HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Current events - Televison and News, Habitat loss. Ethics and raising awareness discussions.
User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:24 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 44 9/30/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence. Please feel free to make a donation on top of your order.
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, Turtles, Frogs, Snakes, Sea Turtles-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________

PLACE YOUR ORDERS NOW
The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas
Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation
By Peter V. Lindeman
Hardcover, Illustrations: 70 color photos, 164 b&w illus., 14 maps, 33 tables
Published: Early 12/13-Which means your copies will arrive late 12/13 to 1/14
$45.00 PLUS $7.00 S&H
288 pages, 6.125" x 9.25"
Covering all facets of the biology of a little-known genus, Peter V. Lindeman’s lavishly illustrated Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas is both a scientific treatise and an engaging introduction to a striking group of turtles. Everything we know about these beautiful animals so far.
_____________________________________________________________
”The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 - It's 160 glossy pages long. Over 160 color photos. And I have still managed to keep the price down to $20.00 each $6.00 S&H in the U.S.

“The Tortoise Magazine, [is] ostensibly Us Weekly for people who follow reptiles instead of Brad Pitt and ‘The Bachelor’”
-The Wall Street Journal

And for a very limited time Issue # 1-5 Left is available for $25.00. But only if you also buy (or have already bought from HerpDigest) issue #2. (If ordering only Issue # 1 S&H is $6.00) For both, shipping costs remain at $7.00

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) The response of a sleepy lizard social network to altered ecological conditions

2) Swiss customs seize rare frogs in taxi
3) Torrent Frogs Use Toes, Belly, Thighs to Hold Tight Under Waterfall-Like Conditions
4) Frogs that hear with their mouth
5) Missouri Ponds Provide Clue to Killer Frog Disease
6) Burmese python trap: Will it work? - Federal wildlife officials will test a new trap designed to capture Burmese pythons.
7) Native and non-native reptiles feeling the stress of Colorado floods
8) Specially trained dogs help researchers sniff out salamanders
9) Woodland salamanders indicators of forest ecosystem recovery
____________________________________________________________
Some Other Books on Sale-See below for more info and how to order.

Turtles, Frogs, Geckos: 3 Separate Books From The Animal Answer Guide Series: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist

Lizard Social Behavior
Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians: A Global Perspective
The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution
Turtles of the World
Biology and Conservation of Ridley Sea Turtles

Biology of the Snapping Turtle ( Chelydra serpentina)
The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles
_______________________________________________________________________
1) The response of a sleepy lizard social network to altered ecological conditions
Animal Behaviour
Volume 86, Issue 4, October 2013, Pages 763–772
• Stephanie S. Godfreya, b, , , S.Godfrey@murdoch.edu.au
• Andrew Sihc,
• C. Michael Bulla

a School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
b School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
c Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, U.S.A.


Highlights
We compared sleepy lizard social networks across 3 ecologically varying years.

Lizard body condition, activity and home range use varied among years.

The number and strength of connections in the network were stable across years.

Reproductive associations were weakest in the driest year of the study.
The use of social networks to describe animal social structure is increasing, yet our understanding of how social networks respond to changing ecological conditions remains limited. Animal behaviour is often constrained by temporal or spatial variation in ecological conditions; how do behaviour and social organization respond to changing ecological conditions? We used a social network approach to ask this question in the pair-living sleepy lizard, Tiliqua rugosa. We attached GPS data loggers to lizards to record their movement, activity and social interactions during their activity period (October–December) in 2008–2010. The years varied substantially in ecological conditions, from hot and dry in 2008 to cool and wet in 2010. Our aim was not to suggest how individual climatic or ecological factors influence social organization, but to explore the stability of social structure over varying conditions. Lizards spent less time active and overlapped in home range area more with conspecifics in the driest year of the study (2008) than in subsequent years. Despite this variation in behaviour, the number and strength of connections in the social network were stable across years. Intrasexual associations were similar across years, but there was a lower incidence of intersexual associations in 2008 than in the other 2 years. Among male–female dyads, pairing intensity was lower in 2008, while for males, extrapair strength was higher in 2008. These results suggest that although the overall social network is tolerant to changes in ecological conditions, the nature of contacts within the network shifts in response to ecological variation.
_____________________________________________________________
2) Swiss customs seize rare frogs in taxi
Yahoo News, 9/26/13
During a routine check at a border crossing, Swiss customs officers made an unexpected discovery: 35 brightly coloured rare frogs and a gecko hidden in the boot of a taxi.
The French taxi driver was alone in the vehicle when he was stopped on September 14 at a border crossing with Germany, and tried to smuggle the creatures into Switzerland without the required documentation, the Swiss customs service said in a statement on Thursday.
The tiny, brightly coloured Oophaga, Excidobates and Ranitomeya frogs and the dwarf gecko are all endangered species.
Packed into small, plastic boxes for the journey, the amphibians and the reptile were immediately seized and a criminal probe was launched against the driver, the customs office said.
The Frenchman, whose name was not given, risks fines of more than 2,000 Swiss francs ($A2,360), it added.
Importing animals of this type into Switzerland requires a permit from the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office and a certificate from the organisation that oversees the trade of endangered species, in addition to customs declarations.
______________________________________________________________
3) Torrent Frogs Use Toes, Belly, Thighs to Hold Tight Under Waterfall-Like Conditions
Sep. 25, 2013 — Torrent frogs use their toes, belly, and thighs to attach to rough, wet, and steep surfaces, according to results published September 25 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Thomas Endlein from the Centre for Cell Engineering at the University of Glasgow and colleagues from other institutions.
In a multipart study, the researchers compared the attachment abilities of two species: torrent frogs (Staurois guttatus) and tree frogs (Rhacophorus pardalis). They found that the torrent frog is better able to attach to extremely wet, steep, and rough surfaces due to its superior attachment abilities. Frog attachment to surfaces was measured under different conditions of roughness and fast-flowing water on a slowly rotating platform. On dry, smooth surfaces, both frog species attached to steep slopes equally well; however, on wet, rough surfaces, the torrent frogs attached significantly better than tree frogs.
To find out why this might be, researchers used imaging to visualize the attachment process and discovered that both frog species use their toes, belly, and thighs to adhere to the surface. However, the torrent frogs increased the use of their belly and thighs as the surface became steeper, managing to stay put until the platform was almost upside down. In contrast, tree frogs often lost the contact of their belly and thigh skin with the steeper platform and therefore detached earlier.
Moreover, using scanning electron microscopy to visualize the shape of the cells on the toe pads of both species, the authors found that the torrent frogs' were slightly elongated compared to those in the tree frogs. These cells create channels that facilitate the drainage of excess fluid underneath the pad, possibly providing a further advantage for holding on. Endlein expands, "Torrent frogs adhere to very wet and rough surfaces by attaching not only their specialised toe pads (like many tree frogs do) but also by using their belly and ventral thigh skin. In addition, torrent frogs exhibit elongated cells on their toe pads which might help to drain off excess water for close surface attachment."
Journal Reference:
1. Thomas Endlein, W. Jon P. Barnes, Diana S. Samuel, Niall A. Crawford, Ang Bee Biaw, Ulmar Grafe. Sticking under Wet Conditions: The Remarkable Attachment Abilities of the Torrent Frog, Staurois guttatus. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (9): e73810 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073810
__________________________________________________________________
4) Frogs that hear with their mouth
X-rays reveal a new hearing mechanism for animals without an ear
Australasian Science, 9/2/13, Gardiner's frogs from the Seychelles islands, one of the smallest frogs in the world, do not possess a middle ear with an eardrum yet can croak themselves, and hear other frogs. An international team of scientists using X-rays has now solved this mystery and established that these frogs are using their mouth cavity and tissue to transmit sound to their inner ears. The results are published in PNAS.
The team led by Renaud Boistel from CNRS and University of Poitiers, comprised also scientists from Institut Langevin of ESPCI ParisTech, the Laboratoire de Mécanique et d'Acoustique in Marseilles, the Institute of Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of Evry (France), the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles, and the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble.
The way sound is heard is common to many lineages of animals and appeared during the Triassic age (200-250 million years ago). Although the auditory systems of the four-legged animals have undergone many changes since, they have in common the middle ear with eardrum and ossicles, which emerged independently in the major lineages. On the other hand, some animals notably most frogs, do not possess an outer ear like humans, but a middle ear with an eardrum located directly on the surface of the head. Incoming sound waves make the eardrum vibrate, and the eardrum delivers these vibrations using the ossicles to the inner ear where hair cells translate them into electric signals sent to the brain. Is it possible to detect sound in the brain without a middle ear? The answer is no because 99.9% of a sound wave reaching an animal is reflected at the surface of its skin.
"However, we know of frog species that croak like other frogs but do no have tympanic middle ears to listen to each other. This seems to be a contradiction," says Renaud Boistel from the IPHEP of the University of Poitiers and CNRS. "These small animals, Gardiner's frogs, have been living isolated in the rainforest of the Seychelles for 47 to 65 million years, since these islands split away from the main continent. If they can hear, their auditory system must be a survivor of life forms on the ancient supercontinent Gondwana."
To establish whether these frogs actually use sound for communicate with each other, the scientists set up loudspeakers in their natural habitat and broadcast pre-recorded frog songs. This caused males present in the rainforest to answer, proving that they were able to hear the sound from the loudspeakers.
The next step was to identify the mechanism by which these seemingly deaf frogs were able to hear sound. Various mechanisms have been proposed: an extra-tympanic pathway through the lungs, muscles which in frogs connect the pectoral girdle to the region of the inner ear, or bone conduction. "Whether body tissue will transport sound or not depends on its biomechanical properties. With X-ray imaging techniques here at the ESRF, we could establish that neither the pulmonary system nor the muscles of these frogs contribute significantly to the transmission of sound to the inner ears", says Peter Cloetens, a scientist at the ESRF who took part in the study. "As these animals are tiny, just one centimetre long, we needed X-ray images of the soft tissue and the bony parts with micrometric resolution to determine which body parts contribute to sound propagation."
Numerical simulations helped to investigate the third hypothesis, that the sound was received through the frog's heads. These simulations confirmed that the mouth acts as a resonator, or amplifier, for the frequencies emitted by this species. Synchrotron X-ray imaging on different species showed that the transmission of the sound from the oral cavity to the inner ear has been optimized by two evolutionary adaptations: a reduced thickness of the tissue between the mouth and the inner ear and a smaller number of tissue layers between the mouth and the inner ear. "The combination of a mouth cavity and bone conduction allows Gardiner's frogs to perceive sound effectively without use of a tympanic middle ear", concludes Renaud Boistel.
__________________________________________________________________
5) Missouri Ponds Provide Clue to Killer Frog Disease

