I think they've pretty much nailed it in snakes."

_____________________________________________________________________
7) Invasive plant saving Australian lizards
CHICAGO, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- An Australian lizard may have been saved from extinction at the hands of invasive toxic toads by an invasive species of plant, researchers say.
Cane toads, introduced in Australia in the 1930s to control a beetle pest in sugar cane crops, quickly became an ecological disaster of their own because they produce toxins called bufadienolides, deadly to many native Australian species that feed on frogs and toads, an article in The American Naturalist reported.
Bluetongue lizards are one of the vulnerable species, but some bluetongue populations seem less vulnerable to the toxins, researchers said.
"Some lizard populations were vulnerable to bufotoxins whereas others were not -- and the populations with high tolerance to bufotoxins included some that had never been exposed to toads," researcher Richard Shine of the University of Sydney said.
The reason, Shine and his colleagues said, is likely an invasive plant species known as mother-of-millions, imported from Madagascar as an ornamental plant, that has become part of the diet of bluetongues in some regions and happens to produce a toxin that's virtually identical to that of the cane toad.
The researchers suggest the plant drove strong selection for lizards that could tolerate bufotoxins -- a remarkable example of evolution over a relatively short period of some 20 to 40 generations of lizards.
"Now it appears we have a population of eastern bluetongue lizards that are able to defend themselves well against cane toads -- even though they've never actually met one -- whereas the devastation of the cane toads on the northwestern lizard population continues," Shine said. "Eating this plant has pre-adapted the eastern blueys against cane toad poisons."
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8) Zoo needs help with unique frog conservation efforts - Search on Net “FrogWatch” to ask about counts in your area.
2/20/12 By WRCB Staff -

CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- The Chattanooga Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a unique program that will help with worldwide amphibian conservation.

"FrogWatch USA" is a citizen science program that trains volunteers to listen and report the breeding calls of frogs and toads in the greater Chattanooga community. Participants can choose to attend one of two free information and training sessions that will take place on March 3 and March 31 from 6-8 p.m. at the Zoo.

Participants will learn to identify local frog and toad species by call and report their findings online to the national FrogWatch Association. The data will then be used towards large-scale amphibian conservation efforts. An official Association of Zoos and Aquariums FrogWatch representative will also be in attendance to help teach participants and answer questions.

Rick Jackson, director of ectotherms and exhibits of the Zoo, says that FrogWatch is a fun activity for families and is extremely important in helping protect the many amphibians who call the world home.

"Amphibian populations are in drastic decline right now due to pollution, pesticides, and the chytrid fungus, originally introduced to amphibians by humans. In fact, not since the dinosaurs have we faced such a large possible extinction of species," he said.

The data collected will help scientists survey current frog populations to determine the best remedy for their rapid decline.

Space for the training session is limited. Those interested should contact Rick Jackson by email, jackson_r@chattzoo.org. Search on Net “FrogWatch” to ask about counts in your area.
_________________________________________________________________________
9) Top Houston Toad Experts Help Drive Bastrop Recovery
Submitted by editor on February 18, 2012 - Presstrust.com

Although the historic Texas drought and then the Bastrop wildfires had a devastating impact on the toads, Forstner and other researchers from Texas State University have recently confirmed toad presence in the burn zone. The goal now is to ensure the toads that survived the blazes do not become a casualty of the recovery.
Forstner, a Texas State University biology professor who has spent more than a decade and a half studying and developing management protocols for the Houston toad, and Dixon, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University with 40 years experience working with the species, are part of the monitoring team whose collective experience working with the toad and its habitat totals nearly a century.
“The presence of a highly qualified team of Houston toad experts and habitat conservationists will ensure no harm comes to the toad while crews work hard to get Bastrop cleaned of debris and hazardous trees,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin Hannes of FEMA. “In this way, we’re driving citizen recovery forward while protecting a rare native Texan that also happens to be a wildfire survivor, the Houston toad.”
The monitors are accompanying debris removal and public utility crews in Bastrop County to determine whether toads are present in their immediate work areas. Should a monitor come across a toad during the removal of debris or hazardous trees, the monitor will coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to safely relocate the toad. The team collectively holds federal and state permits to identify, locate, handle, remove and transport the species.
“The monitoring work is important because it is a continuation of the collaborative efforts, with FEMA as a partner, in getting Bastrop and its Houston toads back to where they were before the fires of last year,” said Forstner.
It is FEMA’s duty under the federal Endangered Species Act to avoid spending taxpayer dollars on recovery projects that might jeopardize the existence of endangered or threatened species, or that might destroy or harm critical habitats. Bastrop County is one of the Houston toad’s few remaining habitats.
Texans can follow FEMA tweets about the wildfire disaster at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources are blog.fema.gov, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.&/a
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
_______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike."&#8232;&#728;Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes&#728;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney


Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

„Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

„Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

„More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:00 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 11 3/2/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HerpDigest is a Not-For-Profit Publication That is Entirely Based on Your Donations to Continue.
Wouldn‚t you like to help HerpDigest keep going. Donations of any size are appreciated from $1.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 to...?
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THE DEADLINE FOR ORDERING THE AUTOGRAPHED COPIES OF THE DAVID M. CARROLL BOOKS IS NOT 2/9/12

BUT 3/9/12

PRE-PAID ORDERS ACCEPTED ONLY

SEE BELOW FOR INFORMATION ON THE BOOKS AND HOW TO ORDER

______________________________________________________________________________
Table of Contents
1) Southern New York Turtle Conservation Forum
2)Announcing a New York Turtle Rehabilitation Intensive
3) Dear Snake Conservationists
4) The effects of urbanization on North American amphibian species: Identifying new directions for urban conservation
5)I am trying to find papers on three issues Related to Environmental Literacy: from Malcolm L. McCallum
6) Polysternon Isonae, a New Species of Turtle That Lived With Dinosaurs in Isona (Spanish Pyrenees)
7) Patterns of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found in Galapagos Reptiles
8) Gopher tortoises delay some SunRail work
9) Asian market's appetite for turtle meat threatens Alabama's terrapins
10) Influence of Size, Loss of Tail, and Burst Speed on Risk of Predation in the Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
11) Reproduction by Female Bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi) in the Nebraska Sandhills
12) Habitat Selection by Foraging Texas Horned Lizards, Phrynosoma cornutuma
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst are still available as one set at a $20% Discount - (The publisher is extending the discount week by week. SO if you want it at a discount order it now.

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) Southern New York Turtle Conservation Forum

Dear Turtle Conservationist,
Next Meeting - Highlands Environmental Research Institute
Saturday, March 3rd - 10 am - 1 pm
Highlands Environmental Research Institute
Sterling Forest State Park
115 Old Forge Rd.
Tuxedo, NY 10987
Join us for an informal gathering to facilitate communication among the scientific, rehabilitation and conservation communities for the protection of northeastern turtle populations. There is a large community of people in our region studying the natural history of our native turtles who are developing innovative solutions for conserving populations. We hope to provide a forum for the sharing of ideas, field observations and new directions from a variety of perspectives
We will address local turtle conservation efforts broadly, with the intent to home in on specific areas of interest at future gatherings. We welcome your participation, so bring your presentations. Please let us know if you have a topic you would like to discuss. This can include any aspect of your work, from formal scientific studies to anecdotal accounts, in the form of posters, presentations, or workshops. In addition, we are interested in your suggestions for roundtable discussions. All topics related to turtle conservation are welcome.
Topics to be covered:
Research and Rehabilitation in Turtle Conservation: Two perspectives, one common goal
Management and other Solutions: Nest site stewardship, headstarting, education
Illegal Collection: What we learned from Operation Shell Shock
Long-range goals and future sessions
Other suggestions?
There is no charge for the gathering, but please RSVP to reserve your seat. Also please remember to bring a sack lunch as no meals will be provided, although light refreshments will be served.
If you have any further questions, please contact Patricia Johnson at 347-242-7058
We hope you can make it. Also, if you are interested, you are welcome to attend the New York Turtle Rehabilitation Intensive, later that day - see below.

If you have any further questions, please contact Patricia at 347-242-7058
_____________________________________________________________________
2) Announcing a New York Turtle Rehabilitation Intensive
Highlands Environmental Research Institute
Saturday, March 3rd
2 pm - 5 pm
Sterling Forest State Park
115 Old Forge Rd.
Tuxedo, NY 10987
Dear Turtle Rehabilitator and Conservationist,
Join us for an intensive training in Turtle rehabilitation led by Kathy Michell, primary rehabilitator at the New York Center for Turtle Rehabilitation and Conservation. There is a growing community of people in our region who rehabilitate injured native turtles. We seek to provide chelonian specific training, share innovative solutions for dealing with common injuries, and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, field observations and new directions from a variety of perspectives.
Note: Please bring a thumb drive with photos of your interesting cases to share with the group.
Possible Topics will include:
Basic anatomy
Shell fracture repair techniques
Hydration therapy
How to evaluate a release site
Husbandry
Zootonic diseases
Nest site stewardship and protection
Public education
Protecting against poaching
Other suggestions?
Please feel free to forward this to any colleagues who may be interested in attending.
There is no charge for the gathering, but please RSVP to reserve your seat. Also please remember to bring a sack lunch, as no meals will be provided; light refreshments may be served.
Patricia S Johnson
www.TurtleAdvocate.org
347-242-7058
____________________________________________________________________________
3) Dear Snake Conservationists,

Happy Leap Day! I am going to take advantage of today, February 29th, to send an email detailing some of the things happening at the Center for Snake Conservation. Snakes are beginning to emerge from hibernation in our southern states as I write this and that really has me excited. For someone with a passion for snakes, spring is a special time of year. Here is what is coming up:

SnakeTalk – Issue 1 of Volume II will be sent to all CSC members on March 31, 2012. Highlights for this issue will include a summary of the South Florida Rainbow Snake Expedition, educational curricula for classrooms, and a species conservation assessment of one of our rarest North American snakes (I am not telling which one here!).

South Florida Rainbow Snake Expedition – On March 14, 2012, the CSC will be traveling to Fisheating Creek in Florida to attempt to rediscover the South Florida Rainbow Snake (Farancia erytrogramma seminola). Last October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife deemed that the SFRS was extinct during a review of what is known about this species. This was without conducting a thorough investigation and survey to determine its continued existence. The CSC will spend 5 days conducting a snake inventory of the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area. Partners in this effort include the Center for Biological Diversity, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please visit www.erytrogramma.snakeconservation.org for more information or to make a gift to support the CSC survey effort.

2012 Spring Snake Count – The CSC is preparing a Snake Count Tool Kit for distribution in early April. The “tool kit” will include tips on how to find snakes, help for hosting a snake count event, and snake identification hints and tools. It will also include species lists by state to help narrow down any potential identification problems and how to photograph snakes in their natural habitat. Go to www.snakecount.org to register for the Snake Count to make sure you get your Snake Count Tool Kit. If you are already registered, you will receive your tool kit in April.

Contact us at snakecount@snakeconservation.org if you are interested in becoming a Regional or State Snake Count Coordinator. Please spread the word about the Snake Count via email, Facebook, Twitter, or even post a flyer at work or school.

Snake of the Day – Every day, the staff at the CSC pick a snake to highlight on our Snake of the Day website. We let you know about these snakes on our Facebook and Twitter pages. To ensure you get a chance to see and comment on these snakes, remember to “Like” the CSC and “follow” us on Twitter. Once we reach 500 “likes” we will give away 10 memberships drawn randomly from our Facebook and Twitter friends.

Happy Leap Day and Happy Snaking!

Cameron

The Center for Snake Conservation (CSC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of all snakes. Its mission is “to promote the conservation of snakes and their natural ecosystems and implement positive change in human attitudes towards snakes”. The CSC does this through education, conservation, and science-based programs which benefit snakes and the human environment.

If you feel you have received this email in error or do not want to receive any emails from the Center for Snake Conservation, simply reply to this email requesting to be removed from the mailing list.
--
Cameron A. Young
http://www.snakeconservation.org/
770-500-0000
626-739-7451 (fax)
Facebook, Twitter, Blog
____________________________________________________________________

4) The effects of urbanization on North American amphibian species: Identifying new directions for urban conservation
Urban Ecosystems
Volume 15, Number 1, 133-147,
by 1 Brett R. Scheffers - 2 Cynthia A. Paszkowski
1) 5 Normanton Park #12-05/Singapore 119002 Singapore/schefbrp@gmail.com
Brett R. Scheffers1 and Cynthia A. Paszkowski/Dept. of Biological Sciences/
CW 405 Biological Science Building of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta, CA T6E 2E9
2 C.A. Paszkowski
cindy. paszkowski@alberta.ca
Abstract
Urbanization is a pervasive and growing threat to amphibian populations globally. Although the number of studies is increasing, many aspects of basic amphibian biology have not been investigated in urban settings. We reviewed 32 urban studies from North America and quantified the number of species studied and their response to urbanization. We examined existing research on breeding habitats, life-history stages, movement patterns, and habitat use relative to urbanization. We found amphibians as a whole respond negatively to urbanization (69 reported responses were negative, 6 were positive and 35 showed no effect). We caution, however, that many North American species still lack or are associated with conflicting information regarding species-specific responses (e.g., 89 potential responses were unknown). Approximately 40% of all anuran and 14% of caudate species in North America were investigated in the literature; however, the most diverse genera (e.g., Plethodon and Eurycea) were the most understudied likely due to their cryptic terrestrial lifestyles and biases in sampling protocols that assess wetland habitats via call surveys. Research on movement and small scale habitat use was deficient. Adult, juvenile, tadpole, and egg mass life-history stages commonly served as direct measures of species presence and abundance; however, such data do not accurately reflect recruitment into subsequent age classes and population persistence. The lack of data on many North American species may be contributing to poor management of urban amphibian populations and their habitats.
______________________________________________________________________________
5) I am trying to find papers on three issues Related to Environmental Literacy: from Malcolm L. McCallum
1) has the average environmental literacy (in the US or abroad)
increased, declined, or remained stable over the
last few decades.
2) does environmental literacy level influence engagement and/or
interest in environment issues. (I am also interested in
non-environmentally focused articles that demonstrate linkages between
literacy and engagement/interest in other policy areas)
3) how does or does literacy and/or interest levels influence
environmental policy. (related papers demonstrating hope public
literacy in other topics woudl be useful too!)



--
Malcolm L. McCallum
Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
School of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri at Kansas City

Managing Editor,
Herpetological Conservation and Biology
malcolm McCallum <malcolm.mccallum@HERPCONBIO.ORG>
____________________________________________________________________
6) Polysternon Isonae, a New Species of Turtle That Lived With Dinosaurs in Isona (Spanish Pyrenees)
ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2012) — Researchers* have recently published in the online edition of the journal Cretaceous Research the discovery and description of a turtle from the end of the age of dinosaurs.They have named this new species as Polysternon isonae, in recognition of the municipality of Isona I Conca Dellà (Catalonia, Spain), where the fossil remains of the specimen type have been found.
The abundance of dinosaur fossils that lived between 65 and 70 million years ago in the area currently occupied by the Pyrenees It is well known. In this range we find dozens of sites with bones, footprints and eggs of the last dinosaurs that inhabited our planet, the Tremp basin being one of the areas with the highest concentration of fossils.
However, lesser-known are the other organisms that completed the ecosystems at the end of the Cretaceous period, consisting of other vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, fungi, etc. A common feature of these ecosystems were turtles. In the Pyrenean sites, their fossils are relatively abundant and, in general, consist of isolated shell plates or small sets of plates that can help us get a general idea of the morphology and size of the animal. Instead, the entire shell finding is rare and even more exceptional are the findings where parts of the skeleton are preserved within the shell.
In recent years, in the municipality of Isona i Conca Dellà (Catalonia) numerous discoveries of turtle remains have been made, spread over several sites. One of these sites, that of Barranc de Torrebilles, has given fairly complete remains that allowed describing a new species: Polysternon isonae. The remains found consist of dozens of isolated plates derived from the fragmentation of shells through their sutures, and what is more important: a fragment of the ventral side of a shell and an almost entire shell, which without being totally complete, show morphological features of great interest to paleontologists and have allowed to describe this new species. These remains were recovered during two excavation campaigns conducted during the summers of 2008 and 2009.
So far, two species of the genus Polysternon were known : P. provinciale and P. Atlanticum (plus a possible third P. Mechinorum), distributed only in what is know the south of France and the Iberian Peninsula. They were animals adapted to swimming and living in fresh waters, in the deeper areas of rivers and lakes. Specifically, the shell of the new species P. isonae was oval, measuring about 50 centimeters long and 40 wide. The remains were found preserved in a very hard sandstone strata now exposed in the Barranc de Torrebilles. Just over 65 million years ago, when the animal died, this was not a lithified sandstone and consisted of fine sand that was washed away by river streams and that was deposited, along with the remains of other turtles of the Barranc de Torrebilles, at the bottom of one of these rivers.
Unlike other kinds of turtles, it seems that Polysternon did not survive the end of Cretaceous and went extinct with the dinosaurs. The close proximity of the site Barranc de Torrebilles to the geological level that marks the end of the Cretaceous extinction, indicates that Polysternon isonae was possibly one of the last species of the genus Polysternon.
• Josep Marmi, Angel Lujan, Angel Galobart from Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP), Rodrigo Gaete from the Museu de la Conca Dellà (MCD) and Violeta and Oms Oriol Riera from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
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7) Patterns of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found in Galapagos Reptiles
ScienceDaily (Jan. 23, 2012) — Land and marine iguanas and giant tortoises living close to human settlements or tourist sites in the Galápagos Islands were more likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria than those living in more remote or protected sites on the islands, researchers report in a new study.
Feces collected at several different sites from free-living reptiles harbored Escherichia coli bacteria that were resistant to ampicillin, doxycycline, tetracycline and trimethoprin/sulfamethoxazole. Another bacterial species collected from the feces, Salmonella enterica, was found to be only mildly resistant or not resistant at all to the same antibiotics, most likely because of the differing ecology of these two bacterial species in the gut, researchers said.
The study results are reported in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.
This is not the first study to find that wild animals living near humans or affected by tourism can obtain antibiotic-resistant bacteria from that exposure, said University of Illinois animal sciences professor Roderick Mackie, who led the study. But it does offer researchers and wildlife managers a way to determine which vulnerable animal species are most at risk of exposure to human pathogens.
"Oceanic island systems such as the Galápagos archipelago are ideal for studying patterns and processes of ecology and evolution, such as antibiotic resistance," Mackie said. "Although the data are interesting, we don't have enough data to identify the likely source of antibiotic exposure and origin of the resistance genes, or to draw conclusions about transmission direction."
Also, it is not yet clear "to what extent this potential exposure translates to ongoing exchange of bacterial strains or bacterial traits," the researchers wrote. Further studies are needed "to understand better how human associations influence disease risk in endemic Galápagos wildlife."
The work was carried out by Emily Wheeler as part of her doctoral studies in Mackie's lab, and was supported by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship and a student research grant from the Conservation Medicine Center of Chicago. Postdoctoral researcher Pei-Ying Hong and field biologist Lenin Cruz Bedon, of Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, are co-authors on the study.
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8) Gopher tortoises delay some SunRail work
By Dan Tracy, Orlando Sentinel
8:33 p.m. EST, February 15, 2012

LAKE MARY — The small, gray gopher tortoise was about 20 feet from the railroad tracks, slowly making its way in the scrub and sand, its destination unclear on a recent afternoon.

That unsuspecting turtle, spooked into its shell at one point, and others of its kind have put a halt to any SunRail commuter-rail construction in the area because they are members of an endangered species.

And unless the weather is absolutely perfect — it has been too cool recently — the little guys (and gals) cannot be moved. So they remain holed up along a roughly 6-mile stretch of track from Longwood to Lake Mary to just south of Sanford.

That means — at least until the weather stays warm — crews can't add a second set of tracks as planned or clear the grounds for future depots in Lake Mary or Longwood.

Experts under contract with the Florida Department of Transportation estimate the Longwood-Sanford corridor holds nearly 200 burrows where close to 100 gopher tortoises live.

Gary Serviss, a principal scientist with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., said the turtles are drawn to the tracks because the sandy soils are largely high and dry and easy to dig in — just the conditions the species likes.

"It's a quite suitable habitat for them," Serviss said.

The tortoises, one of the oldest living species in North America, also are losing land to development, Serviss said. They are less likely to be bothered by the people working or living near the tracks, he said, and they seem to stay a safe distance from the rails.

The one spotted recently by Serviss and several people accompanying him was likely the equivalent of a teenager, still small but growing. It had left its burrow — No. 125 by the consultant's count — and appeared to be heading for another burrow, possibly No. 127.

Serviss said tortoises typically live in and switch between two burrows, which have a half-moon-type entrance and can be 8 to 12 feet deep and up to 30 feet long.

They are good at sharing and allow a variety of critters to cohabit in their digs, including snakes, frogs, mice and armadillos — up to 250 species in all.

The tortoises eventually will be moved — but not until warm weather stays awhile. According to federal law, temperatures cannot fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for three consecutive days after they have been relocated and released.

The rule, FDOT officials say, is supposed to ensure that the tortoises, which are coldblooded and become sluggish as temperatures drop, are not stressed by cool weather after the trauma of being moved.

Fortunately for SunRail supporters, the tortoises should not cause any delays in the May 2014 startup for the initial 31 miles of what eventually will be a 61-mile system. The first phase, which includes 12 depots, runs from DeBary in Volusia County through Seminole County into downtown Orlando to south Orange County.

Construction crews have shifted to working on platform stops in DeBary and Altamonte Springs, with Longwood and Sanford on deck.

FDOT spokesman Steve Olson estimates it will cost at least $221,000 to move the tortoises. It is not an easy task, Serviss said, because the burrows have to be carefully excavated by hand or with a backhoe.

It's unclear exactly where they will end up, but the law says they must be placed within a 100-mile radius of their old homes and in an approved conservation area.

"The ultimate goal," Serviss said, "is to protect the tortoises themselves and move them to a safe place."

For video go to
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/loc ... 5034.story

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9) Asian market's appetite for turtle meat threatens Alabama's terrapins
February 26, 2012, By Ben Raines, Press-Register ,MOBILE, Alabama -
- The Mobile-Tensaw Delta ranks as one of the two or three most diverse places on the planet for turtles, home to 18 freshwater species.
But that diversity is under threat, scientists say, because weak regulations are drawing commercial harvesters from as far away as Maine to Alabama’s turtle-rich swamps.
Two Auburn herpetologists have warned the state Conservation Advisory Board that the state’s turtle populations are under siege. Craig Guyer, an Auburn professor, and Jim Godwin, with the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, said the market for turtle meat is fueled by demand in Asian countries where native populations have been decimated by years of overharvest. In addition, some turtles native to Alabama bring hundreds of dollars apiece when sold as exotic pets.
The scientists said stricter regulations, including a total ban on the commercial take of wild-caught turtles, would be the only way to lessen or eliminate the threat.
“That’s why China wants our turtles,“ said Mark Sasser, non-game wildlife coordinator with the state Conservation and Natural Resources department. “They’ve eaten all of theirs.”
A report from the Turtle Conservation Coalition states that 75 percent of Asia’s turtle and tortoise species are threatened as a result of overharvesting.
Increasingly, U.S. turtles are being shipped abroad to satisfy the Asian demand.
In 2008, Florida wildlife officials estimated that about 3,000 pounds of live softshell turtles caught in the swamps of the Sunshine state were shipped out of the Tampa airport each week, destined for China. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist pushed for much stricter limits on harvest after wildlife officials there reported encountering a pair of turtle harvesters who had filled the entire bed of their pickup with turtles.
Up until the late 1990s, Sasser said, most states didn’t have commercial freshwater turtle harvest regulations because there wasn’t any need for them. As the foreign appetite began to grow, Alabama tried to stay ahead of the problem, first by implementing a 10-turtle-per-person commercial daily limit, then with a reporting system for turtle farmers and commercial dealers.
No harvest is allowed of a handful of species, such as the endangered Alabama red-bellied turtle.
Turtle hobbyists or people who may catch a few on a trotline can keep or possess no more than three turtles per day.
Sasser said the free commercial permit is available to out-of-state residents and there is no license or residency requirement for recreational catches, meaning Alabama’s waters are open to anyone.
Sasser said such open access means the state has no idea how many turtles are being caught each year, and enforcement of the few rules on the books is difficult.
Commercial harvesters “do a lot of their work at night. They don’t go out of their way to get checked,” Sasser said.
While legitimate turtle farms generally follow the commercial permit’s harvest-reporting requirements, there have been a lot of non-compliance issues, he said.
“You know that old saying, figures don’t lie, but liars can figure? That’s what we’ve been dealing with,” he said. “There’s been a lot of what we believe is incorrect information.”
In addition to the Asian market for turtle meat, turtle parts are used there for medicinal purposes.
There is also a thriving worldwide trade in exotic turtles as pets.
Rare Alabama turtles such as the black-knobbed sawback command as much as $269 on various turtle websites, such as TurtleShack.com. Even the common snapping turtle can command prices above $200 in the pet industry.
Freshwater turtles are long-lived, slow-growing and take many years to reach sexual maturity. Coupled with fairly high mortality among baby turtles, the reptiles are highly vulnerable to overharvest.
“Most states in the Southeast have no turtle population monitoring system because there’s no economically feasible way to do it. That means that a turtle population can be in trouble long before we know it,” he said.
The problem in Alabama grows more serious with every new restriction placed on turtle harvest in another state.
“We have some of these turtle catchers coming all the way from Maine. They’re very mobile. They hire people in the area to catch the turtles,” Sasser said. “Some of these turtles being caught for their meat are bringing $25 or $30 apiece and they can ship thousands of them every week.
“There’s no overhead, no license requirements and there’s no expense to keep and feed them. They put them in a box and ship it.”
Turtle laws have been strengthened in neighboring states in recent years. Tennessee began prohibiting commercial harvest of most turtle species in the mid-1990s. Florida banned commercial harvest from public and private waters in 2009. Georgia severely restricted commercial harvest of wild-caught turtles last year.
Sasser said there are legitimate turtle farming operations.
“I had one turtle farmer tell me that he’s selling hatchlings to the Asians who then feed them out to slaughter in one year. If a turtle farmer can sell hatchlings for $10 apiece and is shipping 40,000 to 50,000 hatchlings a year, you do the math.
“If they’ve already got their brood stock and can turn a profit with what they already have, we have no problem with that,” he said. “We do have a problem with someone going to the Alabama River or Tennessee River and catching our native wild turtles, then shipping them overseas for a huge profit and depleting our population.
“It’s already happened in Asia and will happen here without stricter measures.”
After the Auburn herpetologists made their appeal to the conservation board this month, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries officials said the agency would review the state’s turtle laws. The agency could make recommendations on the commercial and recreational harvest at the next Conservation Advisory Board meeting on March 10 in the Capital Auditorium in Montgomery. ______________________________________________________________________________
10) Influence of Size, Loss of Tail, and Burst Speed on Risk of Predation in the Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
The Southwestern Naturalist 57(1):87-91. 2012
Russell L. Burke* and Kerry L. Yurewicz
Museum of Zoology and Department of Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079
Current address of RLB: Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549
Current address of KLY: Department of Biological Sciences, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH 03264
*Correspondent: biorlb@hofstra.edu
Abstract
We investigated the importance of size, loss of tail, and running speed of banded geckos (Coleonyx variegatus) in encounters with a predatory snake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) in experimental arenas. We discovered, contrary to previously reported results and our own hypotheses based on observations in the field, that none of these factors influenced risk of predation, and that autotomy was not used commonly as a tactic to escape predators. Based on these results and observed behavior during predation trials, we question whether tail autotomy in this species is an effective anti-predator adaptation.
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11) Reproduction by Female Bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi) in the Nebraska Sandhills
The Southwestern Naturalist 57(1):87-91. 2012
John B. Iverson,* Cameron A. Young, Thomas S. B. Akre, and Christopher M. Griffiths
Department of Biology, Earlham College, Richmond, IN 47374 (JBI)
Center for Snake Conservation, 1581 Ridgeview Drive, Louisville, CO 80027 (CAY)
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Longwood University, Farmville, VA 23909 (TSBA)
Walkersville Veterinary Clinic, 10559 Glade Road, Walkersville, MD 21793 (CMG)
*Correspondent: johni@earlham.edu
Abstract
We studied bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi) in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Females matured at ca. 90-cm snout–vent length after two seasons (ca. 33 months old), ovulated in early June, and oviposited in mid-June–early July. Frequently, females did not reproduce each year. The proportion reproducing was a function of size of body and warmth of previous summer. Individual eggs averaged 4% of mass of gravid females and size of egg tended to increase with size of body, but did not vary annually. Based on counts of corpora lutea or oviposited eggs, size of clutch averaged 9.5 and was correlated with size of body. Size of clutch varied among years, even after effects of size of body were removed, and tended to be greater in years with warmer temperatures in April–May. Size of clutches and eggs were correlated inversely. Mass of clutch increased with size of body, averaged 37% of mass of gravid females and 59% of post-gravid mass, and did not vary among years. Bullsnakes appear to be capital breeders with respect to frequency of reproduction, but also may respond to resources during vitellogenesis in spring with changes in size of clutch (income breeding). Mass of eggs and clutches were less plastic. Among Pituophis, size of egg and body decrease with increasing latitude; however, mass of egg standardized to size of body does not vary with latitude. Size of clutch standardized to size of body increases with latitude only in P. melanoleucus. Relative mass of clutch does not vary with size of body within or among populations. Frequency of reproduction and size of clutch exhibit considerable variation, apparently based on effects of climate on acquisition of resources, whereas mass of clutch and size of egg vary less (locally and regionally) and appear to be constrained more by natural selection for optimal dimensions.
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12) Habitat Selection by Foraging Texas Horned Lizards, Phrynosoma cornutum
The Southwestern Naturalist 57(1):39-43. 2012
Douglas A. Eifler,* Maria A. Eifler, and Tracey K. Brown
Natural Resources Liason's Office, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Haskell Indian Nations University, Box 5018, 155 Indian Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66046 (DAE)
Erell Institute, 2808 Meadow Drive, Lawrence, KS 66047 (MAE)
Department of Biological Sciences, California State University San Marcos, 333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA 92096-0001 (TKB)
*Correspondent: deifler@erellinstitute.org
Abstract
The Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, feeds primarily on harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex) across much of its range. We quantified behavior of P. cornutum foraging on Pogonomyrmex relative to habitat and time. For the duration of their morning activity, 14 lizards were observed; we determined their use of habitat and location of ants that were captured. Lizards spent most of their time under vegetation; the type of vegetation used varied throughout the morning. Most feeding took place in the open and involved ants dispersed away from colonies. When feeding under vegetation, most feeding took place under mesquites (Prosopis), and location of mesquites under which lizards fed was nonrandom with respect to distance from entrances to colonies of ants. Feeding at entrances to colonies was restricted to a shorter period of the morning than feeding on dispersed ants. Males and females differed in use of habitat and in foraging behavior, with males more likely to feed in the open and to feed at entrances of colonies than females.

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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount -
Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II
And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US, Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com
(To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

AND IF YOU ACT NOW WHAT WOULD COST YOU $150 NOW COSTS YOU ONLY $120.00-20% off-Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US,
Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

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FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES SWAMPS, TURTLES, SALAMANDERS AND FROG - A LIMITED NUMBER OF AUTOGRAPHED COPIES OF
DAVID M. CARROLL BOOKS AE AVAILABLE UNTIL 3/9/12.
DAVID M. CAROLL, winner of 2006 MacArthur "genius" award, with HerpDigest, has made available the following two books to those who can’t be in NYC for the Annual New York Turtle & Tortoise Seminar on 3/10/12 to hear him speak.
Go to http://nytts.org/nytts/sem2012.htm for more information on the seminar.
The Books are:
“Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook” National Book Award Nominee, and "Swampwalker's Journal: A Wetlands Year," Winner of the John Burroughs Medal
If you are ordering both books, or additional copies of one book, It’s $6.00 for the first book and $3.00 each for each additional book for S&H. Only pre-paid orders accepted. Deadline 3/9/12 (On how to order either or both books see below)
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More on “Following the Water: a Hydromancer’s Notebook”
Hardcover (180 pages) B&W Drawings $24.00, hardcover, plus $6.00 for S&H.
(A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2009) The writer, naturalist, and artist David Carroll illuminates the ecology and life histories the tree frogs, hawks, foxes, and the increasingly rare wood and spotted turtles he has been tracking for decades with the precision and passion that won him a 2006 MacArthur "genius" award. (Boston Globe)

Following the Water is the intensely observed chronicle of Carroll s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion from the joy of the first turtle sighting in March to the gorgeously described, vibrant trilling of tree frogs ("lichen with eyes") in late May to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it is time once again to part with open water.

Illustrated with the author s fine pen-and-ink drawings, Following theWater is a gorgeous evocation of nature, an utterly unique "admission ticket to a secret corner of the world" (Bill McKibben).
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More on “Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year”

Paperback, 292 pages, B&W drawings, $15.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
In this sensuous nature journal, MacArthur genius award winner Carroll (The Year of the Turtle) follows the inhabitants of his local New Hampshire wetlands through a season of turtle life from March thaw, when the turtles wake from hibernation, to November, when ice puts them back to sleep, along the way celebrating such personal holy days as the Return of the Red-winged Blackbird. Wearing camouflage and waders, he meets wildlife on its own terms. At the sudden appearance of a red doe, he wonders, to have those senses—would I trade my thinking, dreaming, imagining mind for them for one full day... would I ever want to come back? He watches a thirsty turtle hatchling encountering water for the first time: he extends his neck full length, immerses his head, closes his eyes and drinks for 21 minutes. Accompanied by Carroll's own exquisite drawings, this poetic recording of his season of loving observation is subdued by Carroll's dread of habitat destruction and nostalgia for a boyhood when I entered waters that, if not alive themselves, were so filled with light and life that my binding with them was as much metaphysical as physical.

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TO ORDER ANY OF THE ABOVE BOOKS

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:09 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 12 3/9/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HerpDigest is a Not-For-Profit Publication That is Entirely Based on Your Donations to Continue.
Wouldn‚t you like to help HerpDigest keep going. Donations of any size are appreciated from $1.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 to...?
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Table of Contents
1. Leatherback Turtle Migration Study Identifies Pacific Danger Zones for Endangered Species
2. Snakes around world evolve along similar path of poison resistance say biologists
3. Snakes on an inclined plane control scales to climb
4. Spiny, Venomous New Sea Snake Discovered—"Something Special"
5. Snake Tales- An anthropologist and a herpetologist join forces to reveal the complex shared evolutionary and ecological history of pythons and primates.
6. District finds success in snake and frog comeback
7)Snakes alive?: With drought, rattlesnake behavior changes likely, potential declines hard to measure-Weather not diminishing population, but changing character of population (So says people from Sweetwater Rattlensake Roundup and Tony Baez, reptile supervisor at the Abilene Zoo.
8)If you ever wondered what goes on a rattlesnake roundup, here is the schedule for the Sweetwater roundup. At least the events they advertise or know of. The horror of these events in in the details of what happens at the many booths and just the sheer number they collect. (see above article)
9) Salamanders and fish can regenerate lost structures - why can't we?
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
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Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst are still available as one set at a $20% Discount - (The publisher is extending the discount week by week. SO if you want it at a discount order it now.