Sep. 25, 2013 — The skin fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), also known as amphibian chytrid, first made its presence felt in 1993 when dead and dying frogs began turning up in Queensland, Australia. Since then it has sickened and killed frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians worldwide, driving hundreds of species to extinction.
As a postdoctoral researcher Kevin Smith studied Bd in South Africa, home to the African clawed frog, a suspected vector for the fungus. When he took a position at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is now interim director of the Tyson Research Center and adjunct professor of biology, he worked on other problems.
But whenever he visited a pond, he collected tadpoles and checked their mouth parts (often a fungal hot spot) under the microscope, just out of curiosity.
So Smith recruited a team of students to study the ecosystems of 29 ponds in east-central Missouri. The team assayed larval amphibians for chytrid, collected physical and chemical data, and identified amphibian, macroinvertebrate and zooplankton species living in the ponds.
"I was half expecting it to be just an absolute mess, that there would be no distinguishing characteristic about ponds that have chytrid or ponds that don't," he said. "But instead, we found that the ponds that had chytrid were consistently more similar to one another than the ponds that didn't have chytrid in many different measures."
"That's a very powerful finding," he said. "The thinking had been that chytrid required keratin, appropriate temperatures and water -- and that was it. That's what we were stuck with. Now we know that there must be additional constraints because some ponds that meet these criteria don't harbor the fungus."
A statistical technique for ferreting out causal relationships suggested that this pattern was an indirect effect mediated by the ponds' invertebrate communities.
"They may be alternative hosts," Smith said. "That would be the most parsimonious explanation." But they might also be reservoirs (sites where the fungus can survive when there is no available host).
"The presence or absence of alternative hosts or reservoirs has a huge effect on the dynamics of the disease, and ultimately on the fate of the amphibians it attacks. If there are reservoirs we need to know about them, because otherwise it will be impossible to interrupt the chain of transmission," he said.
More evidence has since accumulated against the suspect group that fell out of the statistics of the pond study.
One group, looking for a model organism that could be used to study chytrid, showed that it can infect and kill the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Another team reported that crayfish are able to transmit chytrid, which infects the lining of their gastrointestinal tracts.
"Focusing only on amphibians to understand chytrid is like focusing only on people to understand Lyme disease," Smith said. "In the case of Lyme disease, we know that mice matter, that deer matter, that oak trees matter. Many different factors lead to there being a lot of Lyme in some cases and not others," Smith said.
Smith hopes that research in areas where chytrid is endemic may be able to help amphibians in areas where it is epidemic. The only alternative so far is the Amphibian Ark, a global effort to maintain threatened amphibians in captivity until they can be "secured in the wild."
He found the fungus in about a third of the ponds whose tadpoles he checked. The obvious question was why only a third? Why didn't it occur in all amphibian populations in a region where it is found?
The amphibians and the fungus have reached an evolutionary truce in Missouri, where the chytrid is endemic rather than epidemic. Because there was no pressure to rescue an amphibian population, Smith had the time and the opportunity to look more broadly and to study the entire pond ecosystem.
Together with then-undergraduate student Alex Strauss, Smith collected physical and chemical data and surveyed the species living in 29 ponds in east-central Missouri. The results of this study are published in the Sept. 25 edition of PLOS ONE.
Somewhat to Smith's surprise, it was statistically possible to distinguish infected from non-infected ponds, a finding he likens to being able to predict that influenza will circulate in some cities but not others.
"We don't know exactly what the key factors are but just knowing that not every pond appears to be suitable for chytrid in a given year is a very big step," he said.
The study also suggested that patterns of Bd infection might be an indirect effect of variations in invertebrate communities. What this meant was unclear, since chytrid was thought to be an amphibian specialist.
But while the pond study was underway other researchers announced that crayfish and nematodes can be infected with chytrid, raising the possibility that invertebrates act as alternative hosts or biological reservoirs for the fungus.
"Alternative hosts and reservoirs have been a key missing piece in our understanding of chytrid epidemiology," Smith said. The fungus, like any pathogen, cannot be effectively controlled unless all its hiding places are known.
Chytrid, or more properly amphibian chytrid, since there are about 1,000 species of fungus in the class Chytridiomycetes, specializes on keratin, a structural protein found in the skin, hair, nails and similar tissues of vertebrates.
"As far as we know, it doesn't infect any other animal protein," Smith said. "So that's one of the most important restrictions on where it lives."
In amphibians, chytrid infects and damages the skin, which amphibians use to breathe and absorb water. Once the fungus takes hold, it causes a disease called chytridiomycosis, which is usually fatal.
"You can sometimes tell when a frog is infected," Smith said, "by the way it walks. It is slow and spraddles its legs, as though its skin is painful or chafed. When we grabbed frogs like those in South Africa and took samples, they were always heavily infected with the fungus," he said.
Unlike more familiar fungi such as mushrooms, which release spores that drift through the air, chytrids, among the earliest fungi to evolve, are aquatic and release flagellated zoospores that swim through the water.
"Laboratory studies suggest the zoospores can live independently only about a day or so. They're considered to be very fragile," Smith said. "They get expunged from the fungal cell inside the amphibian skin, they swim around for about a day, and if they don't infect something with keratin, they're no longer viable. That's what's generally thought.
"That's why we focused on the aquatic habitat," Smith said. "Animals may be able to move the fungus from one location to another, but it's not just drifting in the air. Our question was: If the aquatic habitat is key, why don't we find chytrid in every aquatic habitat?"
As a community and conservation ecologist, Smith suspected the answer couldn't be found by selectively studying the amphibians dying of chytrid. Scientists racing to save amphibian species from extinction have understandably tended to narrow their focus to the pathogen and its victims.
"It's the crisis of amphibians dying and going extinct that makes us focus so narrowly," Smith said.
But Smith has never seen any evidence that chytrid causes mortality in this part of Missouri, although it is one of many factors leading to the decline of hellbenders, a large salamander native to the Ozarks.
Because chytrid is an endemic disease in Missouri, Smith realized he could back up, slow down and study it as an ecologist. "That hasn't happened as often as it should," he said.
Journal Reference:
1. Alex Strauss, Kevin G. Smith. Why Does Amphibian Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) Not Occur Everywhere? An Exploratory Study in Missouri Ponds. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (9): e76035 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076035
_________________________________________________________________
6) Burmese python trap: Will it work? - Federal wildlife officials will test a new trap designed to capture Burmese pythons.

By Jennifer Kay, Associated Press / September 26, 2013, Miami
Federal wildlife officials alarmed by an infestation of Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades have tried radio tracking collars, a massive public hunt and even snake-sniffing dogs to control the invasive species. Now there's talk of snaring the elusive pythons in specially designed traps.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture received a patent in August for a trap that resembles a long, thin cage with a net at one end for the live capture of large, heavy snakes.
Researchers say Burmese pythons regard the Everglades as an all-you-can-eat buffet, where native mammals are easy prey and the snakes have no natural predators. The population of Burmese pythons, which are native to India and other parts of Asia, likely developed from pets released into the wild, either intentionally or in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Wildlife officials are racing to control the python population before it undermines ongoing efforts to restore natural water flow through the Everglades. According to a study released last year, mammal sightings in the Everglades are down sharply in areas where pythons are known to live.
The Gainesville field station for the National Wildlife Research Center, which falls under the USDA, is preparing to test the trap in a natural enclosure that contains five pythons.
Over the coming months, the researchers will try baiting the traps with the scent of small mammals such as rats, and they will try camouflaging them as pipes or other small, covered spaces where pythons like to hide, said John Humphrey, a biologist at the research center. Future tests may use python pheromones as bait.
"There's still more to be learned, there's still more to be tested," Humphrey said. "This is just one of your tools that you have to put together with other things to get the problem solved."
The trap was developed to catch exotic snakes without ensnaring smaller, lighter native species, Humphrey said.
The 5-foot-long trap is made from galvanized steel wire with a tightly woven net secured to one end. Two separate triggers need to be tripped simultaneously for it to close, which should keep it from snapping shut on such native snakes as the eastern diamondback rattlesnake or the water moccasin.
"The largest native snakes are generally somewhat smaller than the youngest of the pythons," Humphrey said. "That was the impetus of the design."
The longest python ever caught in Florida was an 18-foot-8-inch specimen found in May beside a rural Miami-Dade County road.
Humphrey developed the trap in collaboration with Wisconsin-based Tomahawk Live Trap, which is working on a licensing agreement to sell the traps along with other snake-handling equipment such as tongs, hooks and secure bags.
"We don't expect to sell a lot of them; it's not an everybody thing, not like a chipmunk or a squirrel trap," said co-owner Jenny Smith. But she said it has potential for wildlife removal companies when they get calls about "a big snake."
It's not clear where exactly the traps would be deployed, or whether they would be effective in an area as vast as Florida's Everglades.
Everglades National Park alone encompasses 1.5 million acres, and all but roughly a hundred thousand acres of that is largely inaccessible swampland and sawgrass, vital breeding grounds for a variety of protected species.
It might not make sense, or even be possible, to place and monitor traps in hard-to-reach swamplands, said park spokeswoman Linda Friar.
Traps have been used in the park to collect pythons for research but not for population control, Friar said.
Most of the state and federal efforts aimed at pythons have focused on learning how the elusive snakes have adapted so well in the wild, and that learning process continues, she said.
"They're so difficult to track and find," Friar said. "What we do know is they've adapted. We don't know how many there are."
One of the challenges facing wildlife officials is that the tan, splotchy snakes are incredibly difficult to spot in the wild, even for seasoned hunters. Researchers say they'll fail to see a python they're tracking with a radio collar until they're practically standing on it.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allows hunters with special permits to remove pythons and other exotic reptiles from some state lands. Earlier this year, a state-sanctioned hunt that attracted worldwide media attention. Roughly 1,600 amateur python hunters joined the permit holders for a month, netting a total of 68 snakes.
In an Auburn University experiment, specially trained dogs found more pythons than their human counterparts, but researchers also found that the dogs, much like humans, would falter the longer they worked in South Florida's often oppressive humidity.
State wildlife officials also try to catch pythons through "exotic pet amnesty days" where people can relinquish non-native species with no questions asked. They also urge residents to report encounters with pythons and other invasive species to a python hotline. Florida prohibits the possession or sale of pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of the species.
A prolonged cold snap has proven to be one of the better methods of python population control, killing off large numbers of the snakes in 2010. The population rebounded, though, because low temperatures aren't reliable in subtropical South Florida and because pythons reproduce quickly and in large numbers.
Other traps set for pythons in the past haven't been effective, but traps have been successfully used to capture other exotic species such as black-and-white tegu lizards, said conservation commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson.
"It may be something that if it doesn't work for the python, it may work for other species," she said.
__________________________________________________________________
7) Native and non-native reptiles feeling the stress of Colorado floods
by Claire Martin Denver Post 9/28/13
As executive director of the Colorado Reptile Humane Society, Ann-Elizabeth Nash hears some odd stories, but the post-flood call that began "I've got this black and yellow lizard in our window well" topped most of them.
"I knew she was talking about a tiger salamander that was probably trying to get to higher ground and dropped into what was, for a tiger salamander, a pitfall trap," Nash said.
"We told her to leave it there, that it'd be fine. She said, 'Well, it's not just the one.' So she had four window wells, and one had 10 tiger salamanders, and the next one had eight plus a couple of toads. I was imagining tiger salamanders tromping up to her backyard: 'Please, give us dry land!'
The call was one of dozens that Nash has received since the September floods began along the Front Range, a volume that more than doubled the normal monthly traffic to Nash's Colorado Reptile Humane Society.
Some calls were from people who didn't know what to do about the strange snake or turtle that showed up in their yard, or on nearby roads. Others were from people begging her to take the exotic pet reptiles that weren't allowed in shelters or temporary housing.
Since flooding began, Nash has taken in 11 wild reptiles and amphibians native to Colorado, including common snapping turtles, Western painted turtles, tiger salamanders, a red-eared slider and a couple of bull snakes.
She's also welcomed 15 reptile flood evacuee pets, exotic species from residents' homes, including leopard geckos, box turtles.
And she's fielded calls about dozens more.
The floodwaters washed native reptiles from their winter hibernation sites, said Tina Jackson, species conservation coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"We do see reptile and amphibian migrations. Both groups hibernate, and they may have to move between summer habitats and winter/hibernation sites," Jackson said. Floods can interfere with migration patterns.
And Jackson was unsurprised by the report of tiger salamanders in window wells, where they often take refuge in times of stress.
Though turbulent waters washed both reptiles and amphibians away from their home ranges, aquatic creatures "probably appreciate the extra water," Jackson said. She expects that native wildlife will either find a new appropriate habitat or make their way back upstream.
"A box turtle lives in the same place, an area the size of five to 10 football fields, for its entire life. They just don't move successfully. They walk to find something familiar, and get hit by cars," she said. "If you pick up a box turtle you find in Nebraska and move it to Colorado, it's highly likely to die."
The red-eared slider, another rescue that's not a Colorado native, may have washed out of a backyard pond or tank. If nobody claims the red-eared slider, it will be put up for adoption, like other non-native reptiles that arrive at Colorado Reptile Humane Society.
"We've already released the snapping turtles, because we have lakes and ponds we can legally put them into, thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, now that the water is down far enough to get to a release site," Nash said.
"The flood delayed some of our other releases, so we really had some wildlife backed up," Nash said. "We can take in reptiles that are flood evacuees, but we won't be able to take in more surrendered reptiles until sometime next month."
Snakes on a floodplain
Colorado Reptile Humane Society is taking in reptiles whose owners have been evacuated due to flooding, along with displaced wild reptiles
__________________________________________________________________