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) Leatherback Turtle Migration Study Identifies Pacific Danger Zones for Endangered Species

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2012) — The majestic leatherback turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world, growing to more than 6 feet in length. It is also one of the most threatened. A major new study of migration patterns has identified high-use areas -- potential danger zones--in the Pacific Ocean for this critically endangered species. This new understanding could help inform decisions about fishing practices to help reduce further deaths of this fragile species.
"The study shows that leatherbacks can be found throughout the Pacific Ocean and identifies high-use areas that are of particular importance to their survival," said lead author Dr. Helen Bailey of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "This information on their movements is essential for identifying hot spots and assessing where limiting fishing at particular times of year may be effective for protecting leatherbacks."
Leatherbacks are the widest-ranging marine turtle species and are known to migrate across entire ocean basins. Female leatherbacks lay their eggs on tropical nesting beaches, but then migrate to foraging areas to feed on jellyfish. These long-distance migrations are likely to increase the risk that these animals may be caught in fishing gear, undermining conservation efforts to protect turtles on their nesting beaches. Interaction with fisheries is believed to be a major cause of death, which is of particular concern in the eastern Pacific Ocean, where the number of leatherback turtles has dropped by more than 90% since 1980.
"Leatherback turtles are long-lived animals that take a long time to reach maturity, so when they are killed in fishing gear it has a huge impact on the population," said study coordinator Dr. James Spotila of Drexel University. "Their numbers are declining so rapidly it is critical that measures are taken quickly to ensure these animals don't go extinct."
Leatherback turtles can travel enormous distances between their nesting and feeding sites. In the Pacific Ocean there are two populations of leatherback turtles that nest in the eastern and western Pacific. The study used state-of-the art satellite tracking, the largest satellite telemetry data set ever assembled for leatherbacks, to track 135 turtles. Leatherbacks in the eastern Pacific were tagged at the nesting sites in Costa Rica and Mexico. The western Pacific population was tagged at two nesting sites in Indonesia and at foraging grounds off the coast of California. The tracks were combined with oceanographic satellite data provided by NOAA, NASA, and a number of international partner space agencies to provide important insights into their long distance migrations.
The study found that the western Pacific population nesting in Indonesia traveled to many different feeding sites in the South China Sea, Indonesian seas, southeastern Australia, and the U.S. West Coast, mainly in highly productive coastal areas. This wide dispersal allows for a greater likelihood to find food. It also means that the turtles are more vulnerable to being caught unintentionally by fishing gear in coastal and offshore areas.
The eastern Pacific population had a very different migration pattern, traveling from their nesting sites in Mexico and Costa Rica to the southeast Pacific. These turtles migrated south and tended to feed in offshore upwelling areas where their food, almost exclusively jellyfish, may be concentrated. The more limited feeding areas of the east Pacific turtles makes them more vulnerable to any changes that occur to the distribution or abundance of jellyfish in this area. Deaths caused by human activities, such as being caught in fishing gear, also pose a greater risk of causing this population to go extinct because they have a smaller range than the western Pacific leatherbacks.
Experts from around the world joined together to work on this landmark study of leatherback turtle migration. The collaboration included Helen Bailey of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; James Spotila of Drexel University; George Shillinger and Barbara Block from Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University; Stephen Morreale of Cornell University; Frank Paladino of Indiana-Perdue University; Scott Eckert of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network; Rotney Piedra of Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas; Creusa Hitipeuw of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Indonesia; Ricardo Tapilatu of The State University of Papau; and Peter Dutton, Scott Benson, Steven Bograd, Tomoharu Eguchi and David Foley of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The study, "Identification of distinct movement patterns in Pacific leatherback turtle populations influenced by ocean conditions," appears in the March issue of Ecological Applications.
The study was supported by funding the from Lenfest Ocean Program, the Leatherback Trust, the Tagging of Pacific Predators program of the Census of Marine Life, and the NOAA-Fisheries Service.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
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2) Snakes around world evolve along similar path of poison resistance say biologists
March 5, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Utah State University biologists have long studied varied species of North American garter snakes that have evolved an amazing resistance to a deadly neurotoxin found in innocuous-looking newts, a favorite food of the snakes.
The researchers have now discovered that snakes of different types in Central and South America and Asia have evolved the same resistance in a strikingly similar way.
The findings, by USU alum Chris Feldman, PhD’08, now a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno; USU biology professor Edmund Brodie, Jr.; Brodie’s son, Edmund Brodie III of the University of Virginia, and former USU faculty member Mike Pfrender of the University of Notre Dame, appear in the March 5, 2012 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“We were able to break down the genetic basis of the adaptations in each of these snakes,” says Feldman, lead author and a recipient of USU’s Robins Award as 2006 Graduate Research Assistant of the Year. “We found that each snake – ranging from the Neotropical ground snake of Central and South America to the tiger keelback of East Asia – has evolved in almost the exact same way as the garter snakes at the genetic level.”
Each of the snakes feasts on amphibians that secrete tetrodotoxin or TTX, a poison far deadlier than cyanide. It’s the same neurotoxin found in puffer fish which, prepared by rigorously trained chefs, provides sushi lovers with an exhilarating, albeit risky, dining experience. Tetrodotoxin is also an alleged ingredient of so-called zombie powder, an anesthetic-like concoction that causes humans to initially appear dead and regain a temporary semi-conscious state.
“Tetrodotoxin affects proteins that control nerve impulses and the ability of muscles to fire,” Feldman says. “At full strength, the poison instantly paralyzes nervous and muscle tissue in animals – including humans – resulting in rapid death.”
The snakes in the team’s study, however, have mutations that thwart the toxin at the protein level, preventing TTX from blocking the sodium channels in muscle.
“This tells us a couple of things: either these mutations are the perfect solution to avoid the poison or may be the only way to bypass the problem,” Feldman says.
What could limit the range of solutions, Brodie, Jr. says, is the ‘cost’ of the mutation.
“We know that the mutation affects the snakes’ speed,” he says. “Snakes with the mutation are slower. A different mutation to block the toxin could have even greater detrimental effects and that could explain why the current set of mutations is so similar across all species.”
In continued study, the team is investigating Caddisfly larvae, creatures very different from snakes, that appear to have developed a similar resistance to tetrodotoxin. In a naturally protective foil, female newts lay eggs laced with – you guessed it – TTX. Most pond predators that ingest the amphibian caviar do so at their peril. Caddisfly larvae are an exception.
“We’re studying these larvae to see if they’ve adapted with mutations similar to those of the snakes,” Brodie, Jr. says.
Provided by Utah State University

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3) Snakes on an inclined plane control scales to climb
• March 2012 by Lisa Grossman

Whether a serpent tempted Eve to eat apples from the Tree of Knowledge is up for debate, but now we understand better how it could have climbed the tree in the first place. It seems snakes can control each of their scales individually to grip rough surfaces and fight gravity.
Biologists have long known that snakes' scales are good for gripping. Their scallop-shaped geometry and the way they lie over each other like Venetian blinds help stop them sliding backwards.
Now Hamid Marvi of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and colleagues have found that snakes can also control each scale. "[Biologists] knew about the passive mechanism, not the active one," he says.
"I'm not aware of previous published research showing active control of individual scales," agrees zoologist Harry Greene of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Marvi and fellow researchers sedated an albino corn snake and let it slip, unconscious, down a ramp. They measured the angle at which they had to tilt the ramp to get the snake to slide, which revealed the coefficient of friction between the snake and the ramp.
Awake snake
They repeated the experiment with an alert snake and found that the coefficient of friction was twice as large as when it was asleep. That suggested it could do something to improve its grip.
"When the snake is unconscious, there is no control, no feedback, no sensory system," Marvi said at a press briefing at this week's American Physical Society conference in Boston. "But when the snake is conscious it can sense, 'I'm sliding, so I should do something.' There's an active mechanism involved."
Indeed, when the team took close-up videos of the snakes' soft underbellies, they found the snakes can control the angle of each scale to most effectively stick to a surface. "By controlling the initial angle of attack of the scale, snakes can increase their friction," Marvi says.
Armed with this knowledge, Marvi and colleagues built a climbing robot called Scalybot, which could be used for search and rescue work, he suggests.
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4) Spiny, Venomous New Sea Snake Discovered—"Something Special"

National Geographic News
Published March 2, 2012
A new species of venomous sea snake mysteriously covered head to tail in spiny scales has been discovered in treacherous seas off northern Australia, a new study says.
Though some other sea snakes have spiky scales on their bellies, "no other [known] sea snake has this curious feature," study leader Kanishka Ukuwela, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide, said by email.
Normally snakes have smooth scales, but each of the newly named Hydrophis donaldi's scales has a spiny projection, he said.
Scientists cruising shallow seagrass beds in the Gulf of Carpentaria (map) recently captured nine of the rough-scaled reptiles.
"The minute the first one landed on the deck, I knew we had something special," study co-author Bryan Fry of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, said by email. "It was quite unlike any of the sea snakes I have seen."
Each of the specimens was found on the rocky seafloor, a habitat that could explain the new species' uniquely strong scales, Fry noted.
Overall, though, "we don't know why this interesting feature evolved in this species, or what they are used for," study leader Ukuwela said.
Venomous Snake Has Deadly Neighbors
The new Hydrophis—literally "water serpent"—likely eluded notice for two reasons. The species is apparently rare, and it lives in coastal habitats largely avoided by fishers, Ukuwela said. Many Australian sea snake species live in the open ocean and are often accidentally caught in prawn trawls.
Little is known about the yellowish brown reptile, other than that it gives birth to live young and, like nearly all live-bearing sea snakes, is "venomous and potentially dangerous to humans," according to the study, published February 21 in the journal Zootaxa.
Furthermore, venom is just one obstacle to unraveling the new species' mysteries, the University of Queensland's Fry noted.
"Field observations are impossible, because the water is very murky and filled with lots of very large bull sharks and saltwater crocodiles, in addition to [highly poisonous] box jellyfish," he said.
"If we tried to dive there, our life expectancy would be measured in minutes. The only question is which animal would kill us.
"My money is on the bull sharks."
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5) Snake Tales- An anthropologist and a herpetologist join forces to reveal the complex shared evolutionary and ecological history of pythons and primates.
By Ruth Williams | March 1, 2012, The Scientist magazine
As 6-month-old baby Nini slept quietly in the same hut as her older sister and brother, she was unaware that she would become an only child that night. By the time her father, Teteng, entered the hut around sunset, one of the children was wrapped in the coils of a giant python and was being swallowed headfirst. Teteng slashed and killed the snake with his hunting bolo knife, but it was too late. Nini’s siblings were dead. Only baby Nini survived.
It is the stuff of nightmares and horror movies, but for the Agta tribal people on the Philippine island of Luzon, python attacks are harsh realities. Anthropologist Tom Headland of the Summer Institute of Linguistics International in Dallas, Texas, documented the story of Nini and other chilling snake tales while collecting ethnographic and census data on the Agta in the 1970s. But it wasn’t until snake expert Harry Greene of Cornell University got wind of Headland’s Agta snake stories that their full historical and evolutionary implications were realized.
Although constrictors are known to prey on a variety of primate species, whether or not such snakes would have posed a significant threat to early humans has been a hotly contested issue, says Rick Shine, a snake expert at the University of Sydney in Australia. “It is one of these classic examples of a topic that people are interested in, and they speculate about and have quite diverged opinions on, but nobody had the information,” Shine says.
Headland’s data revealed that pythons regularly attacked Agta males as they hunted and foraged in the jungle, suggesting our forbearers likely faced the same risk. To have such insight into prehistoric predation is quite possibly unique, says Shine. Because of widespread deforestation and modernizing of tribes, he says, “it is probably too late in most of the world to get such information. . . .I was surprised that the data existed.”
Greene was pretty surprised, too. In 2000, he was shown a photo, taken by Headland in 1970, of two Agta men holding a slain python measuring nearly 23 feet in length. “My jaw just fell open,” he says.
Greene wanted the photo for a natural history book he was writing and managed to track down Headland. “I wrote to him and said, ‘Can I please use your picture in a book I’m writing?’” says Greene, “He said, ‘Oh yeah, great, and by the way, do you think you would be interested in these data I’ve got from back in the ’70s on the incidence of python predation and attempted predation on the Agta?’”
“Once again my jaw just dropped,” says Greene. “Actually having data on wild animal predation of humans, let alone humans living a relatively primitive lifestyle, is just amazing.” Greene promptly flew down to Dallas and spent a full day poring over Headland’s old notes, which had been carefully filed away for 30 years.
Headland and his wife, Janet, had conducted a census of the Agta living in the Casiguran region on the east-central side of Luzon. Among the questions they asked each tribe member was whether their parents were still alive and if not, how they had died. One day, they received a startling answer. “Somebody said, ‘He was killed by a python,’” recalls Headland.
The pair confirmed that a total of six Agta tribespeople had been killed by pythons between 1934 and 1973. However, a far greater number—15 of 58 Agta men questioned (26 percent)—had survived attacks. “At the time I thought, ‘Well, that is really, really interesting,’” says Headland, “but I buried it away in my files and never did anything with it.”
But Greene realized the significance of the data. “When you consider that [Tom] had asked each of these [Agta] men, ‘How did you escape being predated?’ and they always said, ‘I killed the python with my knife or my shotgun,’ that has to mean that before the availability of metal weaponry, their likelihood of getting killed was higher,” says Greene. “Imagine what a profound thing pythons would be in your life if you lived in that forest and had to go out every day foraging.”
Headland’s Agta data contravened a long-held notion that large snakes only eat humans under exceptional circumstances, says Greene. To put it in perspective, he adds, “What if one in four of us had suffered a shark attack?”
Thanks to their weapons, the Agta more often kill pythons than are killed by them. “Occasionally when we ate with them, [python] would be the main dish,” Headland recalls. For our early hominid ancestors, however, the outcomes of python encounters might have been less favorable. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that our extant primate cousins are often python prey.
Besides being predator and prey of giant snakes, hominids would have also competed with snakes for food, say Headland and Greene in their recent article presenting the Agta data (PNAS, 108:E1470-74, Epub 2011). The Agta mainly hunt deer and wild pigs, occasionally monkeys, and all of these are common prey for pythons.
Given that a large python can eat a deer, says Greene, an adult Agta male—small by Western standards—would be a good meal, but certainly not enormous. “In fact, I think that python in [the photo] could have eaten both those guys if she had gotten the drop on them,” he says. “Just look at the size of her head and the size of their heads. She wouldn’t have had any trouble at all swallowing them.”
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6) District finds success in snake and frog comeback
La Honda preserve rehabilitated for amphibians, rangers
Thursday, March 1, 2012 11:23 am By Mark Noack Posted on March 1, 2012, Half Moon Bay Review
Red-legged frogs, San Francisco garter snakes and even a couple park rangers can all claim a new home at the La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve as part of plans to rehabilitate the old ranchland.
Buoyed by the success of a pilot project last year, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is ramping up plans to convert the old cattle ponds into habitat for the endangered frogs and snakes. Meanwhile, the open-space district is also advancing plans to restore an old farmhouse as a home for rangers.
The La Honda preserve has about 25 ponds that are still being used as a water source for the hundreds of cows that graze the grassy hillsides. Those ponds could also provide an attractive spot for endangered red-legged frogs to lay their eggs.
Starting back in 2010, the district’s planners fixed a failing pond that leaked, causing it to annually lose the water needed to sustain frog eggs.
One year later, the district biologists counted about a dozen red-legged frog hatchlings. Those early results galvanized the district to quickly restore other ponds.
“I’m just blown away that it was a success in the first year,” said MROSD biologist Julie Andersen. “Before, it was like a red-tagged house. Now we’re putting in the comforts to make it a home.”
On Feb. 22, 15 volunteers revisited the restored pond to tear out invasive thistles and shrubs and replace them with frog-friendly grasses. The garden work took place in a fenced-off area the size of a tennis court that is being set aside specifically for the frogs. The area was surrounded by barbed wire to prevent cattle from chomping on the native grasses and also included four cover boards meant to someday encourage a comeback of the San Francisco garter snake.
The district has applied for permits to restore two other ponds, which could happen this summer, Andersen said.
The open-space district first acquired the 5,760-acre La Honda preserve in 2004, and the property remains largely inaccessible to the public. MROSD is working to finish a master plan spelling out property management, and the current goal is to begin work on trails, parking and other necessities by 2014.
The district moved one step closer in December by approving a remodel project for an old Folger ranch house on the south side of the preserve. The house would become the future home for a tenant ranger who could keep off-hours watch over the land. Similar to the California State Parks, MROSD rangers are offered a subsidized home to encourage them to live on-site.
But having not been occupied for years, the home first needs a host of improvements, including a new roof, floor and utilities. The district has allocated $173,000 to repair the future ranger house.
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7)Snakes alive?: With drought, rattlesnake behavior changes likely, potential declines hard to measure-Weather not diminishing population, but changing character of population (So says people from Sweetwater Rattlensake Roundup and Tony Baez, reptile supervisor at the Abilene Zoo..
• By Brian Bethel
• Posted March 3, 2012 at 11 p.m.
For Sweetwater Jaycee Dennis Cumbie, there's little doubt that drought conditions have affected all creatures great, small and, most important for the group's yearly Rattlesnake Roundup, snaky.
"Anytime you have a drought as severe as what we've had, it's going to affect any and all wildlife," Cumbie said.
Generally, less water means a lack of coverage the snakes and their prey both like.
And the creatures that snakes like to eat tend to disperse in harsh conditions, searching for water.
It all adds up to wandering, hungry snakes.
"Last year when I went out looking for snakes, there were quite a number (that were) emaciated, or skinny," noted Tony Baez, reptile supervisor at the Abilene Zoo.
But experts said it's often difficult to know how much the population might have decreased because of the drought, pointing more toward likely behavior changes among the reptiles than speculations about census.
"We think it will deter some of the snake population," Cumbie said of the parched conditions. "But our numbers have kind of decreased as far as what we've had coming into the roundup. We don't think that's because of the number of snakes out there, though, we think that just means people haven't been hunting as much."
Chairman of the venom-milking pen at the Sweetwater event, Cumbie said snake hunting comes and goes as a fad. In the past some hunting clubs were particularly sizable, but many have dwindled either because of old age or a lack of interest.
"I guess people are just busy, that's one part of it," he said.
Last year's 1,500 to 1,600 pounds of snakes was "kind of low," Cumbie said.
Most of the snakes at the roundup come from about a 100-mile radius, Cumbie said.
Cumbie, who said he has been hunting snakes since 1977, said judging from what he and others have seen in 50 years or so of roundups, the Jaycees' yearly extravaganza isn't going to damage the area snake population, no matter what the drought has done.
"This country's so rough, there's no way you'd ever hunt them all out," another reason judging area populations is difficult, he said.
The area has been in a drought since December 2010, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Reimer.
"Back in October most of West Texas was in an exceptional drought," though the area has improved "greatly" with some rainfall since, he said.
But with record high temperatures last year, Reimer expected at least an "indirect" affect on snakes.
The zoo's Baez said that he was almost certain the drought had affected area snakes in a variety of ways, though mostly in terms of behavior.
A dry year can mean snakes won't grow as much, Baez said, and therefore not shed as much.
Snakes under drought conditions also may not have as many offspring as in wetter years.
But it's somewhat hard to starve a snake, Baez said.
Considered "ambush predators," they can live weeks, even months, on little sustenance.
Snakes will wander away from familiar areas to find food and water if conditions become prohibitive.
And that can mean coming into greater proximity with people.
"If an animal is starving, even if it's a secretive one, because it's trying to survive it's more likely to be in proximity to a person," Baez said.
Houses, gardens, ponds, lakes and pools often serve as an oasis not just for snakes, but other creatures oppressed by drought.
"You'll naturally have animals come in because there is greener grass, and therefore the predators will follow," he said, along with more of the types of ground cover that snakes and their prey love.
While there's no way to guarantee a snake-free home, making one's property less "snake-friendly" — such as removing clutter and piles of rocks, logs or trash — can go a long way, Baez said.
"That's where prey hide, and so that's where predators hide," he said.
Snakes in this area tend to den communally and start waking up from hibernation in March, staying near their lairs until the weather is warmer.
In the early year, snakes tend to be diurnal, meaning they come out during the day time. But excessive temperatures, like those that broke records last year, can become too hot for them to handle.
So they may switch to a nocturnal schedule, being seen on the move at dusk and even around midnight if it's a particularly hot year.
The reptiles generally breed early in the year, but don't actually have their babies until late August or September, Baez said. Snakes generally return to their familiar dens in the fall for hibernation.
Nolan County Extension Agent Zachary Wilcox said he doubted one would see "much of a decrease in numbers" of snakes because of recent dry conditions, though he said he wouldn't be surprised if there hadn't been some decline based on his own experience with rattlesnake run-ins.
"I can tell you in late summer or fall, I'll normally kill six or eight or 10 of them just out and about on dirt roads or wherever," he said. "And I can tell you I haven't seen as many of them."
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8) If you ever wondered what goes on a rattlesnake roundup, here is the schedule for the Sweetwater roundup. At least the events they advertise or know of. The horror of these events in in the details of what happens at the many booths and just the sheer number they collect. (see above article)
Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup
Cost: Friday to Sunday, $8 adults; $5 children 10 and under
Sweetwater Jaycees are not responsible for pay-to-park lots.
THURSDAY (events free)
4:30 p.m. — Rattlesnake Review Parade Starts at Third and Ash streets.
7 p.m. — Miss Snake Charmer Scholarship Pageant, City Auditorium, corner of Fourth and Locust streets.
FRIDAY
Gates open to the public: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Events include: Guided hunt registration, weigh-in of snakes, bus tours, snake handling shows, fried rattlesnake meat, registration for brisket and chili cook-off, Sweetwater Gun, Knife and Coin Show, Rattlesnake Dance.
SATURDAY
Gates open to the public: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Events include: Guided hunt registration, 19th annual brisket and chili cook-off, Girl Scout salsa challenge, weigh-in of snakes, bus tours, fried rattlesnake meat, snake handling shows, Sweetwater Gun, Knife and Coin Show, Rattlesnake Dance.
SUNDAY
Gates open to the public: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Events include: Guided hunt registration, weigh-in of snakes, bus tours, fried rattlesnake meat, snake handling shows, rattlesnake eating contest, prize awards, Sweetwater Gun, Knife and Coin Show.
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9) Salamanders and fish can regenerate lost structures - why can't we?
(Editor- The topic is sort of the Holy Grail among scientists. Why? Simple, if they can do it what can we learn from them so we can do it. Since its’s an Open Access article, I am reprinting the entire paper, even the bibliography. Perhaps it will encourage a student to enter the field, and years latter... Who knows?)
by Hans-Georg Simon
Correspondence: Hans-Georg Simon hgsimon@northwestern.edu
Author Affiliations
Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Children's Memorial Research Center, 2300 Children's Plaza, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
BMC Biology 2012, 10:15 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-15
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
The recent introduction of in vivo lineage-tracing techniques using fluorescently labeled cells challenged the long-standing view that complete dedifferentiation is a major force driving vertebrate tissue regeneration. The report in BMC Developmental Biology by Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte and colleagues adds a new twist to a rapidly evolving view of the origin of blastemal cells. As classic and recent experimental findings are considered together, a new perspective on vertebrate muscle regeneration is emerging.
Commentary
Loss or serious damage to tissues cannot be repaired - at least not in humans. A severed limb does not grow back, an infarcted heart muscle does not heal by itself. Many animal species do, however, have surprising regenerative abilities. Studies of these natural regenerating systems promise to provide a conceptual understanding of the biology of tissue regeneration, and even partial achievements could revolutionize approaches to regeneration in the clinic.
How is the vast range of cells and tissues rebuilt during vertebrate regeneration?
Like other organs, vertebrate appendages are composed of complex tissues that originate from multiple germ layers. The limb, for example, consists of epidermis and a peripheral nervous system, both derived from ectoderm, and other internal tissues such as muscle, bone, dermis, and blood vessels, which have a mesodermal origin. In a regeneration-competent vertebrate, damage or complete loss of an appendage initiates a regenerative response that typically involves the early formation of a growth zone of undifferentiated cells, the blastema, at the distal end of the stump. The origin of the newly formed blastemal cells and their fate during the regeneration process have been on-going topics of debate over the past century. Early studies using the regenerating salamander limb and tail indicated that injured multinucleated myofibers can dedifferentiate, give rise to mononucleate progeny, and contribute to the regenerating blastema. Tracing individually labeled myotubes after transplantation documented their capacity to redifferentiate into different lineages within the regenerate, indicating the multipotent nature of derived progenitors cells [1]. Recent advances in generating green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing transgenic frogs, salamanders, and fish, combined with molecular marker analyses, have enabled in vivo tracking of cells with high precision. Revisiting the open questions concerning the overall contribution and transdifferentiation of lineages, Kragl et al. [2] demonstrated that the salamander limb blastema primarily contains lineage-restricted progenitors that remain within their original lineage as they rebuild the lost tissue.
The first demonstration in a vertebrate that different tissues, such as muscle and nerve, are regenerated from distinct progenitor pools came from work on Xenopus tadpole tail regeneration [3]. These studies indicated that the activation of muscle-specific stem cells (that is, Pax7+ satellite cells localized adjacent to mature fibers, rather than dedifferentiation, drive muscle regeneration in premetamorphic frogs. In addition, the new study by Rodrigues and colleagues [4] with amputated zebrafish larvae tails produced no evidence of dedifferentiation of the myofibers. Ultrastructural and gene expression data, however, revealed signs of incomplete dedifferentiation in regenerating tadpole tail muscle fibers. This unexpected phenotype might indicate that partial cellular dedifferentiation is sufficient to condition the muscle into a regeneration program, which might not just comprise the myofiber but also could include the activation of satellite cells. A lineage restriction for bone has also been documented in regenerating zebrafish fins, although a cycle of osteoblast dedifferentiation and redifferentiation was demonstrated during blastema formation [5]. In mammals, appendage regeneration is limited to the digit tip, permitting the study of cartilage, bone, epidermal, and nervous tissues but not of muscle tissue as this lineage is not present in this distally amputated tissue. Using the adult limb [6] or neonatal limb model [7], in combination with tissue-specific and inducible mouse cre-reporter lines, these two conceptually similar lineage analyses reached the same conclusion: during mammalian digit-tip regeneration, tissue-resident stem or progenitor cells are fate restricted.
Thus, the recent data from frog, salamander, fish, and mouse models support the hypothesis that lineage restriction during regeneration is the norm. Apparently, each tissue provides a distinct progenitor cell pool to the regeneration blastema, indicating that the vertebrate blastema is a heterogeneous population of cells that have different tissue origins and restricted potentials, which together coordinately regenerate the complex appendage. These studies did not, however, address or conclusively answer the question of whether dedifferentiation occurs within a specific lineage. By contrast, in salamanders, abundant data exist for skeletal muscle dedifferentiation. This finding is supported by recent studies in salamander and zebrafish cardiac muscle regeneration, where dedifferentiation of heart muscle cells results in expansion and redifferentiation to the original cell type [8,9]. Cre/loxP-based lineage tracing to compare the fates of skeletal muscle fibers and satellite cells will be crucial in finally determining the significance of skeletal muscle dedifferentiation versus stem cell activation in this lineage.
Does muscle have an independent role in controlling the differentiated status?
It is possible that both stem cell activation and dedifferentiation contribute to the production of proliferating progenitors for regeneration. For any specific cell type that acts as a source for new blastemal cells, whether it functions as a stem cell or through dedifferentiation to a progenitor state, a specific molecular programming or reprogramming mechanism must be in place to orchestrate the cellular behaviors that drive the regeneration process. Some evidence that muscle might indeed have a particular position in regeneration has come from investigations on the plasticity of the muscle cell differentiation status. The first experimental evidence that a transcription factor can induce a dedifferentiation response in a mammalian myotube that was thought to be terminally differentiated was reported, a decade ago already, by Odelberg et al. [10]. Their key finding was that forced expression of the homeobox protein Msx1 in mammalian myotubes resulted in the fragmentation and generation of mononucleated myoblasts. These findings were then extended by the same group, who demonstrated that the intracellular signaling pathways for dedifferentiation are intact in mammalian cells. Recently, Lehoczky and colleagues [7] proposed a new role for Msx1 as a mediator of bone morphogenic protein (BMP) activity in mouse digit tip regeneration after amputation. Msx1-expressing cells were found to reside in the distal clot, suggesting that the Msx1 protein has a signaling function during regeneration.
The tumor suppressor retinoblastoma protein (RB) has long been known to serve as a cell-cycle gate-keeper, and its natural inactivation by phosphorylation during salamander limb regeneration allows mature muscle cells to dedifferentiate and subsequently enter the cell cycle. While the situation is somewhat more complicated in the mammal, the experimental inactivation of both RB and the alternative reading frame (ARF) tumor suppressor has shown that mammalian muscle cells also can be induced to dedifferentiate and proliferate by the inactivation of these tumor suppressors [11]. These findings in skeletal muscle are echoed by studies in mammalian cardiomyocytes. Engel et al. [12] demonstrated that a combination of fibroblast growth factor1 (FGF1) stimulation and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibition can induce dedifferentiation, including contractile apparatus breakdown, following cell proliferation.
Although major inroads have been made over the past years into understanding the mechanisms of cellular reprogramming, especially in creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), our knowledge of this process and how it could be applied in the context of regeneration is still in its infancy.
Which factors should be used to induce terminally differentiated cells to become plastic?
A close look at the extracellular environment at the wound site might offer some new clues that could help to bring order to the seemingly random array of transcription and signaling factors that appear to control plasticity. Appendage regeneration is characterized by an immediate and dramatic remodeling of all tissues proximal to the site of tissue loss. Recent work from our laboratory revealed a rapid shift from a collagen and laminin-based stiff extracellular matrix (ECM) to a softer transitional matrix that is rich in hyaluronic acid, tenascin-C, and fibronectin [13]. In vivo high-resolution three-dimensional imaging revealed this transitional matrix within tissues adjacent to muscle fibers and Pax7+ satellite cells. The use of muscle explants in combination with defined matrix environments further demonstrated that distinct ECM components can differentially direct all of the cellular behaviors necessary for limb regeneration, including proliferation, migration, myofiber fragmentation and myoblast fusion. These findings suggest that the ECM can differentially control cellular behavior during the regeneration process by mediating both growth factor availability and the specific binding of matrices to cell-membrane-localized receptors such as integrins. In this way, the ECM can trigger regeneration-specific gene pathways that are important in the recruitment, expansion, and differentiation of blastema cells
Novel approaches to unlock regenerative potential in humans
Recent findings in natural regenerating systems are of great significance because they point to new opportunities to manipulate the local extracellular environment of the wound and possibly to unlock intrinsic regenerative potential by generating new appropriately programmed cells in vivo. Following this more natural path either to induce postmitotic cells to dedifferentiate or to activate local stem cell pools would circumvent many of the problems associated with cell transplantation and might lead to the development of new treatments to enhance regenerative wound healing in humans.
Abbreviations
ECM: extracellular matrix; RB: retinoblastoma protein.
Acknowledgements
I sincerely thank Dr Shannon J Odelberg for critical reading of and suggestions on the manuscript, and Brandon Holtrup for technical expertise in figure design. Regeneration research in the Simon laboratory was supported through Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust and the NIH T90 Regenerative Medicine Training Program.
References
1. Lo DC, Allen F, Brockes JP: Reversal of muscle differentiation during urodele limb regeneration.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993, 90:7230-7234. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text
1. Kragl M, Knapp D, Nacu E, Khattak S, Maden M, Epperlein HH, Tanaka EM: Cells keep a memory of their tissue origin during axolotl limb regeneration.
Nature 2009, 460:60-65. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text
2. Gargioli C, Slack JMW: Cell lineage tracing during Xenopus tail regeneration.
Development 131, 11:2669-2679.
1. Rodrigues AMC, Christen B, Marti M, Izpisúa Belmonte JC: Skeletal muscle regeneration in Xenopus tadpoles and zebrafish larvae.
BMC Dev Biol, in press.
Complete reference to be added
2. Knopf F, Hammond C, Chekuru A, Kurth T, Hans S, Weber CW, Mahatma G, Fisher S, Brand M, Schulte-Merker S, Weidinger G: Bone regenerates via dedifferentiation of osteoblasts in the zebrafish fin.
Dev Cell 2011, 20:713-724. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text
1. Rinkevich Y, Lindau P, Ueno H, Longaker MT, Weissman IL: Germ-layer and lineage-restricted stem/progenitors regenerate the mouse digit tip.
Nature 2011, 476:409-413. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text
2. Lehoczky JA, Robert B, Tabin CJ: Mouse digit tip regeneration is mediated by fate-restricted progenitor cells.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011, 108:20609-20614. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text
3. Jopling C, Sleep E, Raya M, Marti M, Raya A, Izpisúa Belmonte JC: Zebrafish heart regeneration occurs by cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation and proliferation.
Nature 2010, 464:606-609. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text
1. Kikuchi K, Holdway JE, Werdich AA, Anderson RA, Fang Y, Egnaczyk GF, Evans T, MacRae CA, Stainier DYR, Poss KD: Primary contribution to zebrafish heart regeneration by gata4+ cardiomyocytes.
Nature 2010, 464:601-605. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text
1. Odelberg DJ, Kollhoff A, Keating MT: Dedifferentiation of mammalian myotubes induced by msx1.
Cell 2000, 103:1099-1109. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text
2. Pajcini KV, Corbel SY, Sage J, Pomerantz JH, Blau HM: Transient inactivation of Rb and ARF yields regenerative cells from postmitotic mammalian muscle.
Cell Stem Cell 2010, 7:198-213. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text
1. Engel FB, Schebesta M, Duong M, Lu G, Ren S, Madwed JB, Jiang H, Wang Y, Keating MT: p38 MAP kinase inhibition enables proliferation of adult mammalian cardiomyocytes.
Genes Dev 2005, 19:1175-1187. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text | PubMed Central Full Text
1. Calve S, Odelberg SJ, Simon H-G: A transitional extracellular matrix instructs cell behavior during muscle regeneration.
Dev Biol 2010, 344:259-271. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text


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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2
Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
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Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Remember $75.000 for one book and $150 for the set.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
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Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 13 3/15/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
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Table of Contents

1) The Terrapin Volunteer Program at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Needs You!
2)Developer to work for land swap to protect Mississippi gopher frogs
3) attlesnake Roundup Ends (Georgia)
4) Diet and conservation implications of an invasive chameleon, Chamaeleo jacksonii (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) in Hawaii
5) Indian Star Tortoises Sent Home
6) Lizards Being Trained for Space Mission (Geckos)
7) New to nature No 67: Cyrtopodion kiabii - tiny angular-toed gecko was found in adandoned buildings
8) U-T: Protest Stops Reptile Ban In Chula Vista, California
9)A New Species in New York Was Croaking in Plain Sight---The new species of leopard frog, whose entire known range is roughly within commuting distance of Midtown Manhattan, makes an unusual sound.
10) Lizards, not oil and gas, at risk of extinction
11) REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS -TURTLE CONSERVATION FUND
Next Proposal Deadline: 1 May 2012
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Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) The Terrapin Volunteer Program at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Needs You!

Professor Russell Burke, Hofstra College, needs volunteers to help with a diamondback terrapin conservation project in May, June, and July. College students may be able to get credit for their assistance. Get a fantastic tan while helping out a species in trouble, get valuable experience with wildlife, and do something for natural world!

Volunteers must have their own transportation to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, in Gateway National Recreational Area, accessible by train and bus from NYC.

For more information contact:

Dr. Russell Burke
Department of Biology
Hofstra University
(516) 463-5521
russell.l.burke@hofstra.edu
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2) Developer to work for land swap to protect Mississippi gopher frogs

NEW ORLEANS (AP) 3/9/12 — A developer has agreed to work toward a land swap that would protect an endangered frog that breeds near a development in Harrison County, Miss.
Only about 100 adult Mississippi gopher frogs live in the wild, with another 1,500 or so in zoos, including New Orleans' Audubon Zoo.
Collette Adkins Giese of the Center for Biological Diversity says developer Columbus Communities LLC will pay for appraisals of both parcels. Her group will map them.
Both are steps to prepare a proposal for the U.S. Forest Service to swap private land next to the DeSoto National Forest for Forest Service land on the opposite side of the development, which is called Tradition.
Giese says the exchange would let the development proceed while protecting essential habitat for an endangered species.
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3) Rattlesnake Roundup Ends

By Josephine Bennett, 3/9/12, Georgia Public Radio

CLAXTON, Ga. — Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (photo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity)
The Evans County Wildlife Club in Claxton is expecting around 15,000 people for its 45th annual Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival. But, for the first time no Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes will be rounded up and killed.

The Club will instead feature live snakes and other wildlife. In recent years organizers came under increasing pressure to stop catching and killing the snakes. Recent studies show their populations are declining.

South Georgia resident Bill Matturo founded the snake advocacy group, Protect All Living Species. He says just two Eastern Diamondback roundups, one in Alabama and another in Whigham, Georgia remain.

“We submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake as threatened in its range, and that will eventually, if they don’t recover, they would go to an endangered status.”

The Eastern Diamondback is the largest rattlesnake in the world and helps control rodent populations.
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4) Diet and conservation implications of an invasive chameleon, Chamaeleo jacksonii (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) in Hawaii
Fred Kraus, Arthur Medeiros, David Preston, Catherine S. Jarnevich and Gordon H. Rodda
Biological Invasions
Volume 14, Number 3, 579-593, DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-0099-3

• Fred Kraus(1)
• Arthur Medeiros(2)acm@aloha.net
• David Preston(1)
• Catherine S. Jarnevich(3)
• Gordon H. Rodda(3)
Author Affiliations
1. Hawaii Biological Survey, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
2. U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Haleakala Field Station, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768, USA
3. U.S. Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. C, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA

We summarize information on current distribution of the invasive lizard Chamaeleo jacksonii and predict its potential distribution in the Hawaiian Islands. Potential distribution maps are based on climate models developed from known localities in its native range and its Hawaiian range. We also present results of analysis of stomach contents of a sample of 34 chameleons collected from native, predominantly dryland, forest on Maui. These data are the first summarizing prey range of this non-native species in an invaded native-forest setting. Potential distribution models predict that the species can occur throughout most of Hawaii from sea level to >2,100 m elevation. Important features of this data set are that approximately one-third of the diet of these lizards is native insects, and the lizards are consuming large numbers of arthropods each day. Prey sizes span virtually the entire gamut of native Hawaiian arthropod diversity, thereby placing a large number of native species at risk of predation. Our dietary results contrast with expectations for most iguanian lizards and support suggestions that chameleons comprise a third distinct foraging-mode category among saurians. The combination of expanding distribution, large potential range size, broad diet, high predation rates, and high densities of these chameleons imply that they may well become a serious threat to some of the Hawaiian fauna.
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5) Indian Star Tortoises Sent Home
Traffic- Jakarta, Indonesia, 12th March 2012—19 Indian Star Tortoises seized in Indonesia’s largest airport, Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta, have been returned to India, their country of origin.

It is the first occasion tortoises seized in Indonesia have been returned to India.

“Although the number of tortoises represents a tiny fraction of those being trafficked, their repatriation is symbolic of the growing commitment, dedication and co-operation between enforcement officers within Asia to tackle rising wildlife crime in the region,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

The animals were part of a seizure made by Customs in Jakarta on 7th November 2011 after an Indonesian woman was stopped returning to Indonesia from Bangkok, Thailand, with the tortoises and various snakes, but without the necessary permits.

Although her cargo included 47 Indian Star Tortoises, 27 of them were already dead or died shortly after she was stopped. A further tortoise died in the quarantine station awaiting repatriation.

Care and return of the tortoises was co-ordinated in Indonesia by Customs, Quarantine and the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation.

The tortoises have been sent to Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP), Chennai, from where it is anticipated they will soon be released into the wild.

Indian Star Tortoises Geochelone elegans are native to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and are protected by law in all three countries as well as protected through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Indian Star Tortoises are extremely popular as pets in Jakarta and other parts of South-East Asia, and illegal trade to meet this demand is considered one the greatest threats to their survival.

“Authorities in Southeast Asia need to demonstrate to smugglers, traders and buyers that the illegal trade in Indian Star Tortoises and other reptiles will not be tolerated,” said Shepherd.