8) Specially trained dogs help researchers sniff out salamanders
9/23/13, By Chris Quintana, The New Mexican
Like most dogs, Sampson excels at finding poop, but he does so with a higher purpose.
He’s usually searching for the waste of endangered animals, the discovery of which allows researchers to learn more about the critters without disturbing the animals or their habitats, explains his handler, Julianne Ubigau.
And while Sampson has found scat from animals ranging from mice to moose, he and Ubigau — who are with Conservation Canines, a subdivision of the University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology — most recently have been in Northern New Mexico searching for the endangered Jemez Mountain salamander.
On a recent chilly morning in the Jemez Mountains near the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area outside Los Alamos, Sampson at first is a quiet dog. He’s not the type of creature that licks people or seeks a pat on the head. But when Ubigau puts him in his red working vest, the dog’s personality suddenly changes. Ubigau pulls out a red rubber ball, and Sampson barks for a moment before rushing into the thick forest. Ubigau follows closely behind, directing the dog to inspect a rotted log or to ignore others.
Sampson paws into the wet dirt when he tracks down a scent, and if the scent is strong, he sits down and waits for Ubigau. As she catches up, his tails starts wagging. After years of training, Sampson knows that Ubigau will toss the ball if he has found a good scent. Usually, two field researchers follow behind the dog and handler, inspecting the creature’s potential finds.
This time the scent is good, and Ubigau, who has worked with Conservation Canines as a handler since 2007, launches the red ball. Sampson leaps from his squatting position, bounds after the ball, scoops it up in his mouth and then drops the slobbery toy at Ubigau’s feet. Without wiping it off, she tosses the ball again and playtime continues until Ubigau redirects Sampson.
Last week’s run was merely an exercise, and Sampson didn’t track down any new salamanders. The population of the Jemez Mountain Salamander has declined rapidly in recent years thanks to a combination of wildfires and drought.
The amphibians are tiny — between 2 and 4 1/2 inches in length and less than an inch wide. The creature’s large eyes make up a quarter of its head. Brown skin helps the salamanders blend into their wooded surroundings, and, accordingly, makes them hard to find.
That’s part of the reason Conservation Canines was brought in, said Anne Bradley with The Nature Conservancy, one of the groups looking for the Jemez Mountain salamander.
Bradley said the amphibian’s habitat is rapidly shrinking because of recent wildfires. The goal, she said, is to find where they live to learn more about the secretive creatures.
Last year, crews found only one salamander. This year, they have managed to track down 13 of the critters since July. That increase is partially due to increased rains and accompanying humidity — ideal conditions for the salamanders to emerge from rotten logs or cavernous rocks.
Sampson has certainly helped this year’s expedition, too, but it should be noted Conservation Canines sent Sampson and another dog in 2012 as well.
Before he was searching for salamanders, Sampson was trained to find excrement from wolverines, lynx, moose and gray wolves, to name a few. The black Labrador mix also can find live animals, as he did when he tracked sea turtles’ nests off the coast of Alabama.
The working dog first joined Conservation Canines in 2008. When Sampson was only 4 years old, he was discovered at The Humane Society for Seattle/King County, where he had been passed over because his nearly indefatigable energy turned off many potential families. But that boundless desire to play was useful for Conservation Canines’ purposes, Ubigau said.
Ubigau said most dogs used by the program are Labrador mixes or cattle dogs — canines that could work for eight hours straight, if necessary. But the main criteria, she said, include high energy levels and singular focus on playing. Those traits translate to a dog willing to do what’s asked of it.
The training process, Ubigau said, is fairly simple. The dogs enter a field where there is wolverine excrement, and when the canine finds and sniffs the waste, a trainer immediately presents the dog with a ball to fetch. That process is repeated until the four-legged creature understands that finding the right scat equals playtime.
Now 9 years old, Sampson can’t work like he used to and is nearing retirement, Ubigau said. When he retires from field work, he’ll likely have a home with Ubigau. The handler explained that most, if not all, of the dogs that go through the Conservation Canines program are adopted by one of the many handlers, who have experience with high-energy dogs. Each handler usually has a favorite, and Ubigau’s is Sampson. Ubigau has already adopted another dog that retired from the program, a Jack Russell terrier named Casey.
With a job, most of these dogs end up doing great in the end,” Ubigau said.
__________________________________________________________________
9) Woodland salamanders indicators of forest ecosystem recovery
Press Release USDA, 8/28/13, Arcata, CA.—Woodland salamanders are a viable indicator of forest ecosystem recovery, according to researchers from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station.
PSW Research Wildlife Biologist Dr. Hartwell Welsh and Garth Hodgson examined two species of woodland salamanders across four stages of tree development at Mill Creek—a disturbed old-growth redwood forest in northern California. They found that the numbers and body condition of two common species of salamander tracked closely with forest stand growth, development, and structural changes. Using salamander population numbers and physiological condition on adjacent, never harvested old-growth parkland to reference advancements along this developmental pathway, they demonstrated relationships between salamander counts and body condition and aspects of forest advancement including stand age, tree size, ambient moisture, canopy closure, and litter depth.
The case study established that when woodland salamanders are found in high abundance, it indicates a healthy forest, having undergone ecological advancement and ecosystem recovery.
There have been concerns about using indicator species as metrics of ecosystem conditions; however, amphibians are increasingly becoming accepted as researchers verify their applicability and usefulness. The woodland salamanders evaluated in Mill Creek were deemed credible due to their conservatism, trophic role, and high site fidelity, which tie them closely to conditions of place.
The findings of this case study are important because old-growth forests are quickly diminishing, but they provide crucial environmental services to society. According to the researchers, this type of forest is a unique carbon sink containing the most abundant land carbon stocks on the planet. Old-growth forests sequester carbon pollution and support the world's most diverse ecosystems.
Mill Creek is an old-growth forest located in Del Norte, Calif. in a geographically limited coastal redwood forest bioregion, which has seen extensive commercial logging for more than 100 years. It has recently been acquired by the state park system, and is intended to have its logged-over areas restored to primary forest. If restored, it can provide migration corridors for rare, absent, and native wildlife.
The full report can be found at: http://treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/43998
Contact: Michael Sullivan
mesullivan@fs.fed.us
510-559-6434
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Southwest Research Station
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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
____________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

Instructions on how to unsubscribe are also there.
__________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Some Other Books On Sale:
Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist)
by Whit Gibbons, Judy Greene, Photos by Cris Hagen
Paperback, 184 pages, Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
List Price 25.00 Our Price $19.95 S&H $6.00

Editorial Reviews
Turtles, with their strange anatomy and ancient pedigree, never cease to amaze people. Whit Gibbons and Judy Greene have been faced with every conceivable question about the 300 or so species of these endearing reptiles, and in this book they have succeeded splendidly in coming up with the answers.
Peter C. H. Pritchard, Chelonian Research Institute)

The wide ranging questions are answered in a very readable style, with specific scientific explanations where necessary.
Christine Tilley British Chelonia Group Newsletter

Gibbons and Greene have done a masterful job of assembling questions of great interest to many readers and providing detailed, interesting, and informative answers... Highly recommended.
Choice

________________________________________________________________________
Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist)
Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons
Paperback, 192 Pages Publisher, The Johns Hopkins University Press
LIST PRICE $24.95 Our Price $20.0 plus $6.00 S&H

Editorial Reviews
A good general introduction to frogs.
Birdbooker Report

This is a neat book about frogs.
Wildlife Activist

An excellent book that will appeal to amateur and professional herpetologists alike as well as to readers simply seeking more information on frogs and toads.
Choice

Frogs: The Animal Answer Guide is sure to address the questions on the minds of curious readers.
Southeastern Naturalist

__________________________________________________________________
Geckos: The Animal Answer Guide (The Animal Answer Guides: Q&A for the Curious Naturalist)
by Aaron M. Bauer
Paperback, 192 Pages published The Johns Hopkins University Press
LIST PRICE $26.95 OUR PRICE $19.95 Plus $6.00 S&H

Editorial Reviews
Review
This book is recommended if you are considering getting a gecko for a pet or if you just want to know more about the ecology and behavior of the 1,400 or so living species of these peculiar lizards.
Whit Gibbons, Aiken Standard

[This book] successfully broadens our outlook and appreciation of these fascinating creatures.
Aliza Gecko Time

Anyone who owns a gecko, has seen them in the wild, or has wondered about them will appreciate this gem of a book.
Northeastern Naturalist

___________________________________________________________
Lizard Social Behavior
Edited by Stanley F, Fox, J. Kelly McCoy and Troy A. Baird
Hardcover, 456 pages, Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press

LIST PRICE $97.00- OUR PRICE $85.00 Plus $13.00 for S&H

Editorial Reviews
Review
This is an original, substantial, and long-needed contribution. The introduction places the subject in context and shows how lizards can provide unique information not readily available through study of other organisms. The book is logically organized, beginning with a focus on individual variation, moving to comparisons between populations, and finishing with species comparisons. Readers with a general interest in social behavior will be drawn to peruse other sections where they will find, as I did, an abundance of additional interesting and informative material.
(George A. Middendorf III, Howard University)

Very well conceived!
(Martin Wikelski Copeia)


________________________________________________
Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians: A Global Perspective, edited by William E. Duellman
Hardcover, 648 Pages, Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
LIST PRICE $90.00 OUR PRICE $79.95 Plus $13.00 for S&H
Editorial Reviews
Anyone with an interest in the distribution and/or abundance of amphibians will find something of value in this remarkable collection of essays.
Copeia

There can be no doubt that Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians is destined to become the standard reference on amphibian zoogeography. It is an impressive book containing a breathtaking wealth of detail, while at the same time encompassing an extraordinarily broad subject area.
Herpetological Review

Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians provides a gateway to the pertinent literature on amphibian distribution for each geographic region of the globe. It should be on the shelves in the herpetology or biogeography section of any academic or research library.
Ecoscience

This book is an instant classic reference, rich in data and comparison and contrast, a tribute to the industry of all its authors, but especially of its editor who has been a ever-growing force in amphibian systematics and zoogeography over four decades.
Canadian Field-Naturalist
________________________________________________________________________
The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution
by Robert Carroll
Hardcover, 392 Pages, published by Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
List Price $68.00 Our Price $49.95 plus $6.50 S&H
Editorial Reviews
This is the landmark work on the evolution of amphibians, and will be enjoyed and used for many years to come.
Jason S. Anderson Copeia
An excellent, comprehensive overview of the diversity and evolutionary history of amphibians. It reflects a lifetime of specimen-based research on and thinking about the subject by the foremost student of early evolution of land vertebrates.
Hans-Dieter Sues, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

A useful reference catalog for the professional or well-read amateur.
Richard Kissel American Paleontologist


A high-quality production, with finely illustrated drawings of skulls, vertebrae, ribs, teeth, and long bones of more amphibians, past and present, than most of us imagined even existed.
Whit Gibbons, Tuscaloosa News

Bob Carroll is telling us, in a modern and very readable style, the history of the amphibians, with an osteological precision nobody else has. In fact, with this new book, he shows us he stays the same, our ‘Master Yoda of the amphibians.’
J. Se´Bastien Steyer Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

Carroll has excelled himself by putting together such magnificent piece of work, with information that is balanced efficiently.
Robert Carroll Herpetological Bulletin

_______________________________________________________________
Turtles of the World by Franck Bonin, Bernard Devaux, Alain Dupre, translated by Peter C.H. Pritchard
[Hardcover] 416 Page, 4 lbs. Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press

List Price $53.00 Our Price $39.95 Plus $12 for S&H

Editorial Reviews
In their new book, Turtles of the World, Franck Bonin, Bernard Devaux and Alain Dupré seek to loft turtles into the limelight by showcasing the group’s diversity—its beauties, its goofies, its gargoyles.
Natalie Angier, Science Times New York Times

This book is a gem... it will be considered a classic very quickly. People will snatch this book up faster than a box turtle devours a night crawler!
Marmorata

The volume's value lies in its up-to-date coverage of species... all readers will appreciate the wonderful color photographs, which make the book a pleasure to browse.
Library Journal

College-level holdings, many an aquarium shop, and any serious natural history collection must have Turtles of the World... Color photos pack every page and its information is well-rounded and key to any serious turtle researcher.
Midwest Book Review

__________________________________________________________________________
Biology and Conservation of Ridley Sea Turtles Hardcover, Editor, Pamela T. Plotkin
Hardcover, 368 pages, Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
List price $64.00 Our price $49.95 Plus $6.50 for S&H

Editorial Reviews

An excellent book that fulfills a real and substantive need in the areas of marine biology, vertebrate biology, and conservation biology. Pamela Plotkin has assembled the top experts and created a book that contains a remarkable series of chapters. Informative and engaging, it will be of value to both the general and specialist reader and is certainly a 'must read' for anyone interested in marine turtles.
James R. Spotila, author of Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

An excellent overview of these two species, this long-awaited volume provides a wealth of information. It will be a critical addition to the libraries of those interested in the fields of marine biology and conservation.
Karen A. Bjorndal, University of Florida

Extraordinary contribution to sea turtle literature. The value of this book lies in the fact that '…much of what we know about ridleys is summarized in the chapters herein…,' as stated by the editor, and I echo her hopes that this book will stimulate some much needed research on ridleys.
Marine Turtle Newsletter

________________________________________________________________________
Biology of the Snapping Turtle ( Chelydra serpentina) Editors, Anthonny C. Steyermark, Michael S. Finkler, Ronald J. Brooks, Foreward by Whit Gibbons

Hardcover, 240 pages, Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
List Price $79.00 Our Price $59.95 Plus $12 for S&H


Book Description
This volume synthesizes all that is known about the common snapping turtle to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive resource on the species' evolution, physiology, behavior, and life history. Anthony C. Steyermark, Michael S. Finkler, Ronald J. Brooks, and a team of experts detail the systematics, energetics, growth patterns, sex determination, and population genetics of snapping turtles and devote special attention to the fossil record of the snapping turtle family Chelydridae.
The first broad biological treatment of the common snapping turtle, this is the definitive reference for anyone working with or interested in this fascinating reptile.
Editorial Reviews
Clearly, this work by Steyermark, Finkler, and Brooks, with contributions from their knowlegeable colleagues, will become a classic among books on the life history, general biology, and ecology of turtles.
from the Foreword by J. Whitfield Gibbons

Biology of the Snapping Turtle is a well-executed volume filled with useful information.
Herpetological Review

___________________________________________________________
The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles, by Michael Watkins and Bo Beolems and Michael Grayson
Hardcover, 313 Pages, published by John Hopkins University Press
List Price: $100.00 Our price $75.00 plus $6.50 for S&H
Book Description
Who was Richard Kemp, after whom the Kemp's ridley sea turtle is named? Is Wake's Gecko named after Berkeley's Marvalee Wake? Or perhaps her husband, David? Why do so many snakes and lizards have Werner in their name? This reference book answers these and thousands of other questions about the origins of the vernacular and scientific names of reptiles across the globe.
Editorial Reviews
Beolens and co-authors have produced a great book that is fun to read. Notably, they have already published similar books on birds and mammals... and reportedly have a companion volume on amphibians in press. If they live long enough to work through the 30,000 species of fish, a future eponym dictionary of vertebrates may keep saving biologists from buying People magazine for years to come.
Herpetological Review

Easy to use and filled with addictive—and highly useful—information... The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles is a handy and fun book for professional and amateur herpetologists alike.
Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report

The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles does precisely what it says on the box. It's a dictionary of names appended in various species of reptiles, contemporary and recently extinct alike, with a brief overview of the discoverer and the namesake (since one isn’t necessarily the other), plus a list of all that person's eponymous species... A remarkably fun book for dipping into or to skate through looking for notable names.
Andrew P Street Time Out Sydney

This dictionary provides concise information on the 2,330 persons who have had reptiles named after them... An interesting, informative, and easy-to-read book.
Edmund D. Keiser, Jr. American Reference Books Annual

Should you buy it? If you're fascinated with the human dimensions of biodiversity, [yes]; if you're also a logophile, absolutely.
Tom Herman Canadian Herpetologist

________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:13 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 45 10/4/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence. Please feel free to make a donation on top of your order.
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, Turtles, Frogs, Snakes, Sea Turtles-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) Tweed snakes enjoying the great indoors (Australia)

2)The Anthropocene could raise biological diversity
3) Threatened Gopher Tortoises Rescued from Fla. Construction Site- The Humane Society of the United States and developers collaborate to give gopher tortoises a new home in protected wilderness
4) Fort Myers Woman Cited for Trying to Sell Snakes
5) Invasive goby helps steady population of Lake Erie water snake
6) Latina Leaders: Dr. Vivian Paez, Dedicating Her Expertise to Turtle Conservation-Winner of the 2013 Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize.
7) Science journal details turtle farm cruelty (Cayman Islands)
8) AZG&F reminds public to not take Box Turtles from the wild
____________________________________________________________
Herpdigest is proud to support the global conservation efforts of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA). We are excited to announce that the TSA is a finalist in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Program. Now, they need your support!

Tell your friends and vote for the Turtle Survival Alliance at www.toyota.com/facebook on October 10.

Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program will be awarding 100 vehicles to 100 nonprofits over the course of 50 days based on votes from the public. We are hoping to help the TSA win a new Toyota Tundra that will be used at their new Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina. To learn more about the TSA and to learn how to set a reminder to vote on October 10th, visit the TSA’s website: http://www.turtlesurvival.org/get-invol ... s-for-good.
___________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
1) Tweed snakes enjoying the great indoors (Australia)
10/3/13, Northern Star, by Michael Stanford-- As the weather warms up and Tweed residents are outside enjoying the sunshine, while snakes are slithering inside homes seeking shelter.
A spate of hot weather has resulted in snakes seeking shade in Tweed homes this spring, as local residents report reptile home invasions along the coast.
Lance Tarvey, a ranger from Tweed Parks and Wildlife said September and October was the peak season for snake activity.
"At the end of the cold season there will be a burst of activity as snakes begin to seek shade ... they'll be hungry and they'll be actively seeking mates," Ranger Tarvey said.
While the most common snakes in the Tweed area have been identified as the innocuous Carpet Python and Green or Brown Tree snake, Ranger Tarvey still recommends exercising caution when dealing with the reptile.
"It's likely they'll (snakes) run from you, but in a situation when they don't, leave the snake with space to escape and then refer to a licensed snake handler" Ranger Tarvey said.
Reptile handler Allen Burnett, who volunteers for National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW and removes reptiles from Tweed properties, said he isn't surprised that snakes are seeking shelter in residential addresses.
"They might be coming to find shade ... they could be looking for water in dog bowls and a lot of the time they are chased into shelters by predators" Mr. Burnett said.
If you do find a snake on your property this spring, phone the Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers on 02 6672 4789 for tips or removal.
_______________________________________________________________________
2)The Anthropocene could raise biological diversity
Humanity has wrought an age of ecological transformations. It is time to rethink our irrational dislike of invading species, argues argue Chris Thomas
Nature, 10/2/13, by Phil Roberts
Human activity changes the environment, as last week’s release of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reminds us. But not all change is bad. One way in which animals and plants respond to warming temperatures, for example, is to move beyond their historical distributions, just as they do when they are transported to new regions by humans. The response of people who find themselves ‘invaded’ by such ‘displaced’ species is often irrational. Deliberate persecution of the new — just because it is new — is no longer sustainable in a world of rapid global change.
It is true that some invasive species damage ecosystems and can eradicate resident species. As a result, the European Commission, for example, is planning laws to control the ‘adverse’ impacts of species introduced through human activities, albeit without quite saying how those impacts should be defined. But the same process can also increase ecological diversity. On average, less than one native species dies out for each introduced species that arrives. Britain, for instance, has gained 1,875 established non-native species without yet losing anything to the invaders.
Human development — dubbed the age of the Anthropocene — boosts biodiversity in other ways too. New anthropogenic habitats, such as farmland and cities, usually support fewer species than the original ones, but they contain some that were previously rare or absent. The ensemble of new and old habitats holds more species than the original vegetation — habitat diversity is one of the strongest predictors of ecological diversity. Climate change also tends to boost regional diversity, because diversity increases with temperature and precipitation, both of which are rising (on average, but not everywhere). Global-diversity gradients dictate that more warm-adapted species are available to colonize new areas than cold-adapted species retreat from those areas as the climate warms.
Evolutionary origination is also accelerating. Populations and species have begun to evolve, diverge, hybridize and even speciate in new man-made surroundings. Evolutionary divergence will eventually generate large numbers of sister species on the continents and islands to which single species have been introduced. For example, marked reproductive incompatibility has developed in just 200 years between source populations of Centaurea plants in Spain and introduced populations of the same species in California. When should the citizens of California regard these plants as native?
Hybridization is becoming particularly important as formerly separated species are brought into contact. The rates are astounding: 88 hybrids between native and introduced plant species are sufficiently widespread to be mapped in the British Isles flora, as are 26 hybrids between two or more introduced species (together equivalent to 8% of the 1,377 higher plant species that have become naturalized following introduction). For example, introduced European Rhododendron ponticum plants hybridized with North American R. catawbiense, producing a vigorous, self-sustaining population that is hated by conservationists and removed at great expense.
“Speciation by hybridization is likely to be a signature of the Anthropocene.”
It is a mistake to misdirect valuable and increasingly scarce conservation funds into unwinnable wars, especially when the enemy is not especially damaging. Eradication programmes should concentrate on problematic non-native species, such as rats and goats on oceanic islands, where the investment can deliver long-term benefits and the re-establishment of native species. Trying to control Himalayan balsam throughout England, just because it is alien, is a waste of effort.
Speciation by hybridization is likely to be a signature of the Anthropocene. A new hybrid species of Rhagoletis fruitfly has colonized invasive honeysuckle in North America. A primrose species, Primula kewensis, arose by hybridization and continues to be propagated in London’s Kew Gardens. And five species (Spartina anglica and four Senecio species) that have arisen by hybridization between native and introduced species in Britain have become naturalized. Remarkably, the introduction of plants to Britain seems to have increased the global species list. These five (out of a flora of 2,711 naturalized and native species) suggest a speciation rate (0.00184 per original species in the past 150 years) similar to the extinction rate reported for mammals over the past 100 years. If sustained, with no subsequent extinctions, it would be sufficient to increase the number of plant species by 20% within 15,000 years.
Rather than the catastrophic declines often portrayed, empirical evidence points to ecological increases in the number of terrestrial species in most of the world’s regions over recent decades and centuries, even though the total number of species on the planet is declining.
We need more-concerted scientific investigation of the rates at which different processes generate diversity. Together, they could plausibly result in a net increase in the number of species on Earth during the Anthropocene (say, over a million years), despite the fact that we are losing irreplaceable populations, races, species and evolutionarily distinct taxa. There are excellent arguments for conserving the wildlife we already have, but it is less clear why our default attitude to novel biodiversity is antagonism or ambivalence. One recent hybrid species, Senecio eboracensis, became extinct soon after it arose in York, arousing little concern. In practice, it seems that new Anthropocene species are regarded as far less valuable than those that went before.
___________________________________________________________________________
3) Threatened Gopher Tortoises Rescued from Fla. Construction Site- The Humane Society of the United States and developers collaborate to give gopher tortoises a new home in protected wilderness
(Oct. 1, 2013) –After 47 days in the field, 227 threatened gopher tortoises have been spared an inhumane death and 28 gopher tortoise eggs have been saved from a development site in Apopka, Fla. The Humane Society of the United States, Nokuse Plantation, D.R. Horton and Bio-Tech Consulting teamed up to rescue the tortoises and eggs from the Rock Springs Ridge subdivision before relocating them to a permanent home at Nokuse Plantation, a nature preserve in Walton County. The eggs started hatching on Sept. 6.
Dave Pauli, senior director of The HSUS’ Wildlife Innovations and Response Team said: “We applaud D.R. Horton and Bio-Tech Consulting for acting to save the tortoises who were living on this site, and we hope other developers will follow their positive lead. The gopher tortoise is a threatened species, and this is a victory for the species and for the humane treatment of all wild animals threatened by urban development.”
Florida did not require relocation or removal of gopher tortoises prior to construction until 2007 when the state listed the gopher tortoise as a threatened species. Since 1991, the state's Incidental Take permit program allowed the destruction of an estimated 100,000 imperiled gopher tortoises. The tortoises were often buried alive, causing slow and inhumane deaths for the animals.
Although developers with grandfathered Incidental Take permits are not required to relocate tortoises by law, D.R Horton and Orlando-based Bio-Tech Consulting took steps to ensure the safe removal of tortoises from the Rock Springs Ridge site. D.R. Horton further demonstrated their commitment to rescuing the tortoises by donating the cost of the backhoe operations.
Since 2006, The HSUS has worked with developers and Nokuse Plantation to rescue and relocate more than 4,000 threatened gopher tortoises from construction sites with grandfathered Incidental Take permits. These rescues have been made possible through private donations and grants from The Folke H. Peterson Foundation. The HSUS helped fund the Rock Springs Ridge project and transported the tortoises more than 400 miles to Nokuse Plantation. Nokuse Plantation waived its normal management fees to help save the tortoises and will provide monitoring and permanent habitat protection for the animals.
Facts:
• The western gopher tortoise population, from the Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers in Alabama to southeastern Louisiana, has been listed as a federally threatened species since 1987.The state of Florida listed the gopher tortoise as a threatened species in November 2007.
• In June 2007, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a proposal to end the controversial gopher tortoise Incidental Take permit program, resulting in gopher tortoises being buried alive routinely on development sites. Existing permit holders were grandfathered in and may be transferred with property sales.
• Many development projects were put on hold due to the slump in the housing market. As a result, thousands of gopher tortoises are still living on construction sites that hold grandfathered permits allowing the tortoises to be killed.
Developers who wish to collaborate with The HSUS to relocate tortoises are encouraged to contact The HSUS' Eastern Regional Office at 850-386-3435 or The HSUS’ Wildlife Innovations and Response Team at 202-452-1100.
_________________________________________________________________
4) Fort Myers Woman Cited for Trying to Sell Snakes
Oct 02, 2013 ,By George Solis, Reporter NCB-2.com, Fort Myers, FL -For the first time we're hearing from a woman caught up in a statewide operation to nab people selling animals illegally on the Internet.
Twenty-one-year-old Charley Ragland's Ford Mustang is pretty hard to miss -- aside from the cherry red color, the large "snake life" bumper sticker pretty much sums it up.
It's also the best way to sum her up.
She owns 14 snakes, which isn't a problem.
"I don't have anything restricted. I don't have anything venomous," Ragland said, but she admits she tried to sell five of them online on Craigslist.
"I was open and honest," she added.
She quickly found a buyer, but the trouble is it's illegal in the state of Florida to sell snakes without a license.
"All five guys came around my car, and I think they were surprised that it was little girl that had five snakes," Ragland said.
She was one of 33 people cited in Florida, part of Florida Fish and Wildlife's "Operation Wild Web."
"This was a joint effort from some other federal and state agencies in here in Florida, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Internet Crimes Unit was looking for folks who were selling different types of species without a proper permit," said FWC Community Relations Coordinator Katie Purcell.
Ragland says she tried to get the permits, but had little luck doing so.
Kathy Ragland, Charley's mom, says her daughter is no criminal mastermind and that this is nothing more than a mix up.
"She did a lot of research on how to take care of them, she's done a very good job on habitat and on the care and everything just dropped it on the license," Kathy said
Charley says the ordeal has been a learning experience.
"It just makes it all the more serious," Ragland said.
She has filled out the proper paperwork to sell in the future and has hired an attorney for the case. She is likely to pay a fine.
Ragland says she might now consider a career with FWC, along with helping educate others about the law.
"I want to get into it even more and make it a bigger business," Ragland said.
______________________________________________________________________
5) Invasive goby helps steady population of Lake Erie water snake
Written by Kristina Smith, Watchdog/enterprise Reporter, 10/2/13
Fast facts on Lake Erie water snakes
• The snakes live only on the Lake Erie islands and prefer rocky, shoreline habitat.
• Females grow to an average of 3.5 feet in length. Males grow to 2.5 feet.
• Round gobies, an invasive fish, make up 98 percent of the snakes’ diet.
• Their average life span is 8 to 10 years, but they can live 15 or more.
• They were removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in September 2011. They are considered a federal threatened species and listed as an Ohio endangered species.
• They mate in late May and early June. Females give live birth to about 30 babies in September. Babies tend to be the size of a pencil.
For information on the snakes, visit www.respectthesnake.com.