“Traders illegally selling reptiles and other animals need to be put out of business and behind bars.”
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6) Lizards Being Trained for Space Mission (Geckos)
3/15/12, The Moscow Times

Russian scientists are training geckos to go into space in a research satellite, Interfax reported Wednesday.
The reptiles will undergo a tough selection process before departing with the Bion-M satellite, which is set to be launched toward the end of 2012, said a spokesman for the Institute of Biomedical Problems.
"The basic principles for selection and preparation are the same as those for human cosmonauts. We will leave out weak and ill ones, and there will also be no place for those which are easily excited or aggressive," the spokesman stated.
One advantage of lizards is that they need very little training because they are already adapted to similar conditions as those experienced in space, the spokesman noted.
"Geckos don't need much special training because of their particular way of life — they are not badly fitted to extreme conditions," he said. "Even under effects of unusual gravity changes, you see that they don't care where they run, on the floor, wall or ceiling."
Scientists are also preparing "doubles" for the lizards so that they can replace individual or whole groups of reptiles if anything goes wrong, the spokesman said.
Fifteen lizards will be placed on the satellite in three containers, five per container, while on earth a control group will live in the same conditions.
"They will experience identical conditions, apart from weightlessness and other gravitational movements that are only possible in space. That way we will be able to know which changes happened by coincidence and which were linked with sending them into orbit," the spokesman said.
One of Russia's most famous cosmonauts was an animal: In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Laika, the first dog to orbit the Earth, in the Sputnik-2 spacecraft.
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7) New to nature No 67: Cyrtopodion kiabii - tiny angular-toed gecko was found in adandoned buildings
The Observer, 3/10/12, Quentin Wheeler, Geckos are one of the largest families of lizards, with about 1,500 known species. The genus Cyrtopodion includes the bent-toed gecko in Pakistan and a new angular-toed species, C. kiabii, from Iran, which is named after the ecologist Bahram Kiabi.
So far, these tiny geckos (measuring less than 100mm, in body length, including the tail) are known only from the type locality, about 100 miles from the coast of the Persian Gulf. The geckos were collected in two abandoned buildings where they, like other species in the genus, seemed to be strictly nocturnal.
With the addition of this species the genus includes about 37 species, but recent analysis of DNA data suggests that Cyrtopodion is not monophyletic; that is, the species does not share a common ancestral species not also shared by at least some species outside the genus. This points to the need for additional work, to arrive at a stable classification of geckos.
The new species was reported by an international team of scientists from Iran and Germany, led by Dr Faraham Ahmadzadeh of the Shahid Beheshti University. The diminutive and delicate lizard is distinguished from related species in the region in part by differences in morphometrics and scale patterns. More data will be required before making any conclusions about the distribution or status of the species.
At the other end of the spectrum, the largest gecko is presumed extinct. It was endemic to New Zealand but is known only from a single stuffed specimen in the basement of a museum in Marseille, and from one recorded sighting in 1870.
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8) U-T: Protest Stops Reptile Ban In Chula Vista
Wendy Fry, San Diego News, 3/6/12, CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Read the fine print.
That’s what local reptile store owner Mike Yacoub, 36, said when he learned last week about proposed city ordinances.

A new law aimed at reducing a growing number of dog and cat euthanizations at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility also included a ban on owning pythons, boas and certain lizards longer than 3 feet 6 inches.

The measure was revised at the last minute to allow the reptiles. Had it been approved, it would have effectively shut down Yacoub’s 35-year-old business, Southbay Tropical Marine and Reptile on Third Avenue. Yacoub said he discovered the proposed ban about 30 hours before the council was set to take action when he saw an email about it by chance.
The ban was detailed halfway through 57 pages of agenda material on the item.

Public protest from snake owners at the Feb. 28 council meeting caused city leaders to strike the python and boa ban, but it left local reptile owners unsettled.

“I’ve been working in pet stores since I was 16,” Yacoub said. “For 20 years of my life, I’ve been dedicated to the pet industry. For something like that, with the snap of a finger to almost completely disappear in just one day; it was disturbing. No one was aware of this. That law would have passed had we not gone down there.”

Beginning last September, meetings were held to involve the community in drafting language for the pet law revision, including a mandatory microchipping and spay-and-neuter measure for lost dogs and cats that are taken to the local animal shelter.

When the ordinance came forward Feb. 28, in addition to the new dog and cat regulations, it also said no resident would be allowed to possess any wild animals, defined as tigers, monkeys, cougars, and large snakes like boas and pythons. Yacoub estimates that at least 10,000 residents keep snakes as pets in the city. The new rules were changed on the spot to allow pythons and boas and certain large lizards — as long as they are properly contained and cannot escape into neighborhoods.

“We did not realize what the impact was until the affected parties came out and told us,” Assistant City Manager Scott Tulloch said. “At that point, we were happy to change it to something more reasonable.”

There were about 60 community members at each of the three public meetings held on the topic, but many attendees didn’t remember discussing snakes. Also, the city hosted nine stakeholder meetings, each attended by about 12 people.

Yacoub, who teaches reptile awareness programs at Sweetwater schools, said he was never invited. “Honestly, I don’t think anyone was thinking reptiles. I think they were just talking dogs and cats,” said Councilman Rudy Ramirez, who brought forward the initiative, also aimed at helping the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility recover some funding. The agency’s budget was trimmed from about $2.3 million to $2.1 million for this fiscal year.

The new rules require microchipping a pet at the owner’s expense the first time it gets loose, and require that the pet be spayed or neutered after the next incident, except in extreme situations like an earthquake or flood.

The animal facility impounds on average about 2,600 lost or stray cats, and 2,500 dogs each year. This new statute is aimed at limiting euthanizations, which currently total more than 3,000 a year. Typically, if an owner decides he or she no longer wants an impounded animal or no one comes to pick it up, adoptable animals are spayed and neutered at taxpayer’s expense. Those animals not qualified for adoption are often euthanized.

Proposed fees for first and second impounds would increase significantly. A pet owner who comes to pick up a lost dog or cat could see a bill of about $175, instead of the $25 impound fee required in the past. The council is set to adopt the new fee schedule at a later meeting. The city is also considering charging a $295 fee for a second offense of a loose animal.

Despite the public outreach effort and the last-minute revisions, some community members said the higher fees could cause more euthanizations because some animal owners won’t be able to afford to retrieve their pets.

Kay Anderson, a teacher at Hilltop High School who was involved in the public meetings to draft the ordinance, said the ordinance did not reflect community desires. “This version is far more punitive and it smacks of being drafted on the fly,” she said.The new pet ordinance is slated to come back to the City Council for a second reading March 13.
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9) A New Species in New York Was Croaking in Plain Sight---The new species of leopard frog, whose entire known range is roughly within commuting distance of Midtown Manhattan, makes an unusual sound.
By LISA W. FODERARO 5/13/12 NY Times
On a foray into the wilds of Staten Island in 2009, Jeremy A. Feinberg, a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolution at Rutgers University, heard something strange as he listened for the distinctive mating call of the southern leopard frog — usually a repetitive chuckle. But this was a single cluck.
“I started hearing these calls, and I realized they were really distinct,” Mr. Feinberg said.
Three years later, Mr. Feinberg and four other scientists who joined him in multiple field and laboratory studies, are finally comfortable making their declaration: a new species of leopard frog — as yet unnamed — has been identified in New York City and a number of surrounding counties.
The find is surprising on a number of fronts, not least of which is that the new frog was hiding in plain sight in one of the most populated centers in the world. (Most new species are found in remote areas.) And it illustrates the power of genetic testing in parsing more finely those animals that may be nearly identical in appearance, but are, in fact, of different species.
There are more than a dozen leopard frogs, ranging from Canada to Central America. Medium in size, with dark spots on a tan, olive or green background, they gravitate toward grassy meadows and breed in ponds or pools. The researchers say that the new frog species was confused for a long time with the southern leopard frog, which it closely resembles.
Its known range is limited, more or less, to commuting distance from Midtown Manhattan, stretching from around Trenton, N.J., in the south, to Putnam County, N.Y., to the north.
“Here is a brand-new species, and it’s not a species of bacteria or a barely visible insect,” said H. Bradley Shaffer, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California at Los Angeles. “It’s a big amphibian, and kids have probably been catching and playing with it for years,” he said. “Even in an urban center like New York, where herpetologists have tromped all over for a century or more, there can be new species out there. That shows the importance of urban areas in terms of conservation and biodiversity.”
The findings are to be published in an issue of the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, but are currently available online. Much of the genetic analysis was performed in Professor Shaffer’s laboratory at the University of California at Davis, where he worked until recently.
There, with his encouragement, Catherine E. Newman, an evolutionary biologist who had done her master’s thesis on the southern leopard frog, studied the frog’s DNA, taken from samples sent by Mr. Feinberg and others. She compared it with the DNA of southern and northern leopard frogs, which range widely north and south of New York City.
Local amphibian fans can be forgiven for not noticing the new frog’s unique nature. “I wouldn’t know which one I was holding because they all look so similar,” said Ms. Newman, who is now pursuing her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. “But all of our results showed this one’s lineage is very clearly genetically distinct.”
So far, Mr. Feinberg has positively identified the new species on Staten Island, although he says it probably once inhabited Manhattan and the other boroughs. He has found specimens in the Meadowlands and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, and Putnam and Orange Counties in New York. Some frogs were also collected in central Connecticut.
“It’s a very small range and even if we went back 400 to 500 years, it probably would have been considered a rare animal,” he said.
The dead center of the known range, oddly, is near Yankee Stadium, even though the frog has not yet been found in the Bronx.
“I think that at this point it’s very important to do additional surveys,” Professor Shaffer said. The frog’s range “may be no wider than we have found or it may be wider.”
Over the years, a few other scientists almost identified the new species, but fell short. In 1936, one esteemed herpetologist wrote that he suspected there was a third frog species in the general New York City area. But he did not investigate further.
In the early 1970s, another scientist went on a listening tour of the various leopard frogs’ mating calls while driving from Florida to the Northeast. “She missed this entire area,” Mr. Feinberg said. “She might have been driving on I-95 and just skipped over the weird call area.”
As the lead author on a second paper that is to explore the physical characteristics and call of the new frog, Mr. Feinberg will have the honor of naming rights, choosing a scientific and common name. For now he’s not letting the frog out of the bag.
“I’ve given it lots of thought,” he said. “Part of me has always wanted to call these New York leopard frogs, but I think people in New Jersey and Connecticut will protest. I have to balance the politics with the naming.”
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10) Lizards, not oil and gas, at risk of extinction
By Jay Lininger, Las Cruce Sun News, 3/12/12

Only 2 percent of the Permian Basin oil and gas lands in southeast New Mexico and west Texas are habitat for the rare dunes sagebrush lizard. Yet oil-friendly Chicken Littles continue to squawk that the sky will fall if the lizard is protected as an endangered species.
State Rep. Dennis Kintigh (R-Roswell) has claimed wildly that: "The negative impact the listing will have on jobs is frightening. The effect on New Mexico's economy and the ability of the state to fund education and health care for the poor would be devastating."
But the lizard's shinnery oak sand dune habitat makes up a tiny sliver of New Mexico - less than a half-million acres.
And there's no shortage of drilling opportunities elsewhere. Oil and gas firms own roughly 7,000 drilling permits that have been issued by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management but not yet developed. That figure has remained steady for more than a year. While industry has leased roughly 38 million acres of public land, it is actively producing or exploring on just 16 million of those acres, according to the BLM.
Moreover, oil and gas leases offered by the BLM on public land in New Mexico vastly outnumber those purchased by industry. Indeed, the only barrier to drilling is the industry itself.
Mr. Kintigh has inflated the minuscule lizard into a Godzilla-like menace, stoking fear that endangered species protection will wreck the economy as part of an ideological agenda to roll back protections for air, water, lands and wildlife.
Kintigh accepted $35,000 from the oil and gas industry in the 2010 election cycle - almost 20 percent more than he received from all other donors of campaign cash combined, according to Project Vote Smart. In short, the industry is his main backer.
At the behest of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who categorically opposes federal wildlife protections, Kintigh audaciously convened a farce "science review" of the proposal to protect dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered. Kintigh stacked his panel with people lacking expertise on the lizard who voiced opposition to its protection before they showed up, including a cowboy museum curator, a rancher and two petroleum geologists - in addition to Kintigh himself, a retired FBI agent. Conveniently, they concluded the animal should not be protected.
In contrast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtained independent peer review of its proposal by scientists - including the world's foremost experts on dunes sagebrush lizards - who supported protections. The science-based proposal will help to safeguard the animal's future, and it will help to protect the environment upon which we all depend.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department forbids deliberate harm to dunes sagebrush lizards under threat of fines or imprisonment. But even that law does not protect habitat, which continues to be lost as society escalates its demand for fossil fuel.
Since 2009, the BLM has leased nearly 30,000 acres of lizard habitat for drilling. New roads, drilling pads and other infrastructure fragment habitat and inch the animal toward extinction.
Voluntary agreements to conserve lizard habitat have no teeth and therefore leave key habitat highly vulnerable. Industry's refusal to concede an inch to prevent extinction - even on a mere 2 percent of the Permian Basin - makes a strong case for federal protection.
Turning a blind eye to the permanent loss of an animal, for the sake of short-term profit, is a betrayal of future generations - and telling the public that helping that vanishing animal will bring economic calamity is dishonest and cynical. Mr. Kintigh should serve the American people and their future, not the special interest that bankrolls him.
Jay Lininger is an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Albuquerque.
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11) REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS -TURTLE CONSERVATION FUND
Next Proposal Deadline: 1 May 2012

A Partnership Coalition of Leading Turtle Conservation Organizations and Individualss
_________
Strategic Action Planning and Funding Support for Conservation of
Threatened Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles
(www.turtleconservationfund.org)
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Conservation International • International Union for the Conservation of Nature / Species Survival Commission / Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group • Turtle Survival Alliance • European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Shellshock Campaign • Chelonian Research Foundation • Chester Zoo • Fort Worth Zoo • Asian Turtle Program • Wildlife Conservation Society • Behler Chelonian Center / Turtle Conservancy • Chelonian Research Institute • Humane Society International - Australia
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TCF Board:
Hugh R. Quinn, Co-Chair (DoubleHQ@aol.com)
Anders G.J. Rhodin, Co-Chair (RhodinCRF@aol.com)
Gary Ades; Chris B. Banks; Kurt A. Buhlmann; Kevin R. Buley; Antone Cadi; Bernard Devaux; Eric Goode; Douglas B. Hendrie; Brian D. Horne; Rick Hudson; Gerald Kuchling; Richard Lewis, Susan Lieberman; Luca Luiselli; George Meyer; Russell A. Mittermeier; Vivian Páez; Hans-Dieter Philippen; Colin Poole; Peter C.H. Pritchard; Martina Raffel; Walter C. Sedgwick; Peter Paul van Dijk; Andrew Walde; Henk Zwartepoorte

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The Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) administers a turtle conservation and research grants program. Awards are granted to organizations or individuals for specific conservation or research projects dealing with tortoises or freshwater turtles, but not marine turtles, with either partial or full support as funding allows. Awards at the present time are approximately in the $2000 to $5000 range per project, with occasional funding up to $10,000.
Priority for funding is given to projects that focus on species that are already highly threatened (Critically Endangered) as determined by the IUCN Red List (www.iucnredlist.org).
TCF’s highest priority species targeted for funding are listed below.
We welcome proposals for the conservation of species other than those listed, provided a convincing rationale is included why the species’ conservation status merits funding from the TCF.
Award recipients enter into contractual agreement with one of our partner organizations (Conservation International, Chelonian Research Foundation or EAZA Shellshock Campaign) to produce the proposed work. Award recipients are also encouraged to publish at least partial results of the supported research in the international scientific turtle journal, Chelonian Conservation and Biology, published by TCF Alliance Partner Chelonian Research Foundation (CRF; www.chelonian.org).
For further information and application guidelines go to www.turtleconservationfund.org
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Turtle Conservation Fund
Priority Species List

Species included in this list are Critically Endangered (CR) or proposed as CR (by IUCN Red Listing Workshops). Listed exceptions include Elusor macrurus (Mary River Turtle) (Endangered), and Terrapene coahuila (Coahuilan Box Turtle) (Endangered).

• Apalone spinifera atra (Black Spiny Softshell Turtle, Cuatro Cienegas Softshell Turtle)
• Astrochelys radiata (Radiated Tortoise)
• Astrochelys yniphora (Ploughshare Tortoise, Angonoka)
• Batagur affinis (Southern River Terrapin)
• Batagur baska (Northern River Terrapin)
• Batagur borneoensis (Painted Terrapin)
• Batagur kachuga (Red-crowned Roofed Turtle)
• Batagur trivittata (Burmese Roofed Turtle)
• Chelodina mccordi (Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle)
• Chelonoidis (nigra) abingdonii (Abingdon Island Giant Tortoise)
• Chelonoidis (nigra) duncanensis (Duncan Island Giant Tortoise)
• Chelonoidis (nigra) hoodensis (Hood Island Giant Tortoise)
• Chitra chitra (Asian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle)
• Chitra indica (Indian Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle)
• Chitra vandijki (Burmese Narrow-headed Softshell Turtle)
• Cuora aurocapitata (Yellow-headed Box Turtle)
• Cuora bourreti (Bourret’s Box Turtle)
• Cuora glabinifrons (Indochinese Box Turtle)
• Cuora mccordi (McCord’s Box Turtle)
• Cuora pani (Pan’s Box Turtle)
• Cuora picturata (Southern Vietnam Box Turtle)
• Cuora trifasciata (Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Golden Coin Turtle)
• Cuora yunnanensis (Yunnan Box Turtle)
• Cuora zhoui (Zhou’s Box Turtle)
• Dermatemys mawii (Central American River Turtle)
• Elusor macrurus (Mary River Turtle)
• Erymnochelys madagascariensis (Madagascan Big-headed Turtle)
• Geochelone platynota (Burmese Star Tortoise)
• Glyptemys muhlenbergii (Bog Turtle)
• Gopherus flavomarginatus (Bolson Tortoise)
• Heosemys annandalii (Yellow-headed Temple Turtle)
• Heosemys depressa (Arakan Forest Turtle)
• Leucocephalon yuwonoi (Sulawesi Forest Turtle)
• Manouria emys (Asian Giant Tortoise)
• Mauremys annamensis (Annam Pond Turtle)
• Mauremys mutica (Yellow Pond Turtle)
• Mauremys nigricans (Red-necked Pond Turtle)
• Mesoclemmys hogei (Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle)
• Nilssonia formosa (Burmese Peacock Softshell Turtle)
• Nilssonia lethii (Leith’s Softshell Turtle)
• Nilssonia nigricans (Black Softshell Turtle, Bostami Softshell)
• Orlitia borneensis (Malaysian Giant Turtle)
• Pelochelys cantori (Asian Giant Softshell Turtle, Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle)
• Platysternon megacephalum (Big-headed Turtle)
• Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle, Giant Amazon River Turtle, Arrau)
• Podocnemis lewyana (Magdalena River Turtle)
• Psammobates geometricus (Geometric Tortoise)
• Pseudemydura umbrina (Western Swamp Turtle)
• Pyxis arachnoides (Spider Tortoise)
• Pyxis planicauda (Flat-tailed Tortoise, Flat-shelled Spider Tortoise)
• Rafetus swinhoei (Red River Giant Softshell Turtle, Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle, Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle)
• Sacalia bealei (Beal’s Eyed Turtle)
• Siebenrockiella leytensis (Philippine Forest Turtle)
• Sternotherus depressus (Flattened Musk Turtle)
• Terrapene coahuila (Coahuilan Box Turtle)
• Testudo kleinmanni (Egyptian Tortoise)
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at a $20% Discount -
Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II
And if you buy the complete set, AND IF YOU ACT FAST- YOU CAN GET SIGNED COPIES OF EACH BOOK AT 20% OFFER. YES ONLY $120 FOR BOTH BOOKS.
Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US, Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com
(To order see the bottom of this message)

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

AND IF YOU ACT NOW WHAT WOULD COST YOU $150 NOW COSTS YOU ONLY $120.00-20% off-Plus $13.00 for S&H in the US,
Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:27 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 14 3/21/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_____________________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a Not-For-Profit Publication That is Entirely Based on Your Donations to Continue.
Wouldn‚t you like to help HerpDigest keep going. Donations of any size are appreciated from $1.00 to $25.00 to $100.00 to...?
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen.

A GREAT GIFT FOR THE TURTLE CRAZY CHILD IN YOUR HOUSE. Show it during their birthday party. Hold a special turtle party.on World Turtle Day (May 23rd). And for an addtional donation of $6.00 we will include our award-winning non-fiction children’s book “Turtles.” A book Herpetological Review raved about and said, “Finally a book on turtles by people who love turtles.” 64 pages, full color photos, glossary, bibliography.

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Table of Contents

1. Never Tease a Hungry Frog-A Video
2. Excellent article from The New Yorker about ploughshare tortoises and the work of the Turtle Conservancy now available as PDF download, free.
3. Does waterproofing Thermochron iButton dataloggers influence temperature readings?
4. A potential tool to mitigate the impacts of climate change to the caribbean leatherback sea turtle
5. 2012 Summer Course Announcement (June 15-July 10) Field course in Neotropical Herpetology
6. Australian Saltwater Crocodiles Are World’s Most Powerful Biters
7. Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for Northeastern US: Due to Acorns and Mice, Not Mild Winter (Editor- Something to keep in mind when Field Herping)
8. Carr family’s historic forest cabin is restored T
9. Tracking Lake Erie Water Snake in Fight Against Invasive Fish
10. Marine Protected Areas Are Keeping Sea Turtles Safe (the green turtle)
11. Exploring Culinary Curiosities
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Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst.

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
__________________________________________________________________
1) Never Tease a Hungry Frog-A Video An Apple iPhone vs a Frog., from Joel Bruce.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3171397958395
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2) Available (in pdf form) is an excellent article from The New Yorker about ploughshare tortoises and the work of the Turtle Conservancy and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. We thank you in advance for reading and sharing.

For a copy go to https://turtleconservancy.org/documents ... Yorker.pdf
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3) Does waterproofing Thermochron iButton dataloggers influence temperature readings?
Elizabeth A. Roznik & Ross A. Alford
School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University,Townsville, Queensland4811, Australia

Miniature Thermochron iButton dataloggers have transformed the ways in which researchers collect thermal data. However, one important limitation is that these dataloggers are not waterproof, which can lead to device failure and loss of data under field conditions. Several methods have been used to increase their water resistance, but no study to date has investigated whether any of these techniques affects the accuracy of temperature readings. Waterproofing potentially could affect the accuracy of iButtons by biasing temperatures or altering rates of warming and cooling. We compared temperature profiles of unmodified Thermochron iButtons (model DS1921G) to iButtons that we coated with a clear plastic dip (designed to coat tool handles) to determine whether this waterproof coating affects the accuracy of temperatures they record. We also compared temperatures recorded by uncoated and coated iButtons that were embedded within physical models that mimic frog body temperatures. Finally, we used our field data to test whether coating iButtons with plastic prevents failure of dataloggers during fieldwork. Although we found statistically significant differences between the temperatures recorded by uncoated and coated iButtons, and also between uncoated and coated iButtons embedded in frog models, these effects were relatively small (0–1.3 °C). We also found that coating iButtons with plastic reduced the likelihood of device failure under field conditions (from 8.3% to 0%). We conclude that coating Thermochron iButtons with plastic is an affordable and reliable method of waterproofing dataloggers that prevents device failure and data loss with minimal influence on temperature readings.
Journal of Thermal Biology
In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 21 February 2012
________________________________________________________________

4) A potential tool to mitigate the impacts of climate change to the caribbean leatherback sea turtle

JUAN PATINO-MARTINEZ*† , ADOLFO MARCO*, LILIANA QUINONE S * and LUCY
HAWKES‡

Abstract
It is now well understood that climate change has the potential to dramatically affect biodiversity, with effects on spatio-temporal distribution patterns, trophic relationships and survivorship. In the marine turtles, sex is determined byincubation temperature, such that warming temperatures could lead to a higher production of female hatchlings. By measuring nest temperature, and using a model to relate the incubation temperature to sex ratio, we estimate that
Caribbean Colombian leatherback sea turtles currently produce approximately 92% female hatchlings. We modelledthe relationship between incubation, sand and air temperature, and under all future climate change scenarios (0.4–6.0 °C warming over the next 100 years), complete feminization could occur, as soon as the next decade. However,
male producing refugia exist in the periphery of smaller nests (0.7 °C cooler at the bottom than at the centre), within beaches (0.3 °C cooler in the vegetation line and inter-tidal zone) and between beaches (0.4 °C higher on dark beaches), and these natural refugia could be assigned preferential conservation status. However, there exists a need to develop strategies that may ameliorate deleterious effects of climate-induced temperature changes in the future.
We experimentally shaded clutches using screening material, and found that it was effective in reducing nest temperature, producing a higher proportion of male hatchlings, without compromising the fitness or hatching success. Artificial shade in hatcheries is a very useful and simple tool in years or periods of high environmental temperatures. Nevertheless, this is only an emergency response to the severe impacts that will eventually have to be reversed if we
are to guarantee the stability of the populations.

Please, feel free to email me at juanpatino@ebd.csic.es for a copy

Best

j.


Juan Patiño Martínez. Ph.D.
Estación Biológica de Doñana
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Depto. Etología y Conservación de la Biodiversidad
Av. Américo Vespucio s/n 41013 Sevilla
Tfno: (+34) 954 232 340 - (+34) 954466700 Ext. 1078
Movil (+34) 699 12 73 32
http://www.ebd.csic.es
juanpatino@ebd.csic.es
____________________________________________________________
5) 2012 SUMMER COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT (June 15-July 10)

FIELD COURSE IN NEOTROPICAL HERPETOLOGY (NEH B-12)

COURSE LOCATION: Bocas del Toro Biological Station, Boca del Drago, Isla Colon, Republic of Panama. The biological station is located on a beach facing the Caribbean Sea. Coral reef and seagrass ecosystems lie out in front of the station and lowland tropical rain forests lie directly behind. This juxtaposition of the two most biologically diverse ecosystems provides tremendous opportunities for education and research. See: http://www.itec-edu.org/index.html for details.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Peter N. Lahanas, Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, 2911 NW 40th PL, Gainesville, FL 32605, 352-367-9128, email: lahanas@itec-edu.org, web: http://www.itec-edu.org/herpetology2.html,
Specialty: Neotropical herpetology, forest ecology, animal behavior, biogeography, molecular genetics of sea turtles.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will emphasize the ecology, behavior, biogeography and systematics of the amazingly diverse Neotropical herpetofauna. The material covered is equivalent to a university upper level course in herpetology. The course is divided into three parts. During the first few days students will become familiar with the many ecosystems found in our area and with the trail systems during "orientation" walks. The bulk of the first 10 days will be spent learning field techniques and carrying out various group projects or exercises (see below). Midway through the course the entire station community takes a 3-day field trip to cloud forests of Boquete (see details below). On returning to the field station, students work on their individual research projects and continue to receive lectures or other activities in the evening.
Formal lectures Formal lectures will take place in the classroom and will include the use of PowerPoint presentations and chalkboard. Lectures will generally be given in the evening so that more daylight hours can be spent in the field. Lecture topics will include:

o History of Neotropical herpetology
o Evolution of amphibians and reptiles
o Overview and classification of amphibians
o Overview and classification of reptiles
o Historical biogeographic relationships
o Reproduction strategies
o Ecology, reproduction and genetics in marine turtles
o Communication
o Mating systems
o Foraging ecology
o Evolution of polymorphism in poison dart frogs
o Herp-human interactions
o Conservation issues

Informal Lectures Informal lectures will be provided periodically during orientation walks, during group field projects or in discussion groups. These will cover a wide variety of topics and will generally be prompted by what we encounter in the field, or by the direction taken during group discussions.

Readings Readings corresponding to lecture subjects will be assigned in the texts. We will also read and critique papers brought by students and faculty and additional readings may be assigned from time to time.

Required Texts:
Pough, F. H., et al. 2004. Herpetology. 3rd ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey.
Savage, J. 2002. Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: a Herpetofuana Between two Continents, Between Two Seas. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago and London, pp. 1-934.

Field Book A water-proof field notebook will be required in the course. The field book will contain all data related to group projects and independent research project. The field book should also contain all other incidental observations such as species lists, behavioral notes, etc., and contain detailed location information.
Group Field Projects, Exercises, Demonstrations and Excursions These projects are designed by the faculty and worked on in groups of four or six students. The purpose of these projects is to familiarize students with an array of field sampling techniques and equipment commonly used in field studies. With help from a faculty member, students set up projects, collect data, and generally (depends on the project), analyze data, present the results to the class, and write a report.

Group Project, Demonstration and Excursion Topics
o Forest night hikes
o Population biology in poison-dart frogs
o Tail flicking behavior in geckos
o Comparative leaflitter herpetofuana
o Soropta Beach, nesting leatherbacks
o Niche partitioning in forest lizards
o Cave ecology, bats, rats & snakes
o Soropta canal, iguanas, caimans and crocodiles
o Herpetofuanal biodiversity analysis
o Soropta Peninsula, eyelash vipers
o Mainland herp excursion
o Resource partitioning in frog breeding colonies

Individual Research Projects Working closely with faculty, students will be responsible for designing and completing an original herpetological research project of their choosing. These projects will be carried out during the second half of the course and students will have about 10 days for data collection. A few days before the end of the course students will analyze their data, write a technical report, prepare a PowerPoint presentation of their work and orally present their findings at a station-wide symposium on the last day of the course. NO PERSONAL COLLECTING OF THE HERPETO-FAUNA WILL BE ALLOWED.

BOQUETE CLOUD FOREST FIELD TRIP: This three-day field trip takes place midway through the course and will allow students the opportunity to experience assemblages of amphibians and reptiles found in tropical cloud and seasonal forests. We travel in ITEC boats to the mainland and then by private bus to the town of Boquete which lies at the base of 11,000 ft Volcan Baru. The bus trip will take us up and over the central mountain range and through remote Palo Seco National Park. Several stops will be made in route.
COURSE LENGTH: ITEC Summer field courses are four weeks in length. The NEH B-11 will run from June 15 through June 10, 2011.

TUITION: $2050 USD. Tuition fee includes all lodging, meals and airport transfers in Bocas del Toro. The tuition also covers transportation and lodging during the 3-day cloud forest field trip on the mainland.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 15, 2011. The course is limited to 15 students and applications will be evaluated as they arrive. If you believe that your application may arrive late, notify ITEC.

GRADING and COURSE CREDIT: Up to 6 units of credit will be given, 3 for the lecture portion and 3 for the field portion. A letter grade will be assigned based on exams, reports, proposals, attendance at lectures, as well as by less tangibles such as personal attitude, motivation, and contribution to the course. Course credit must be arranged at the student's institution. Contact ITEC for details.
CONTACT: Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, 2911 NW 40th PL, Gainesville, FL 32605, 352-367-9128, itec@itec-edu.org, http://www.itec-edu.org/index.html.

To see some of the Amphibians and Reptiles you may encounter, visit ITEC's "Herps of Panama Website". Species marked with an " * " have been found at or near the Bocas del Toro Biological Station. Some species have been encountered on the mainland field trips.

--
***********************************************

Cathy A. Fields
Secretary/Treasurer

Institute for Tropical Ecology
and Conservation (ITEC)

2911 NW 40th Place
Gainesville, FL 32605, USA

phn: 352-367-9128
web: http://www.itec-edu.org
______________________________________________________________
6) Australian Saltwater Crocodiles Are World’s Most Powerful Biters
ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2012) — In Greg Erickson's lab at Florida State University, crocodiles and alligators rule. Skeletal snouts and toothy grins adorn window ledges and tables -- all donated specimens that are scrutinized by researchers and students alike.
Lately, Erickson, a Florida State biology professor, and his colleagues have been pondering a particularly painful-sounding question: How hard do alligators and crocodiles bite?
The answer is a bite force value of 3,700 pounds for a 17-foot saltwater crocodile (as well as tooth pressures of 350,000 pounds per square inch). That's the highest bite force ever recorded -- beating a 2,980-pound value for a 13-foot wild American alligator Erickson's lab measured in 2005. They estimate that the largest extinct crocodilians, 35- to 40-foot animals, bit at forces as high as 23,100 pounds.
Erickson, along with several colleagues, including Florida State biology professors Scott Steppan and Brian Inouye, and graduate student Paul Gignac, reported their findings in the journal PLoS One.
Funded by the National Geographic Society and the FSU College of Arts and Sciences, their study looks at the bite force and tooth pressure of every single species of crocodilian. It took more than a decade to complete and required a wily team of croc handlers and statisticians, as well as an army of undergraduate and graduate students. Erickson describes crocodilian bite-force testing as being a bit like dragon slaying by committee.
"Our work required a team effort," he said.
As a result of the study, Erickson and his team have a new understanding on how these animals became so successful and a better understanding about the remarkable biology of living crocodiles and alligators. They've also developed new methods for testing bite forces.
The data contributes to analyzing performance in animals from the past and provides unprecedented insights on evolution and statistically informed models about other reptiles such as dinosaurs.
The study's findings are so unique that Erickson's team has been contacted by editors at the "Guinness Book of World Records" inquiring about the data.
Over the 11 years that his current study took place in both the United States and Australia, Erickson and his team roped 83 adult alligators and crocodiles, strapped them down, placed a bite-force device between their back teeth and recorded the bite force. An engineering calculation was then used to estimate the force generated simultaneously by the teeth nearest the front of the jaws. The team molded the teeth with dentist's dental putty, made casts and figured out the contact areas.
Talk about dangerous work.
As Erickson describes it: "I have to admit, the first time I placed our meter into the maw of an adult crocodile, I was nervous. It was all over in the blink of an eye. When it struck, it nearly wrested my grip from the handle. The noise of the jaws coming together was like a gunshot. The power of the animal was astounding, and the violence of the event frightening."
Overall, the researchers looked at crocodilians both mundane and exotic, from American alligators to 17-foot Australian saltwater crocodiles and the Indian gharial. Among the world's most successful predatory reptiles, these creatures have been "guardians of the water-land interface for over 85 million years," Erickson said.
But just how they were able to occupy and dominate ecological niches for so long is a mystery.
Erickson and his team knew that the reptiles evolved into different sizes, from 3-footers to 40-footers, and they showed concurrent major changes in their jaw shape and tooth form, while their body form remained largely unchanged.
"We set out to answer how this anatomical variance related to their ability to generate bite force and pressures for feeding in the different forms and thus how they have been so successful," Erickson said. "The bite force over the contact area is the pressure, which is more pertinent to feeding performance than bite force. Ultimately, it tells us just what they were doing with those prodigious bite forces."
And, he added, gators and crocs have comparable maximal bite-force capacity when measured pound for pound. They basically all have the same musculoskeletal design, just different snouts and teeth.
"It is analogous to putting different attachments on a weed eater -- grass cutter, brush cutter, tree trimmer, they all have the same type of engine," Erickson said. "There are bigger and smaller engines, with higher and lower horsepower, but they have the same attachments."
His research team is already using the study's data to explore bite-force and tooth-pressure performance in fossil forms. The team is building the world's most sophisticated models for extinct crocodiles and dinosaurs based on the findings, as well as continuing to study the significance of croc snout form.
As for modern-day crocs and gators, well, there's little doubt that they are truly the world's bone-crushing champions. Just remember that old Floridian maxim: Always maintain a healthy distance between yourself and the nearest gator.
"If you can bench-press a pickup truck, then you can escape a croc's jaws," Erickson warned. "It is a one-way street between the teeth and stomach of a large croc."
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7) Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for Northeastern US: Due to Acorns and Mice, Not Mild Winter
(Editor- Something to keep in mind when Field Herping)
ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2012) — The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.
What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn crops vary from year-to-year, with boom-and-bust cycles influencing the winter survival and breeding success of white-footed mice. These small mammals pack a one-two punch: they are preferred hosts for black-legged ticks and they are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
"We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we've ever seen, the mouse population is crashing," Ostfeld explains. Adding, "This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals -- like us."
For more than two decades, Ostfeld, Cary Institute forest ecologist Dr. Charles D. Canham, and their research team have been investigating connections among acorn abundance, white-footed mice, black-legged ticks, and Lyme disease. In 2010, acorn crops were the heaviest recorded at their Millbrook-based research site. And in 2011, mouse populations followed suit, peaking in the summer months. The scarcity of acorns in the fall of 2011 set up a perfect storm for human Lyme disease risk.
Black-legged ticks take three bloodmeals -- as larvae, as nymphs, and as adults. Larval ticks that fed on 2011's booming mouse population will soon be in need of a nymphal meal. These tiny ticks -- as small as poppy seeds -- are very effective at transmitting Lyme to people. The last time Ostfeld's research site experienced a heavy acorn crop (2006) followed by a sparse acorn crop (2007), nymphal black-legged ticks reached a 20-year high.
The May-July nymph season will be dangerous, and Ostfeld urges people to be aware when outdoors. Unlike white-footed mice, who can be infected with Lyme with minimal cost, the disease is debilitating to humans. Left undiagnosed, it can cause chronic fatigue, joint pain, and neurological problems. It is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the U.S., with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast.
Ostfeld says that mild winter weather does not cause a rise in tick populations, although it can change tick behavior. Adult ticks, which are slightly larger than a sesame seed, are normally dormant in winter but can seek a host whenever temperatures rise several degrees above freezing. The warm winter of 2011-2012 induced earlier than normal activity. While adult ticks can transmit Lyme, they are responsible for a small fraction of tick-borne disease, with spring-summer nymphs posing more of a human health threat.
Past research by Ostfeld and colleagues has highlighted the role that intact forest habitat and animal diversity play in buffering Lyme disease risks. He is currently working with health departments in impacted areas to educate citizens and physicians about the impending surge in Lyme disease.
____________________________________________________________________
8) Carr family’s historic forest cabin is restored
By Andy Fillmore, Correspondent, The Gainesville Sun, 3/15/12

OCALA NATIONAL FOREST — A special gathering Saturday at Doe Lake will mark the completion of the Carr Family Cabin Restoration project and celebrate the history of the Carr family, which includes one of Gainesville’s legendary couples, the late Archie and Marjorie Carr.
The cabin site is near Umatilla. Public visits are restricted.
The rustic, single-room cabin was built in 1938 by a local carpenter along with Archibald “Parson” Carr Sr. near the shore of now nearly dry Lake Nicotoon. The cabin was used as a retreat by the Carr family through the 1960s, and Archie’s first experiences with nature in Florida began around the cabin in the Ocala Forest.
The cabin and surrounding 46 acres were donated in 2007 to the U.S. Forest Service by Tom Carr, Archibald’s son.
Originally from Mobile, Ala., Archibald Carr Sr. traveled to church assignments in Texas and Georgia before settling in Umatilla.
Carr family members include Gainesville’s late environmentalist and author Archie Carr Jr., who remains world-famous for his decades-long efforts to protect the sea turtle; and his brother, Tom, who worked in astrophysics, the development of the Voyager spacecraft and deep space antenna research.
Archie Carr Jr.’s son, Chuck, 66, is retired from a 30-year career with the worldwide Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo. Now a resident of Gainesville, Chuck recalls family events and campouts at the cabin.
Marjorie Harris Carr — Chuck Carr’s mother and Archie Carr Jr.’s wife — along with the Florida Defenders of the Environment championed and accomplished the abandonment of the Cross Florida Barge Canal.
“My mother was a firebrand; she would pick up the phone and call (Bob) Graham or (Lawton) Chiles,” Chuck Carr said.
Saturday’s commemorative dinner and fundraiser will be held at the Doe Lake Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest. Those gathered will celebrate the historic restoration effort.
The cabin was resurrected from near total destruction through the efforts of the Friends of the Carr Cabin, which is an extension of the Umatilla Historical Society.
The project was spearheaded by Ray Willis, a U.S. Forest Service archeologist and anthropologist. Perran Ross, an associate scientist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and a former graduate student of Archie Carr, also was instrumental.
“I (first) saw the cabin in the 1970s and didn’t want it to fall by the wayside,” Willis said. “The cabin is built in the vernacular style (natural surrounding materials).”
Jeff Penuel and his company, Jeff Penuel Building Contractor, donated most of the building reconstruction and repair work.
Penuel, 52, said when he read the 1947 article “Hound Magic” by Archie Carr about deer hunting with dogs, he could identify with the family and its love of natural Florida.
“I could imagine Tom Carr out on a small boat on the lake (in the 1940s) on a summer night and seeing the stars, which inspired him toward his work” in astrophysics, Penuel said.
Willis said University of Florida professor emeritus Herschel Shepard designed the restoration protocol to ensure historical accuracy. The cabin is expected to be entered onto the National Register of Historic Places.
Much of the material for original construction of the cabin was taken from a razed building in Umatilla, including cypress shingles that still carry a few inches of white paint from an earlier installation and give a checkerboard appearance to the cabin’s front wall.
Penuel said the cabin had been jacked up and painstakingly winched a short distance to realign the aging brick chimney.
The Carr Cabin Stabilization and Repair Project was recently awarded the John Wesley Powell Prize for “outstanding achievement in historic preservation” by the Society for History in the Federal Government, according to a U.S Forest Service release.
Willis indicated the historical importance of the Carr family and noted that the construction from local natural material added to the significance of the project.
____________________________________________________________________
9) Tracking Lake Erie Water Snake in Fight Against Invasive Fish
ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2012) — UC's Lauren Flick, a 19-year-old, triple-major senior, will present findings at an upcoming regional conference on the first-ever use of a surgically implanted device to record the habits of snakes in their natural environment. This particular study holds promise in "keeping score" as Ohio's Lake Erie water snake defends its native habitat against an invasive fish species.
Thanks to research by a University of Cincinnati undergraduate student and two team members, there's a new tool that's now been tested and found to work in continuously recording the habits of snakes.
This small-scale study is the first-ever use of Lotek Archival Tags (LATs) on snakes, since the LAT devices were originally developed for use in avian and fish species due to LATs' ability to measure temperature and pressure -- measuring pressure translates into altitude and depth.
UC's Lauren Flick, a triple-major pursuing simultaneous undergraduate degrees in biology, psychology and criminal justice, will present the findings of the snapshot study, "Comparing the Effectiveness of Lotek Archival Tags (LATs) in a Behavioral Study of the Lake Erie Water Snake," at the March 23-25 Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, a conference specifically for undergraduate and graduate student research that will draw representatives from regional schools.
Participating in the study with Flick were lead researcher Kristen Stanford, a doctoral student at Northern Illinois University and recovery plan coordinator for the Lake Erie water snake, and Lindsey Korfel, a student at Wittenberg University. Their research study was conducted during summer 2011 at Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory located on Lake Erie.
The traditional manner for tracking snakes' movements is primarily with a radio transmitter. In other words, a researcher would attach a location transmitter to a ground snake and then hope he or she could then stay or get within range over a period of time to visually determine its habits.
What Flick, Stanford and Korfel did was to catch two female Lake Erie water snakes (LEWS) and arrange for the implantation of LATs. Importantly, the LATs record and store data on the snakes over time, such that it's not necessary for a researcher to be within visual range of the snake. In fact, a researcher could leave the snake undisturbed in its natural habits and environment for days, even weeks, at a time when using a LAT. (During this study, the snakes were not harmed, and the LATs were removed at the end of the study.)
"This was proof of concept that use of LATs in reptiles is a viable research method," said Flick, a resident of Cincinnati's Green Hills community. "For a study like ours, it's harder and less effective to rely solely on using the traditional radio transmitter on a water snake moving in the depths of the Great Lakes. And even when using the average transmitter with a ground snake, you have to stay within about 50 meters for the tracking technology to work. That kind of close tracking could also serve to disturb the very habits a researcher is hoping to observe."
The Lake Erie Water Snake (LEWS), found only in the western Lake Erie waters of Ohio and Canada and only recently removed from the list of federally endangered and threatened species, is estimated to number more than 8,000 adults. Its population size had fallen to about 1,500 adults in the mid-1990s -- very low because they were often killed by humans and because of loss or degradation of habitat on the shoreline or on the Lake Erie islands where they are native.
Explained Flick, "Basically, the islands and shorelines are an important part of the snakes' habitat. They live on land and only forage in the water. Humans on the Lake Erie islands didn't, for a long time, see value in having snakes around, even though we now know that these nonpoisonous snakes were and are a valuable part of the ecosystem."
And while those numbers have recovered sufficiently to remove the species from the endangered status, it's important to understand how the species is faring in terms of foraging, maintaining body temperature and finding appropriate mating, resting and hibernating environments because the LEWS are a major player in combating the invasive round gobi fish.
The round gobies, a bottom-dwelling species, are considered very harmful because they are voracious nest predators of many of Lake Erie's native game fish and bottom-dwelling fish, and there are now estimated to be billions of the round gobies in Lake Erie. However, as it turns out, the native Lake Erie water snakes will eat round gobies.
And even though the student research was a snapshot involving just a pair of snakes, they found some intriguing results recorded by the LAT devices.
Said Flick, "Previous studies have estimated that the LEWS spend only 7 percent of the time foraging for food. The snakes that we studied actually spent 20-25 percent of the time foraging. One of the snakes even went out foraging at about midnight, which is unusual because the LEWS are not normally nocturnal."
And since it's estimated that 90 percent of the LEWS' diet consists of round gobi fish, more time eating by the LEWS should translate into fewer round gobies.
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10) Marine Protected Areas Are Keeping Sea Turtles Safe (the green turtle)
ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2012) — Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are providing sea turtles with an ideal habitat for foraging and may be keeping them safe from the threats of fishing.
A study by an international team of scientists led by the University of Exeter, published March 15, shows that 35 per cent of the world's green turtles are found within MPAs.
This is much higher that would be expected as only a small proportion of shallow oceans are designated as MPAs.
MPAs are areas of ocean in which marine activities such as fishing are restricted. Regulated by governments and NGOs, in the tropics they are often rich in seagrass and algae, providing food for the turtles, whose foraging may also help to maintain these habitats. There are different categories of MPAs, with the most strictly-protected being managed mainly for science.
The research team used data on the movements of 145 green turtles from 28 nesting sites, captured through extensive satellite tracking work by a collaborative team from ten countries. Their data shows that green turtles can travel thousands of miles from their breeding sites to their feeding ding grounds. 35 per cent of these were found to be foraging in MPAs. 21 per cent were found in MPAs that are most strictly protected and older MPAs were more likely to contain turtles.
Professor Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the Cornwall Campus said: "Our global overview revealed that sea turtles appear in Marine Protected Areas far more than would be expected by chance. There has been debate over the value of MPAs, but this research provides compelling evidence that they may be effective in providing safe foraging habitats for large marine creatures, such as green turtles.
"The satellite tracking work that the University of Exeter has played such a lead role in developing allows us to assess the value of MPAs in a way that would never have previously been possible."
This study is published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography. It was facilitated by Seaturtle.org and the group is funded by NERC and Defra's Darwin Initiative.
Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon welcomed the results of the research: "This study unlocks some of the secrets surrounding the life cycle of marine turtles, whose movements have long been a mystery. The results will mean we will better manage the oceans and protect turtle habitats which are key to helping them survive.
"This also shows the vital collaborative role Defra's Darwin Initiative plays in the cutting edge of conservation worldwide."
Research collaborators include: Udayana University (Indonesia), Department of Environment, (Cayman Islands), Hacettepe University (Turkey), ISPA (Portugal), Kelonia (La Reunion), Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (Guadeloupe),WWF (Indonesia), University of Pisa (Italy), Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd (Australia), Marine Conservation Society (UK) and ARCHELON, Protection (Greece)
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11) Exploring Culinary Curiosities
By V.L. Hendrikson, 3/20/12, Wall Street Journal
"Did you try the scorpion?" asked Explorers Club member Lois M. Kahan.
Yes, actually—we loved it with the snow pea, though it tasted more like vodka than our drink. And the sauce served atop the roasted bull penis was divine. The duck tongue was rich and flavorful, but the deep-fried earthworm was a bit bitter for our taste.
The Explorers Club showcased these "sustainable culinary curiosities" at its 108th annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on Saturday night. Guests in black tie—including actor Dan Aykroyd, filmmaker (and keynote speaker) Ken Burns and astronaut Buzz Aldrin—clinked glasses and talked about their most recent excursions to places ranging from Ethopia to Everest.
"No goat eyeball for me," said one guest as she ordered an Explorers Martini, with a smoked-bourbon sugar rim and a garnish of skewered eyeball (it was chewy, tasting—not surprisingly—of gin).
Chef Gene Rurka has planned the dinner's menu since about 1990, when he transformed the annual event into a feast of far-flung foods.
"If you've never had a cockroach, you should really try one," Mr. Rurka said, explaining how he infused them with citrus, banana and apple. He's quick to point out that the menu does not include "things you'd never want to eat, like whale, puffin, shark." Which is to say, none of the animals offered are considered threatened or endangered.
During the sit-down dinner, medals and honors were handed out to several of the club's illustrious members—deep-sea divers, paleontologists and conservationists. Traditional Native American and Maori dancers took the stage, and zoologist Jim Fowler, a former host of the television show "Wild Kingdom," helped wrap a Burmese Python around Mr. Aldrin and Holly Heston Rochell, the late actor Charlton Heston's daughter.
Guests were treated to reel after reel of footage from destinations like the Galápagos, Mongolia and the Badlands, encouraging them to consider the evening's theme, "How Far is Far: Remote Exploration." There were also expressions of concern for the oceans, wildlife and the overall environment.
"We've got 10 years" to save the oceans, said marine toxicologist Susan Shaw, who received a citation of merit from the club. She appealed to the members to act, saying that if any group could help, it would be the Explorers Club.
Once upon a time, what we now think of as accessible was remote, said club President Lorie Karnath. The Explorers Club flag has flown in places once considered unreachable—Antarctica, Easter Island, the moon. These days, Mars is the next frontier, said Mr. Aldrin in his closing remarks. "How far is far is constantly being reinvented," he said.
That left us to wonder what sort of culinary curiosities the explorers would bring back from the Red Planet.

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HerpDigest is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, based in New York State. It is a publication, independent of any government public or private agenda, and reflects only the editor& opinion of what is news in the herp world. It is now in its 11th straight year of publication.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 are now available as one set at $150.00. To order see the bottom of this Newsletter.

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@herpdigest.org and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can of course order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of newsletter on and how to order.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9" $25.00 (Which Includes S&H & a Donation to Jamaica Bay Terrapin Project.)

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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TO ORDER:

Email us first at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H fees for all overseas orders. (And yes this includes Canada)

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:16 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 15 3/31/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Now Available - The National Book Award finalist -
McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll
Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook

Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.

Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only five copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now.

His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
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Table of Contents

1. A letter about the Frog Video, something to consider)
2) The 2012 International Conference on Reptile and Amphibian Medicine is being held in Ceemona, Italy from May 13 - 15, 2012

3) Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, Island, UK, conservation training courses this year

4) The Southwestern Research Station in Portal, Arizona is pleased to announce the following summer workshop

5)Herpetologist job opening in Maine.

6) The AZA Snake Advisory Group Dana Payne Fund - February 2012

7) Calling all reptile and amphibian student photographers! - The Herpetologists' League Graduate - Student Committee is now accepting photographs of amphibians and reptiles for the 2013 calendar

8)Should the location of newly discovered species be hidden?

9) Food fight develops in Va. over sale of live animals
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TURTLE TV is here, For the turtle crazed children and adults in your family.
It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Hey, there is even a turtle Donald Trump.

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst.

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) (Editor- A letter about the Frog Video, something to consider)

Hi Allan,

I find this [frog video] disturbing on a number of levels.

From the welfare perspective, most knowledgeable people may agree that frogs' hyoid structures have not evolved to withstand repeated blows to an unyielding surface. Pain and injury plausibly result.

From an ethical perspective, it's simply cruel to repeatedly subject an animal to frustration (at the least), and possibly injury and pain, for no reason other than entertainment.

This kind of video promotes animals as objects of entertainment. It lacks empathy and completely disregards costs to them. It's only differs in degree from other activities that are rightly condemned on this excellent newsletter.

Isn't it a lot more fun to watch a healthy, happy frog capture real food?

With sincere thanks for all the great good you do,

Janine Perlman, Ph.D.
Alexander, AR
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2) The 2012 International Conference on Reptile and Amphibian Medicine is being held in Cremona, Italy from May 13 - 15, 2012. Full conference information including the program can be found at www.reptilevet.eu. Note that the online registration deadline has been extended to April 10, 2012. We hope to seen many of our ARAV members at this important conference.



Wilbur B. Amand, VMD
Exec. Dir. / ARAV
Managing Editor / JHMS
721 Inverness Drive
West Chester, PA 19380
610-696-2347
610-696-2348 (fax)
610-764-7030 (cell)
E-mail: ARAVETS@aol.com
_______________________________________________
3) Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, Island, UK, conservation training courses this year.

I am writing to you on behalf of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, and I would like to let you know about our conservation training courses this year. If this is of interest to you, I have attached details about one of our summer courses on Amphibian husbandry.

For 50 years, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has been a world leader in the conservation of endangered species; Durrell’s mission is to save them from extinction. This is achieved through conservation breeding programmes, restoring species in their native habitats and training others to do the same. Durrell has built up its conservation expertise and network of partnerships with leading organisations that hopefully in the years to come, will help to save species from extinction.

Durrell has been training people in various aspects of conservation for over 25 years. To date, more than 3,000 people from 128 countries have participated in our courses, both at our headquarters in Jersey and in our locations overseas. Our conservation training programmes draw on the wealth of Durrell’s experience, and enable us to give others the tools to help save species from extinction.

To find out more about this course, and others available, please visit www.durrell.org/training.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Many thanks.

Sue Bozzini
International Training Centre
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Direct: +44 (0)1534 860037
Fax: +44 (0)1534 860002
itcvolunteer@durrell.org
www.durrell.org

Les Augrès Manor, La Profonde Rue,
Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP
Channel Islands, United Kingdom
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4) The Southwestern Research Station in Portal, Arizona is pleased to announce the following summer workshops:

NEW!! GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN FIELD AND LAB RESEARCH – 17-24 June 2012. This workshop is designed for undergraduates and graduate students in Conservation Ecology, Wildlife, and Biological Sciences who expect to work with amphibians and/or reptiles as their research animals. It will emphasize research animal selection, anatomy, concepts of infectious diseases, anesthesia, use of pain medications, sampling techniques, concepts of surgical techniques, and handling of venomous species. The course will include lectures and labs. For the full announcement click here http://research.amnh.org/swrs/guideline ... b-research

HERPETOLOGY FIELD COURSE – 22-31 July 2012. Participants will gain knowledge on the outstanding biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles found in a wide diversity of habitats throughout southeastern Arizona and parts of southwestern New Mexico. Participants will obtain hands-on experience in amphibian and reptile identification, collecting and marking techniques, and data documentation. The course also will cover specimen preparation of a full museum voucher specimen, including tissue vouchers. For the full announcement click here
http://research.amnh.org/swrs/herpetology-field-course

For other courses offered at the SWRS please visit our website http://research.amnh.org/swrs/education

Dawn S. Wilson, Ph.D.
Director, Southwestern Research Station
P.O. Box 16553
Portal, Arizona 85632
Ph: 520-558-2396
Fax: 520-558-2018
Email: dwilson@amnh.org
web: http:research.amnh.org/swrs/
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5) Herpetologist job opening in Maine.
Classification = Temporary/Seasonal Position)
Title: Herpetologist
Agency: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Location: York County, Maine
Job Description:
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is looking for a 4-6 month seasonal herpetologist to assist with research and inventory of Maine’s rare herpetofauna including Blanding’s Turtle (state endangered), Spotted Turtle (state threatened), Wood Turtle (state special concern), and Northern Black Racer (state endangered). Primary duties will focus on a multi-state initiative in the Northeast working on Blanding’s Turtle monitoring and conservation. The successful applicant will assist with project planning and coordinate and conduct visual surveys, trapping, data collection and entry, and assistance in the preparation of a final report.
Qualifications:
Preference will be given to applicants with prior experience working with herpetofauna, specifically turtles, and those familiar with New England flora & fauna. Applicants should be familiar with survey and monitoring techniques for herptiles including experience using hoop traps, and possess good auditory and visual acuity. A working knowledge of GPS, ArcMap, Microsoft Access, Natural Heritage methodologies, and map/compass navigation is especially useful. Applicants should possess the ability to work both collaboratively and independently, have good communication skills, and demonstrate both accuracy and attention to detail. Field conditions can be strenuous, including work in densely-vegetated, wet, muddy habitats with biting insects and ticks. A B.S. degree in wildlife science or a related field is required.
Discounted housing in a communal setting may be available but applicant will need to provide their own vehicle to travel to field sites.
HOW TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter and resume to Jonathan.Mays@maine.gov
Salary: up to $15.00/hour depending on experience, option to work full-time for four months or part-time for six months
Last Date to apply: April 2, 2012 or until filled
Website: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/
Contact: Jonathan Mays
E-mail: Jonathan.Mays@maine.gove (preferred)
Phone: (207) 941-4475
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6) The AZA Snake Advisory Group Dana Payne Fund - February 2012

In honor and memory of Dana Payne, dedicated conservationist and champion of reptiles and amphibians, SAG has established a monetary grant to help support research and educational initiatives that contribute to the conservation of serpents.

Grant Amount: $500

Eligibility: Anyone may apply for this award. If funding is provided, the awardee(s) is required to recognize the SAG Dana Payne Fund in all publications and presentations. Copies of reports and publications are to be provided to SAG and reports of progress are to be submitted on an annual basis. SAG also requests that 3-5 images be provided to SAG to post on its website or in SAG publications to promote its support of this project.

The SAG awards up to $500 per grant cycle for projects that focus on serpent conservation. This can include field work, captive propagation and educational initiatives. Anyone can apply for this grant. The SAG assigns priority to projects which focus on the conservation of species within the scope of the SAG Regional Collection Plan (RCP), but other initiatives will be considered.

Application Procedure:

1. Use the application from and attached email announcement, download the forms from the SAG website: www.snaketag.org, or contact Diane Barber: dbarber@fortworthzoo.org.

2. Provide all information requested on the application, including a description of the project.

3. Applications must be accompanied by curriculum vitae(s) of principle investigator(s), copies of appropriate permits, and letters of support (if applicable).

4. Completed application materials must be electronically submitted by
31 March to Diane Barber: darber@fortworthzoo.org

5. The grant recipient(s) will be selected by the SAG steering committee and will be notified of his/her selection by 30 April of the same calendar year.

The SAG would like to continue to support snake conservation by offering this grant in 2013. Please consider helping us perpetuate this fund by sending a donation to:

Denver Zoological Foundation/Snake TAG:

Attn: Rick Haeffner/SAG Dana Payne Fund
Denver Zoo
Curator Reptiles/Fishes
2300 Steele St.
Denver, CO 80205

Diane Barber
Curator of Ectotherms
Fort Worth Zoo
1989 Colonial Parkway
Fort Worth, TX 76110

dbarber@fortworthzoo.org
________________________________________________________

7) Calling all reptile and amphibian student photographers!

The Herpetologists' League Graduate Student Committee is now accepting photographs of amphibians and reptiles for the 2013 calendar. Entries are limited to student members of the Herpetologists' League (please go to http://www.herpetologistsleague.org if you are interested in joining). To submit photographs --
: Please limit the number of submitted photographs to 2 per person.
: Images should be digital, in landscape orientation.
: Chosen photographs must be of high quality (at least 300 dpi).
Along with each photograph, a short natural history note (circa 100 words) must be included with the following:
* Name of organism (please supply both common and scientific name)
* Location of organism
* Interesting information (diet, behaviors, habitat, human interactions, etc.)
* Please include a sentence or two about yourself, including your school and focus of study.

Judges will be evaluating the following components in the photographs:
* Aesthetically pleasing
* Diverse representation of reptilian and amphibian taxa.
* Natural setting

Each photograph submitted must be accompanied by a release form (contact <lorin215@gmail.com > for form). Entries are due by April 15, 2012. Use the e-mail link below, or mail your image(s) on a CD to:

Lori Neuman-Lee
Utah State University
Department of Biology
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322
<lorin215@gmail.com>

--
Please let me know if you have any questions about this request. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Cheers,
--
SERPENTESERPENTESERPENTESERPENTESERPENTESERPENTES
Stephen J. Mullin, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences email: sjmullin<at>eiu.edu
Eastern Illinois University tel: 217.581.6234
Charleston, IL 61920.3011 fax: 217.581.7141
www: <http://ux1.eiu.edu/~sjmullin/>
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8) Should the location of newly discovered species be hidden?
By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service, 3/20/12

Discovering a new species can be the defining moment of a biologist's career, but for some it can also mean exposing rare and vulnerable animals to the dark world of the wildlife pet trade, with catastrophic results.
It's a scientific dilemma that has led some conservationists to question whether it would be better to hide their findings from the world.
In 1999, herpetologist Bryan Stuart was working in Northern Laos when he stumbled across an eye-catching newt he had never seen before.
The creature was prehistoric in its appearance with thick, warty skin and bright, yellow dots all the way down its back.
He spotted it in a bottle of alcohol that a Lao colleague had brought back from a wedding in a remote part of the country - the poison from the newt's skin had been used to make a drink with special medicinal properties for a toast to the newlyweds.
Stuart went in search of the newt in the wild and three years later he published an article in the Journal of Herpetology, announcing the discovery of the new species, Laotriton laoensis.
Finding a customs officer anywhere in the world that cares much about newts is difficult”
Chris Shepherd Traffic
"When you see one of these animals in the wild in your hand for the first time and you recognise that it is absolutely unique, it's like discovering a treasure," he says.
But his joy turned to horror when he realised his discovery had caught the attention of amphibian dealers around the world. Examples of the species were popping up in pictures on amphibian pet forums as far away as Germany and Japan.
Stuart soon realised that trading networks had emerged between Laos and the West and traders were using his report as a roadmap to capture and sell hordes of the newts.
"The mindset of these commercial collectors is to go in, get as many as you can, as quickly as you can, to make as much money as possible," he says.
Smugglers sold Laotriton laoensis newts for $200 each
"What's worse is they have set up these trade networks with local villagers telling them to collect as many as they can."
The Lao newt lives on the surface of rock pools and was easy to find. Villagers were typically offered less than $1 (£0.63) for each newt. Smugglers then sold them on to hobbyists for as much as $200 (£130).
Because the newt is unique to Laos and only found in three small areas in the north of the country, the population was quickly decimated.
In 2008, six years after the publication of Stuart's paper, a biologist from the National University of Laos, Somphouthone Phimmachak, proved the species was close to extinction. Her work led to the Lao newt being granted official status as a threatened species, making it illegal to trade specimens caught in the wild.
It wasn't the first time a scientific discovery has put a rare species in danger.
"A turtle from the small Indonesian island of Roti was so heavily hunted that today it is nearly xtinct in the wild," says Stuart. A rare gecko from south-east China was removed from its natural habitat entirely by smugglers who got prices as high as $2,000 (£1,272) for each.
Jason Lee Brown, a herpetologist who has studied poison frogs in Peru since 2003, describes three separate incidents where his discoveries put a species' existence under threat.
In 2006 he published the picture of a new species of poison frog, Ranitomeya benedicta on the internet. Almost immediately it appeared in trade shows in Europe and North America.
Two years later it happened again when he published the description of a second new species and again when he reported the rediscovery of a third species thought to be extinct.
In 2010 Brown returned to the area in Peru where he had initially discovered R. benedicta and found that locals had been cutting down canopies in the trees where the frogs were known to live.
"I almost quit what I was doing," he says.
Two of these frogs were declared threatened last year.
Endangered species status is meted out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), according to the convention on trade in endangered species (Cites). It was first signed in 1973 and has now been ratified by 175 countries.
But according to some conservationists, endangered species status creates new problems. Chris Shepherd of Traffic, an organisation that monitors the wildlife trade, believes the endangered label can boost animals' black market value.
This illegal shipment of frogs were on their way to Europe from Peru when they were found dead
He regularly visits the wildlife markets of Jatinegara in Jakarta and Chatuchak in Bangkok where he has seen traders advertising the fact - albeit slyly - that the animals they sell are endangered and illegal.
Traffic is working to train local law enforcement agencies to clamp down on illegal wildlife trade. But obliterating wildlife trade is low on the political agenda in countries such as Laos, Indonesia, Thailand and Peru.
"Customs have a very important role to play being at the front line of import and export," says Shepherd. "But finding a customs officer anywhere in the world that cares much about newts is difficult."
Relying on governments in developing countries to address the issue is pointless, agrees Jason Lee Brown, who got little help from the Peruvian authorities when he drew cases of frog smuggling to their attention.

"There is widespread apathy, they have so many issues to deal with that are more important and they just don't have the infrastructure to deal with this," he says.
He believes the responsibility lies with those in the developed world who are driving the pet market.
Peruvian hunters, many of whom live on $1.25 (£0.79) a day, can get about $2 (£1.30) a frog. Collectors in Europe and the US will pay up to $1,000 (£636) a pair, making smuggling a very lucrative business.
Some people believe the only viable solution to the trade of wild animals is captive breeding.
Mark Pepper, who has worked with Brown on frog conservation projects in Peru, runs a legal and ethical frog breeding business but sometimes he finds illegal traders selling species he has never worked with under his name.
He thinks smuggling is not the most pressing threat to amphibians. For some species, such as the Lao newt, smuggling can have a devastating effect, but most amphibians face the much greater threat of habitat destruction.
Timber felling and mining are a much greater risk to the frogs he has studied in Peru, he says.
"Smuggling is a drop in the bucket."
The logical thing it seems would be to keep the locations of the animals secret and some scientists do choose to do this.
Last year the New York Times reported that a herpetologist in Malaysia, Indraneil Das rediscovered a striking amphibian called the Borneo rainbow toad previously thought to be extinct. Das avoided publishing its specific location.
Similarly, after his experience with the Lao newt, Bryan Stuart discovered a species of poison snake and decided to keep its location secret. But it was something he was uncomfortable doing.
He believes that scientists need to share knowledge of which species occurs where so that they can co-operate with each other and the public to preserve the species and its habitat.

______________________________________
9) Food fight develops in Va. over sale of live animals
By Justin Jouvenal, Published: March 26, 2012, Washington Post
The customer seemed like any other when he ordered live bass and red-eared slider turtles from gurgling tanks at Falls Church’s Great Wall Supermarket, a grocery that caters to the tastes of Northern Virginia’s burgeoning Asian communities.
But this buy last spring was part of a weeks-long undercover sting, and the nondescript customer was a state game agent. Weeks later, officers were back to seize most of the seafood counter — including bullfrogs, crayfish, a swamp eel and more — and issue felony arrest warrants for two store managers.
The case, set to play out at a hearing in Fairfax County court later this week, has pitted a conservationist who tipped off authorities against a popular market whose managers believe Asian food traditions are under attack and the diets of immigrant groups have been criminalized by an outdated law that has not kept pace with Virginia’s rapidly changing demographics.
The unusual food fight is one of a handful between conservationists, animal rights activists and immigrant communities that have flared in such diverse, liberal enclaves as the D.C. suburbs, San Francisco and New York. Great Wall is one of the largest international grocery stores in the Washington area, and the case against it could become a test for other retailers in Virginia that sell live animals.
In the Fairfax County case, the store managers have been charged under a Virginia law that aims to protect native species by stemming poaching of wild animals for valuable meat, pelts and antlers. The animals seized at Great Wall are not endangered, but many are banned from sale because they are classified as wildlife.
Kai Wei Jin, one of Great Wall’s managers, said all the animals on sale were farm-raised, not plucked from local forests or streams.
Jin and his fellow manager are fighting the charges and want Virginia’s wildlife law changed, said their attorney, Shaoming Cheng.
“If Chinese people like to eat yellow eels and it’s part of their traditional diets — just like Russian people like to eat fish eggs — and those eels are farm raised and are not an endangered species . . . why not?” Cheng said.
Authorities declined to discuss the case because it was pending in court, but Rich Landers, a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) officer, said that, in general, the law is needed to keep wild animal populations healthy.
“History has show when wildlife becomes commercialized, the population dwindles,” Landers said. “Whether it’s elephant tusks or whales, we are trying to reduce the chances that wildlife becomes commercialized.”
Great Wall, part of a popular and growing chain of stores in Maryland, New York, New Jersey and other states, caters to Asians, offering everything from canned vegetarian duck to a dim sum station. The vast Gallows Road store is regularly packed with Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai immigrant shoppers.
Great Wall’s trouble began last March, when a “concerned citizen” who professed to be acting to preserve native species reported the seafood counter to the state, according to court documents. DGIF officers launched a two-month investigation during which they spent hundreds of dollars on the undercover buys.
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HerpDigest is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, based in New York State. It is a publication, independent of any government public or private agenda, and reflects only the editor& opinion of what is news in the herp world. It is now in its 11th straight year of publication.
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2
$150.00 for set. plus $ 13.00 for S&H. (To order see the bottom of this message)
Overseas email me at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H costs.

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus

It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and feature an extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

The set is $150.00, but if you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_________________________________________________________________________
Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
_______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England, 2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
$20.00 includes S&H. Part of proceedings go to help the Jamaica Bay, Queens, NYC, Diamondback Terrapins.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island

BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.
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HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 16 4/5/12 (Almost all “Abstracts You Might Have Missed)
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the
McArthur Genius Award-
David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only five copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.

_______________________________________________________________________

Issue 16a with more abstracts you might have missed” will go out today.

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Table of Contents

1. Another Vertebrate Species Reported Extinct from the Hawaiian Islands (A once very common lizard)
2. Spatial scale influences the outcome of the predator–prey space race between tadpoles and predatory dragonflies
3. Boldness, Trappability and Sampling Bias in Wild Lizards
4) Detection probabilities of two introduced frogs in Hawaii: implications for assessing non-native species distributions
5) Species formation and geographical range evolution in a genus of Central American cloud forest salamanders (Dendrotriton)
6) Small reserves around hibernation sites may not adequately protect mobile snakes: the example of Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) in British Columbia
7) Generally specialized or especially general? Habitat selection by Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) in central Ontario
8) Body temperature and standard metabolic rate of the female viviparous lizard Eremias multiocellata during reproduction
9) Effects of predator exposure on Hsp70 expression and survival in tadpoles of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
10) Diet and energetic constraints of an earthworm specialist, the Mesa Central Blotched Garter Snake (Thamnophis scaliger)Issue
____________________________________________________
TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst are still available as one set at a $20% Discount - (The publisher is extending the discount week by week. SO if you want it at a discount order it now.

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
__________________________________________________________________
1) Another Vertebrate Species Reported Extinct from the Hawaiian Islands
ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2012) — A species of lizard is now extinct from the Hawaiian Islands,
(Editor- worth reading as an example of “cryptic extinction” and as an example that a once common species can go extinct.)

The copper striped blue-tailed skink (Emoia impar) -- a sleek lizard with smooth, polished scales and a long, sky-blue tail -- was last confirmed in the Na'Pali coast of Kauai in the 1960s. But repeated field surveys on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawai'i islands from 1988 to 2008 have yielded no sightings or specimens.
"No other landscape in these United States has been more impacted by extinction events and species invasions in historic times than the Hawaiian Islands, with as yet unknown long-term cascading consequences to the ecosystem," said U.S. Geological Survey director Marcia McNutt. "Today, we close the book on one more animal that is unlikely to ever be re-established in this fragile island home."
"This skink was once common throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and in fact the species can still be found on many other island groups in the tropical Pacific," says Robert Fisher, a biologist with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. "That's what makes this extinction so intriguing: if an otherwise common animal can be completely extirpated from one island ecosystem but not others, then what does that tell us?"
Fisher and colleague Ivan Ineich of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris announced their findings on E. impar this month in the international conservation journal "Oryx," published by Fauna and Flora International.
Small animals like this skink are prone to what Fisher and Ineich call "cryptic extinction" -- when a species is easily confused with similar species that their extinction can go unnoticed for decades.
"The extinction of native Hawaiian bird species is well documented, partly because their presence and sounds had been so distinctive to humans," says Ineich, who is also a researcher with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). "But without regular field surveys, we tend to overlook the disappearances of smaller, secretive species, along with the causes of their extinction."
While the exact causes of the skink's Hawaiian extinction is unclear, Fisher and Ineich note that island extinctions around the world often share similar factors, such as the loss of habitat due to uncontrolled human development. Another is competition or predation from invasive species accidentally or intentionally introduced through human migration and activity.
"There's some evidence that an invasive ant was preying on these skinks," Fisher says. "That's a new factor we'll need to examine as we look out for other at-risk species in the Pacific islands."
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by U.S. Geological Survey.
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2) Spatial scale influences the outcome of the predator–prey space race between tadpoles and predatory dragonflies
1. John I. Hammond†,*,
2. Barney Luttbeg‡,
3. Tomas Brodin§,
4. Andrew Sih
Article first published online: 27 JAN 2012
Functional Ecology Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 522–531, April 2012
Author Information
1. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA
2. †Present address. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
3.
4. ‡Present address. Department of Zoology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA.
5.
6. §Present address. Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Umeå, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.
7.
* Correspondence author. E-mail: jih36@pitt.edu

Summary
1.  How predators and prey distribute themselves across space can have large population and community-level consequences by affecting the frequency and potential strength of interactions between and within trophic levels. The general pattern that emerges from numerous studies is that predators seek areas with higher prey densities and prey avoid areas with higher predation risk. However, little is known about the behavioural mechanisms underlying the emergent spatial patterns between freely interacting predators and prey.
2. We examined the behaviour and space use of groups of Pseudacris regilla (Pacific treefrog) tadpole prey and larval Rhionaeschna multicolor (blue-eyed darner) odonate predators in arenas consisting of four patches of the prey’s resources divided into two spatial scales over two observation periods a day apart. Distributions were assayed both alone and together. We predicted scale should inherently affect the resulting spatial patterns because factors such as selection, competition, interference, movement ability and prey responses to predators all have potentially similar effects as scale become larger or smaller. These factors predict that prey should be more able to dictate the spatial pattern at smaller scales and predators at larger scales.
3.  Results generally match these predictions with measures of joint space being consistent with the predators dictating the joint space use more than expected at the larger scale. Moreover, at the smaller scale, either the predator and prey responses offset or reverse to favour the prey. We used a model selection approach to look at the underlying behavioural rules shaping these spatial patterns. Prey were more likely to leave patches with lower resources across both scales. However, their response to predators and competitors differed between the scales, with prey appearing to become trapped with predators only at the larger scale and only avoiding other prey at the small scale.
1. These results highlight the importance of investigating freely interacting predators and prey and the factors that are likely to affect the predator’s or prey’s ability to dictate spatial patterns. An ability to predict predator–prey spatial outcomes should be a great benefit with habitat fragmentation and shifting population densities, distributions and community compositions.
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3) Boldness, Trappability and Sampling Bias in Wild Lizards
Animal Behaviour: Volume. 83, Issue 4, pages e1-316, April 2012
• Alecia J. Cartera, b, , ,
• Robert Heinsohna,
• Anne W. Goldizenc,
• Peter A. Birod
• a The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
• b The Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, U.K.
• c School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
• d Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Science, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Australia

Many studies of animal personality are completed in the laboratory with animals collected from the wild. However, there is some concern that studies that trap individuals to perform assessments of personality may not collect a representative sample of personality types, as some individuals may be trap-shy. We investigated the relationship between boldness and trappability using males of a species of lizard, the Namibian rock agama, Agama planiceps, whose boldness could be assessed in the wild prior to trapping. We observed known individuals between nine and 15 times each over several weeks, which revealed that boldness consistently differed across individuals and was not influenced by factors such as body size or environmental variables. Lizards habituated to the behavioural assay, but there was no evidence of plasticity (individual differences) in the rate of habituation. As predicted, bold individuals entered the trap sooner than shy individuals and we had higher success at trapping bold individuals. Using a simple simulation model, we show that such bias leads to underestimates of effect size and reduces the power to detect correlations between behavioural traits (i.e. behavioural syndromes). We suggest that studies that trap animals for laboratory assessments of personality may consistently underrepresent the extent of personality trait variation in the populations that they sample, and recommend that future studies either develop methods for testing personality in the field that control for obvious confounding variables or make every effort to ensure minimum bias when sampling animals for use in a laboratory setting.