PUT-IN-BAY — Two years after the Lake Erie water snake was removed from the federal Endangered Species List, its numbers are robust and holding steady, a researcher said.
And the snake can thank an invasive fish for a large role in its comeback.
The resilient snakes have turned to the massive numbers of the round goby, brought to the Great Lakes through ocean-going cargo ships’ ballast water, as their main source of food, said Kristin Stanford, Ohio State University Stone Laboratory education and outreach coordinator, research scientist and herpetologist.
And the result has been a population boom of water snakes that grow faster, bigger and produce more young, she said.
Lake Erie water snake populations have thrived since the mid-2000s and are holding steady at 10,000 to 12,000 snakes, she said.
“That’s probably where they’ll stay,” said Stanford, who led a recovery plan to rebuild the snakes’ numbers. “We have been seeing kind of a leveling off of the population.”
The Lake Erie water snake lives only on the Lake Erie islands and is related to northern water snakes often seen along mainland shores. Lake Erie water snakes can be gray or have a banded brown and gray skin.
Their numbers dwindled to 2,000 in 1999. Development took over rocky shoreline habitat they prefer, and they were often killed by people who did not want them around.
The snakes are not venomous. If startled, they can be aggressive.
Females are bigger than males. They grow to an average of 3.5 feet in length, a foot longer than the males’ average.
Lake Erie water snakes’ average life span is eight to 10 years, but they can live 15 or more, said Stanford, who also is known as “the Island Snake Lady.”
Before the gobies invaded the Great Lakes in the 1990s, Lake Erie water snakes ate other bottom-dwelling fish such as sculpin, catfish and darters.
“We just really don’t see those food items in their diet anymore,” Stanford said.
Those fish are still found in Lake Erie’s Western Basin, but their numbers are much smaller since the goby invasion. Gobies are the dominant bottom-dwelling species in Lake Erie’s Western Basin, said Jeff Reutter, director of OSU’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program.
Stanford, citing a 2006 population estimate, said there are about 9.9 billion gobies in the Western Basin. Lake Erie water snakes eat about a million of those each year.
Predators of the adult Lake Erie water snakes are large birds, including herons, egrets and bald eagles. Smaller snakes are eaten by smaller birds, raccoons and other animals, Stanford said.
The Lake Erie water snake recovery is considered a huge success for endangered species. In 2011, the snakes were the 23rd species to be removed from the federal list, Stanford said.
“It is pretty uncommon,” she said. “That’s why we are very proud of the work we were able to accomplish in such a short period of time to recover the (snake) and also why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses it as an example of success.”
But that doesn’t mean Stanford’s work is done. She and her fellow researchers are in the third year of the five-year post-delisting monitoring plan for the snakes.
They continue to tag and monitor the snakes to make sure the population is not threatened and that returning the snakes to the Endangered Species List is not necessary. They also continue to educate people about the snake and its role in the Lake Erie ecosystem.
“After the plan is up, we will still likely continue to monitor the snakes because we have such a huge data set — one of the largest for any snake in the world — and we would like to keep that going,” Stanford said.
___________________________________________________________________________
6) Latina Leaders: Dr. Vivian Paez, Dedicating Her Expertise to Turtle Conservation-Winner of the 2013 Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize.
(Article by Ms. Paez and her work in Columbia is available in Current issue of “The Tortoise”. See Top of Newsletter For More Information on Publication and how to order.)

http://nbclatino.com/2013/09/30/latina- ... ivianpaez1
For slide show of Ms. Paez at work and the turtles she works with.

Kristina Puga, 09/30/2013, NBC/Latino -- After dedicating nearly 30 years to researching and conserving tortoises and freshwater turtles, today, Dr. Vivian Paez is the recipient of the 2013 Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize.

“I am very honored — this is totally unexpected,” says Dr. Paez, 49, from her native Colombia, explaining why she has dedicated her scientific career to this endeavor.
“These turtles only live in northern Colombia, and it worries me because they don’t have any protected area at all,” says Dr. Paez, who currently teaches at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin. “The land has been highly exploited by ranching and agriculture and hydroelectrics.”
In the last 10 years she’s been doing research in Colombia, Dr. Paez says she has finally learned what is needed to save them, and her $20,000 prize will help.
The accomplished scientist remembers when she was 21 and traveled abroad for the first time with a grant fellowship to study iguanas at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. This is also where she met her husband, an expert in iguana research.
“The places I had to visit to take data were also used for turtles to nest, and basically it was love at first sight,” says Dr. Paez about the first time she laid eyes on her favorite research subject. “I realized they had many conservation issues, so I decided to spend the rest of my life trying to conserve them.”
At 23, she moved to Athens, Ohio to earn her PhD at Ohio University. As a newly appointed doctor, she moved to the Amazon for three years on the border of Colombia and Brazil. Since she’s been back in Colombia, she says it’s been very busy but very satisfying.
“A lot of my students are now doctors and professors themselves — they are like my sons and daughters academically,” says Dr. Paez, who has one biological daughter who is 12. “She was born in in Medellín, but we try to go to the states as often as we can so she knows her family there. She has two worlds and is a hybrid between two cultures.”
When Dr. Paez is in Medellín teaching, she says she has to wake up very early to put her daughter on the school bus, and then goes to the university to teach and research.
“When we have to go to the field, we are in wetlands, living in tents, living in water and boats. working in swamps and rivers,” she explains. “I do fieldwork one or two months of the year — the rest of the time I’m in the city teaching, but we travel a lot within the country.”
During the next 10 years, the Latina scientist says she wants to devote her time to saving the species in the protected area. She also says she would like to donate money to undergraduates who study amphibians and reptiles. “They have to do research projects in order to graduate, and many times they don’t have money to go to the field to study the animal they wish. I want to support young conservationists.”
Although she says she still can’t believe she was chosen as a leader in turtle conservation, an occupation which is much more than just a job for her, Dr. Paez says she wants young Latinas to know there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
“It takes a lot of work, and you have to be willing to work hard and spend a lot of time working instead of other entertaining options in life,” she says. “I don’t think there is a disadvantage if you are a woman or Latina. I don’t consider myself a very smart or intelligent person, but I work hard and don’t give up.”
__________________________________________________________________________
7) Science journal details turtle farm cruelty (Cayman Islands)
9/27/13 Cayman News Service

Animal welfare issues relating to the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) have been detailed in a scientific report published Friday in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. The report points to the physical injury, disease and abnormal behaviour of turtles at the farm observed by the authors, based on evidence provided by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, a site inspection and research. The findings point to physical and behaviour problems of the sea turtles at the farm being “indicative of problematic management and captivity-related stress,” which the scientists said demonstrated the limitations of turtles to adapt to captivity.
The WSPA, which is continuing its campaign to persuade the CTF to change to a conservation facility, said the report, entitled "Welfare and Environmental Implications of Farmed Sea Turtles", presents a major challenge for the managers of the Cayman Turtle Farm, who had committed to improving conditions for what are now estimated to be around 9,500 turtles in their care.
The report was written by three specialised reptile biologists: Phillip Arena of Murdoch University, Catrina Steedman of the Emergent Disease Foundation, and Clifford Warwick, a London-based biologist and medical scientist who was recently offered the post of Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics in recognition of his long career and scientific contributions to reptile welfare and conservation.
“The problematic physical and behavioural signs, in our view, related to the inherent nature of intensive turtle propagation which in particular involves overt- and crypto-overcrowding and under stimulating environments, and an associated failure to meet all the physical, biological and innate behavioural needs of sea turtles,” the authors said in the conclusions about the farm.