Highlights
► We investigated the relationship between boldness and trappability using male lizards. ► Bold individuals were easier to trap than shy individuals. ► We use a simulation model to investigate the effect of trappability bias. ► We show that trappability bias underestimates correlations between behavioural traits.
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4) Detection probabilities of two introduced frogs in Hawaii: implications for assessing non-native species distributions
Biological Invasions: Volume 14, Number 4,
Christina A. Olson, Karen H. Beard, David N. Koons
and William C. Pitt Department of Wild land Resources and Ecology Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5230
Koons. USDA/APHIA/Wildlife Services/National Wildlife Research Center, Hawaii Field Station, Hilo, HI 96721

Contact is Karen.Beard@usu.edu
Abstract
Two nonnative Caribbean frogs, the Puerto Rican coqui and the Cuban greenhouse frog, recently invaded Hawaii. Because of its louder breeding call, management efforts have focused on the coqui, while little has been done to address the more cryptic greenhouse frog, even though it may be as widespread and have similar ecological impacts. The goal of this research was to determine the distribution and detection probability of both species on the island of Hawaii. We conducted a breeding call presence/absence survey at 446 sites every 2 km along major road networks. We re-surveyed 125 sites twice to determine detection and occupancy probabilities. Greenhouse frog detection probabilities (0.24, 0.29, 0.48, for each of the three visits, respectively) were lower than coqui detection probabilities (0.58, 0.73, 0.50, respectively) and increased with visits while those of the coqui did not. Greenhouse frog detection probabilities were lower in the presence of coquis for the first two surveys (0.12, 0.14) than in sites with greenhouse frogs alone (0.41), while greenhouse frogs had no effect on the detection of coquis. Site occupancy estimates for the greenhouse and coqui frog were 0.35 and 0.31, respectively, suggesting the species are similarly widespread. Results suggest multiple visits to sites are required to detect the greenhouse frog. Furthermore, results suggest that accounting for detectability is essential when determining the extent of invasion of cryptic species.
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5) Species formation and geographical range evolution in a genus of Central American cloud forest salamanders (Dendrotriton)
1. Sean M. Rovito1,2,*,
2. David B. Wake1,
3. Theodore J. Papenfuss1,
4. Gabriela Parra-Olea2,
5. Antonio Muñoz-Alonso3,
6. Carlos R. Vásquez-Almazán4
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2012
Author Information
1 Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3160, USA
2 Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, AP 70-153 México, Distrito Federal CP04510, Mexico
3 El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
4 Museo de Historia Natural, Escuela de Biología, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
* Sean M. Rovito, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3160, USA. E-mail: smrovito@gmail.com

Abstract
Aim  Montane Central America offers an ideal system for testing geographical hypotheses of species diversification. We examined how the complex geological history of Nuclear Central America has shaped the diversification of a genus of cloud-forest-inhabiting salamanders (Dendrotriton). We applied parametric models of geographical range evolution to determine the predominant mode of species formation within the genus and to test existing hypotheses of geographical species formation in the region.
Location  Montane cloud forests of Nuclear Central America.
Methods  We estimated a species tree for Dendrotriton using a multi-locus DNA sequence data set and several coalescent methods, and performed molecular dating for divergence events within the genus. We then applied the species-tree estimate to a likelihood-based time-stratified model of geographical range evolution, based on current species distributions and available geological information for Central America.
Results  Species trees from all methods contain two groups, one corresponding to species from the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and the other containing all remaining species. In most cases, species formation within the genus involved an even division of the geographical range of the ancestral species between descendant species. The ancestor of extant Dendrotriton species was estimated to have occurred in either the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes or the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, and both of these areas appear to have been important for diversification within the genus. The single species found in the Quaternary-age Guatemalan volcanic cordillera dispersed to the volcanoes from an older highland area.
Main conclusions  Models of geographical range evolution, when combined with robust species-tree estimates, provide insight into the historical biogeography of taxa not available from phylogenies or distributional data alone. Vicariant species formation, rather than peripatric or gradient speciation, appears to have been the dominant process of diversification, with most divergence events occurring within or between ancient highland areas. The apparent dispersal of Dendrotriton to the Quaternary-age volcanoes raises the possibility that the rich salamander community there is composed of species that dispersed from geologically older areas. The Motagua Valley appears not to have been as important in vicariant species formation within Dendrotriton as it is within other groups.
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6) Small reserves around hibernation sites may not adequately protect mobile snakes: the example of Great Basin Gophersnakes (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) in British Columbia
Authors: Williams, K.E.1; Hodges, K.E.1; Bishop, C.A.2
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 90, Number 3, February 2012 , pp. 304-312(9)
Afiliations: 1: Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Science, Institute for Species at Risk and Habitat Studies, University of British Columbia Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada. 2: Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 5421 Robertson Road, Delta, BC V2Z 1V7, Canada.
Publication date: 2012-02-16
Abstract:
A common strategy for reptile conservation is to establish reserves around nesting or hibernation sites. The government of British Columbia, Canada, mandates protection of 200-300 ha wildlife habitat areas (WHAs) around hibernation sites of the federally threatened Great Basin Gophersnakes (<named-content content-type="subspecies" xlink:type="simple">Pituophis catenifer deserticola</named-content> Stejneger, 1893), but practical constraints result in a mean size of 193 ha. To evaluate the efficacy of this reserve size, we radio-tracked 39 adult Gophersnakes at four study sites in the Okanagan Valley in 2006 and 2007. Home ranges averaged 10.5 ± 1.7 ha. The maximum distance traveled from a hibernation site was 2400 m, whereas the maximum distance dispersed averaged 520 ± 65 m. An idealized circular WHA of 193 ha with the hibernation site at the centre would be large enough to contain Gophersnake home ranges, but the dispersal data show that only 85% of snakes would stay within that area. Small or asymmetrical WHAs likely protect even fewer Gophersnake locations. We recommend that WHAs be expanded if possible because the high mobility of Gophersnakes suggests that current reserves may not offer adequate protection.
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7) Generally specialized or especially general? Habitat selection by Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) in central Ontario
Authors: Paterson, J.E.1; Steinberg, B.D.2; Litzgus, J.D.1
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 90, Number 2, January 2012 , pp. 139-149(11)

Abstract:
Habitat selection is the disproportionate use of habitat compared with availability. Many studies have focused on specialists, but few have considered habitat selection in populations that are generalists, which can be composed of generalist individuals or individuals that specialize on different habitats. We tested habitat selection and individual specialization in a northern population of a supposed generalist, the Snapping Turtle (<named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Chelydra serpentina</named-content> (L., 1758)), during the active season and winter using telemetry. Habitat selection was tested at two spatial scales by comparing random points to home ranges and turtle locations using Euclidean distances. Turtles selected home ranges from the habitats available in the population range. However, at the population level, all aquatic habitats were equally preferred, and the population behaved as a generalist owing to individuals specialized on different habitats. Over half of the individuals showed evidence of individual specialization on different habitat types. Turtles did not select habitat within home ranges during the active season, but overwintering turtles chose locations that were colder than haphazard stations in the same habitats, likely to reduce metabolic costs and the risk of acidosis. These findings have implications for the management of this species at risk and for understanding the evolution of resource generalization.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6, Canada. 2: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Algonquin Provincial Park, P.O. Box 219, Whitney, ON K0J 2M0, Canada.
Publication date: 2012-01-24
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8) Body temperature and standard metabolic rate of the female viviparous lizard Eremias multiocellata during reproduction
Authors: Yue, Feng; Tang, Xiao-Long; Zhang, De-Jiu; Yan, Xue-Feng; Xin, Ying; Chen, Qiang
(No author contact information was supplied, email, write to the “Canadian Journal of Zoology”)
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 90, Number 1, January 2012 , pp. 79-84(6)
Abstract:
The body temperature (Tb) and standard metabolic rate (SMR) of female <named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Eremias multiocellata</named-content> Günther, 1872, a viviparous lizard, were measured at 25, 30, and 35 °C during pregnancy and after parturition to assess energy requirement of reproduction. The results showed that the Tbs of female lizards were slightly higher than actual ambient temperature in the 25 and 30 °C groups, while they were slightly lower than ambient temperature in the 35 °C group. Ambient temperature significantly affected SMR and gestation period of females. Energy requirement was constant in nonpregnant females, whereas it was increased in pregnant females. The maximal estimates of maintenance costs of pregnancy (MCP) were 4.219, 4.220, and 4.448 mg CO2•min-1, which accounted for 19.40%, 14.15%, and 12.32% of the total metabolic rate in the 25, 30, and 35 °C group, respectively. The results indicated the MCP was an important component of total energy cost for the lizard E. multiocellata and the MCP in this lizard incurs a relative fixed energetic cost irrespective of ambient temperature.
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9) Effects of predator exposure on Hsp70 expression and survival in tadpoles of the Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
Authors: Sørensen, Jesper Givskov1; Loeschcke, Volker2; Merilä, Juha3; Laurila, Anssi4
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 12, November 2011 , pp. 1249-1255(

Abstract:
Predator-induced changes in prey behavior and morphology are widespread, but little is known about physiological and cellular-level responses in prey in response to predation risk. We investigated whether predator (larvae of the dragonfly <named-content content-type="genus" xlink:type="simple">Aeshna</named-content> Fabricius, 1775) presence elevated the expression level of heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70)—a commonly found response to stress—in tadpoles of the Common Frog (<named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Rana temporaria</named-content> L., 1758). In another experiment, we tested the survival of tadpoles in the presence of a free-ranging predator. Prior to this encounter, the tadpoles were exposed to either an Hsp-inducing environmental stress in the form of heat (31 °C) or to predator cues from a caged predator. We found no evidence for increased Hsp70 expression in tadpoles either in the presence of fed or starved predators. We did not find any effects of prior exposure to neither heat nor predator presence on survival at the end of experiment. Our results do not point to either Hsp70-mediated effect of predator-induced responses or to beneficial effects of the stress response on survival under predation risk.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsøvej 25, P.O. Box 314, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark. 2: Aarhus Centre of Environmental Stress Research (ACES), Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114-116, Building 1540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. 3: Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of Biosciences, P.O. Box 65, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland. 4: Population and Conservation Biology and Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden.
Publication date: 2011-11-16
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10) Diet and energetic constraints of an earthworm specialist, the Mesa Central Blotched Garter Snake (Thamnophis scaliger)
Authors: Reguera, S.1; Santos, X.2; Feriche, M.1; Mociño-Deloya, E.1; Setser, K.1; Pleguezuelos, J.M.1
Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 12, November 2011 , pp. 1178-1187(

Abstract:
Optimal diet theory predicts that predators optimize energy intake by balancing costs and benefits of foraging. One extreme strategy of snake foraging ecology is shown by specialist species that forage on low-energy prey, such as <named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Thamnophis scaliger</named-content> (Jan, 1863) which feeds almost exclusively on earthworms. Compared with other prey types such as small mammals, lizards, or arthropods, earthworms are low-energy prey because of their small size and high water content. Given the importance of energy acquisition for fueling snake reproduction, we expect that a low-energy dietary specialist such as T. scaliger needs to forage frequently to store enough fat to reproduce. The high frequency of snakes containing prey, the presence of multiple earthworms in snakes, and the fact that females continue to feed when gravid suggest that T. scaliger is a voracious consumer of earthworms. Despite these foraging behaviours, females did not reproduce in sequential years, suggesting constraints in energy input to reproduce more frequently. A meta-analysis of the diet, body size, and reproductive frequency of some species of the genus <named-content content-type="genus" xlink:type="simple">Thamnophis</named-content> Fitzinger, 1843 confirms that consumption of invertebrate prey is associated with small snake size, but not with biennial reproductive frequency within the genus.

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Biología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Granada, E-18071 Granada, Spain. 2: Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Barcelona, Avinguda Diagonal 645, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain; CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal.
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and
$75.00 each, $150.00 for set, autographed. $6.00 S&H for one book $13.00 for set.
• Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_________________________________________________________________________
Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
_______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:03 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 16a 4/5/12 (All “Abstracts You Might Have Missed”)
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the
McArthur Genius Award-
David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only five copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
_______________________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

1. Variation in female reproductive quality and reproductive success of male Midland Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata)
2. Spatial ecology and core-area protection of Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
3. Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) use thermal and structural cues to choose overwintering hibernacula
4. Winter snowfall determines the occupancy of northern prairie wetlands by tadpoles of the Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
5) Testing climate-based species distribution models with recent field surveys of pond-breeding amphibians in eastern Missouri
____________________________________________________________________
TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen
GREAT gift for kids wild about turtles or to show at their birthday party.

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst are still available as one set at a $20% Discount - (The publisher is extending the discount week by week. SO if you want it at a discount order it now.

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
_____________________________________________________________________
1) Variation in female reproductive quality and reproductive success of male Midland Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata)
Authors: McGuire, J.M.1; Congdon, J.D.2; Scribner, K.T.1; Capps, J.D.3
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 11, October 2011 , pp. 1136-1145
Abstract:
Although mate number is perceived to be the primary factor affecting male reproductive success in polygynous systems, differences in female reproductive qualities may also influence variation in male reproductive success. We combined 32 years of data on variation in reproductive qualities (clutch size and clutch frequency) of female Midland Painted Turtles (<named-content content-type="subspecies" xlink:type="simple">Chrysemys picta marginata</named-content> Agassiz, 1857) with genetic data on patterns of repeated paternity (i.e., stored sperm use) and multiple paternity to examine the potential influence on male reproductive success. Over 24 years (1983-2006), the number of reproductive females each year averaged 84 (minimum-maximum = 62-106) and, on average, 23% (minimum-maximum = 6%-40%) produced two clutches (intraseasonally). Among females with reproductive histories spanning 5-24 years (N = 167), 26% of individuals produced only one clutch annually, whereas 74% produced two clutches within a season. Among just intraseasonally iteroparous females, second-clutch production varied from 7% to 50%. Repeated paternity was observed in 97.5% of 40 paired clutches and 44% of 9 among-year comparisons of clutches from consecutive years. The frequent use of stored sperm to fertilize sequential clutches within and potentially among years can substantially increase a male's reproductive success, particularly if males can base mating decisions on phenotypic characteristics correlated with female quality.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, 203 Natural Science Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 2: University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA. 3: Allterra Environmental Inc., 207-B McPherson Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA.
Publication date: 2011-10-26
_____________________________________________________________________
2) Spatial ecology and core-area protection of Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Authors: Congdon, J.D.; Kinney, O.M.; Nagle, R.D.
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 11, October 2011 , pp. 1098-1106(9)
Abstract:
We documented sizes of terrestrial protection zones around wetlands that are necessary to protect all of the core area of Blanding's Turtles (<named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Emydoidea blandingii</named-content> (Holbrook, 1838)) on the Edwin S. George Reserve (ESGR) in southeastern Michigan. Data collected over three decades indicated that 39% of the 83 females and 50% of the 60 males maintained the same residence wetland for more than 20 years, and 33% of the 182 nonresident females used nesting areas on the ESGR for more than 20 years. Approximately 20% of resident males and females were captured in 21 temporary wetlands on the ESGR. Nesting areas were located from 100 to 2000 m from residence wetlands, and some of 45 females (18%) used up to six different nesting areas, some separated by >1000 m. Terrestrial protection zones 300 and 450 m around all wetlands (residence and temporary) protect 90% and 100% of nests, respectively. Terrestrial protection zones of 300, 1000, and 2000 m around residence wetlands only are required to protect 14%, 87%, and 100% of adults, respectively. A protection zone that encompasses the activities of most or all Blanding's Turtles has a high probability of including the core areas of most other semiaquatic organisms.
Document Type: Research article
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z11-091
Affiliations: 1: Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA.
__________________________________________________________________
3) Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus) use thermal and structural cues to choose overwintering hibernacula
Authors: Gienger, C.M.; Beck, Daniel D.
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 11, October 2011 , pp. 1084-1090(7)(Contact information of authors wasn’t supplied.)

Abstract:
Hibernacula play an important role in the ecology of high-latitude snakes, and communally denning species may occupy their hibernacula for half the year or more. Because of the long duration spent at hibernacula, such sites can provide multiple benefits to snakes including shelter from lethal overwinter conditions, social opportunities, and basking sites important in thermoregulation. Adequate hibernacula seem to be limited on the landscape and individuals travel several kilometres to use and reuse specific sites. We investigate orientation, physical structure, and thermal properties of sites used as hibernacula by Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (<named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Crotalus oreganus</named-content> Holbrook, 1840), and compare them with random sites that appear to be similar but were not used for hibernation. Hibernacula occurred primarily on south-facing talus slopes, were oriented on less-steep slopes, and were composed of rocks that were intermediate in size to randomly occurring sites. Our results suggest that the orientation and physical composition of hibernacula allow them to be stable over time, allowing snakes to repeatedly locate the sites, as well as providing predictable overwinter refuge. Hibernacula were also warmer on the surface than north-facing random sites and provided increased basking opportunities for snakes thermoregulating in early spring after emergence from hibernation.
____________________________________________________________________
4) Winter snowfall determines the occupancy of northern prairie wetlands by tadpoles of the Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
Authors: Donald, David B.1; Aitken, William T.1; Paquette, Carrie2; Wulff, Shaun S.3
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 11, October 2011 , pp. 1063-1073
Abstract:
In the northern plains of North America, the wetland breeding habitat of amphibians and their populations could be reduced by a change in climate that included decreased precipitation. To test this hypothesis, relative abundance of late-stage tadpoles of the Wood Frog (<named-content content-type="species" xlink:type="simple">Lithobates sylvaticus</named-content> (LeConte, 1825)) was monitored from 1997 to 2010 during a wet-dry-wet cycle in 29 wetlands distributed throughout central Saskatchewan, Canada. The wetlands were dry for up to 7 consecutive years, and for a mean of 3.8 consecutive years. Consequently, tadpole occupancy of the wetlands was reduced to less than 40% for 5 consecutive years and none of the wetlands had tadpoles during the severe drought of 2001 and 2002. However, the drought had no observable long-term effect on either tadpole occupancy of wetlands or tadpole abundance. In 2007, 93% of the wetlands supported tadpoles, and in 2008 the highest mean relative abundance of tadpoles was recorded. Tadpole occupancy of wetlands was related to winter and spring precipitation (R2 = 0.84) with 67% of long-term variation in occupancy related to snowfall from November to February and 17% related to rainfall from March to June. Less than 45 mm of winter precipitation for 6 consecutive years would probably cause regional extinction of populations of the Wood Frog.
Document Type: Research article
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z11-082
Affiliations: 1: Environment Canada, Room 300 Park Plaza, 2365 Albert Street, Regina, SK S4P 4K1, Canada. 2: Department of Statistics, University of Manitoba, 338 Machray Hall, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada. 3: Department of Statistics, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.
__________________________________________________________________
5) Testing climate-based species distribution models with recent field surveys of pond-breeding amphibians in eastern Missouri
Authors: Trumbo, D.R.1; Burgett, A.A.2; Knouft, J.H.1
Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology, Volume 89, Number 11, October 2011 , pp. 1074-1083
Abstract:
Species distribution models (SDMs) have become an important tool for ecologists by providing the ability to predict the distributions of organisms based on species niche parameters and available habitat across broad geographic areas. However, investigation of the appropriate extent of environmental data needed to make accurate predictions has received limited attention. We investigate whether SDMs developed with regional climate and species locality data (i.e., within Missouri, USA) produce more accurate predictions of species occurrences than models developed with data from across an entire species range. To test the accuracy of the model predictions, field surveys were performed in 2007 and 2008 at 103 study ponds for eight amphibian study species. Models developed using data from across the entire species range did not accurately predict the occurrences of any study species. However, models developed using data only from Missouri produced accurate predictions for four study species, all of which are near the edge of their geographic ranges within the study area. These results suggest that species distribution modeling with regionally focused data may be preferable for local ecological and conservation purposes, and that climate factors may be more important for determining species distributions at the edge of their geographic ranges.
Document Type: Research article
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z11-083
Affiliations: 1: Saint Louis University, Department of Biology, 3507 Laclede Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA. 2: Washington University in Saint Louis, Department of Biology, Campus Box 1137, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
Publication date: 2011-10-26
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and
$75.00 each, $150.00 for set, autographed. $6.00 S&H for one book $13.00 for set.
• Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_________________________________________________________________________
Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
_______________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
__________________________________________________________________
Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


___________
_____________________________________________________________

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:49 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 17 4/11/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
__________________________________________________________________

The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the
McArthur Genius Award-
David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only four copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.

__________________________________________________________________

Table of Contents

1) Wanted- Diamondback Terrapin Research Assistant
2) Wild Turtles Move Closer to International Trade Protection - Proposed CITES Designations Would End Unsustainable Exploitation of 17 U.S. Turtles in Midwest, South, East
3) Alabama Ends Commercial Harvest of Wild Freshwater Turtles - Other States, Feds Should Follow Suit to Stop Slaughter of Native Turtles
4) Lawsuit Filed to Speed Recovery of Endangered California Tiger Salamander
5) Turtle Species Get New York Rescue - The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo and other city zoos, committed this week to launch an worldwide effort to revive turtle and tortoise species on the verge of extinction—some with global populations in the single digits.

___________________________________________________
TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious-award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
_______________________________________________
Books Still Available

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
__________________________________________________________________
1) Wanted - Diamondback Terrapin Research Assistant
Agency: Ohio University
Location: St. Michaels MD

Job Description:
I am looking for a field research assistant to participate in a long-term study of the nesting ecology and demography of the diamondback terrapin. The study site is a large scale ecological restoration project on a remote island, Poplar Island Environmental Restoration Project. Transportation is provided by the Army Corps of Engineers from the mainland to the Island on a punctual daily basis. The individuals primary responsibility will be to conduct nesting surveys during June and July and monitor for hatchling emergence from August through October. The job entails searching on hot, sandy, beaches for nest, and upon locating them taking a series of metrics of the nest and the eggs. Nests are monitored until hatching, at which time the hatchlings will be measured, marked, and released. The assistant also will participate in an ongoing mark-recapture and sonic telemetry of headstarted animals at the study site. Responsibilities include coordinating field activities with Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Environmental Services including logistics of transporting field crew members back and forth from the island on a daily basis. The successful applicant will also be required to pass an online Defensive Driving course before the initiation of their appointment. Opportunity for authorship on side projects will be considered depending on level of participation in the side project. Salary $400/week; housing will be provided for the duration of employment in nearby St. Michaels, MD and board will be subsidized during the summer. Please apply via email to roosenbu@ohio.edu; send a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of three references that can be contacted by phone.

Qualifications: I am looking for field research assistant that must have the ability to work independently and supervise undergraduate field assistants during the summer and into the fall. The individual must be physically fit with the ability to walk 7-10 miles per day in hot, humid conditions. Applicants must be able to work from 14 May until 31 October. Field experience with turtles and nesting desirable but not necessary. Also experience with sonic telemetry and small boat (15-20 hp) handling is highly desirable. The applicant should be familiar with Microsoft Excel and experience with GIS software will be helpful. Strong preference will be given to individuals with ecological, evolutionary, and environmental interests and experience with rigorous field research. Individuals that have completed undergraduate and Masters degrees will be preferred. Also must have the ability to interact with well with contacts in other agencies working on the island and provide brief descriptions of the ongoing research to tour groups. A vehicle will be necessary to get from St. Michaels to the boat dock.
Salary: $400/week + housing
Last Date to apply: April 20, 2012
Website: http://www.ohio.edu/people/roosenbu/
Contact: Willem M. Roosenburg
E-mail: roosenbu@ohio.edu (Preferred)
Phone: 740-503-4983
________________________________________________________
2) Wild Turtles Move Closer to International Trade Protection - Proposed CITES Designations Would End Unsustainable Exploitation of 17 U.S. Turtles in Midwest, South, East
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 4/10/12 — Press Release - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that it may propose 17 species of U.S. freshwater turtles for protection at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Thailand in 2013. Today’s announcement that the turtles cleared the first hurdle toward international restrictions responds to a 2011 petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity that asked the Service to help end unsustainable international trade in U.S. freshwater turtles. Millions of wild freshwater turtles are caught in the U.S. every year and exported.
“Turtle traders are depleting U.S. turtle populations at a frightening rate. It’s got to stop before we lose these incredible animals from the wild,” said the Center’s Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney and biologist who works to save endangered reptiles and amphibians. “Commercial harvesting only compounds the daily problems native turtles already face from habitat loss, water pollution and road mortality.”
More than 2 million wild-caught, live turtles are exported from the United States each year. Most are used to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where turtle consumption rates have soared and where native populations of turtles have already been decimated. Adult turtles are also taken from the wild to breed hatchlings for the international pet trade.
Overharvest has caused population declines in almost all turtle species and many are now either protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act or under consideration for such protection. For example, the beautiful Barbour’s map turtle — now moving toward Endangered Species Act protection due to a Center listing petition — has suffered sharp declines because of overcollection for the pet trade. And the alligator snapping turtle, which can reach 250 pounds and is the largest freshwater turtle in the United States, has been intensively exploited for its meat. The Center petitioned several states in the South and Midwest to ban commercial harvest of snapping turtles and other native turtle species plummeting because of demand and a lack of regulation.
“The United States needs to act now to save our freshwater turtles,” said Adkins Giese. “International protection from exploitation is vital for the survival of wild freshwater turtle populations across the country.”
The list of species released today by the Service contains 17 species of U.S. turtles being considered for CITES Appendix I or II, including the alligator snapping turtle, spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle, diamondback terrapin and 13 species of map turtles, all of which the Center recommended in its 2011 petition. The Service also announced that four other species proposed by the Center — three species of softshell turtle and the common snapping turtle — will not be proposed for inclusion in the CITES appendices.
When turtles are added to CITES Appendix II, their international trade will be regulated using a permit system, with permits issued only when trade has been determined to be nondetrimental to species survival. CITES Appendix I species are threatened with extinction, so turtles included in this appendix would generally not be permitted in commercial trade. CITES-listed species are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements.
The Service received more than 25,000 comments supporting trade restrictions for the North American turtles. The Service is now opening another public comment period on its species proposals for the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (“CoP16”), which will be held in March 2013 in Thailand. The agency is expected to announce its final species proposals by the end of the year.
Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
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3) Alabama Ends Commercial Harvest of Wild Freshwater Turtles - Other States, Feds Should Follow Suit to Stop Slaughter of Native Turtles
MOBILE, Ala.— 4/9/12 Press Release - Alabama moved to protect its wealth of diverse, native freshwater turtles when the state’s conservation advisory board voted unanimously to approve emergency regulations banning all commercial collection and killing of wild turtles and their eggs in public and private waters. The new regulations, which went into effect on Sunday, are among the most protective state rules to prevent export-driven overharvest of native turtles in the southern United States.
“Way to go Alabama! We’re so glad that states across the South are finally beginning to clamp down on the slaughter of native turtles,” said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity who specializes in protecting reptiles and amphibians. “Turtle harvesters in the United States are catching and exporting millions of wild freshwater turtles every year, devastating populations that are already suffering from a lot of other threats, like habitat loss, water pollution and road mortality.”
The United States is a turtle biodiversity hotspot, home to more types of turtles than any other country in the world. U.S. turtle traders capture and sell more than 2 million wild freshwater turtles each year — mostly to supply food, pet and medicinal markets in Asia, where soaring turtle consumption rates have already decimated the local turtles.
Because freshwater turtles live for a long time — some up to 150 years — and breed late in life, with low reproductive rates, they are highly sensitive to overharvest. Alabama hosts 30 native turtle species — more than half of all the native freshwater turtles in North America. Alabama herpetologists sounded the alarm that the state’s turtle populations were plummeting because of demand and a lack of regulation.
In 2011 the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for international trade restrictions to end unsustainable export of freshwater turtles. The petition seeks protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for 20 species of native midwestern and southern freshwater turtles, including the alligator snapping turtle, map turtles, softshell turtles, spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle and diamondback terrapin.
In Alabama, personal collection of turtles (for pets or food) is now limited to two per day, and these animals cannot be sold. Turtle consumption poses a human-health risk; because turtles live longer and bioaccumulate considerably more contaminants than fish, many turtles sold as food are contaminated with mercury, PCBs and pesticides.
Background

Alabama’s new regulations void all commercial turtle harvest permits, which previously allowed catching and keeping up to 10 turtles per day. Alabama turtle farmers can continue to propagate native turtles, but brood stock must come from other permitted turtle farmers or from legal sources outside of Alabama. Turtle dealers can continue to buy, sell, import and export legally acquired turtles, but the state now requires stricter annual reporting from turtle dealers.
Along with a coalition of conservation and health groups, the Center submitted regulatory petitions in 2008 and 2009 to 12 states without adequate turtle protections (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas). These petitions ask for state bans on commercial harvest from all public and private waters to prevent further depletions of native turtles.
In response to the petition, Oklahoma enacted a moratorium on commercial harvest of turtles from public waters in 2008, while studying the status of its wild turtle populations. In 2009 Florida banned almost all commercial harvest of freshwater turtles from public and private waters; the same year South Carolina limited turtle harvest for nine native species, with regulations allowing taking no more than 10 turtles from the wild at one time and no more than 20 turtles in one year. Earlier this year Georgia set annual catch limits for eight species of native turtles, but they are not sufficiently protective of vulnerable turtles because they allow high harvest
Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
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4) Lawsuit Filed to Speed Recovery of Endangered California Tiger Salamander

SAN FRANCISCO—4/10/12 Press Release The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to develop a legally required recovery plan for the California tiger salamander, which has been protected under the Endangered Species Act for about a decade.

“If the government is serious about saving the California tiger salamander, it needs to stop dragging its feet and get to work on developing a roadmap for the animal’s recovery,” said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney at the Center who works to save endangered amphibians and reptiles. “Every day without a recovery plan is a day these rare salamanders are left without the help they badly need.”

Three populations of California tiger salamanders were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2000, 2002 and 2004. Some of the most threatened salamanders are in Sonoma County, where nearly all of the salamander’s known breeding sites are in areas being rapidly converted to high density housing, office buildings, roads and other urban development.

Nearly 20 percent of all U.S. species protected under the Endangered Species Act lack recovery plans. To date the Obama government has only completed original recovery plans for 21 species, for a rate of fewer than seven species per year. In contrast, President Clinton completed 599 plans for a rate of 75 per year. The George H.W. Bush administration completed 150 plans for a rate of 38 per year and the second Bush completed 147 plans for a rate of 18 per year.

“It’s troubling to see this backlog of recovery plans that imperiled species depend on to survive and thrive,” said Adkins Giese. “It’s time for the Service to reinvigorate its endangered species program by taking steps to address this backlog now, as the list of endangered and threatened species and our country’s extinction crisis continues to grow.”

Recovery plans are the main tool for identifying actions necessary to save endangered species from extinction and eventually remove their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The plans typically outline specific tasks such as habitat restoration or research or protections from a particular threat.

Research by the Center has found that species with dedicated recovery plans for two or more years are far more likely to be improving than those without. Timely development and implementation of recovery plans is critical to saving species because they identify all of the necessary actions to save the species.

“Exotic predators and habitat destruction are pushing California tiger salamanders toward extinction,” said Adkins Giese. “The Service must act quickly to develop and implement plans to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to ensure they don’t vanish.”

Background

The California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) is a large, stocky, terrestrial salamander with a broad, rounded snout. These amphibians are restricted to vernal pools and seasonal ponds in grassland and oak savannah communities in central California. The primary cause of the decline of the California tiger salamander is the loss and fragmentation of habitat through human activities and encroachment of nonnative predators.

Three populations of California tiger salamander are protected under the Endangered Species Act: Santa Barbara, Sonoma and central California. The Santa Barbara and Sonoma populations have been listed as endangered since 2000 and 2002, respectively. The central California population has been listed as threatened since 2004. None have recovery plans.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that amphibians are among the most imperiled species on Earth. Globally, more than 1,900 species of frogs, toads and salamanders — 30 percent of the world’s amphibians — are at risk of dying out, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2011 Red List. And in the United States, more than 20 percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Ubiquitous toxins, global warming, nonnative predators, overcollection, habitat destruction, and disease are key factors leading to demise of amphibians in the United States and worldwide.

The Center files petitions to protect amphibians under the Endangered Species Act; works to keep toxic pesticides out of their habitats; and — led by the world’s only attorney exclusively focused on protecting amphibians and reptiles (known as “herpetofauna”) — goes to court to ensure that federal agencies are taking steps necessary to conserve California tiger salamanders and scores of other rare cold-blooded creatures.

Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, Center for Biological Diversity (651) 955-3821.
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5) Turtle Species Get New York Rescue - The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo and other city zoos, committed this week to launch an worldwide effort to revive turtle and tortoise species on the verge of extinction—some with global populations in the single digits.
By Will James, April 10, 2012
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the Bronx Zoo and other city zoos, committed this week to launch an worldwide effort to revive turtle and tortoise species on the verge of extinction—some with global populations in the single digits.
The vision is for freshwater turtles and tortoises bred in New York to repopulate habitats across the world. It harks back to the society's first notable victory, when it shipped 15 American bison from New York to Oklahoma to reside in the Great Plains more than a century ago.
Now, the New York-based society—a network of 4,000 zookeepers, scientists, field conservationists and veterinarians in 65 countries—is preparing to mobilize all of its branches for the turtle effort.
"We're in a position to do something about this because of the expertise across the organization," said Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, the society's vice president for species conservation. "And the fact that we've got these zoos in New York where we can do this breeding."
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs several city zoos, is working to breed freshwater turtles and tortoises in New York in the hopes of repopulating global habitats. The McCord's Box Turtle, held by a zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo, is native to China.
Much remains to be decided, but one likely candidate is the Roti Island Snake-Necked Turtle, a freshwater species with a long neck that it wraps around its body for protection. The Bronx Zoo has three of the Frisbee-sized creatures, which are found almost exclusively on a small Indonesian island. Fewer than 100 are left in the wild, scientists said, as hunting for the pet trade and conversion of its native marshlands into rice fields has decimated the species.
The Bronx Zoo is looking to obtain more to build up a population with enough genetic diversity for safe breeding. Once in New York, the turtles would be raised and bred in temperature-controlled tanks that simulate their humid native climates.
Don Boyer, the society's curator of herpetology, said it is too early to say just how many young turtles the zoos will have to produce. "This is a big job," he said.
The organization is committed to saving about half of the world's 25 most threatened turtle species but is still deciding which it is best equipped to aggressively breed in the coming years. Early estimates put the cost at about $200,000 per species.
It is also unclear when those species will be brought to the society's New York facilities—the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Central Park Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo and the Queens Zoo.
For now, the Wildlife Conservation Society is breeding four endangered turtle species—the Roti Island, Golden Coin, McCord's Box and Yellow-Headed Box species—in the Asian countries where they are native. It soon plans to begin acquiring rare turtles from other zoos in order to bolster its collection of 400 turtles from 59 species.
The effort will take years. And experts say they are running out of time.
Having thrived since the early days of the dinosaurs, turtles are now facing an unprecedented crisis that has gone largely unnoticed by the general public, conservationists say. Most of the threatened species have been reduced to fewer than 1,000.
"You can't be in our profession, you can't have our knowledge and expertise and not do something," said Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo. "We're ethically obligated to do something."
Some species may be impossible to save. The Abingdon Island Tortoise, once found on the Galápagos Islands, has one survivor, a male named Lonesome George. The Red River Giant Softshell Turtle, native to China and Vietnam, is down to four.
While much turtle habitat is still intact, the animals have been hunted to the brink across the world. For the last two decades or so, turtles have been plucked by the ton out of the rivers, swamps, forests and fields of Southeast Asia, where most turtle species live.
Many are bagged and shipped off to feed a growing demand in China, where they are boiled in soups or ground into jelly believed to have medicinal qualities. Thought to be good luck, they are also sold as pets to a new Chinese middle class.
In 2000, 25 tons of turtles per week were being shipped from Sumatra to China, according to Dr. Bennett. By 2003, that dropped to seven tons since the island was running out of turtles. China began importing them from as far away as Brazil.
Leaders of the effort see reasons for hope, saying turtles are uniquely well-suited for a mass breeding program. Many turtles live even longer than humans—some have been known to live 160 years—and breed throughout their lives. Compared with other endangered species, like tigers or elephants, they are small and easy to care for.
"I really think that in a relatively short period of time—five to 10 years—we can really be in a much better place with turtles than we are now," Mr. Breheny said. "And the flip side is if we don't start doing something now, we're going to lose some of these. If we don't act now, it's over."
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, 3 autographed sets left. $6.00 S&H for one book $13.00 for set.

• Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

As in Volume I, in Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

If you already have Volume 1 - or if you’re only interested in one volume you can order a single book for $75.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (It will be signed by both authors)

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.00 add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State

TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Only $14.95 plus @6.00 for S&H. Part of which goes to help D. Terrapins.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

Reviews:

A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

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TO ORDER:

Email us first at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com for S&H fees for all overseas orders. (And yes this includes Canada)

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HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 18 4/20/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the
McArthur Genius Award-
David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only four copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.

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Table of Contents

1. Videos on Rattlesnake Roundups
2) Tainted Toes- Geese are carrying frog-killing fungus on their feet
3) Mysterious Rattlesnake-Killing Infection Emerges
4) Looking for papers on turtles of Asian Herpetological Research Journal
5) Simulated climate change increases juvenile growth in a Critically Endangered tortoise
6) Future climate change spells catastrophe for Blanchard’s cricket frog, Acris blanchardi (Amphibia: Anura: Hylidae)
7) Save the Sand-Dune Lizard? - The Fish and Wildlife Service has a big decision to make.
8) Gopher tortoises no longer buried alive, but will relocation save them?
9) Chinese Workers In Zimbabwe Are Eating Endangered Tortoises, Pythons And Leopards
1. Learn from Wildlife Conservation Society’s global strategy to save turtles
(Editor- If you are a teacher, wildlife educator, or... this is a very interesting and must read article. She shows how WC’s turtle strategy is applicable for the classroom.
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Books Available

Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich (At a price cheaper than Amazon)

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 by Carl & Evelyn Ernst

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons, (40%
discount off list price.)

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel, 1/3rd discount off list price.

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious-award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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1) Videos on Rattlesnake Roundups
http://stabxhappy.tumblr.com/post/21018 ... d-for-This rattlesnake was tortured for photo opportunities in Apache, Oklahoma. They freeze the snakes (which starts the crystallization of their blood) and then sew their mouths shut. Snakes are then used like props for photos and are left baking in the hot sun all weekend long. Snakes feel pain and suffer just like any other living being does.
Rattlesnake roundups & felony animal cruelty are OK in Oklahoma? THIS weekend in Waurika & Waynoka, Oklahoma they will hold their annual rattlesnake roundups. Waurika is one of the towns where they have sewn snake mouths shut & put them on display. To help put an end to rattlesnake roundups and to learn more about them please visit these sites and share this with others:

(Another video with more details) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9gWEolbMaE

(News coverage) http://www.okcfox.com/newsroom/top_stor ... 4991.shtml
(Rise Against Rattlesnake Roundups group) https://www.facebook.com/groups/2799875358/
(Stop Rattlesnake Roundups page) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Ratt ... 1028261784
(Article about rattlesnake roundup cruelty) http://totalwildlifecontrol.com/news/tu ... y-exposed/
(More videos exposing cruelty at these events) http://www.youtube.com/user/rarrokla/videos
(DA, Police, Governor, Roundup Committee, etc contact details) https://www.facebook.com/theskunkwhispe ... 6594246237
Joe Dorman, Apache Rattlesnake Roundup Committee - joe@joedorman.com (mouth sewn shut & placed in freezer at his event & being deprived of food, water & shelter)

District Attorney Jason Hicks (DA over Waurika & Apache) - vote@jasonhicksda.com (mouth sewn shut, placed in freezer (mouth sewn shut & deprived of food, water & shelter at his two events)

info@mikefields.com (deprived of food, water & shelter)

Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin - info@gov.ok.gov
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2) Tainted Toes- Geese are carrying frog-killing fungus on their feet
Scientists have found one more way that a deadly fungus may be spreading among amphibians: via the toes of wild geese.
The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a well-known killer of amphibians around the world. How the pathogen is transmitted, though, is less clear. Infected amphibians without symptoms are probably contributing to the spread, but scientists haven’t been sure if other species are also to blame.
Researchers tested 397 wild geese from Belgium and found that 76 birds were carrying B. dendrobatidis on their toes. Lab tests showed that goose toe scales tended to attract the fungus, the team reports in PLoS ONE. The fungus could also survive in dry conditions on the toe scales for half an hour, long enough for geese to fly 30 kilometers.
Geese might not come into contact with amphibians that often: the birds flock to wetlands, rivers, and lakes rather than ponds. But when the two groups of animals do mix, the geese’s funky feet may be helping to transmit the pathogen. — Roberta Kwok | 17 April 2012
Source: Garmyn, A. et al. 2012. Waterfowl: Potential environmental reservoirs of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. PLoS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035038.
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3) Mysterious Rattlesnake-Killing Infection Emerges
Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer, 2/24/2012

In south-central Illinois, rare rattlesnakes have been dying from what appears to be aggressive fungal infections that cause grotesque facial lesions.
"What is kind of scary about it is it loves the skin, but once it gets through the skin, it will invade muscle and bone and it is extremely destructive," said Matthew Allender, a wildlife veterinarian affiliated with the University of Illinois who has been studying these infections."I've never quite seen anything like this in a reptile."
Since 2008, four confirmed and two probable cases have turned up in a population of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes of about 50 to 60 individuals. (This species of snakes are candidates for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act.) Allender has tried, unsuccessfully, to treat two of these cases, but all have been fatal. [7 Shocking Snake Stories]
A soil-dwelling fungus, Chrysosporium, appears to be responsible. It is a not-too-distant relative of another soil fungus turned killer. Geomyces destructans was recently confirmed as the cause of white-nose syndrome, which has been decimating bat populations in the eastern U.S. after first being spotted in a cave near Albany, N.Y., in 2006.
Fungal pathogens have been increasingly associated with epidemics in wildlife, he notes in a report published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in December. Amphibians around the planet have been devastated by chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease.
Allender suspects the handful of cases he's seen among the eastern massasauga rattlesnakes are just the tip of a larger phenomenon. Other biologists have told him they have seen similar infections accompanied by the fungus in rattlesnake populations in the northeastern United States.
"We are at the early stage where white-nose syndrome was four years ago, where they had all these outbreaks they were starting to see, then starting to investigate," Allender said.
The eastern massasauga rattlesnakes were once plentiful, but loss of habitat has reduced their numbers and driven them into closer quarters.
This gives rise to one possible scenario that might explain the outbreak of the disease: Once crowded together, the snakes are more likely to interact and pass the fungus to one another. Chrysosporium may also represent a new and devastating "superbug,"or there may be something in the environment that is weakening the snakes' immune systems, leaving them more vulnerable to an infection they could once fight off, Allender said.
Allender is collaborating with biologist Michael Dreslik of the Illinois Natural History Survey Prairie Research Institute, who conducts the population surveys that have uncovered the sick rattlesnakes. This year's survey will begin in the coming month, Allender said.
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4) Looking for papers on turtles of Asian Herpetological Research Journal
On behalf of the Asian Herpetological Research (AHR) journal, I will be acting as the Executive Chief Editor of a special “turtles only” edition of AHR. We invite submissions for this special issue, which will comprise the fourth issue of AHR in 2012. Please forward manuscripts for consideration to me by 30 June 2012. The issue is due for publication at the end of the year; therefore this is a remarkably fast “turn-around” time and offers the opportunity to rapidly publish chelonian-related research results in an international journal.
Asian Herpetological Research (AHR), an international English language journal, is published quarterly by the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CIB), and Science Press in cooperation with the Asiatic Herpetological Research Society (AHRS). The scope of the journal includes all contemporary herpetological research areas including taxonomy, morphology, phylogeny, systematics, evolution, zoogeography, physiology, ecology, toxicology and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles.
The principal criteria of AHR for acceptance of articles for publication are the quality and significance of the research, breadth of interest of the work to the readership, and the clarity and effectiveness of communication. AHR welcomes submission of manuscripts from authors in all countries of the world, though with a focus on the herpetological studies in the Asian and Pacific regions including original research articles, reviews, notes and communications. More information regarding the journal can be found at http://www.ahr-journal.com.

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving your submissions,
Sincerely,

Professor HaiTao Shi
Vice-President
Hainan Normal University
Haikou, China
haitao-shi@263.net
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5) Simulated climate change increases juvenile growth in a Critically Endangered tortoise
Nicola J. Mitchell1,*, Tara V. Jones1, Gerald Kuchling2
1School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
2Department of Environment and Conservation, Swan Coastal District, 5 Dundebar Rd, Wanneroo, Western Australia 6065, Australia
ABSTRACT: Climate change can affect the availability of transient habitats upon which many species depend for growth and reproduction. In south-western Western Australia, declines in win- ter rainfall since the 1970s have shortened the hydroperiod of ephemeral swamps occupied by the Critically Endangered western swamp tortoise Pseudemydura umbrina reducing the length of the growing period of hatchlings and juveniles. Here, we tested whether the warmer water tempera- tures expected under global climate change could compensate for a shorter growing season. We increased pond temperatures of captive hatchlings and juveniles (1 and 2 yr old) by 1 to 2°C, and showed that growth rates and rates of food intake increased with temperature, with hatchlings in heated ponds increasing their mass by an additional 78% compared to hatchlings in unheated ponds. Hatchlings had a growth rate 8 times greater than that of juveniles. With an unlimited food supply, we predict that wild hatchlings will reach the critical mass (about 18 g) necessary to sur- vive their first aestivation period at least 1 mo earlier under projected climate change by 2050. However, because shorter hydroperiods translate to longer periods for dry-season aestivation, small tortoises that have allocated all their energy to growth will be especially vulnerable to depletion of energy stores during aestivation.
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:06 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 20 4/30/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the
McArthur Genius Award-
David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only four copies and from previous experience selling David Carroll’s books they go fast. So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.

ONLY TWO LEFT
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Table of Contents

1) Karen Eckert of Widecast was featured in the new WILDLIFE HEROES book by Julia Scardina and Jeff Flocken http://www.wildlifeheroes.org/
2) Researcher Forms Group to Save Turtles
3) Rare Reptiles Breed in Wild - Two baby ploughshare tortoises born to parents raised in a captive breeding program are discovered in Madagascar, validating the conservation effort.
4) Rare Philippine turtles returned by Hong Kong
5) Finalized copy available of the report from the workshop entitled "Conservation of Asian Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles: Setting Priorities for the Next Ten Years”
6) Center for Snake Conservation Sponsors Spring Snake Count—
A Citizen Science Program Focused on Mapping and Conserving Snakes
7) Guidelines for the Use of Amphibians and Reptiles in Field and Laboratory Research
8) The University of Exeter, is offering a range of scholarships:
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Masters Distinction Awards
9) Ecological Methods and Research in Reptile Ecology: Two concurrent courses


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Other Books Still Available

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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TURTLE TV is here, It‚s a „freaking hilarious‰ award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STARONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.

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1) Karen Eckert of Widecast was featured in the new WILDLIFE HEROES book by Julia Scardina and Jeff Flocken http://www.wildlifeheroes.org/

Forty heroes were "acclaimed their vision, determination, and success ... their impressive accomplishments [and] their stellar reputations in the field of wildlife conservation."

All proceeds go to support endangered species research and conservation.
(I unfortunately do no carry it., But it’s a good book worth taking a look at.)
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2) Researcher Forms Group to Save Turtles
KOMU.COM Apr 25, 2012 by Ashleigh Johnson

COLUMBIA , MO- Residents concerned about the safety of turtles crossing busy roads have formed a group committed to helping the creatures called Turtle Crossing Como. University of Missouri natural resources researcher Brice Hanberry started the group after moving to Columbia and noticing the large population of turtles in the area.
"In the spring and the summer, they're crossing the roads quite often," Hanberry said Wednesday.
The goal of the group is to convince the city council to add some turtle-friendly additions to the roads as they undergo routine maintenance. Turtle Crossing Como suggests road signs, ramps leading down from curbs, indentions in curbs and possibly tunnels underneath roads for turtles to cross through safely.
For their suggestions to become reality, Hanberry said the support of the community is needed.
"The city council wouldn't feel any kind of obligation to do anything unless the citizens were interested in it happening," Hanberry said. She encourages residents to attend a series of town hall meetings underway now and speak in favor of turtle-friendly additions to the roads.
The additions have been put on a list of other possible changes to be made to Columbia roads in the future, but the list has not yet been presented to the city council.
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3) Rare Reptiles Breed in Wild - Two baby ploughshare tortoises born to parents raised in a captive breeding program are discovered in Madagascar, validating the conservation effort.
By Jef Akst - April 27, 2012- Scientist Magazine
http://the-scientist.com/2012/04/27/rar ... d-in-wild/ Go to this page and see video.
As few as 500 adult ploughshare tortoises roam the bamboo scrub of Baly Bay in north-western Madagascar. Fortunately, many others are thriving in the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s captive breeding colony. Since 1998, 65 sub-adult tortoises have been reintroduced into the wild. And now, a local field team has discovered the first progeny of those released animals.
“The importance of the discovery of the baby ploughshares cannot be over-emphasised,” Lee Durrell, the Trust’s Honorary Director, said in a press release. “They represent a beacon for the future of not only the iconic ploughshare in Madagascar but many other species whose survival relies on similar conservation breeding programmes.”
Measuring just 5 centimeters in length and weighing just 30 grams, the two babies are believed to be approximately 1 year old. The question now is will they survive. “The Madagascar habitat that is their home is a tough one—there are bush pigs, buzzards, a harsh climate, and poachers to contend with—but they are healthy and strong and we believe they stand a good chance,” Durrell says.
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4) Rare Philippine turtles returned by Hong Kong

MANILA, Philippines (AP) 4/27/12— Turtles represent longevity and good luck, and that's certainly true for 18 rare smuggled turtles that were returned from Hong Kong to their native Philippines.
Philippine Wildlife Bureau head Mundita Lim says the pond turtles were confiscated at the Hong Kong airport in February from a Chinese student, along with 13 more common box turtles.
Pond turtles live only in forests on Palawan Island southwest of Manila. Only about 120 remain in the wild. Lim says they are prized as novelty pets or food.
Philippine officials took the unprecedented step of traveling to Hong Kong and retrieving the turtles because they are so rare. Palawan's governor received the turtles at the Manila airport Friday.
The 18 will be rehabilitated before being released in the wild.
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5) Finalized copy of the report from the workshop entitled "Conservation of Asian Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles: Setting Priorities for the Next Ten Years” hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) form the 21-24 February 2011. Nearly 70 delegates from 17 countries –including 14 Asian nations – attended.
http://www.turtlesurvival.org/resources ... er-turtles

Dear Colleagues:
It is with great pleasure that we are sending you a finalized copy of the report from the workshop entitled "Conservation of Asian Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles: Setting Priorities for the Next Ten Years” hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) form the 21-24 February 2011. Nearly 70 delegates from 17 countries –including 14 Asian nations – attended.
A primary directive and the basis of the workshop, participants were tasked with looking back at the last decade of turtle conservation since the pivotal meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 1999 that first brought together the region’s turtle experts. By assessing the past eleven years, participants were able to identify what actions worked well, which ones did not work as well as hoped, and which recommendations/priorities had not been adequately addressed. Next, the participants were asked to look forward to determine emerging trends and new developments and dilemmas/challenges in the continuously changing habitat impacts and market trade in turtles and turtle products.

This report presents a set of recommendations and conclusions arising from presentations, discussions, and break-out sessions at the workshop. The first set of overall recommendations represent the immediate steps necessary for staving off extinction of Asia’s most endangered turtles. These recommendations are of the highest priority. Key policy recommendations are then made, arising from an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red-Listing process that was incorporated as part of the Singapore workshop. In addition, a specific session on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held. These recommendations dovetail into recommendations for proposed changes to the CITES listing of Asian turtles and how specific species need to be more strictly regulated and supervised in their international trade to protect wild populations. The key policy recommendations should be pivotal in encouraging participating countries to enforce existing laws and regulations and in some cases create new laws or regulations.

Two genera have been identified as priority groups as they make up a large percentage of the most critically endangered turtles in Asia. This is followed by a section on emerging threats and includes recommendations for dealing with these new issues. After which we detail a number of emerging opportunities for turtle conservation in Asia. We then feature two potential species for pilot reintroduction programs. Before the report concludes, we detail species-specific recommendations for the 36 confirmed and proposed Critically Endangered Turtles and Tortoises in South and Southeast Asia, and lastly, we have a short section on the need to gather information on species’ ranked as Data Deficient in order to determine such species population status.

We would like to thank all the participants for their valuable contributions to the report; without these contributions, the report would not have been possible. We especially thank all the individuals who graciously provided photographs. We would also like to again thank the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund for their generous financial support of the workshop. Additionally, we would like to thank the Wildlife Conservation Society, Turtle Survival Alliance, San Diego Zoo Global, the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and the IUCN Red-list for their financial contributions to the workshop. We would like to give a special thank you to all the staff at Wildlife Reserves Singapore who helped make this workshop possible. We would especially like to thank Saskia Lafebre who was instrumental as our go-to person for all things related to the logistics of organizing the accommodations, food, and venue. Biswajit Guha graciously helped the workshop become a reality after we first proposed the idea of it. Finally, a debt of gratitude is owed to Claire Chiang (Chairperson, WRS) who was a strong supporter of the workshop from the very start.

We believe strongly that this report will help hasten turtle conservation throughout the region. Furthermore, we hope it will be a valuable tool in your conservation efforts and look forward to your continued support and collaboration.

Sincerely,

Brian D. Horne
Colin M. Poole
Andrew D. Walde



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6) Center for Snake Conservation Sponsors Spring Snake Count—
A Citizen Science Program Focused on Mapping and Conserving Snakes

Louisville, CO 4/27/12− Following on the heels of its successful Fall Snake Count last September, the Center for Snake Conservation will be hosting a Spring Snake Count from May 12 - 20, 2012, with the goal of annual spring and fall counts in the future to map and track the distribution of snake species. This Citizen Science Program encourages everyday “citizens” to get out in nature, learn about snakes, and promote snake conservation by observing and recording snake species in their local area.

“Snakes play vital roles as mid- to top-level predators in our natural ecosystems but they are often misunderstood and feared by humans,” says Cameron Young, founder and executive director of Center for Snake Conservation. Snakes and other reptiles are among the most imperiled vertebrate species in the world—nearly 25% of all evaluated reptile species are endangered or vulnerable, and the status of another 20% has not been assessed due to lack of data.

Data collected during the Spring Snake Count will be used by the Center Snake Conservation to confirm the existence of rare species and provide baseline data to monitor populations of more common species. The Snake Count also serves to raise awareness for snake conservation thereby ensuring that this unique predator will continue to persist in our developing world.

Young encourages families, nature centers, snake enthusiasts, students, local chapters of wildlife organizations, and anyone else with an interest in enjoying and conserving the natural world to become involved and help researchers to learn which species or regions may need focused conservation efforts.

To register for the Spring Snake Count, download a snake count tool kit, become a coordinator, host an event, or just to learn more., go to http://www.snakecount.org/ or contact the Center for Snake Conservation at 770-500-0000 or snakecount@snakeconservation.org. If you are unable to participate in the Spring Snake Count and would like to further support snake research, education, and conservation, become a member of the Center for Snake Conservation at http://www.snakeconservation.org/home/memberships.

Contact: Cameron A. Young, Center for Snake Conservation, (770) 500-000
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7) Guidelines for the Use of Amphibians and Reptiles in Field and Laboratory Research
Course URL: http://research.amnh.org/swrs/guide-use ... b-research
When: 18 - 23 June 2012
Where: Southwestern Research Station, Portal, Arizona
Instructors: Drs. Darryl Heard, Elliott Jacobson, Drs. Avery Bennet, Kristin Berry, Richard Funk, Jim Jarchow, DVM, Allan Pessier, Kevin Wright.
Description: The course is designed for undergraduates and graduate students in Conservation Ecology, Wildlife, and Biological Sciences who expect to work with amphibians and/or reptiles as their research animals. It will emphasize research animal selection, anatomy, concepts of infectious diseases, anesthesia, use of pain medications, sampling techniques, concepts of surgical techniques, and handling of venomous species. The course will include lectures and labs. There will be opportunities to go out locally in the field to observe native herps. Blood may be collected from some of these animals. No private collecting is allowed.
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8) Ecological Methods and Research in Reptile Ecology: Two concurrent courses
Course URL: http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/anderson/index.html
When: 13 June - 26 July 2012
Where: Great Basin Desert of southeast Oregon
Instructors: Dr. Roger Anderson and Western Washington University Faculty
Description: During the courses, you will deepen and diversify your research skills and abilities while gaining valuable hands-on field experience. Students will work in a fun, teamwork environment, with attentive faculty support. Strengthen your resume with field research course experience, which is attractive to graduate programs and employers. Your fieldwork may be the basis for presentation of posters and talks at scientific meetings and may generate the data for publication to enhance your career opportunities even further.
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9) The University of Exeter, is offering a range of scholarships:
College of Life and Environmental Sciences Masters Distinction Awards
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/fundin ... ake+Public
Blurb appended below.
The timeline is quite tight so carpe deum.

With kind regards

Brendan
Prof. Brendan J. Godley
Chair in Conservation Science
Centre for Ecology & Conservation
University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus
TR10 9EZ, UK


The College of Life and Environmental Sciences is delighted to offer a number of Masters Distinction Awards, covering the full cost of tuition-fees, to top performing students who accept a place to study on any taught Masters programme within the College, enrolling in 2012.

Eligible programmes:

Biosciences

MSc Applied Ecology
MSc Aquatic Biosciences and Resource Management
MSc Bioinformatics
MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise
MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
MSc Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Geography

MRes Climate Change Impacts and Feedbacks
MRes Critical Human Geographies
MSc Climate Change and Risk Management
MSc Energy Policy
MSc Sustainable Development
MSc Sustainable Development (Climate Change and Environment)
MSc Sustainable Development (Distance Learning)

Psychology

MSc Animal Behaviour
MSc Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapies
MSc Psychological Research Methods
MSc Psychological Therapies
MSc Social and Organisational Psychology

Sport and Health Sciences

MSc Paediatric Exercise and Health
MSc Sport and Exercise Medicine
MSc Sport and Health Sciences

Please note that these awards may not be held in conjunction with any others.
Summary
Application deadline: 11th May 2012
Value: Full tuition fees
Duration of award: for 1 year
Contact: Ruth Tyrer r.tyrer@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply:

To be eligible for a College of Life and Environmental Sciences Masters Distinction Award you must hold an offer of a place to study on one of the eligible taught Masters programmes, commencing in 2012.

Once you have received the offer of a place, please complete and submit the Masters Distinction Award application form including the following details:

academic qualification
additional academic achievements
career ambitions
non-academic achievements
details of the difference the award would make to you.

All completed forms received from eligible students by 11 May 2012 will be considered.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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HerpDigest is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, based in New York State. It is a publication, independent of any government public or private agenda, and reflects only the editor& opinion of what is news in the herp world. It is now in its 11th straight year of publication.
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just contact asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and your subscription will be terminated immediately
________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com And you'll receive a response or acted on immediately.
_________________________________________________________________
Sales From All Items Advertised In HerpDigest Goes Directly To Keep HerpDigest.org Free, Alive And An Independent Voice In The World Of Herpetology. HerpDigest.org Is A 501 © 3 Non-Profit Organization. So Donations Are Of Course Gratefully Accepted. To subscribe go to www.herpdigest.org and sign up.
_________________________________________________________________
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling. Getting low on
signed copies so order now to make sure you get one. Otherwise
non-autographed copies will be sent out.

Reviews

"The amount of misinformation and hysteria surrounding the discovery of viable populations of large pythons has been mind-boggling. This text provides a serious, scientifically-valid overview of an important ecological problem and will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of scientists and non-scientists alike.";Richard Seigel,Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University

"Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes;but few biological invaders are as dramatic as giant pythons. In this magnificently illustrated book, two accomplished snake biologists separate fact from fiction, and provide a user-friendly but scientifically rigorous account of how the pythons got to the USA, what we know about these troublesome aliens, and what impacts they are likely to have on the complex ecosystems of the Everglades and beyond.;Rick Shine, University of Sydney

Description

Most people think of pythons as giant snakes in distant tropical jungles, but Burmese pythons, which can reach lengths of over twenty feet and weigh over two hundred pounds, are now thriving in southern Florida.

These natives of Asia are commonly kept as pets and presumably escaped or were released in the Everglades. Pythons are now common in this region; widespread throughout hundreds of square miles, they are breeding and appear to be expanding their range. Pythons are voracious predators that feed on a variety of native wildlife including wading
birds, bobcats, white-tailed deer, and even alligators. Their presence has drawn dramatic media attention and stoked fears among the public
that pythons may threaten not just native species but humans as well.

Despite this widespread concern, information on pythons has been limited to a few scientific publications and news coverage that varies widely in fact and accuracy. With Invasive Pythons in the United States, Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson provide the most reliable, up-to-date, and scientifically grounded information on invasive pythons. Filled with over two hundred color photographs and fifteen figures and maps, the book will help general readers and the scientific community better understand these fascinating animals and their troubling presence in the United States.

Features information on:
General python biology,
Biology of Burmese pythons in their native range
Research on pythons in the United States history
Status of introduced pythons in Florida,
Risks pythons pose in Florida and elsewhere
Methods to control python populations
other
boas and pythons that may become or are already established in the
United State
TO ORDER: $25.00 per book, $6.00 for S&H per book. $12 to Canada and
Mexico per book $15.00 to Europe and Central and South America per book

So see a copy of the cover go to
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9994654@N0 ... hotostream
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

She's the mascot for the University of Maryland's sports teams (their slogan: Fear the Turtle) and her ancestors were nearly driven to extinction by Victorians who indulged in turtle soup. But as she buries herself in the mud every night to sleep, the diamondback terrapin knows none of this. The size of a dinner plate, she can live at least forty years and is the only turtle in North America who can live in brackish and salty waters.

The diamondback terrapin is named for the beautiful concentric rings on its shell. Its habitat ranges from Cape Cod to Corpus Christi, Texas, with seven subspecies identified along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Several diamondback populations have been the subjects of ecological studies in recent years, but most of that information was buried in scientific literature and various state and federal reports-until now.

Synthesizing all known research on this remarkable animal, Diamonds in the Marsh is the first full-scale natural history of the diamondback terrapin. Focusing on the northern diamondback, Barbara Brennessel examines its evolution, physiology, adaptations, behavior, growth patterns, life span, genetic diversity, land use, reproduction, and early years. She also discusses its relationship to humans, first as an important food source from colonial times through the nineteenth century, and more recently as a cultural icon, frequently depicted in Native American art and design. She concludes with a look at contemporary hazards to the terrapin, and urges continued study of this marvelous creature.

Reviews:

„Environmentalists, ecologists and marine biologists will delight in this meticulously detailed but highly readable look at the only North American turtle species that can tolerate the Œfresh water, salt water, and everything in between‚‰ ˜Publishers Weekly

A serious treatment of the natural history of one of the most beloved creatures of the Eastern Seaboard... well illustrated with photographs.‰˜Natural New England Magazine

"A comprehensive natural history such as Diamonds in the Marsh is an invaluable tool in the study and conservations of a species, and can provide a solid foundation for future research, conservation, and management decisions. Brennessel effectively pulls together the bulk of literature on the diamondback and communicates it to the reader in a generally clear, uncluttered fashion so as to make it not only a resource for researchers, but also an interesting read for reptile aficionados."˜Herpetological Review

Useful for anyone interested in coastal species or reptiles.‰˜Northeastern Naturalist

Endorsements:

Brennessel introduces us to the unsung heroes working to ensure the Terrapin's future. Her book offers inspiration to those wondering, ŒWhat can I do?‚ „˜Charles Landrey, Director, The Turtle Conservation Project, www.NewEnglandTurtles.org

More than a mere treatise on terrapins; this is a book of fascinating facts about the lives of these turtles, intermingled with pertinent history˜written throughout with lucidity and subtle humor.‰˜Charlotte B. Sornborger, Terrapin Researcher, Barrington Land Conservation Trust and President, Audubon Society of Rhode Island


BARBARA BRENNESSEL is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College. Trained as a biochemist, she is a summer resident of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. She shifted her research interests to the diamondback terrapin after spending the summer of 2001 researching the species with the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sun May 20, 2012 5:06 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 22 5/19/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only 2 copies left So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
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Table of Contents
1. A lonely birth - Millions of Olive Ridley hatchlings head out to sea sans moths
2. Ancient Giant Turtle Fossil Was Size of Smart Car
3) Bibliography of New Issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume 7, Issue 1 May 2012 (All Articles are Open Access)

4) Drugs from Gila Monster Lizard Saliva Reduces Cravings for Chocolate and Ordinary Food

5) Pennsylvania May Mandate Permits for Reptiles, Amphibians

6) Saudi Environmentalists Warn Against Lizard Over-Hunting ( The dabb is a spiny-tailed desert lizard found in the Arabian Peninsula.)

7) KR Hospital discontinues snake serum

8) Much ado about toads - Bay Beach civil suit dismissed but toad permit presents final hurdle (James Culic) (Excerpt)

9) Small town council calls for snapping turtle protection
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Other Books Still Available

Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

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TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

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Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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1. A lonely birth - Millions of Olive Ridley hatchlings head out to sea sans mothers
POST NOON (Hyderabad, India) 5/8/12 -Kendrapara: Emergence of millions of baby Olive Ridley marine turtles along the tranquil Gahirmatha beach has brought cheer to conservationists here.
Wildlife lovers are elated as hatchlings broke out of eggshells and crawled towards their seaward journey in the nesting grounds at Nasi Island.
About 1.68 lakh turtles had arrived at Nasi-2 nesting ground from March 20 to March 28 to lay eggs on the sandy beach.
“Since Saturday night, newborn babies are emerging with mother turtles nowhere in sight. Nasi-2 Island is teeming with baby turtles and wildlife officials of Bhitarkanika National Park stationed at these nesting grounds are the sole witness to this unique natural heritage involving the birth of babies sans mother”, forest officials said.
Tourists and researchers were denied entry to witness it as the unmanned islands are located in close vicinity of Wheeler’s island defence test range centre, a prohibited territory.
“Emergence of hatchlings fr¬om egg shells is expected to continue at least for a week. The 1 km beach is virtually littered with newly born hatchlings. The babies are literally jostling for space to move around before the¬ir plunge into seawater,” Ma¬noj Ku¬mar Mahapatra, Divisional Fo¬rest Officer, Rajnagar Man¬grove (wildlife) Forest Division, said.

The babies broke out of the shackles of eggshells and wandered aimlessly around the sandy beach for nearly an hour before making their way to seawater, he said.

“Nearly two million hatchlings have emerged out of pits since past 24 hours. The process of turtle birth is expected to continue for few more days,” the DFO said.
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2) Ancient Giant Turtle Fossil Was Size of Smart Car

ScienceDaily (May 17, 2012) — Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a kiddie pool. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen -- the fossilized remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia.
The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means "coal turtle," and is part of a group of side-necked turtles known as pelomedusoides. The fossil was named Carbonemys because it was discovered in 2005 in a coal mine that was part of northern Colombia's Cerrejon formation. The specimen's skull measures 24 centimeters, roughly the size of a regulation NFL football. The shell which was recovered nearby -- and is believed to belong to the same species -- measures 172 centimeters, or about 5 feet 7 inches, long. That's the same height as Edwin Cadena, the NC State doctoral student who discovered the fossil.
"We had recovered smaller turtle specimens from the site. But after spending about four days working on uncovering the shell, I realized that this particular turtle was the biggest anyone had found in this area for this time period -- and it gave us the first evidence of giantism in freshwater turtles," Cadena says.
Smaller relatives of Carbonemys existed alongside dinosaurs. But the giant version appeared five million years after the dinosaurs vanished, during a period when giant varieties of many different reptiles -- including Titanoboa cerrejonensis, the largest snake ever discovered -- lived in this part of South America. Researchers believe that a combination of changes in the ecosystem, including fewer predators, a larger habitat area, plentiful food supply and climate changes, worked together to allow these giant species to survive. Carbonemys' habitat would have resembled a much warmer modern-day Orinoco or Amazon River delta.
In addition to the turtle's huge size, the fossil also shows that this particular turtle had massive, powerful jaws that would have enabled the omnivore to eat anything nearby -- from mollusks to smaller turtles or even crocodiles.
Thus far, only one specimen of this size has been recovered. Dr. Dan Ksepka, NC State paleontologist and research associate at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, believes that this is because a turtle of this size would need a large territory in order to obtain enough food to survive. "It's like having one big snapping turtle living in the middle of a lake," says Ksepka, co-author of the paper describing the find. "That turtle survives because it has eaten all of the major competitors for resources. We found many bite-marked shells at this site that show crocodilians preyed on side-necked turtles. None would have bothered an adult Carbonemys, though -- in fact smaller crocs would have been easy prey for this behemoth."
The paleontologists' findings appear in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Dr. Carlos Jaramillo from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Dr. Jonathan Bloch from the Florida Museum of Natural History contributed to the work. The research was funded by grants from the Smithsonian Institute and the National Science Foundation.
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by North Carolina State University, via Newswise.
Journal Reference:
1. Edwin Cadena, Dan Ksepka, Carlos Jaramillo, Jonathan Bloch. New pelomedusoid turtles from the late Palaeocene Cerrejon Formation of Colombia and their implications for phylogeny and body size evolution. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 2012 (in press)

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3) Bibliography of New Issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology
Volume 7, Issue 1 May 2012 (All Articles are Open Access)
www.herpconbio.org/

Editorial
-Joseph T. Collins (1939 - 2012): A Good Friend to Herpetologists. by Walter E.Meshaka, Jr. and Stanley E. Trauth
-Peer-reviewers 2010-2011.
-Governing Board --Changing Some of the Guard at Herpetological Conservation and Biology. by Bruce Bury
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Research Articles
-Habitat Associations of the Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) at its Northern Range Limit. by Rachael Y. Dudaniec and John S. Richardson
-Display Behavior of Resident Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei) during Close Encounters with Neighbors and Nonneighbors. by Stephen McMann and Ann V. Paterson
-Plasma Biochemistry and Condition of Confiscated Hatchling Pig-nosed Turtles (Carettochelys insculpta). by Jessica L.Ward, Kristin Hall, Larry S. Christian, and Gregory A. Lewbart
-Snakes in the Vicinity of Chitwan National Park, Nepal. by Deb P. Pandey
-A Comparison of Maximum Sprint Speed Among the Five-lined Skinks (Plestiodon) of the Southeastern United States at Ecologically Relevant Temperatures. by Charles M. Watson and Daniel R. Formanowicz
-Elevated Mortality of Hatchling Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Residential Landscapes. by Michael T. Jones and Paul R. Sievert
-Investigating the Optimal Rearing Strategy for Ambystoma Salamanders Using a Hematological Stress Index. by Andrew K. Davis
-Niche Segregation in Microhabitat Use of Three Sympatric Cyrtodactylus in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Central Vietnam. by Jacqueline Loos, Hendrik Von Wehrden, Kien Ngoc Dang, and Thomas Ziegler
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Techniques
-Predicting Total Lengths of Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) from Skin Measurements: A Tool for Managing the Skin Trade. by Grahame Webb, Matthew Brien, Charlie Manolis, and Sergio Medrano-Bitar
-Monitoring Trends in Skink Sightings from Artificial Retreats: Influences of Retreat Design, Placement Period, and Predator Abundance. by Colin F.J. O’Donnell and Joanne M. Hoare
-Assessing the Use of Non-lethal Tail Clips for Measuring Stable Isotopes of Plethodontid Salamanders. Joseph R. Milanovich and John C. Maerz
-Evaluation of a Photographic Technique for Estimating Body Size in Lizards from a Distance. by Max R. Lambert, Catherine M. Yasuda, and Brian D. Todd
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4) Drugs from Gila Monster Lizard Saliva Reduces Cravings for Chocolate and Ordinary Food
ScienceDaily (May 15, 2012) — A drug made from the saliva of the Gila monster lizard is effective in reducing the craving for food. Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have tested the drug on rats, who after treatment ceased their cravings for ordinary food and also chocolate.
An increasing number of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are offered a pharmaceutical preparation called Exenatide, which helps them to control their blood sugar. The drug is a synthetic version of a natural substance called exendin-4, which is obtained from a rather unusual source -- the saliva of the Gila monster lizard (Heloderma suspectum), North America's largest lizard.
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, have now found an entirely new and unexpected effect of the lizard substance.
In a study with rats published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Assistant Professor Karolina Skibicka and her colleagues show that exendin-4 effectively reduces the cravings for food.
"This is both unknown and quite unexpected effect," comments an enthusiastic Karolina Skibicka: "Our decision to eat is linked to the same mechanisms in the brain which control addictive behaviours. We have shown that exendin-4 affects the reward and motivation regions of the brain."
The implications of the findings are significant" states Suzanne Dickson, Professor of Physiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy: "Most dieting fails because we are obsessed with the desire to eat, especially tempting foods like sweets. As exendin-4 suppresses the cravings for food, it can help obese people to take control of their weight," suggests Professor Dickson.
Research on exendin-4 also gives hope for new ways to treat diseases related to eating disorders, for example, compulsive overeating.
Another hypothesis for the Gothenburg researchers' continuing studies is that exendin-4 may be used to reduce the craving for alcohol.
"It is the same brain regions which are involved in food cravings and alcohol cravings, so it would be very interesting to test whether exendin-4 also reduces the cravings for alcohol," suggests Assistant Professor Skibicka.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Gothenburg, via AlphaGalileo.
Journal Reference:
1. Suzanne L. Dickson, Rozita H. Shirazi, Caroline Hansson, Filip Bergquist, Hans Nissbrandt, and Karolina P. Skibicka. The Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) Analogue, Exendin-4 Decreases the Rewarding Value of Food: A New Role for the Mesolimbic GLP-1 Receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, April 4, 2012 DOI: 10.1523/%u200BJNEUROSCI.6326-11.2012
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5) Pennsylvania May Mandate Permits for Reptiles, Amphibians

PET PRODUCT NEWS (Mission Viejo, California) 5/9/12 Pennsylvania is considering legislation that would mandate pet owners and dealers to acquire an appropriate permit from the state’s Fish & Boat Commission before possessing, purchasing or receiving a nonindigenous or exotic reptile or amphibian. Annual permit fees would be $200 for a nonindigenous or exotic reptile or amphibian dealer permit and $25 for a possession permit. It is not clear whether a possession permit would cover multiple animals.

Pennsylvania House Bill 2233 also authorizes the state’s Fish & Boat Commission to establish standards for the housing and care of the reptiles and amphibians and for the protection of the public from these animals. The commission would not be able to grant any permits until it “is satisfied that the provisions for housing and caring for the nonindigenous or exotic reptile or amphibian and for protecting the public are proper and adequate and in accordance with the standards established by the commission.”

The legislation also instructs the commission to institute a 30-day program prior to the permit program’s effective date to allow residents to relinquish unwanted reptiles and amphibians but does not address issues permits to current reptile and amphibian owners. The legislation, if approved, would become effective Jan. 1, 2013.

House Bill 2233 would also make it unlawful for any person to release a nonindigenous or exotic reptile into the wild, fail to safeguard the public from an attack by such an animal, or recklessly engage in conduct which could place another person in danger of an attack by such an animal.

Violations of the law could result in fines of up to $100 and prison terms of up to 20 days. The commission’s executive director would also be empowered to revoke or suspend permits for violations and to order the disposal of any nonindigenous or exotic reptile or amphibian held.