The animal welfare charity WPSA said the report tallies with their results following the controversial undercover investigation conducted over a year ago that documented the extent of problems at the Farm, which the CTF has been at pains to deny. However, this latest scientific report also contradicts the farm management’s claims following its own assessment inspection in December, when the farm said there was no strong evidence for WSPA’s concerns about animal welfare.
Talking about the work of the scientists, one of the authors, Clifford Warwick, said that the detailed evidence- based research into farming practices at the farm has highlighted a range of physical and behavioural problems, some of which are extremely serious.

“In our view, these concerns are unresolvable, the Farm simply cannot replicate the turtle’s natural habitat, nor can it meet their biological needs within a captive environment. Also, the transmission of potentially dangerous pathogens from the turtles to the visiting public continues to represent a significant health risk,” he said, adding that the recent changes instituted by the CTF did not alter any of these concerns.

The WSPA campaign to persuade the management to transition the facility away from farming towards conservation continues and has drawn support from over 180,000 people worldwide, as well as a host of animal welfare and conservation organisations. The campaign leader for WSPA, Dr Neil D’Cruze, said the report documents physical and behavioural problems among the marine animals consistent with animal cruelty, which is extremely worrying.
“Despite WSPA raising concerns over a year ago, this new scientific report shows that the turtles are still suffering,” he said. “WSPA has met with the new Caymanian Government and had open and candid talks to ensure that positive steps are taken to help the thousands of sea turtles which continue to suffer at the Cayman Turtle Farm. We hope the new government will learn from the errors of its predecessors and ultimately see that the long term solution for the Cayman Turtle Farm is to become a turtle rehabilitation and release facility,” the charity leader added.
The Turtle Farm has been battling the fallout from the bad publicity since the WSPA’s report went public in October last year. It comes at a time when public attention on the farm has also focused on the massive almost $10 million subsidy provided to the facility every year from an increasingly tight public purse.
Despite the major issues, the CTF enjoyed a bumper year this breeding season and recently cut the price of meat as a result of the increase in production. The farm has also claimed a number of improvements in the conditions and it has now employed a full time vet.
Responding to the latest report on Friday, the CTF seemed unconcerned and said the findings were a rehash of the previous WSPA report. It accused the charity of trying another publicity attack with what it said was more WSPA-sponsored research.
“This latest article really isn’t saying much of anything the WSPA hasn’t already said before,” said Tim Adam, Managing Director of CTF. “It repeats the same allegations the WSPA made previously citing the same authors, and basically comes across as just another effort by the WSPA to force the Cayman Turtle Farm and the CI Government to completely change the operating model of the CTF since the WSPA campaign has thus far been unsuccessful in achieving that aim.”
Adam said the charity wants to stop turtle farming, stop a legal source of meat, stop public interaction with turtles, and stop the release programmes.
“Apparently the WSPA has sponsored yet another report hoping it will help them achieve those objectives,” he said, insisting that the farm had been vindicated by it's own inspection last year, despite the extensive photographic evidence of the scientists’ findings to the contrary, and that the turtles were in good shape.
“At the Cayman Turtle Farm we are committed to the health, safety and well-being of both our guests and our animals and we continue to strive for the highest standards in all the key aspects of the work we do - sea turtle reproduction and husbandry, conservation, display and education,” Adam said. “The independent inspection of our operations confirmed the validity of our research and conservation work, and also highlighted areas for improvement. We have worked hard since the publication of the inspection report to address the issues raised by the independent inspectors, and we strive for continued improvements.”
Adam dismissed the latest findings as the same accusations. “We are frankly disappointed that the WSPA continues to repeat their same accusations about the Cayman Turtle Farm in order to damage our reputation and impede our work,” he added.
See full scientific report go to
http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... ltext.html
_________________________________________________________________________
8) AZG&F reminds public to not take Box Turtles from the wild
The box turtle is a protected species, that if taken from the wild can never be returned, as it will die.
Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:00 pm
Mark Hart Arizona Game and Fish |
An increase in box turtle observation reports by citizen-scientists in southeastern Arizona has led the state Game and Fish Department to issue a reminder that it is illegal to collect box turtles from the wild, even if they are only kept in captivity for a short time.
Only those box turtles held legally prior to January 1, 2005 is allowed, said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson.
“Keep wild turtles wild. Do not collect a box turtle if you encounter one in the wild,” Vega said. “By bringing it home you are dooming it to a life in captivity, because a captive turtle can never be released back into the wild.”
Vega noted that removing a box turtle from the wild can severely affect local populations because turtles grow and reproduce slowly. Captive turtles released into the wild can severely jeopardize local wild turtle populations through the introduction of diseases and parasites, and can displace individuals or populations of wild box turtles by competing for resources, he added.
“Watch and enjoy box turtles, but avoid contact. If you observe an ornate box turtle in the wild, it is best to let it continue on its way. Do not disturb it by picking it up,” Vega said. “The one exception to this rule is if a turtle is in harm’s way trying to cross a road. If it is safe to do so, gently lift the turtle just high enough so its feet are just above the ground and transport it across the road in the direction it was heading.”
Game and Fish also suggests:
•Become a citizen scientist - participate in the Ornate Box Turtle Watch. The ornate box turtle is thought to be in decline in Arizona. Help the Arizona Game and Fish Department monitor this species by reporting any observations of wild box turtles in Arizona. Find out about the program at: http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/boxturtlewatch.shtml.
• Participate in the Sponsor-a-Turtle program. The Arizona Game and Fish Department Turtles Project utilizes technical equipment such as radio-telemetry tags, GPS units, and hoop traps to survey and monitor turtle populations statewide. By donating to the Turtles Project, you will help project biologists purchase this gear so that they may continue to plan and implement conservation and management. For more information, see: http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/documents/Spon ... eFinal.pdf
• Practice responsible Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use. Ornate box turtle habitat in Arizona is limited and is sensitive to degradation. Using OHVs in unauthorized areas can result in loss and destruction of habitat through the degradation of native vegetation, spread of invasive plant species, and soil erosion. Please stay on roads and trails, and do not trample vegetation.
• If you have a captive ornate box turtle from Arizona that you can no longer care for, contact Game and Fish in Tucson at 520-628-5376.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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
____________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

Instructions on how to unsubscribe are also there.
__________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:42 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 46 10/10/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence. Please feel free to make a donation on top of your order.
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, Turtles, Frogs, Snakes, Sea Turtles-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) No lie: Pinocchio lizard turns up in Ecuador- Long thought to be extinct, the long-nosed Pinocchio anole has been spotted in a cloud forest in northwest Ecuador.

2) (A much more informative obituary about the man than I sent out last week.) Robert C. Stebbins dies at 98; Berkeley reptile, amphibian expert- Stebbins wrote the popular 'Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians,' illustrated with his own drawings. He also worked to preserve deserts from off-road vehicles.

3) Climate change threatens Northern American turtle habitat
4)Officials crack down on illegal prize at Mid-State Fair: tiny turtles
5) Longline Fishery in Costa Rica Kills Thousands of Sea Turtles, Sharks
6) Bibliography of Latest issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology www.herpconbio.org/ (Open Access)---Volume 8, Issue 2 September 2013
____________________________________________________________
TODAY IS THE DAY TO VOTE FOR TURTLES FROM 10 AM TO MIDNIGHT THE 10TH OF OCTOBER
Just go to
https://apps.facebook.com/carsforgood/
and click the Turtle Survival Alliance tab
as one of your two votes and help them get that truck they need
for their new Turtle Conservation Center.
They are behind now but not by much your vote could be the one that puts them over the top.

This is your chance to make a difference to help turles.
And spread the word, send this to your friends, post it on your social media.

DO IT. It just takes five seconds of your time.

Thanks
Allen Salzberg.

P.S. Unfortunately if you don’t live in the US you can’t vote. Sorry.
___________________________________________________________
1) No lie: Pinocchio lizard turns up in Ecuador- Long thought to be extinct, the long-nosed Pinocchio anole has been spotted in a cloud forest in northwest Ecuador.
By Douglas Main, Livescience.com Staff Writer / October 7, 2013
This ain't no lie: The Pinocchio lizard was thought to be extinct for 50 years, but has been rediscovered in the cloud forests of Ecuador.
After searching for the long-nosed animal for three years, a team of photographers and researchers found the lizard recently in a stretch of pristine cloud forest in the northwest part of the country, said Alejandro Arteaga, a co-founder of the educational and ecotourism company Tropical Herping, which conducted the search for the lizard.
Also called the Pinocchio anole (an anole is a type of lizard), the animal is named after a certain dishonest wooden puppet and was first discovered in 1953, Arteaga said. But wasn't seen between the 1960s and 2005, when an ornithologist saw one crossing a road in the same remote area in northwest Ecuador. This is only the third time scientists have spotted it since 2005, Arteaga added.
Scientists typically look for lizards at night when most of the animals sleep, and when their coloring becomes paler and they are less likely to scurry away, Arteaga told LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet. One of his colleagues found a single male Pinocchio anole clinging to a branch over a stream in January. The team then kept it overnight before photographing it in the morning in its natural habitat.
"After looking for so long … It was very thrilling to find this strange lizard," Arteaga said. The team then let the animal go.
Arteaga and his colleagues were searching for the Pinocchio anole because it was the last lizard they needed to complete their book, "The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo," a rural region a two-hour drive north of Quito, Ecuador's capital. The book was published this summer.
Pinocchio anoles (Anolis proboscis) are an endangered species and have been found in only four locations, mostly along a single stretch of road, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global environmental group. They have one of the smallest ranges of any lizard in the world, Arteaga said.
The lizard's noselike appendage is a sexually selected trait that likely serves no functional purpose but to advertise a male's good genes; females of the species have no such "noses." Other examples of sexually selected traits include the peacock's brilliant tail-feathers. Extensive research has shown that these traits communicate to the opposite sex that the animals are fit and will sire high-quality offspring.
_________________________________________________________________________
2) (A much more informative obituary about the man than I sent out last week.) Robert C. Stebbins dies at 98; Berkeley reptile, amphibian expert
Stebbins wrote the popular 'Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians,' illustrated with his own drawings. He also worked to preserve deserts from off-road vehicles.
October 5, 2013, LATimes