The legislation has been assigned to the House Game & Fisheries Committee.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council reports that, as written, the bill is overbroad in its regulation of these animals as it includes all reptiles and amphibians not native to Pennsylvania—even those animals that do not pose a threat to public health or safety.
http://www.petproductnews.com/headlines ... bians.aspx
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6) Saudi Environmentalists Warn Against Lizard Over-Hunting ( The dabb is a spiny-tailed desert lizard found in the Arabian Peninsula.)

PANORIENT NEWS (Tokyo, Japan) 5/9/12 Dubai: Saudi Arabian Wildlife Conservation activists have warned against the danger of over-hunting the dhabb or dabb, lizard as many young Saudis regard the month of May as high season for a meat that is considered a delicacy and provides the successful hunter with status.

The dabb is a spiny-tailed desert lizard found in the Arabian Peninsula. The tail is used for defense but is also where fat is stored. The increasing demand to show prowess in the number of dabb caught in one day, has lead to various hunting methods. Once shot, chased, caught by hand or by traps, competition has invented new methods.

Abdul Rahman al-mqati, a young man of Dwadmi prefecture, told Alarabiya net that he comes out every week with his rifle to hunt with his companions. He described other methods that were popular - flooding the burrows with water to kill large numbers of the lizard and the most dangerous method directing car exhaust which at the entrance of the Lizards den to force them out where they could easily be caught.

A lizard is priced at 20-50 riyals (USD5 – 14), depending on its size and weight. Major habitats of the dabb are in the desert prefectures of Afeef and Dawadmi Hafr al-Baten. It lives mainly on desert grass, and can go without water for long periods of time despite the harsh climate in the desert.

Displaying numbers of lizards on the sides of vehicles and roads has become a source of achievement and pride among young people, one person hunted and killed more than 300 lizards in one day, according to Alarabiya net.

Faihan al- Aydh, a researcher and academician, told the Saudi owned Alarabiya net that excessive hunting of the lizard will lead to complete extinction of the dabb. He called on the authorities to set up private farms for breeding and to educate the community about the danger of over-hunting. He believes violators should be punished.

While many websites promote hunting tours and provide details on how to kill them, other sites in Arabic have started to call on people to take a break from what they called "the Lizzard annual genocide in May". They said most of the hunted meat is trashed because it is only good when eaten fresh.

Interestingly, the Saudi National Commission for Wildlife Conservation, very clearly stipulates a policy of protection of the lizard from excessive hunting.
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7) KR Hospital discontinues snake serum

TIMES OF INDIA (New Delhi) 09 May 12 Mysore: In the wake of half-a-dozen snakebite victims developing serum sickness after being administered Anti Snake Venom (ASV), the Krishna Rajendra hospital authorities have called for an examination of the snakebite serum procured from a private distributor.

Alert medical officers stopped administering a particular batch of anti snake venom after some patients complained of alleged reaction on Sunday and Monday. Doctors say as serum is obtained from animal blood and is given to people to protect them from poison, there will be slight reaction, but they don't want to take any chance.

A source claimed that patients requiring ASV were reportedly asked to procure it from the market or referred to private hospital. However, the hospital authorities denied the allegation.
"There was no problem following the development as we had arranged for ASV soon after the drug of particular batch was withheld," Mysore Medical College and Research Institute dean and KRH medical superintendent Dr Geetha Avadhani told TOI.

She said that they have requested the drug controller to examine nearly 2,800 vials of ASVs which have been kept back and after the analysis, a decision on whether to use them will be taken.

"The hospital has stocked the snakebite serum to avoid any inconvenience to patients. At present, we have 500 ASVs to treat the patients. Each patient will require nearly 20-30 vials of ASVs, including 10 on the first day of treatment," Geetha said.

Each vial of ASV costs Rs 900 in the market, but at KRH, it is being given at Rs 80.

Meanwhile, a doctor claimed that not all snakebite victims require administering of ASVs and it depends on the type of snakes - venomous or non-venomous, which has bitten them. Previous year, they received some 492 cases, but only 250 required ASV.

On an average, KR hospital, popularly known as 'Doddaspatre' (Big hospital), receives two dozen cases every month from Mysore and surrounding districts. Patients given ASVs will be kept under observation round-the-clock as a precaution. The doctor claimed that no casualty was reported in the hospital previous year.

District surveillance officer D N Nagaraj said previous year, they had treated some 299 cases in PHCs, community health centres and general hospitals, which are under their control, in the district.

According to Nagaraj, six persons in Mysore had died of snakebite in 2011. The medical officer claimed that there is no dearth of ASVs in their centres.
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8) Much ado about toads - Bay Beach civil suit dismissed but toad permit presents final hurdle (James Culic) {Excerpt}

NIAGRA THIS WEEK (Ontario) 5/8/12 Much ado about toads. The developers behind a condo project for Bay Beach may have cleared a major hurdle in having a civil suit against it dismissed, but there’s still the issue of a Ministry of Natural Resources permit for a plan to ensure the well being of the at-risk Fowler’s Toad. Although a judge’s dismissal of a civil suit against the Bay Beach condo was seen as one of the final hurdles hurdles for the project, the lingering issue of the Fowler’s Toad has kept council from putting the topic behind them, as evident by an hours long debate at Town Hall on Monday.

Since the toad is considered an at-risk species in Ontario, the condo developers, the Molinaros, must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) which guarantees an overall net benefit to the toads as a result of the construction.

To accomplish an overall benefit to the toad while still building the condo, a roped-off habitat for the toads will be built in the area.

A draft copy of the overall benefit conditions was submitted to council for information purposes Monday, and Ward 5 Coun. Don Lubberts spoke at length about how he believed it was going to cost the taxpayer money, and accused staff of omitting his concerns from previous Bay Beach discussions in the report.

“I don’t think that we should be putting this to the taxpayer, and allowing the taxpayer to take the burden of paying for the toad habitat, the maintenance and the repair of the toad habitat,” said Lubberts.

“We have given the Molinaro’s $2.7 million worth of property and we’ve made an agreement that they are going to give us community benefits in return for that, now we just gave them the rest of this property to use for free, and now they come back, and staff comes back and asks council to approve to allow the Molinaro’s and us to enter into a cost sharing agreement, but this isn’t us, this is the taxpayer that has to pay this, they’ve paid enough, the Molinaro’s have got a pretty good deal here,” he continued.

After Lubberts repeatedly asserted that costs for the toad habitat were going to end up on the backs of taxpayers, even Ward 3 Coun. Bob Steckley began to doubt himself.

“I was under impression they were costs to the Molinaro’s, but hearing councillor Lubberts, he seems pretty convinced that’s not the case, perhaps you could clear that up,” Steckley asked staff.

Richard Brady, the town’s director of community and development services, explained the Molinaro’s are the ones holding and the permit and would be responsible for the costs, but Lubberts remained unconvinced, and discussion continued back and forth until acting CAO Ron Tripp stepped in to try and put the matter to rest.

“With respect to cost I think councillor Lubberts has made the assumption several times that anything in addition, specifically with the toad habitat, is going to be to the taxpayers, and that is fundamentally incorrect, or at least is not in line with the philosophy of all the other agreements, and what the objective is of the maintenance cost sharing agreement,” said Tripp.
Satisfied with the explanation, Lubberts moved on to his second point of contention with the report.
________________________________________________________________________
9) Small town council calls for snapping turtle protection

CBC (Toronto, Ontario) 5/8/12 A small bedroom community southeast of Windsor, Ont., has started a campaign to save snapping turtles from being hunted.

Essex town council will send a motion to the provincial Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, requesting a ban on hunting the reptiles.

Coun. Sherry Bondy is behind the campaign.

"Snapping turtles are important to our local eco-system. They cleanse our marshes; they eat all the dead carcasses; they provide, as they go through the marshes, many habitats for smaller little insects and animals," Bondy said. "Their eggs are food for other animals. They're really fragile. They have so much to offer."

The snapping turtle is a "special concern species" under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, the snapping turtle has also been assessed nationally as a special concern species by the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

"Because they have such a long time before they become sexually mature,they really don't have eggs when they're young, so we have to protect the older ones," Bondy sail.

In April, naturalist group Ontario Nature submitted a petition to the provincial government — signed by 11,000 people — calling for an end to the hunt.

John Urquhart, a conservation science manager with Ontario Nature, said fewer than seven of 10,000 snapping turtle eggs reaches adulthood, so every single turtle is crucial to the continuation of the species.

If they do survive, Urquhart said they can live longer than most humans.

“For a creature to have been walking around since before the first world war to be killed, whether it’s on a road or by hunting or habitat loss, it's just a shame,” Urquhart said.
Ministry of Natural Resources policy allows anyone with a provincial game or fishing licence to "bag" up to two snapping turtles a day.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition

Our Price is cheaper than Amazon
$75.00 plus $13 for S&H. (it’s 8 pounds and worth every ounce)
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Reviews
[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )
The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )
In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
_____________________________________________________________
Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $12.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 for only one.

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

In Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
____________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
__________________________________________________________________
Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
$15.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed May 23, 2012 8:56 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 23 5/23/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only 2 copies left So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
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Table of Contents
1. The Bronx Zoo Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) proudly presents the 2nd Annual BAR-NANZA!
2) A Water Snake Stirs up a Commune
3) Crocodile farmers feel bite as demand continues to fall
4) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Successful Recovery of Morelet’s Crocodile under the Endangered Species Act
5) Lawsuit Launched by Center for Biological Diversity to Speed Protection for Dozens of Rare and Vanishing Amphibians and Reptiles in Southeast
6) ‘Pawikan’ meat sold in Cebu barangay (Excellent Description of Wide-open Turtle meat Market down to how to cook it in the Phillipines)
7) Firm breasts, clear skin: Claims of Jakarta's snake blood salesmen-(Another detailed description of trade in snakes, but in Jakarta)
__________________________________________________________________

Other Books Still Available

Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (Definitve Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
_________________________________________________________
TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
________________________________________________________
1. The Bronx Zoo Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) proudly presents the 2nd Annual BAR-NANZA! Come and help us raise a toast to turtles as we raise money to support the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA). The event will take place on Thursday, May 31st at Turtle Bay Bar, located at 52nd Street and 2nd Ave. (987 2nd Ave in Manhattan). The ‘fun’raising starts at 7 PM and winds down at 10 PM. A donation of $15 will get you 2 free drinks along with half priced drinks and half priced appetizers. Family, friends, and turtle enthusiasts are welcome! We hope you are able to come show your support and have a good time with the Bronx Zoo AAZK Chapter.

The Bronx Zoo’s AAZK Chapter is a nonprofit volunteer organization comprised of animal care professionals from WCS facilities who are dedicated to professional animal care and conservation. This is the 2nd year that the Chapter has chosen to raise money for the Turtle Survival Alliance. TSA is a nonprofit network of individuals and living institutions worldwide, dedicated to help save the world’s most endangered turtles and tortoises.
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2) A Water Snake Stirs up a Commune (Nam Nguyen)

VIETNAM NET (Hanoi) 5/12/21 A water snake has been considered as a ‘preternatural snake’ by residents of Tung Loc commune in the central city of Ha Tinh.

Over the past month, people in Tung Loc commune have kept discussing the appearance of a snake that laid eggs near a local family. A series of mysterious stories about this snake has been widespread dispersed in the commune. Locals proclaim this water snake as a preternatural animal and a living treasure of Tan Quang hamlet, where the snake appeared. They even built a temple for worship the snake.

If one visits Tan Quang hamlet and asks anyone about the snake, he will be told the same story about the appearance of the Mr. “mysterious snake,” as follow: In the morning of April 14, Ms. Nguyen Thi Ly in Tan Quang saw a yellow toad sitting near the wheel of her motorbike, in her home. Near the toad were small, white eggs.

Ly thought that these were toad eggs so she put them into a plastic bag and place the bag on her front yard. Several hours later, she was frightened seeing a water snake tied round the motorbike neck and it held the egg bundle by his tail.

The woman saw a magician named Son in her village, who told Ly to buy offerings and burn incense to ‘invite’ the snake to leave her home. After holding the rite, Ly put eggs into a bag of banana leaves and used a long stick to take the snake to the village’s power station on April 16, where an altar was made for the snake. However, some villagers did not believe that it was a mysterious snake so they released the snake to the field.

On April 20, magician Son confirmed that the “miraculous snake” would return to the village at noon of April 21. Some people were doubtful but they still went to the power station to wait for the snake. Until early afternoon, a local woman named Chinh saw a toad jumped from the power station and it was followed by the “miraculous snake.” Locals praised magician Son.

Since then, a lot of stories about the “miraculous snake” have been widespread. A temporary temple was built at the power station to worship the snake. Many people burned incenses, gave offerings to the snake. Hundreds of people from surrounding areas also flock to the village each day to worship the snake.

The village set up a “provisional management board” to manage the snake temple. Visitors have donated several thousands of USD to the temple, which is used to build a new temple for the snake.

The “miraculous snake” is around 70cm long, in light blue. It looks like a water snake in Vietnam’s delta. The snake lives by water, fresh orange juice and cereal powder.

The local government has been urged to crush out superstitious activities related to a water snake.
________________________________________________________________
3) Crocodile farmers feel bite as demand continues to fall (Sieam Bunthy)

PHNOM PENH POST (Cambodia) 5/21/12 The price of crocodile hatchlings in Siem Reap province has dropped drastically, and many local farmers are worrying about the future viability of crocodile farming.

Tim Bunseng, a crocodile farmer in Siem Reap with around 200 female hatchlings, said the price he can get has dropped from US$23 to $24 to $17 in less than a week.

Tim Bunseng speculated that the price will drop further because more hatchlings will be on the market soon, adding that he has only sold about 200 hatchlings this year, while last year he sold more than 2,000.

Tim Bunseng said that eggs are laid once a year and the eggs start hatching from April to August and that most of the hatchlings are exported to sell in Vietnam.

Chou Sedavuth, a crocodile farmer in Siem Reap and a buyer exporting crocodile hatchlings to Vietnam, said that the price is currently decreasing because of a drop in purchases.

“I am worried because the price continues falling as we compete to sell [hatchlings], causing Vietnamese buyers cut down their buying to lower the price,” he said.

Chou Sedavuth said that up until now, he had exported about 6,000 crocodile hatchlings to Vietnam.

A fisheries official, who has asked not to be named, said that the number of exporters buying up hatchlings has dropped significantly, in turn causing the price to drop.

Siem Reap, he said, has more crocodile farms than any other province, with approximately 300.

In order to stabilise the market the Ministry of Agriculture is urging farmers to raise crocodiles for skins rather than selling them as hatchlings to Vietnam, he said.

Crocodile farmers have reported falling prices since mid- to late-2011, when they blamed flooding for the decrease in the price of the animals.
__________________________________________________________________
4) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Successful Recovery of
Morelet’s Crocodile under the Endangered Species Act


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced removal of the
Morelet’s crocodile from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to recovery of the
species. The species is found in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.

The Morelet’s crocodile was named after a French naturalist, P.M.A.
Morelet, who discovered the species in Mexico in 1850. The species is
smaller than other species, such as the American crocodile, with most wild
adults usually ranging in length from just 6 - 8 feet. It is generally
found in freshwater environments such as lakes, swamps and slow-moving
rivers. The majority of the Morelet’s crocodile population occurs in
Mexico and Belize (87 percent), and those two countries hold the majority
of the potentially suitable habitat (81 percent) throughout the species’
range. Guatemala contains the remaining 13 percent of the wild Morelet’s
crocodiles and the remaining 19 percent of the potentially suitable
habitat throughout the species’ range.

The Morelet’s crocodile was listed as endangered throughout its entire
range on June 2, 1970, under the predecessor of the ESA. It was listed in
Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on July 1, 1975. CITES in an international
treaty that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild
animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES Appendix I
includes species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by
trade. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in
exceptional circumstances. The overharvest for commercial purposes was the
primary reason for the Morelet’s crocodile being listed under the ESA and
its inclusion in CITES.

As a result of the species’ improved status, on March 18, 2010, at the
Conference of the Parties (CoP), the Morelet’s crocodile populations in
Mexico and Belize were transferred to CITES Appendix II while prohibiting
trade in wild specimens for commercial purposes. Appendix II includes
species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but where trade must
be controlled in order to avoid use incompatible with their survival. The
new CITES Appendix II designation became effective on June 23, 2010. At
the request of Guatemala, however, those populations of Morelet’s
crocodiles in Guatemala will remain in CITES Appendix I.

Because trade in wild specimens is prohibited, international commercial
trade in Morelet’s crocodiles under CITES is limited to individuals from
sources other than the wild (e.g. captive-breeding operations). After the
effective date of this final rule, Morelet’s crocodile parts and products
originating from Mexico (and Belize, if any) captive-breeding operations
may be imported into the United States for commercial purposes, as long as
the exporting country finds that the export will not be detrimental to the
species, the specimen was lawfully acquired and the required CITES export
permit or re-export certificate has been issued.

The final rule to remove Morelet’s crocodile from the Federal List of
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife will publish in the Federal Register on
May 23, 2012, and become effective on June 22, 2012. A copy of the final
rule is available at http://www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by
clicking on the 2012 Final Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
and Plants.
____________________________________________________________
5) Lawsuit Launched by Center for Biological Diversity to Speed Protection for Dozens of Rare and Vanishing Amphibians and Reptiles in Southeast
Atlanta- Press Release - 5/22/12— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for the agency’s failure to decide whether to give Endangered Species Act protection to 25 amphibian and reptile species found in the southeastern United States. Nine turtles, two snakes, one skink and 13 salamanders are named in today’s notice.
“Endangered Species Act protection is the only hope for saving these amphibians and reptiles, which are being driven to extinction by habitat loss, pollution and other threats,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center lawyer and biologist who works to save imperiled amphibians and reptiles. “Saving these animals will also protect rivers and streams that are a source of drinking water and recreation for millions of people in the Southeast.”
In 2010 the Center and its allies petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection for dozens of amphibians and reptiles, as well as hundreds of other aquatic species, in the Southeast. In 2011 the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that 25 of these amphibians and reptiles “may warrant” protection as endangered species but has failed to make required 12-month findings to decide whether to give them federal protection.
“Amphibians and reptiles are facing an extinction crisis in the Southeast and across the globe,” said Adkins Giese. “These animals simply cannot afford any more bureaucratic delays.”
In the United States, scores of amphibian and reptile species are at risk of extinction. Yet reptiles and amphibians make up just 58 of the 1,400 species protected under the Endangered Species Act, the country’s most powerful law for saving species from extinction and putting them on the road to recovery.
For more information about the Center’s campaign to stop the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis, visit: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/camp ... index.html.
Species Highlights
The Barbour’s map turtle is found in wide, clear streams with swift currents and snags for basking in the Apalachicola River system of Georgia, Alabama and Florida. This turtle preys mainly on mollusks and insects such as caddisfly larvae; it can only survive in waters clean enough to support its prey base. Barbour’s map turtles are threatened by commercial collection, dredging, pollution and disease.
The eastern ribbon snake (Lower Florida Keys population) is found on only a few of the mainline islands of the Lower Keys in Monroe County, Fla. Its freshwater wetland habitat is extremely limited and threatened by residential and urban development. The ribbon snake is black, with three yellow stripes, and gets its name from its very thin body.
The Florida Keys mole skink is a tiny lizard found only on sandhills and scrub of some of the Florida Keys. It usually occurs near the shoreline in sandy areas where it burrows into soil. Its populations are declining primarily due to habitat destruction and overcollection.
The hellbender salamander can grow to almost 2 feet long and is North America’s largest amphibian. Many populations across the eastern United States are extirpated, but hellbender are still believed to occur in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. They live in rocky, clear creeks and rivers, where they use large rocks for shelter. These salamanders face many threats, including dams and pollution from mining, logging, agricultural runoff and other sources.
The seepage salamander is tiny, reaching only 1-2 inches in length, and is named for the seepages around which it lives in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Its population size has been cut in half over the past several decades, primarily by logging and other forces driving habitat loss.
For more information Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
__________________________________________________________________
6) ‘Pawikan’ meat sold in Cebu barangay (Excellent Description of Wide-open Turtle meat Market down to how to cook it in the Phillipines)

Cebu City: GMA NEWS (Manila, Philippines) 5/21/12 Business is brisk, judging from the throng of people and cars parked outside this makeshift eatery in Pasil, a shoreline barangay.

The customers, some in long sleeves and tie, do not mind the heat and the dishevelled slum area. They are here for one reason: To eat their favorite stewed dish of sea turtle or pawikan, an endangered species whose hunting, sale and killing have been banned by law since 2001.

The Wildlife Conservation Act, or Republic Act No. 9147, penalizes violators with a fine of
up to P100,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.

The pawikan appears on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), having become endangered because of poaching, slaughter, blast fishing, illegal trade and pollution.

A signatory of the CITES, the Philippines, through the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has implemented the Pawikan Conservation Project nationwide.

Animal welfare groups, meanwhile, consider the whole month of May as the Month of the Ocean, which promotes conservation and protection of sea creatures.

But Basilisa Piaquinto, head of the Protected Area and Wildlife (PAW) of the Community
Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) here, expressed helplessness over the sale of the contraband in Pasil.

Vendors, mostly ambulant, have wised up and now sell pawikan meat already cut up, making
it difficult for authorities to tell it apart from other meat, she said. And eateries are temporary structures that are easy to dismantle, allowing them to elude authorities.

Piaquinto said the vendors themselves know they are violating the law, but the demand for pawikan meat has kept the trade going.

Often eaten with corn grits and sold for P60 a bowl, the stewed pawikan is commonly believed to be an aphrodisiac, explaining its popularity among men.

“People come here because they believe that pawikan is like "censored word" and some also come just for the thrill and curiosity of eating an endangered species,” said Henry Lumanang, who has lived for 15 years on Rallos Street where the eatery is located.

The sale of the marine species in the neighborhood is an open secret known even to policemen, who are among the eatery’s customers, he said.

Elinore Malagar, a student from the University of San Jose Recoletos, visited the makeshift restaurant, located less than 300 meters from the nearest police station, a parish church and barangay hall, in mid-April after she was told that pawikan meat was being sold openly.

When she got to the place at 11.a.m., a handful of customers were already eating at the tables housed under a tent with tarpaulin roof and two large cauldrons containing a steaming hot stew had obviously just come off the wood-fired stove.

Beside the cauldrons was a plastic pail that contained the raw meat, four flippers and the head of a sea turtle. “I was shocked and could not believe what I saw inside the pail,” Malagar said.

A man in his fifties who was preparing the exotic dish said the eatery gets its daily supply of pawikan meat from middlemen who buy the turtle meat from fishermen from islets in Bohol.

The merchandise enters through the small port in the barangay and is sold for P250 to P350 a kilo, dpending on the supply, he said.

But the deliveries are not easily detected by authorities because the contraband is stored inside a styropor box and covered with fish to camouflage, unlike in the past when live sea turtles were delivered to the barangay, the man said.

“Now they deliver the meat; that is why it is hard to detect,” he said in the dialect.

The supply of pawikan meat is continuous because of the sea turtle’s nature to lie on the seashore where it dries its carapace or top shell in the sun, makes a nest, and lays eggs, making it easy to capture, the man said. The pawikan would also get accidentally trapped in the fishermen’s nets.

The Pasil eatery cooks an average of 80 kilos of pawikan meat every day. The dish is cooked in two batches—the first at 9 a.m., in time for customers who start coming at 10. The second batch is prepared at 1 p.m. because by then the 40 kilos of meat cooked in the morning would usually have been consumed.

VERA Files saw how the old man prepares the stew. He first sautés about two kilos of tomatoes, garlic and onions in the big cauldron, then puts in the pawikan meat and lets it simmer. Water is added and brought to a boil before the man throws in a bunch of raw tamarind (sampaloc) to give the dish its sour taste and finally two glasses of black beans (tausi) to give it the salty taste.

The man explained that the pawikan meat he was cooking that day was still young and weighed only six kilos. (A pawikan can weigh up to 200 kilos depending on its age and size.) It took him less than an hour to finish cooking because, he said, the meat from the young turtle is still tender. There are days when it would take him an hour or two to cook the dish if the meat that is delivered comes from a big sea turtle, he said.

CENRO’s Piaquinto said her office has looked into reports of pawikan being sold in Barangay Pasil but has been unable to catch violators who, she said, are ambulant. “(T)he reports could not pinpoint the exact location (of the sellers) since they move around,”she said.

Piaquinto also said that it is hard to identify pawikan meat because it looks like any other meat. “We need to have scientific basis in order to establish the evidence, and we don't have the equipment needed,” she said.

Police seized last year 20 kilos of pawikan meat at the Pasil Port—only because they got lucky.

The couriers hurriedly left when they saw law enforcers. If the contraband had not been abandoned, police would have no idea it was pawikan meat, Piaquinto said.
__________________________________________________________________
7) Firm breasts, clear skin: Claims of Jakarta's snake blood salesmen-(Another detailed description of trade in snakes, but in Jakarta) (Lydia Tomkiw, Melanie Wood)

CABLE NEWS NETWORK (Atlanta, Georgia) 5/21/1212 On any given day on Jalan Mangga Besar in Jakarta, dusk brings a scurry of activity from street stall owners.

Food vendors roll their carts out and start chopping and frying. Fresh juice vendors squeeze and pour.

And between stands of fried rice, tropical fruit and seafood, sharp-eyed travelers in this area in the center-north of the city will spot large cages full of black cobras, slithering and climbing, their tongues flicking between the cage bars.

For vendors like Dani, who owns one of the half dozen cobra stalls on the street, there is nothing terrifying or strange about the cages sitting on the ground on the side of the busy road.
This is his livelihood.

The cobra stalls all open around 5 p.m. and see a steady stream of business until 1 a.m.

The cloth signs that hang over their stalls feature drawings of cobras with bright red eyes and promise traditional medicines and other exotic menu items including lizards, monkeys and bats.

But most customers are here for the cobras.

In one night, vendors can make INR 500,000-1 million (US$55-111). Customers return nightly to drink cobra blood shots, eat cobra meat satay and buy medicines that are stacked in plastic containers on the wooden tables in the middle of the stalls.

As I talk to Dani he rattles off a list of health benefits that come from downing a shot of cobra blood and using the other snake products he has for sale.

Men can expect increased sexual stamina, women firmer breasts, as well as clear, smooth skin. Cobra blood can also cure eczema and arthritis, he claims.

For a more formal experience, a sit-down cobra restaurant, King Cobra, is also located on the street and features an extensive menu with a variety of snakes including pythons.

Just be careful where you step on Mangga Besar Street. One vendor, who goes by the name of Cobra, smiles and says occasionally the snakes escape from their cages.

Dani arrives at his stall with a green mesh bag full of snakes. He dunks the bag into a bucket of water to give the snakes a bath before putting them into a cage.

When customers take a seat at his stall, which Dani has run for the past nine years, he pulls out a cobra and tapes its mouth so it doesn't spit at him.

Dani’s assistant, Beke, often multitasks, texting on his phone in one hand while holding a cobra in the other.

Vendors try to select the most docile snake, one that will not begin moving frantically when the time comes to lay them out on the wooden chopping block.

When a customer orders a cobra blood shot, the butcher's knife comes out.

Some vendors insert the snake head into a wooden clamp, while others hold the snakes steady with their bare hands until the knife swings down. At the King Cobra Restaurant, colorful striped snakes (pictured) are on the menu.

After the head is detached, the tongue often keeps moving and the head wriggles around the chopping board for several minutes before coming to a rest.

The headless snake body is handled with care to ensure none of the valuable blood is lost.

Every last drop of blood is poured into a teacup. Cobra blood shots are popular with customers and most vendors kill at least 10 snakes a night.

Women drink the cobra blood in hopes of having smooth, healthy looking skin while most men hope they will gain more energy and sexual stamina.

Vendors do not feed the snakes beforehand because they do not want clients receiving a half-digested mouse with their blood.

Although Islam forbids drinking blood, a vendor claims that when it is done for health reasons an allowance is made.

The cobra blood is mixed with arak, a liquor made from palm, and parts of the snake. The cobra blood is thick and tastes like the alcohol it is mixed with. Vendors offer cups of water as a chaser.

Founded in 1965, the King Cobra Restaurant, located at number 93, has a backroom full of cages with many varieties of snakes.

A worker pulls a giant python from its cage and methodically kills it and takes out the gallbladder. A combination drink selling for INR 250,000 (US$27.25) contains bile from the gallbladder of a python, black cobra, and a striped cobra.

For customers not interested in drinking snake blood, ointments, oils, and medicinal capsules all made from snakes are also sold at every stand for around INR 18,500 (US$2) a piece.

Bags full of shredded lizard, said to be good for your skin, and other exotic items are also available.

Devi is one of only two women who work at the cobra stalls. After killing a snake for a blood shot, she skins it and begins cutting up the meat into small pieces.

She balances her plate of meat on top of a cobra cage while she skewers the meat onto sticks that will be cooked over hot coals when a customer orders a serving.

On the street a serving of cobra meat satay sells for INR 20,000 (US$2.20) and at the King Cobra Restaurant it goes for a dollar more.

A side of peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce is paired with the chewy meat that tastes a lot like chicken. One vendor proudly says that even after selling snake products for 11 years, cobra satay is still his favorite meal.

Getting there

Jalan Mangga Besar Raya is in northern Jakarta and the best way to find the cobra stalls is to ask a taxi. Alternatively, take the TransJakarta busway to the Mangga Besar stop and then walk north. Istana Raja Cobra (King Cobra Restaurant) is located at Jalan Mangga Besar Raya No. 93.



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America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

In Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
$15.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon May 28, 2012 10:41 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 24 5/28/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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THE 38TH ANNUAL NEW YORK TURTLE AND TORTOISE SHOW
This Saturday June 2nd, Village Community School, 272 West 10h Street,
11 AM if you are bringing a turtle to be judged, 2 PM if you just want to see a lot of turtle.
VERY IMPORTANT-SEE _http://nytts.org/nytts/show12.htm FOR RULES AND REGULATIONS, NOW ONLY OURS BUT NYS’S VERY STRICT NEW RULES ON NATIVE HERPS. SIMPLY DON’T BRING THEM TO THE SHOW.
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Table of Contents

1) Turtles Return to Race
2) Philippines goes after sea turtle restaurants
3) Turtle Meat Vendors Nabbed (India)
4) Pacific Leatherback Turtles: Critically Endangered Species Hurt By Jellyfish Hunt
5) Questions About Incredible Sea Turtle Migration Answered by Scientists
6) Zoos’ Bitter Choice: To Save Some Species, Letting Others Die-The Animal Lifeboat-A Conservation Dilemma
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Books Still Available

The National Book Award finalist - “Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook”
by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll-LAST 2 THAT ARE AUTOGRAPHED.

Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich

Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons,

Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)

Diamonds in the March , (The Definitive Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel,

And of course Turtle TV Tapes and ask about “Confessions of a Turtle-wife,” by Anita Salzberg, and “You Know You Are a Herper...When Your Dream In Green” edited by Anita & Allen Salzberg.

go to end of text of newsletter for additional information on any of these
books and how to order.
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1) Turtles Return to Race
by Jennifer Bailey, Commercial News. com, 5/27/12 (has already occured want to find out what happened to the turtle afterwards.
Danville IL.— Collected turtles are being fed fruits, meat and vegetables and will be ready to go for the 48th Annual Turtle Races.
“I’ve been collecting the turtles since the first part of April,” said Turtle Club president Mike Puhr.
Puhr said a lot of area organizations depend on the funding raised from the unique annual event.
“It raises funds for children with developmental disabilities,” Puhr said.
Last year, $10,000 was donated to local groups. More than $370,000 has been given away during the past 47 years.
All profits from the Turtle Reunion and Races are given to groups serving handicapped children of east central Illinois and western Indiana. The groups are: Eastern Illinois Shrine; Western Indiana Shrine; AMBUCS — Challenger League Baseball and Summer Camp; District 118 Special Education; Westville District 2 Special Education; Danville Area Community College scholarships; Knights of Columbus; Grotto Humanitarian Fund; Schultz House; and the Masonic Learning Center.
There are 104 business and individual sponsors along with event sponsors, who sponsor the turtles for $35 each, and the 50/50 ticket sales usually generate an additional $3,000 for the club. This way the Turtle Club is always guaranteed to have at least $6,000 to give away, according to organizers.
The races involve turtles that are placed in the center of a 10-foot circle. The first turtle to make it to the outside line wins.
The races were started in 1964 by Joe Freeman (Grandpa Turtle) and Nadine Schramm (Mother Turtle). Puhr said the races have been at the Knights of Columbus for at least 15 years. Two years ago, the races moved for a year to the Gao Grotto.
Puhr said the event is family oriented, with food and beverages.
“We like to get the children in the ring with the races,” Puhr said about the children helping with the turtles.
There also are a couple vendors and face painting.
The races occur rain or shine.
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2) Philippines goes after sea turtle restaurants
AFP – Mon, May 21, 2012-The Philippines on Monday said it would form a special task force to go after restaurants selling the meat of protected sea turtles.

The eight-member team was created after news reports revealed the proliferation of roadside restaurants in the central island of Cebu serving dishes made from the government-protected marine animals.
"The task force is created to pursue and initiate an aggressive protection and conservation movement of the endangered marine turtles which are now on the verge of total depletion," regional environment chief Maximo Dichoso said.
The team was instructed to investigate the trading, hunting, sale, and killing of marine turtles in the area, the environment department said.
News reports said numerous small eateries in a coastal district of Cebu City were serving dishes made from sea turtle.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama conceded that the practice had been going on for a long time but there had been no concerted effort to stop it.
Those caught trading, hunting, collecting or killing sea turtles, which are considered an endangered species, face a fine of 100,000 pesos ($2,350) and one year in jail.
The discovery of Chinese fishermen catching sea turtles and other protected marine species in the South China Sea last month triggered a high-profile maritime standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships.
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3) Turtle Meat Vendors Nabbed
The Sunday Leader, India, May 28, 27, By K. Prashantie
This week, the Galle police busted a lucrative trade in turtle meat. 35 kilos of freshly cut turtle meat, while being transported, probably to be supplied to hotels and eateries, was seized by the Vice Squad led by I. P Ananda of the Galle police.
The two men, who were arrested with the contraband Chinna Kumar and Ravi Madavan, have been in the habit of hunting turtles for their flesh and eggs, mainly from the rivers and making a living out of supplying hotels and others at a very good price.
According to I. P Ananda, the two men were charged with violating the Fauna and Flora Act, which forbids the killing of turtles, and were fined Rs. 50.000.
This comes on the heels, of the news from Matale, where another racket of dealing in venison, which was being openly marketed, was also busted.
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4) Pacific Leatherback Turtles: Critically Endangered Species Hurt By Jellyfish Hunt
by Crystal Gammon, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor, Huffington Post, 5/17/12
When it comes to leatherback turtles, the world's largest species of sea turtle, there's a conundrum: The species itself is critically endangered, but at least one leatherback population is stable — on the rise, even — while others plummet.
Now, researchers may have discovered why some of these turtles are doing better than others. Studying two leatherback turtle populations, one that is declining and one that seems to be increasing, the researchers say the answer might be simple: food.
"We saw very big differences in their traveling speeds from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds," said Helen Bailey, an ecologist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science who led the study. "We take that to mean one population is stopping to forage on a nice dense patch of prey, while the other group keeps moving because it's constantly in search of food."
These differences in swimming and eating habits may hold important clues for helping leatherback turtles around the world recover and thrive, Bailey told OurAmazingPlanet.
Atlantic leatherback turtles seem to be doing OK, but the Pacific population could be extinct in the near future, Bailey said.
Leatherback turtles everywhere are often victims of bycatch, the unintentional netting and killing of turtles while fishing for other animals, but leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean face another problem. Climate patterns like the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cause huge variations in temperature and productivity in the Pacific Ocean, making it hard for some animals to find reliable food supplies. These challenges, combined with leatherbacks' advanced breeding age (around 15 years for females), mean that the Pacific leatherback turtle population has taken a serious hit over the last two decades.
To figure out the difference between these two groups, Bailey looked at how the turtles swim. Using data from leatherbacks that had been tagged and tracked by satellite, she found that Atlantic leatherbacks have two modes of travel: fast (12-28 miles per day, or 20-45 kilometers per day) and slow (less than 9 miles per day, or 15 km per day). Pacific leatherbacks, on the other hand, have only one: a cruising speed of about 13 miles per day (21 km per day). [In Images: Tagging & Tracking Sea Turtles]
Atlantic leatherbacks seem to run from one smorgasbord to another, stopping at a dense patch of jellyfish (their main food source) to eat until it's gone. Pacific leatherbacks never find dense patches of jellyfish, so they swim at the same rather fast speed the whole time, Bailey said.
"They're constantly searching for food," Bailey said. "If you have to keep moving, you're not gaining quite as much energy because even if you manage to eat along the way, you're still expending some energy by traveling."
In other words, the main difference between the two populations is that Atlantic turtles can dine in and chow down, while Pacific leatherbacks have to settle for the drive-through window and eating on the run.
Bailey's findings, detailed in the May issue of the journal PLoS ONE, point to new leatherback turtle conservation strategies.
"It's really highlighted very strongly the importance of protecting adult leatherbacks," Bailey said in an interview.
Because leatherback turtles have long life spans (about 30 years), they've adapted to survive jellyfish shortages by waiting to build nests and lay eggs after they've found a stable food supply. So far, most efforts have focused on protecting leatherbacks' nesting beaches. That's still important, Bailey said, but it may be even more important to protect adult turtles that are old enough to reproduce.
"They really have not adapted in any way to being harvested," Bailey said. "So when adults are killed by, for example, getting caught in fishing nets, then that does have a huge impact on the population and its ability to increase."
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5) Questions About Incredible Sea Turtle Migration Answered by Scientists
New insights by researchers reveal how young loggerhead sea turtles stay on course during one of the longest and most spectacular migrations on Earth
Press Release /5/14/12 National Science Foundation
Immediately after emerging from their underground nests on the lush beaches of eastern Florida, loggerhead sea turtles scramble into the sea and embark alone on a migration that takes them around the entire North Atlantic basin. Survivors of this epic migration eventually return to North America's coastal waters.
The most comprehensive perspective to date on precisely how young loggerheads navigate their transoceanic migration was recently published in two complementary papers produced by a research team led by Kenneth J. Lohmann, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The team's most recent paper argues that young loggerheads, which begin their migrations as tiny two-inch-long hatchlings, likely advance along their open-sea route through a combination of strategic swimming interspersed with passive drifting on favorable ocean currents. By swimming only in places where they are in danger of being carried off course and drifting passively in other areas where ocean currents move in the same direction that the turtles want to go, young loggerheads can migrate long distances on limited energy stores.
"Young turtles probably rely on a strategy of 'smart swimming' to optimize their energy use during migrations," Lohmann said. "The new results tell us that a surprisingly small amount of directional swimming in just the right places has a profound effect on the migratory paths that turtles follow and on whether they reach habitats favorable for survival."
The research, published in the June 2012 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology, was partially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The findings--which were based on computer simulations combining ocean currents and 'virtual turtles' swimming for various period of time--challenge a long-standing belief that young sea turtles drift passively and that their distribution is determined entirely by ocean currents. "Most researchers have assumed that, because ocean currents in some places move faster than young turtles can swim, the turtles cannot control their migratory paths," Lohmann explained. "This study shows otherwise."
"The research team's results have important implications for 'weakly moving animals,' including larval fish, butterflies and ballooning spiderlings," said David Stephens, a program director at NSF. They suggest that even small amounts of effort from these creatures can have big effects on where they end up, and how they get there.
Stephens continued: "All those things that we've thought of as 'just drift along with the current' might, after all, have a lot of control over where they're going, with minimal effort!"
This discovery may be particularly useful in understanding commercially important creatures, such as fish and crab, that have weakly swimming larvae that, like turtles, have often been assumed to drift passively, added Lohmann. An improved understanding of their movements may lead to better fisheries management.
A related paper published last month by Lohmann's team explains how young Florida-hatched loggerheads know where they are and in what direction to steer as they migrate around the North Atlantic basin. The paper, which appears in the April 2012 issue of Current Opinion in Neurobiology and describes research funded by NSF, reports that the turtles are guided at least partly by an inherited "magnetic map."
The Earth's magnetic field differs slightly in different geographic areas. The turtles' magnetic map enables them to instinctively and wondrously use differences in these fields as navigational markers that serve as equivalents to road signs for turtles in the open sea. Each change in the magnetic field elicits a change in the turtle's swimming direction, which in turn steers the turtle along its migratory route at each location.
The new paper summarizes a decade of research in which scientists investigated the turtles' magnetic map, using laboratory experiments in which young loggerheads were exposed to magnetic fields that exist along the natural migratory route. Amazingly, the direction that turtles swam in the lab in response to various magnetic fields matched observations of the steering decisions made by turtles when swimming through comparable magnetic fields in the ocean. The results indicate the turtles' brains are hard-wired to navigate their migratory routes from birth.
"The results also indicate that turtles obtain both latitude and longitude-like information from the oceanic magnetic field," said Stephens. "They may thereby obtain much richer spatial representations from magnetic fields than do humans with their compasses."
Tiny loggerhead hatchings are born small and defenseless, said Dr. Lohmann. Unable yet to make deep dives, they can only swim slowly along the ocean's surface. Their limitations make them easy targets for predatory fish swimming below them and for hungry birds searching out their next meals from above. Such turtle predators are particularly abundant in shallow, coastal areas.
Scientists believe that loggerhead hatchlings attempt to dash from danger-filled coastal zones--in nature's version of a football maneuver known as a "Hail Mary pass"--into the relative safety of the open sea largely to avoid their enemies. Eating and growing in the open ocean where predators are less abundant, the turtles migrate slowly and wait until their larger size reduces their chances of being attacked by coastal predators, before they return to coastal North American waters.
Nevertheless, the odds are still stacked against the survival of any particular loggerhead hatchling. Estimates suggest that only about one in four thousand hatchlings from Florida survives to adulthood.
All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. The new research may provide insights that are helpful in conservation, Lohmann said.
For example, different populations of loggerheads around the world are likely to have different magnetic maps, Lohmann explained, with each map specific to a particular migratory pathway in one part of the world. If loggerheads in one geographic area go extinct, it will probably be impossible to replace them with turtles from another area, because the new arrivals will lack the inherited instructions needed to navigate within and from their transplanted homes.
In addition, conditions that impair the functioning of turtles' magnetic sense may jeopardize survival. Lohmann says that in Florida and elsewhere, a common conservation practice is to surround turtle nests on the beach with wire cages to protect the turtle eggs from raccoons. But such cages also distort the local magnetic field, and may thereby compromise the ability of hatchlings to navigate after they emerge from their nests.
-Media Contacts
Lily Whiteman, NSF (703) 292-8070 lwhitema@nsf.gov
Susan Hudson, (919) 962-8415 (919) 962-8415 susan_hudson@unc.edu
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6) Zoos’ Bitter Choice: To Save Some Species, Letting Others Die
The Animal Lifeboat -A Conservation Dilemma
The New York Times -5/28/12 by Leslie Kaufman, Scores of black-and-white ruffed lemurs are being bred here at the St. Louis Zoo and at other zoos across the United States as part of a broader effort to prevent their extinction.
These riotous and chatty lemurs — known for elaborate rituals that include grooming and braying — once ranged across eastern Madagascar.
Now scores of these black-and-white ruffed lemurs are being bred here at the St. Louis Zoo and at other zoos across the United States as part of a broader effort to prevent their extinction.
But Ozzie, a lion-tailed macaque, will never father children. Lion-tails once flourished in the tops of rain forests in India, using their naturally dark coloring to disappear into the height of the jungle. Though there are only about 4,000 remaining in the wild, not one among Ozzie’s group here in St. Louis will be bred. American zoos are on the verge of giving up on trying to save them.
As the number of species at risk of extinction soars, zoos are increasingly being called upon to rescue and sustain animals, and not just for marquee breeds like pandas and rhinos but also for all manner of mammals, frogs, birds and insects whose populations are suddenly crashing.
To conserve animals effectively, however, zoo officials have concluded that they must winnow species in their care and devote more resources to a chosen few. The result is that zookeepers, usually animal lovers to the core, are increasingly being pressed into making cold calculations about which animals are the most crucial to save. Some days, the burden feels less like Noah building an ark and more like Schindler making a list.
The lemurs at this zoo are being saved in part because of a well-financed program to rescue rare fauna of the island nation of Madagascar. By contrast, although St. Louis has kept lion-tailed macaques since 1958, other zoos started getting rid of them in the 1990s because they can carry a form of herpes deadly to people. With only an aging population left in captivity in the United States, a species advisory group to North American zoos is expected to put the animals on a phaseout list soon.
If there are criticisms, they are that zoos are not transforming their mission quickly enough from entertainment to conservation.
“We as a society have to decide if it is going to be ethically and morally appropriate to simply display animals for entertainment purposes,” said Dr. Steven L. Monfort, the director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, part of the National Zoo in Washington. “In my opinion, that model is broken. There needs to be an explicit role for zoos to champion species.”
Dr. Monfort wants zoos to raise more money for the conservation of animals in the wild and to make that effort as important as erecting fancier accommodations for their captive collections. Zoos, he said, should build facilities — not necessarily open to the public — that are large enough to handle whole herds of animals so that more natural reproductive behavior can occur. And less emphasis should be placed on animals that are popular attractions but are doing fine in the wild, like African elephants and California sea lions, Dr. Monfort said, adding that they should be replaced with animals in desperate need of rescuing.
Many zoo directors say that such a radical reordering is not called for and that each zoo does valuable work even if conserving just a few species.
But Dr. Monfort is not satisfied. He wants all zoos within the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to aim higher on conservation efforts. “I am comfortable with raising the standards for zoos so that eventually it will be harder and harder to be accredited unless you are doing that,” he said in an interview. “If you can’t keep up, then you probably need to be dropped off the bottom.”
Established in 1910 and built on 90 acres, the St. Louis Zoo is in many ways archetypal of institutions struggling to adapt from a late-19th-century concept to a 21st-century crisis management center.
In their first century, American zoos plucked exotic animals from the wild and exploited them mainly for entertainment value, throwing in some wildlife education and a touch of preservation. When wilderness began disappearing, causing animals to fail at an accelerating pace, zoo officials became rescuers and protectors. Since the 1980s, zoos have developed coordinated breeding programs that have brought dozens of animals, like the golden lion tamarin of Brazil, back from the brink.
The increasingly difficult challenge is to be a force for conservation while continuing to put on a show.
Under Pressure
Jeffrey P. Bonner, president and chief executive of the St. Louis Zoo, said he felt that pressure.
In 2006, Dr. Bonner assembled his senior curators — each in charge of a different class of animal — along with donors and city planners to help make painful choices.
Sea lions are doing fine in the wild for now, but the zoo, which is taxpayer subsidized, decided to spend $18 million on a new pool, expected to be completed next year, that will be filtered and ozonated for clarity. Why? Because sea lions are one of the most popular attractions and their home was decrepit. Money also had to be spent on new restrooms and extra parking, meaning that stated priorities like breeding space for endangered animals and a frozen pool for walruses were shelved.
“We are always balancing the public experiencing with conservation needs,” Dr. Bonner said. “If you ask me why I have camels, I would say that we need something interesting for people to see at the back of the zoo in winter, and they are always outside.”
Currently, there are 214 accredited zoos in the United States, from tiny eight-acre attractions to world-renowned destinations like the San Diego Zoo, whose annual budget approaches $200 million. The main organization binding these zoos is the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Since 1985, it has been setting higher standards, raising the bar for animal care, conservation in the field and cooperative breeding programs.
Less Room for Animals
But while the association can remove accreditation, which it does from time to time, it has few other enforcement powers. So decisions on just how conservation-oriented to be — from how many imperiled animals to save to how much money will be spent on species still in the wild — are largely made zoo by zoo.
As standards for animal care rise and zoos install larger, more natural-looking exhibits, there is room for fewer animals. In the 1970s, the primate house in St. Louis held 36 species of monkeys and apes. Now it has 13.
And that narrowing of the species list is likely to continue for another reason. Zoos have come to understand that for animals to reproduce successfully for the long term without inbreeding, they need to maintain much wider gene pools for each animal. There are 64 polar bears in captivity in American zoos, far short of the 200 considered optimal for maintaining the population over 100 years. So zoos have been adding to the numbers of some species while culling others at the same time. St. Louis says it houses 400 more animals but 65 fewer species or subspecies than it did in 2002.
How the shrinking slots are allocated is becoming more considered and scientific. As conservation pressures mounted in the 1990s, the association began putting together advisory groups of zookeepers that look across entire families of species and advise on which ones should be made priorities and which ones should be phased out.
All sorts of criteria are considered, including uniqueness, level of endangerment in the wild, importance of the animal’s ecological role, and whether there is an adequate population in captivity for effective breeding.
Zoos are essentially given a menu of endangered species that the association is trying to maintain and can then choose according to their particular needs. But final decisions are often as much about heart as logic.
St. Louis, for example, has committed $20 million — or the equivalent of 40 percent of its annual operating budget — to building an enormous exhibit for polar bears — complete with a fake ice floe — even though its last polar bear died in 2009 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it illegal to remove or rescue the bears from the wild. The zoo hopes that in the five years needed to open the exhibit, it can argue for an exemption, import orphaned bears from Canada or perhaps secure the cubs of captive bears.
Dr. Bonner acknowledges that the polar bear project runs counter to many of his more practical convictions on the role of the modern zoo. He has insisted that his keepers spend what limited field conservation dollars they raise on threatened animals that are most likely to make a comeback in the wild. With sea ice disappearing at an alarming rate, polar bears do not fit the profile.
But he justifies the exemption as a lesson for zoo visitors: “I want people to see this beautiful creature and ask, ‘How could we have let this happen?’ ”
In a utility closet at the back of the Insectarium in St. Louis is evidence of the growing pressure on zoos. Bob Merz, the zoo’s manager for invertebrates, pulls out a clear kitchen container that could be used for the previous night’s leftovers. Instead, it contains layers of moist paper towel covered in snails, each no bigger than a pinkie nail.
“This is their habitat now,” he said.
The partula snail was once native to Pacific islands around Tahiti, but a larger carnivorous snail, introduced to attack other pests destroying crops, has decimated the partula as well. The nooks and crannies of this zoo are filled with similar cases, many of which were begun when a conservation group, scientist or government regulatory agency noticed that the animals were disappearing, and had nowhere else to drop them off. Many are not exhibited and are believed to be among the only members of their species left in the world.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that nearly one-fourth of all mammals are at risk of becoming extinct, roughly in the course of the next three generations. The situation is even more dire for amphibians and seabirds. The organization, for example, has declared the disappearance of the Australian gastric brooding frog, which ingested its eggs, gestating them in its stomach and eventually spitting out tadpoles.
The problem for zoos is that even small animals require more of a commitment than a plastic container if a return to the wild is to be realized.
Several large buckets of dirt are now home to the threatened American burying beetle, so named because it buries the corpses of small animals, like birds and squirrels, and lays its eggs around them. Once, the beetles, with their brilliant red markings, ranged over 35 states. By the time the United States Fish and Wildlife Service listed them as endangered in 1989, there was one known population left, in Rhode Island.
At the government’s behest, the St. Louis Zoo, in conjunction with a zoo in Rhode Island, has been successfully breeding them and returning them to the wild.
Mr. Merz says the effort was worthwhile because the beetle might play an irreplaceable role in the ecological web. He considers picking species worth saving akin to life-or-death gambling. “It is like looking out the window of an airplane and seeing the rivets in the wing,” he said. “You can probably lose a few, but you don’t know how many, and you really don’t want to find out.”
In 1989, scientists realized that the world’s frogs were dying in alarming numbers. They deduced that about a third of all 6,000-plus amphibian species were threatened with extinction, many being felled by a fast-moving fungus that has probably been spread in large part by trade and pet sales.
After that, scientists developed a protocol for determining which species should be rescued first. At this point, only 42 percent of the world’s amphibians have been assessed. But zoos and aquariums have taken note and are following the protocol’s recommendations.
So far, only about 10 percent of the amphibian species requiring immediate rescue have been given homes. Still, many scientists, like Robert C. Lacy, a conservation breeding specialist, believe the frog mobilization will become a model. Yes, he said, there are endless moral and ethical debates. For example, should priority be given to animals that cannot survive outside zoos or to those in need of temporary shelter to restock their numbers?
When those decisions are made, the consequences can feel brutal. For 20 years, keepers at the St. Louis Zoo worked to understand the habits of endangered Mhorr gazelles, the delicate, red-coated subspecies in their care. The animals have been squeezed out of the grasslands that border the Sahara by increased cattle ranching. Eighteen babies were born at the zoo during that time, a healthy rate. But with fewer than 50 Mhorrs left in zoos in North America, there was not enough genetic diversity to reproduce without a risk of inbreeding.
So, in 2008, a North American advisory group on the viability of hoofed species recommended that the animals be phased out of North American zoos and space given to another subspecies of endangered gazelle with more promising prospects.
Martha Fischer was head of that advisory group, but she is also in charge of all animals with hooves at St. Louis, and she knew that she would have to ship animals that had become precious to her to other zoos. If they cannot be bred in Europe, where the largest captive population remains, the Mhorrs will most likely become extinct.
Even though Ms. Fischer accepted her own panel’s conclusion, “I dragged my feet,” she said about getting rid of her Mhorrs — in part because she is so concerned about their future in the wild.
“It’s great to be helping another animal, but I still miss them,” Ms. Fischer said, sighing. “We had expertise and we were good with them, and they were spectacular.”
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only 2 copies left So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
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TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen

TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.

Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at
asalzberg@herpdigest.org,

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition

Our Price is cheaper than Amazon
$75.00 plus $13 for S&H. (it’s 8 pounds and worth every ounce)
and all profits goes to keep HerpDigest alive

ACT NOW ------TO ORDER: See below on how.

Email us first at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com for S&H fees for all overseas orders. (And yes this includes Canada)

Reviews
[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )
The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )
In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $12.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 for only one.

Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America

NOW COMES PART II

Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.

In Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.

These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.

Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.

Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons

The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
For just $25.0 add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
$15.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:47 pm

HARDBACK - 352 pp., 34 b&w photos, 2 maps
$45.00 PLUS $ 6.00 S&H (OVERSEAS CONTACT USE FIRST)


An Uncensored History of a Conservation Icon
by Alison Rieser


The journals of early maritime explorers traversing the Atlantic Ocean often describe swarms of sea turtles, once a plentiful source of food. Many populations had been decimated by the 1950s, when Archie Carr and others raised public awareness of their plight. One species, the green turtle, has been the most heavily exploited due to international demand for turtle products, especially green turtle soup. The species has achieved some measure of recovery due to thirty years of conservation efforts, but remains endangered.

In The Case of the Green Turtle, Alison Rieser provides an unparalleled look into the way science and conservation interact by focusing on the most controversial aspect of green turtle conservation—farming. While proponents argued that farming green sea turtles would help save them, opponents countered that it encouraged a taste for turtle flesh that would lead to the slaughter of wild stocks. The clash of these viewpoints once riveted the world.

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Table of Contents:


One frog species becomes three - A north Queensland scientist has discovered that one species of frog is actually three different species.
2) Forest Green Frogs laying eggs in Fukushima village

3) Rare species of Borneo jungle frog wave to each other using their hind legs and spreading out their toes in a 'high five' - The endangered reptile is commonly known as the Lesser Rock Frog

4) Indian village performs wedding ceremony between two frogs to break drought-It’s custom to perform frog marriages during water shortages to invoke rain gods

5) Jumping genocide: 74 frogs found at Maina, India

6) Australia to bait and trap cane toads

7) Why More Parasite Diversity is Good News for Frogs-Flukes that parasitize amphibians

8) New antibiotics from stinking frog skin species

9) Sent to the wild: 300 frogs saved in Karwar, India

10) EPA considers ban on herbicide that triggers sex reversal in frogs

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Books Still Available



The National Book Award finalist - “Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook”
by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll-LAST 2 THAT ARE AUTOGRAPHED. $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H


Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List price $98.00 Only from HerDigest $75.00 plus $13 for S&H. (it’s 8 pounds and worth every ounce)


Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volume 1 and 2 -By Ernst & Ernst - $75.00 for one Volume, plus $6.00 for S&H - $150.00 for both volumes plus $13.00 S&H


Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator by Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons, Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.


Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World (How to Care for them in captivity)
$24.95 plus $6.00 for S&H


Diamonds in the March , (The Definitive Book on Diamondback Terrapins,) by Barbara Brennessel, Was $15.00 now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.


Turtle TV Tapes -$15.00 each, Includes S&H --- FOR ALL AGES


And
“Confessions of a Turtle-wife,” by Anita Salzberg, $15.00 Includes S&H
or
“You Know You Are a Herper...When Your Dream In Green” edited by Anita & Allen Salzberg. $10.00-Includes S&H
Buy Them together for $20.00 includes S&H.


go to end of text of newsletter for additional information and how to order.
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1) One frog species becomes three - A north Queensland scientist has discovered that one species of frog is actually three different species.

By Megan Woodward, ABC June 7, 2012



Dr Conrad Hoskin from James Cook University has been researching the ornate nursery frog found in the wet tropics between Townsville and Port Douglas.

Dr Hoskin says he suspected for some time that the native north Queensland frogs were similar but not the same.

"We knew the populations were there and I suspected there might be more than one species in there that we had been confusing all along," he said.

Dr Hoskin says there are genetic and morphological differences between the frogs found in the northern wet tropics, the southern wet tropics and the population on Hinchinbrook Island.

"So it was quite clear by the end of it that there were three species," he said.

He says the frogs all look very similar but their mating calls set them apart.

"When it's raining either up in the rainforest or the mountain tops on Hinchinbrook Island you'll hear them calling and we'll record the calls of them in the wild there," he said.
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2) Forest Green Frogs laying eggs in Fukushima village

The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network, Jun 13, 2012


KAWAUCHI, Fukushima - Forest green tree frogs have started laying eggs in their protected habitat in Hebusunuma pond in Kawauchi. Male and female frogs have been seen climbing branches and leaves along the edge of the pond for spawning.

The pond is near the 842-meter peak of Mt. Hebusu and surrounded by broad-leafed trees. Female frogs leave spawn on leaves that are about 10 centimeters in diameter.

The village's slogan for post-disaster reconstruction is "Kaeru Kawauchi" (Return to Kawauchi), which is a play on words because "kaeru" also means frog in Japanese.

The Kawauchi education board said a spawn was first found on June 5, and this number increased to 52 by Monday. Hatchings will begin by the end of this month. Tadpoles will fall from the leaves into the pond, where they will grow.

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3) Rare species of Borneo jungle frog wave to each other using their hind legs and spreading out their toes in a 'high five' - The endangered reptile is commonly known as the Lesser Rock Frog

By Graham Smith,, 6/15/12, The Daily Mail, UK

A rare species of Borneo jungle frogs who communicate with each other by waving have left scientists baffled.

The endangered reptiles - commonly known as the Lesser Rock Frog - greet each other by waving their hind legs and spreading out their toes like a 'high five'.

Zoologists had originally thought the waving was connected with breeding habits.

But now they are uncertain as the frogs start waving long before sexual maturity.

Scientists at Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, bred more than a thousand Lesser Rock Frogs.

They have since discovered that that the frogs start waving almost as soon as they stop being tadpoles.

Dagmar Schratter, the zoo's director, said: 'Experts believed this had a connection with reproduction.

'But now we know that juvenile animals wave before sexual maturity it is puzzling. We are studying this.'

She added: 'We hope our visitors like them. With a bit of luck they might get a wave or two.'

In 2008, scientists in Borneo realised that a species of frog that breathes through its skin because it has no lungs, which makes it appear flat.

This aerodynamic shape allows the frogs to move swiftly in fast flowing streams.

Although the species was discovered in 1978, it was only recently that scientists found the frog has no lungs.



For photos ----http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2159837/Rare-species-Borneo-jungle-frog-wave-using-hind-legs-spreading-toes-high-five.html#ixzz1xuJYvUIx
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4) Indian village performs wedding ceremony between two frogs to break drought-It’s custom to perform frog marriages during water shortages to invoke rain gods

By Kathryn Kattalia/NY Daily News Thursday, June 14, 2012,

Frogs say 'I do!' Villagers in India perform a traditional wedding ceremony between two frogs in hopes of ending a drought.

It was a ribbeting wedding ceremony.

Two frogs were married in India so that a drought might end – and a village might live hoppily ever after.

The amphibian couple was joined in matrimony during a traditional ceremony in Takhatpur, India.

It’s custom in some parts of India to perform frog marriages during water shortages to invoke rain gods.

In images recently published by Caters photo agency, villagers can be seen attending the elaborate ceremony and placing their hands over the water-loving guests of honor.

The unusual bride and groom even dressed up for the special occasion, donning colorfuL flowers over their slippery bodies.

In one image, the two frogs are pictured slipping into festive, red bags while one villager gently dabs paint onto each creature's head.

But the formal ceremony wasn't without a little romance.

The happy newlyweds shared a wet kiss following their "I do's."

In 2011, two frogs were also married in the Koppal region of India in attempt to break a drought, The Times of India reports.

For wedding photos: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/i ... z1xxdA9VA3
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5) Jumping genocide: 74 frogs found at Maina, India

Times of India 6/8/12- MARGAO: The Maina-Curtorim police along with the forest department rescued 44 live Indian bull frogs and the bodies of 30 frogs which had been cut.


The police control room received a telephone call at 11am stating that bull frogs were being killed and cut at Maina. By the time the police arrived, the two male accused Anceto Menezes and Herculean Rebello fled leaving their footwear and other materials behind. The offense was taking place behind Rebello's residence and both his and Menezes' bike were attached by the police who are carrying out further investigations.

Maina Curtorim PI Gurudas Kadam told TOI that they called the wildlife range forest officer (RFO) Joseph Colaco from Aquem, who immediately sent a mobile squad where the case was handed over to the forest department. Kadam added that one lady was found at the site holding a knife in her hand with blood stains and refused to divulge any details to the police. The mobile squad took her to the (RFO) Colaco in Aquem. "The lady's name is Gulhermina Mascarenhas and she has agreed to the offense and we have taken her statement . She was released on a surety bond and has been asked to return to our office on Monday," said Colaco after finishing the interrogation at 5.30pm.

When asked what the motive behind the killing was and if they had discovered the modus operandi of the accused, Colaco said, "Mascarenhas did not reveal much but we are carrying out further investigations and are putting together the pieces of the case."

Sources said that those 30 frogs which were cut had their skins removed meticulously and appeared to have been prepped for commercial purposes. The 44 live frogs after a quick examination were released into a pond nearby. The news of the incident angered several animal activists.

________________________________________________________________________

6) Australia to bait and trap cane toads

SYDNEY, June 13 (UPI) -- Australian scientists say the poison invasive cane toads use to devastate native species could be turned into a weapon against the toads themselves.

Researchers at the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the University of Queensland, have determined the poison can be used as 'bait' in traps set in bodies of water to catch toad tadpoles.

The biggest hurdle to eliminating cane toads is that a single clutch of eggs laid at a time by one female can number 30,000 or more, they said.

"This means that even if you catch and kill 99 percent of the adult toads in an area, the few that are left can produce so many offspring that before you know it you are back to where you started -- just as many cane toads as ever," Sydney researcher Rick Shine said.

The scientists found secretions from the shoulder glands of dead toads can be used to bait traps, as it is cheap, easy to obtain and highly attractive to cane toad tadpoles but repels the tadpoles of native frogs.

"A chemical 'bait' created from the toads' poison is a real magnet for [cane] toad tadpoles," Shine said.

"When we use this chemical as bait in a funnel-trap we catch thousands of toad tadpoles and almost nothing else," he said. "In one natural pond, we collected more than 40,000 toad tadpoles in less than a week. And I think we got them all -- over the next few weeks, not a single toad emerged from that pond."

Cane toads, initially brought into the country to control beetles threatening sugar cane plantations, are spreading through tropical Australia with a devastating impact on native species, researchers said.

For a photo of Rick Shine: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/06 ... z1xxeNOmVP
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7) Why More Parasite Diversity is Good News for Frogs-Flukes that parasitize amphibians

Discover Magazine Blog 5/24/12

The enemy of my enemy is my friend—especially if I’m a frog and my enemies are competing parasites. A recent study in PNAS found that frogs populations exposed to a more diverse set of flukes actually had lower rates of infection, with fewer frogs in the group afflicted with tiny hitchhikers.

Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder bred Pacific chorus frogs in a lab and put their tadpoles in different tanks with anywhere from one to six different types of flukes. On average, 40% of the frogs that came into contact with only a single fluke species developed infections, while 34% of frogs exposed to four flukes and 23% of frogs exposed to six flukes were infected (the numbers for two, three flukes followed a roughly similar trend). Additionally, some of the fluke species make frogs sicker than others, and oddly enough, the frogs exposed to a greater variety of flukes had a lower proportion of infections from these dangerous species.

Most research on host-parasite interactions has focused one host–one parasite, but as this study shows, it’s a lot more complicated in the natural world. Preserving biodiversity—even biodiversity of creatures, whether flukes or microbes, that we’re not fond of—might be an important part of keeping disease down. Why that is isn’t exactly clear—the scientists who did this study, for instance, aren’t sure why frogs were better off with lots of flukes around.

But it could be analogous to what happens in humans who have the biodiversity of their gut microbes disturbed by antibiotics. Once healthy, or at least relatively harmless, microbes are wiped out, it’s easy for dangerous bacteria like C. difficile to take over their real estate and cause life-threatening disease. Something similar seems to happen with viruses: having certain viruses in your body can keep you from getting infected by other, more harmful pathogens.

In fighting off infections, thus, it could help to have allies among the enemy.

_________________________________________________________________

8) New antibiotics from stinking frog skin species

Pratibha Masand, TNN Jun 13, 2012, 07.12PM IST


MUMBAI: Scientists in China are working on a research to develop a new generation antibiotics from the skin of stinking frog species. So far, the scientists have identified more than 700 chemical substances from nine species of odorous frogs. Researchers have also found that foul smelling frogs not only offer clues to prepare a new range of antibiotics but boost human immune system against bacterial attacks.

Stumbling upon this new development, scientists have taken into account the simple fact that the 'rotten fish' smelling frogs, could survive the worst bacterial attacks in their life span as their skin emits some chemical substances that have the anti-bacterial properties.

China 's National Basic Research Programme and the National Natural Science Foundation are funding the research. "We are trying to identify the specific Anti-Microbial Peptides (AMPs) that account for almost one-third of all peptides found in the world, the greatest known diversity of these germ-killing chemicals," said scientists, Yun Zhang, Wen-Hui Lee and Xinwang Yang.

"Long back scientists have recognized frog's skin as a rich potential source of new antibiotics. Frogs live in warm, wet places where bacteria thrive and have adapted skin that secretes chemicals, known as peptides, to protect themselves from infections," explained the scientists.

Earlier in a similar case, a drug from the poison of 'Bufo Rana', a toad specie was prepared in Homoeopathy to treat various disorders including nervous troubles, paralysis, rheumatism and impotence. Homoeopathic Bufo is made from the poison of the toad. The toad releases poison when it is teased or irritated. It can paralyse a dog. The Chinese were the first to apply dried toad poison for a variety of complaints.

On one hand when the frogs are being used for a variety of purposes such as study subjects in labs and as food delicacies in a variety of cuisine like 'jumping legs' in restaurants, environmentalists are worried that large scale butchering of frogs may disturb the environment as these amphibians have been protecting the environment by killing the harmful disease causing bacteria and insects. Killing the frogs is a punishable offense under the World Life (Protection) Act in many countries.

__________________________________________________________________

9) Sent to the wild: 300 frogs saved in Karwar, India

TNN Jun 9, 2012, 04.04AM IST


PANAJI: A seizure of 300 Indian bullfrogs in a Goa-bound bus at Karwar has alerted officials and activists in both states to the possibility of an inter-state smuggling racket catering to the eateries in Goa's tourism belt.

Forest officials in Karwar tried to intercept persons carrying more than 300 giant frogs of the Rana tigrina species at the town's bus stand. "But seeing our men, they abandoned the gunny bags and escaped," Nagraj Naik, deputy conservator of forests, Karwar sub-division, said.

The smugglers were about to board a Goa-bound bus at Karwar bus stand on Tuesday. "We had received a tip off about it," Naik said.

After taking the frogs in their custody, the forest officials booked a case against the unknown offenders. The rescued amphibians were then dispatched straight to the local science centre where a function to mark world environment day was in progress.

The local minister and forest officials were present and briefed the press before releasing them into the wild. "We are keeping vigil and hope to arrest the culprits and bust the racket," Naik added. Green activists in the state said the supply from across the border is fuelled by the consumption in restaurants. "The restaurateurs pay a huge price for the frogs," Clinton Vaz, an environmental activist said. In Goa, patrolling by volunteers and forest department during the first monsoon showers, has helped curb the poaching to a great extent.

"But it is the suppliers who are caught while restaurateurs get away," Vaz said. Goa forest officials said they are alert to the possibility of inter-state smuggling of frogs. "We will take up the matter with our counterparts in Karnataka," D N Carvalho, deputy conservator of forests north Goa (wildlife and eco tourism) said.

The vehicles entering the state at the check-posts will be monitored, sources told TOI.

_______________________________________________________________________

10) EPA considers ban on herbicide that triggers sex reversal in frogs

mongabay.com, June 08, 2012


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year.


Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine.


Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move.


"Atrazine weakens amphibians' immune systems, and can cause hermaphroditism and complete sex reversal in male frogs at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion," Kerry Kriger, Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS! told mongabay.com in an interview last year.


"Epidemiological studies have found high rates of breast and prostate cancer, as well as impaired fertility, in humans living or working in areas with high Atrazine usage. Atrazine induces prostate and mammary cancer in laboratory rodents as well."


Amphibians are among the most endangered group of animals on the planet. Roughly a third of all species are at risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, introduced predators and disease, over-consumption, pollution, and the effects of climate change.


For video of talk biologist and herpetologist Trone Hayes talks about the effects of Atrazine at TEDxYouth2010. http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0607-atra ... z1xxiUPg2O
__________________________________________________________________________

HerpDigest is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, based in New York State. It is a publication, independent of any government public or private agenda, and reflects only the editor& opinion of what is news in the herp world. It is now in its 11th straight year of publication.
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You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org and your subscription will be terminated immediately
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HerpDigest.org Is A 501 © 3 Non-Profit Organization. So Donations Are Of Course Gratefully Accepted.
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To subscribe go to www.herpdigest.org and sign up.
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The National Book Award finalist - Following the Water, A Hydromancer’s Notebook by the winner of the McArthur Genius Award- David Carroll is now available,
Autographed-hardcover. 186 pages- $24.00 plus $6.00 for S&H.
Full of illustrations chronicling Carroll’s annual March-to-November wetlands immersion. From the joy of the first turtle sighting -to the ancient sense of love and loss Carroll experiences each autumn when it its time once again, to part with open water.
I have only 2 copies left So if interested, act now. His First book, now out of print, “The Year of The Turtle” I’ve seen going for $250.00 on ebay and Alibris. It’s a beautiful book and it’s a investment.
__________________________________________________________________
TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen


FOR ALL AGES


TURTLE MOVIES- - Star Wars - American Beauty - Blazing Saddles (Yep, that scene) King Kong (Yes the turtle climbs up the side of a skyscraper)
TURTLE SPORTS-- the Turtle Hockey League, the Turtle Basketball League Turtle Drag Racing, even the Turtle Indy 500 (complete with a sensational crash).
TURTLE TV SHOWS- Turtle CSI, Turtle Cops and a turtle cooking show, which the main dish is a cricket cooked in sherry, or should be. and more.
Like official turtle greetings from the station for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.


Guaranteed turtle TV fun and madness for 30 full minutes. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, yourself. And only for a donation of $15.00 each, which includes S&H anywhere in the U.S. Additional copies are $15.00 each S&H also included. Overseas contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org,


Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
______________________________________________________________________
Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. Chapters include Natural History, The Genus Malaclemys, Terrapins in Captivity, Health Care, Breeding, and Conservation. * The first book written on all 7 diamondback terrapin subspecies. * The only book with over 150 color photos of diamondback terrapins. * Book includes picture of the one and only albino diamondback terrapin. *Information and pictures on a possible 8th subspecies. 85 pages. by James Lee and Samuel Chew.
Overseas orders email first for S&H, but Europe is $15.00
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition


Our Price is cheaper than Amazon
$75.00 plus $13 for S&H. (it’s 8 pounds and worth every ounce)
and all profits goes to keep HerpDigest alive


ACT NOW ------TO ORDER: See below on how.


Email us first at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com for S&H fees for all overseas orders. (And yes this includes Canada)


Reviews

[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )

The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )

In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )

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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volumes 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $13.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 S&H for only one book.


Last year, in Volume one the Ernsts covered Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus, Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
It was rightfully called a classic.
"Likely to remain the standard reference for the next 20
years."—SciTech Book News, reviewing Venomous Reptiles of North
America


NOW COMES PART II


Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.


In Volume Two they cover the twenty-one rattlesnakes found in the United States, Canada, and, for the first time, species found only in northern Mexico.


In Volume II they present the latest research on Crotalus in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico and featurean extensive bibliography of literature on the subject.


These volumes contain a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in venom, snakes, or herpetology in general.


Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico Volume I & II, provides facts on each animal's diet, reproductive behavior, physiology, ecology, and conservation status. The book also covers details on snakebite, how venom is delivered, venom composition, antivenom production, and medical treatments of envenomation. Each species account includes vivid photographs that aid with identification and detailed maps that show the species range.


Overseas email me at asalzberg@nyc.rr.com and signed by both authors.


Go to end of text of newsletter on and how to order.
____________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons


The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.


The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile


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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Chuck Lawson » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:40 pm

Philsuma wrote:7) Why More Parasite Diversity is Good News for Frogs-Flukes that parasitize amphibians

Discover Magazine Blog 5/24/12

The enemy of my enemy is my friend—especially if I’m a frog and my enemies are competing parasites. A recent study in PNAS found that frogs populations exposed to a more diverse set of flukes actually had lower rates of infection, with fewer frogs in the group afflicted with tiny hitchhikers.

Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder bred Pacific chorus frogs in a lab and put their tadpoles in different tanks with anywhere from one to six different types of flukes. On average, 40% of the frogs that came into contact with only a single fluke species developed infections, while 34% of frogs exposed to four flukes and 23% of frogs exposed to six flukes were infected (the numbers for two, three flukes followed a roughly similar trend). Additionally, some of the fluke species make frogs sicker than others, and oddly enough, the frogs exposed to a greater variety of flukes had a lower proportion of infections from these dangerous species.

Most research on host-parasite interactions has focused one host–one parasite, but as this study shows, it’s a lot more complicated in the natural world. Preserving biodiversity—even biodiversity of creatures, whether flukes or microbes, that we’re not fond of—might be an important part of keeping disease down. Why that is isn’t exactly clear—the scientists who did this study, for instance, aren’t sure why frogs were better off with lots of flukes around.

But it could be analogous to what happens in humans who have the biodiversity of their gut microbes disturbed by antibiotics. Once healthy, or at least relatively harmless, microbes are wiped out, it’s easy for dangerous bacteria like C. difficile to take over their real estate and cause life-threatening disease. Something similar seems to happen with viruses: having certain viruses in your body can keep you from getting infected by other, more harmful pathogens.

In fighting off infections, thus, it could help to have allies among the enemy.


Thought this was interesting...
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:23 pm

wow...you're not kiddin' Chuck. I just skimmed this recent issue but that is seriously though provoking.
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