If anyone could make lizards, salamanders, snakes and all measure of creepy, crawling things objects of wonder and even beauty, it was Robert C. Stebbins.
His well-regarded books, lectures and artwork made him a superstar among those who studied reptiles and amphibians, from world-famous scientists to weekend naturalists who hiked with his nature guides in hand.
Although he did much of his work alone and tended toward shyness, Stebbins' scientific discoveries and willingness to stand up for his convictions have been celebrated by many, including bestselling author Richard Dawkins. And in political circles, Stebbins was known for being a passionate, persistent advocate for establishing ecological reserves in desert lands to ward off damage done by off-road vehicles.
But his biggest contribution to the field was probably his popular "Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians," first published in 1966 and illustrated with his own drawings and paintings. It was a major force in changing the public's view toward the creatures he so admired.
"Before that book, if people went out to look for snakes, it was so they could gather them up to sell to pet shops or just show off to their buddies," said Sam Sweet, professor of evolutionary biology at UC Santa Barbara. "What Bob did was help make a transition to a similar situation as bird watching, where it became OK to just look at the animals and leave them alone."
Stebbins, 98, died Sept. 23 at his home in Eugene, Ore. He had been in failing health for the last year, said Robert Sanders, spokesman at UC Berkeley, where Stebbins taught and did research for more than three decades. Sanders said that Stebbins' wife of 72 years, Anna-rose, was at his side when he died.
Robert Stebbins was quoted in a 2006 journal published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists as saying his wife shared his love of nature and was a strong supporter of his work, tolerating years of "frogs, toads and salamanders in the refrigerator, and tortoises on the sun deck and in the living room."
Robert Cyril Stebbins was born March 31, 1915, in Chico, Calif., near a small ranch and orchard that his family worked. On a camping trip in the Sierra foothills when he was 5, he had the first encounter he could remember with a reptile.
"Along a creek, I came upon a pond turtle," he said in a 2005 Times interview. "I can still feel the sharp little claws in my hands and see its eye looking up at me, perhaps in fear. I was enthralled."
When Robert was 9, the Stebbins family moved to Southern California — first to Pomona and later to Sherman Oaks. He graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1933 and went on to get his undergraduate degree and doctorate in zoology at UCLA.
While going to college he also spent time working as a park ranger, and during World War II UCLA obtained a waiver from combat duty so that he could teach Navy medical personnel how to prevent parasitic diseases.
He landed at UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in 1945 as its first curator of herpetology — the study of reptiles and amphibians — and was involved in numerous studies. In 1949 he initiated one of the best known — it was on a pair of Ensatina salamanders that looked very different and apparently didn't interbreed. But the "elegantly worked out" study, as Dawkins described it in his 2004 book "The Ancestor's Tale," showed that the salamanders had common ancestors but then developed different traits because of being separated for a long period by a geographical barrier.
Stebbins was beloved by students but spent much time toiling alone in his office on the drawings and paintings that were used in his field guides. Generally working from live, anesthetized animals, he measured every part to work out proportions. In contrast, Sweet, who met Stebbins in 1970 when he was a graduate student at the university, said, "What I would do was take a Xerox of the animal, blow it up and go from there. But Bob was absolutely meticulous.
"And when he was done, it was the animal. It was perfect."
Stebbins' books were published as part of the Peterson Field Guides series. "Before them, there had not been anything you could hold in your hands, with good illustrations and distribution maps. They were in bookstores and kids could get them for Christmas.
"They showed you could go out and do this yourself."
Stebbins retired from the university in 1978 but continued to work on books. The "Field Guide" is now in its third edition, and his "Connecting With Nature," published in 2012 by the National Science Teachers Assn., is a guide to getting students more interested in the natural world.
One of his main causes was to preserve sections of desert lands in California from use by dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and similar motorized vehicles. His efforts were met with strong objection from off-road vehicle enthusiasts, but in 1994 the federal California Desert Protection Act was passed, designating numerous wilderness areas in the state.
In addition to his wife, Stebbins is survived by son John of Eugene, Ore; daughters Melinda Broadhurst of Adelaide, Australia, and Mary Stebbins of Vernon, Canada; six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and his sister Rosalie Darling of Yreka, Calif.
One of the most recent accolades he received came last month with the naming of a species of lizard, Anniella stebbinsi, in his honor.
___________________________________________________________
3) Climate change threatens Northern American turtle habitat
Phys.org, 10/8/13

A new study that reconstructs the effects of past climatic changes on 59 species of North American turtles finds that the centers of the turtles' ranges shifted an average of 45 miles for each degree of warming or cooling. While some species were able to find widespread suitable climate, other species, many of which today are endangered, were left with only minimal habitat.
Species in temperate forests and grasslands, deserts, and lake systems, primarily in the Central and Eastern US, were more affected by climate change than species occurring along the Pacific Coast, in the mountain highlands of the Western US and Mexico, and in the tropics, according to the study published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
The study integrates data from more than 300 published studies on turtle physiology, genetics, and fossils with new models of species' response to climate-change cycles over the last 320 millennia to draw its conclusions. During this timeframe, Earth passed through three glacial-interglacial cycles and significant variation in temperature.
In this Science Minute from NIMBioS, Dr. Lawing explains the science behind her study of how climate change might affect turtle habitat. Credit: Catherine Crawley/NIMBioS
"By studying how turtles responded to these climate cycles, we can learn about regional differences of the impact of climate change, how climate change differently impacts species, and how climate has influenced evolution," said co-lead author Michelle Lawing, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.
Quantifying niche conservation in historical time scales is crucial to estimate future extinction risks due to climate change, explained co-lead author Dennis Rödder, curator for herpetology at the Leibniz-Institute for Terrestrial Biodiversity Research at the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany.
"This study, which for the first time comprehensively integrates all available information for the majority of all North American turtle species, provides profound evidence of how global warming will affect the genetic architecture of the turtles," Rödder said.
The research suggests that the rate of climate change today is much faster than the turtles' ability to adapt naturally and evolve to tolerate the changes. Turtles will have to continue to shift their geographic ranges to keep up with the changing climate, yet new real estate for the turtles might be running out.
"In the past, turtles have coped with climate change by shifting their geographic ranges to areas with more compatible climates. However, it is more difficult for modern turtles to do that with today's managed waterways and agricultural and urban landscapes," said co-author David Polly, professor of geological sciences at Indiana University.
More than half of the world's approximately 330 species of turtles and tortoises are threatened with extinction due to illegal trade and habitat loss, according to the Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Turtles and tortoises, which evolved about 220 million years ago, are at a much higher extinction risk than many other vertebrates, paralleled only by primates, according to the IUCN. Many of the most threatened turtles and tortoises are in Asia.
More information: Rödder D, Lawing AM, Flecks M, Ahmadzadeh F, Dambach J, Engler JO, Habel JC, Hartmann T, Hörnes D, Ihlow F, Schiedelko K, Stiels D, Polly DP. 2013. Evaluating the significance of paleophylogeographic species distribution models in reconstructing quaternary range-shifts of Nearctic Chelonians. PLOS ONE. dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072855
Provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis
_____________________________________________________________________________________
4) Officials crack down on illegal prize at Mid-State Fair: tiny turtles

By Tonya Strickland , 10/8/13

A ball-toss carnival game at the California Mid-State Fair ran afoul of federal health laws Thursday, resulting in a public warning and the seizure of 65 illegal baby turtles offered as game prizes .The young critters, which naturally carry salmonella bacteria in their droppings, are illegal to distribute in the United States until their shell lengths exceed 4 inches. While all turtles pose the risk of spreading salmonella infection to humans, the babies are considered more of a health risk because they’re typically handled more frequently. The bacteria is commonly found on the outer skin and shells and in the turtles’ water.Salmonella infection can lead to illness, hospitalization and death in humans. The infection poses “serious health risk to infants, small children and adults with impaired immune systems,” according to a statement by San Luis Obispo County Public Health Services.County public health officials encourage anyone who received a turtle prize at the Paso Robles fairgrounds to bring it to the county’s Division of Animal Services in San Luis Obispo. The red-eared slider turtles from the carnival are estimated to be about 2 weeks old, with some not larger than the size of a quarter, county officials said. As of Thursday evening, “The Buoy” game — in which players throw pingpong balls into small rings floating in water — remained open, sans turtles.

The game vendor reported having 100 of the baby turtles to distribute, according to the county. They were given as prizes “in small homes” along with care instructions that the vendor had printed out from the Internet, said John MacCallum, spokesman for the fair’s Fontana-based carnival operator Davis Enterprises. “We thought it was OK,” MacCallum said. “… They (the game vendor) thought they had gotten the right ones … and then it was pointed out these were below the size (allowed).” The turtles were kept out of sight in 5-gallon plastic buckets at the game booth, county health super visor Laurie Salo said. “Not in little individual tanks but a large bucket where they were all co-mingled,” she said. “They were very small, maybe smaller than a 50-cent piece.” The state “didn’t write them up, but there could potentially still be legal action,” she added. A call to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife wasn’t immediately returned Thursday afternoon. The county was tipped off to the issue about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday by a public complaint, Salo said.

On Thursday morning, the county visited the fair with the state wildlife agency. The state agency seized the baby turtles, which are now being cared for at county Animal Services in a large trough outfitted with water, aquarium logs and rocks. “We’re asking people to bring them to us, and then we’ll transfer the whole lot of them to a turtle rescue,” Animal Control Lead Officer Odie Cawley said as she scooped up one of the teensy turtles onto her finger, its little head cautiously coming out of its shell to look around. Afterward, she carefully placed it back and promptly washed her hands. The sale and distribution of baby turtles with shell lengths less than 4 inches has been banned in the United States since 1975, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the time of the ban, the turtles had been linked to 280,000 cases of salmonella infection, county officials said.RETURN THE TURTLESSan Luis Obispo County officials are encouraging anyone who has received a turtle from the fair to take it to the Division of Animal Services, 885 Oklahoma Ave. in San Luis Obispo, so it can go on to the local turtle and tortoise rescue organization. The turtle drop-off hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
______________________________________________________________
5) Longline Fishery in Costa Rica Kills Thousands of Sea Turtles, Sharks

Oct. 2, 2013 — The second-most-common catch on Costa Rica's longline fisheries in the last decade was not a commercial fish species. It was olive ridley sea turtles. These lines also caught more green turtles than most species of fish.
These findings and more, reported in a new study in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, indicate that the Costa Rican longline fishery represents a major threat to the survival of eastern Pacific populations of sea turtles as well as sharks.
The researchers argue that time and area closures for the fisheries are essential to protect these animals as well as to maintain the health of the commercial fishery.
The research was conducted by a team from Drexel University, the Costa Rican non-profit conservation organization Pretoma and a U.S. non-profit working in Costa Rica, The Leatherback Trust.
The researchers used data from scientific observers on longline fishing boats who recorded every fish and other animal caught by the fishermen from 1999 to 2010 and the locations of the captures and fishing efforts. Those data provided the basis for a mathematical analysis of the fishery resulting in maps of geographic locations and estimates of the total number of captures of sea turtles in the entire fishery.
Stark threats to sea turtles, including nesting populations
The most commonly targeted fish, mahi mahi, was also the most common species caught in the Costa Rican longline fishery.
But the researchers were surprised by their finding that olive ridley turtles, internationally classified as vulnerable, were the second-most-common species caught.
They estimate that more than 699,000 olive ridley and 23,000 green turtles were caught during the study period (1999 to 2010).
"It is common to see sea turtles hooked on longlines along the coast of Guanacaste in Costa Rica. We can set some free but cannot free them all," said Dr. James Spotila, the Betz chair professor of environmental science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel. "The effect of the rusty hooks may be to give the turtles a good dose of disease. No one knows because no one holds the turtle to see if its gets sick."
Spotila, a co-author of the study, has been studying sea turtles on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica with colleagues and Drexel students, for 23 years.
The researchers also noted that even a few deaths of reproductive females may have a significant toll -- particularly when longline operations are held in shallow waters of the continental shelf close to nesting beaches. They reported that declines in olive ridley nesting populations in Ostional, where massive synchronous nesting occurs, were associated with these captures.
Catching more and smaller fish signals an unsustainable fishery, sharks at particular risk
In addition to mahi mahi, other species targeted in the Costa Rican longline fishery were tunas, sharks and marlins.
The researchers observed that longlines caught large numbers of mahi mahi, silky sharks, stingrays, sailfish and yellowfin tuna.
But the fishing patterns showed that shark populations have declined in numbers and sharks have become smaller over 11 years. Adult sharks were generally small, and juvenile sharks alarmingly abundant, suggesting that some shark species were being overfished: Overall, only 14.6 percent of the abundant silky sharks observed during the study period were sexually mature. In 2010, the last year of the study, average fork length of silky sharks was 97 cm, far below the observed 144 cm average for mature adults. These decreases in size of silky sharks through time indicated a reduction in relative numbers of adults in the population.
Additionally, many small blacktip sharks were captured in an area near the Osa Peninsula, indicating that fishing was occurring at a nursery ground for that species.
The small size of adult sharks and large numbers of juveniles captured suggest that species are being overfished.
In addition to these indicators of overfishing of sharks, the researchers warned of broader uncertainty about the health of the fishery. They said that capture of large numbers of mahi-mahi does not guarantee that that population is sustainable because the available data can not determine if mahi mahi will remain abundant or decline.
Based on these findings, the researchers caution that that populations of fish affected by the Costa Rican longline fishery may be in danger of collapse and that there are insufficient scientific data to predict whether and when such a collapse will occur and in what species.
How to manage the fishery and save the turtles
About 80 percent of captured turtles are released and survive in the short term, but long-term effects of being caught on fishing hooks are unknown.
To better manage the fishery and protect the threatened and endangered species of sea turtles in Costa Rica, the researchers argue that policymakers in Costa Rica must enforce time and area closures for longline fishing.
They criticize both the fishing industry and INCOPESCA, the fisheries management agency of the government, for failing to recognize that the fishery is unsustainable and failing to enforce existing fisheries laws, such as those against landing of shark fins and harming of sea turtles.
"INCOPESCA has failed to adequately study and regulate the fishery in Costa Rica for many years. It does not even enforce national laws. Board members have serious conflicts of interest because they are commercial fishermen," said Randall Arauz, president of Pretoma and a world recognized leader in marine conservation. "Until INCOPESCA is reformed in such a way that the Board of Directors is eliminated and its mission is to defend the public interest, neither the fish nor the turtles will be safe."
Arauz, a co-author of the study, has been studying sea turtles and fisheries in Costa Rica for more than 30 years. He directed the at sea observer program that collected the data on longline boats that were the basis for this study.
Aurauz and Spotila argue for the need to establish well-enforced marine protected areas where both turtles and fish are safe from longlines. They also recommend targeted seasonal closures to longline fishing in coastal waters close to the main turtle nesting beaches when and where sea turtle interactions with the fishery are highest.
They further recommend a general seasonal longline fishery closure for 5 months, from June to November, which can shift, according to the seasonal abundance of mahi mahi.
To enforce these recommendations and provide needed data to manage the fishery, they recommend placing observers on at least half of longline boats, as was done in Chile. Education of local artisanal fishermen would improve their fishing techniques and encourage them to release sea turtles unharmed.
"There is still time to save both the fishery and the turtles if action is taken soon," Arauz said.
In pursuit of such action, Pretoma and The Leatherback Trust are providing leadership for a coalition of environmental groups in Costa Rica who have united for a special marine conservation initiative called "Front for Our Oceans" (http://www.salvemosnuestrosmares.com/).
For fish and turtle populations to recover successfully, Spotila, who is also chairman of the board of The Leatherback Trust, said, "the challenge is to collect good data on the fishery, establish protected areas of refuge for the animals and to encourage or force INCOPESCA to enforce the laws that have been already passed by the national legislature. What is being done up until now obviously is not working."
__________________________________________________________________________
6) Bibliography of Latest issue of Herpetological Conservation and Biology www.herpconbio.org/ (Open Access)---Volume 8, Issue 2 September 2013

Editorials
Recent Decisions and Developments at Herpetological Conservation and Biology.
Governing Board
Research Articles
Investigating Behavioral Shifts in Aggression between a Naturalized and Native Salamander Species of the Genus Plethodon. by Heather R. Cunningham and Leslie J. Rissler
The Historical and Current Distribution of the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). [Photo Gallery] by Kevin M. Enge, Dirk J. Stevenson, Matthew J. Elliott, and Javan M. Bauder
Prevalence, Clinical Signs, and Natural History Characteristics of Frog Virus 3-like Infections in Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina). by Matthew C. Allender, Mark A. Mitchell, David McRuer, Shane Christian, and John Byrd
Hematology and Plasma Biochemical Values for Free Ranging Cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus) in Central North Carolina, USA. by Larry J. Minter, Daniel S. Dombrowski, Michael K. Stoskopf, Cheryl A. Purnell, Michael R. Loomis, and Ryan S. De Voe
Noteworthy Records of Chelonians from the Chindwin River Basin and Naga Hills of Western Myanmar. by Steven G. Platt, Kalyar Platt, Khin Myo Myo, Kyaw Moe, Me Me Soe, Thet Zaw Naing, Naing Lin, and Thomas R.
Rainwater
Conservation Genetics of Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) Populations in Ontario, Canada. by Christina Fridgen, Laura Finnegan, Christopher Reaume, Joe Cebek, JimTrottier, and Paul J. Wilson
Population Declines of Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi) over Three Decades in the Gulf Hammock Wildlife Management Area, Florida, USA. by J. Steve Godley and Paul E. Moler
Home Range and Movement Patterns of the Otton Frog: Integration of Year-round Radiotelemetry and Mark-recapture Methods. by Noriko Iwai
Feeding Habits of Juvenile Chacophrys pierottii (Ceratophryidae-Ceratophryinae) from Northwestern Cordoba Province, Argentina. by Mariana Pueta and M. Gabriela Perotti
Orientation of Freshwater Hatchling Blanding's (Emydoidea blandingii) and Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) Dispersing from Experimental Nests in Agricultural Fields. by Michael J. Pappas, Justin D. Congdon, Bruce J. Brecke, and Steven Freedberg
Reptiles Traded in the Fetish Market of Lome, Togo (West Africa). [Photo Gallery] by Gabriel H. Segniagbeto, Fabio Petrozzi, Aurelie Aida, and Luca Luiselli
Effects of Environmental Temperature on the Onset and the Duration of Oviposition Period of Caiman latirostris. [Photo Gallery] by Melina S. Simoncini, Felix B. Cruz, and Carlos I. Pina
Can a Tiger Change its Spots? A Test of the Stability of Spot Patterns for Identification of Individual Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). by Heather L. Waye
Difference in Flight Initiation Distance between Recently Metamorphosed Oregon Spotted Frogs (Rana pretiosa) and American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus). [Photo Gallery] by Kyle S. Tidwell and Marc P. Hayes
Breeding Site Fidelity and Terrestrial Movement of an Endangered Amphibian, the Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis). by Michael W. Vandewege, Todd M. Swannack, Kensley L. Greuter, Donald J. Brown, and Michael R.J. Forstner
Variation in Size Class and Sex Ratio of Morelet's Crocodile in Wetlands of Campeche, Mexico. by Marta Suarez-Coya, Sergio E. Padilla, and Armando H. Escobedo-Galvan
History and Status of the California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) in the Sierra Nevada, California, USA. by Sean J. Barry and Gary M. Fellers
____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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
____________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

Instructions on how to unsubscribe are also there.
__________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal
_______________________________________________________________

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:47 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 47 10/14/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence. Please feel free to make a donation on top of your order.
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) Hibernating Turtles Are Still Aware of What’s Going on Around Them

2) Unborn Turtles Actively Regulate their own Temperature
3) Turtles Talk to Each Other? Communication in Aquatic Turtles: An Interview with Dick Vogt and Camila Ferrara
4) Breaking Ground on Turtle Survival Alliance’s -- Turtle Survival Center
____________________________________________________________________________________

1) Hibernating Turtles Are Still Aware of What’s Going on Around Them
Smithsonian.com 10/11/13 -When temperatures dip below about 50 degrees, aquatic turtles like red-eared sliders take to the pond, where they will spend the next two or three months submerged and hibernating. They partially embed themselves in the pond mud, then wait as their body temperature drops. As they become colder, their heart rate slows to as little as one beat every couple of minutes. In this state, they don’t need to breathe. They turn off energy-taxing brain functions and seem completely out of it. Researchers assumed they entered a coma-like condition of complete disfunction and lack of awareness.
Now, however, new findings challenge that notion. Turtles turn out to be pretty in tune to what’s going on around them. As ScienceNOW reports, researchers performed two experiments on the turtles to test their awareness. First, the researchers anesthetized the turtles and inserted electrodes into their heads. When they deprived those turtles of oxygen or made conditions extremely cold, they found that the animals still registered neuronal responses to light.
In a second experiment, they locked turtles in a cold, dark watery chamber for two weeks, tricking the animals into thinking it was winter. When the turtles began to hibernate, however, the researchers began to mess with them, flipping on the lights, adding more oxygen to the tank, vibrating the water or warming things up. The light and warmth, they found, provoked immediate responses, whereas the vibration and oxygen did not, ScienceNOW reports.
“Hibernating turtles are not comatose, but remain vigilant during overwintering,” the scientists concluded in their paper. This way, as soon as the first signs of spring arrive, they can shake off those winter chills and paddle back into reptilian action.
____________________________________________________
2) Unborn Turtles Actively Regulate their own Temperature
Smithsoniam.org 6/12/13 Visit a sunny pond in a meadow, park or zoo and you’ll likely see turtles basking on logs and small lizards hanging out on warm rocks. If you’re in the south, you may even spot an alligator lazing on a bright patch of shore.
Ectotherms (better known as cold-blooded animals) such as these reptiles have to shuttle back and forth between shade and sun in order to manually regulate their body temperature. Insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles all do it. Now, new research suggests that these animals begin their temperature-regulating tasks much earlier than previously thought–while they are embryos encased in their eggs.
Previously, researchers thought of developing embryos as cut off from the outside world. But back in 2011, researchers found that Chinese soft-shelled turtle embryos could move between warmer or cooler patches in their eggs, though they lacked any feet at such an early stage of development. Some of the same Chinese and Australian researchers who published that original finding decided to investigate further to see just how deliberate these movements are.
“Do reptile embryos move away from dangerously high temperatures as well as towards warm temperatures?” the team, writing in the journal Biology Letters, wondered. “And is such embryonic movement due to active thermoregulation, or (more simply) to passive embryonic repositioning caused by local heat-induced changes in viscosity of fluids within the egg?”
In other words, are unborn reptiles purposefully moving from one spot to another within their eggs, much like an adult animal does? The team decided to investigate these questions by experimenting on turtle embryos. They incubated 125 eggs from Chinese three-keeled pond turtles. They randomly assigned each of the eggs to one of five temperature groups: constant temperature, hot on top/cool on the bottom, or at a range of heats directed towards one end of the egg.
When they began the experiment, most embryos sat in the middle of their eggs. A week after exposing them to the different temperature groups, the team again measured the baby turtles’ positioning within the eggs. At the 10-day mark, the researchers again measured the turtles’ positions, and then injected half of the eggs with a poison that euthanized those developing embryos. Finally, after another week, they took one last measurement of the developing turtles and euthanized turtles.
The turtles within the eggs held at constant temperature or those that were in the “warm on the top/cool on the bottom” group tended not to shift around in their eggs, the researchers found. Those belonging to the groups that experienced warm temperatures only on one end of their egg, however, did move around. They gravitated towards warm conditions (84-86°F), but if things heated up too extremely (91°F), they edged towards the cooler side of their egg. Crucially, the embryos that the researchers euthanized stopped moving after receiving the dose of poison. This shows that the embryos themselves, not some passive physical process, are doing the shifting.
The turtle embryos, the researchers note, behave much like adult reptiles do when thermoregulating their bodies. They warm up and cool down by moving toward or away from heat sources. For species like turtles, temperature during development plays an important part of determining the embryo’s sex. Turtle nests, which are buried in the sand, often experience a range of different temperatures, so embryos could be playing a role in determining their own gender, edging towards the cooler side of the egg if they feel like becoming a male, or the warmer side if they’re more female-inclined, the authors write.
_________________________________________________________________________
3) Turtles Talk to Each Other? Communication in Aquatic Turtles: An Interview with Dick Vogt and Camila Ferrara
From Turtle Survival Alliance 2013 Annual Magazine. Full magazine with photos can be found at
http://www.turtlesurvival.org/storage/d ... e_2013.pdf

Q.You are involved in some innovative research; can you describe what you are working on?
A.We’re studying acoustic communication in aquatic turtles. Using hydrophones, we’ve demonstrated that late term embryos of Podocnemis expansa are communicating to stimulate simultaneous hatching and communal digging out of the nest. Furthermore, we’ve found that females are communicating underwater to hatchlings, presumably to aid in long distance migration. So far, we’ve documented acoustic communication in ten aquatic turtle species. Most likely, all turtle species emit sounds to some extent to communicate with conspecifics. This phenomenon has been overlooked because the sounds are at the low end of the frequency of human hearing, short in duration, and low in volume. It’s very exciting to know that turtles have been exchanging information in our presence all along; only now are we documenting what they’re saying.
Q. These findings are transforming the way we look at turtles; can you elaborate on the possibilities here?
A. Acoustic social behavior in turtles is the most exciting development in turtle biology since the discovery of temperature controlled sex determination in the 1970s, which changed the way people thought about turtle population biology and conservation programs. The fact that turtles are now shown to be far more social than anyone dreamed, will change the way people study turtles and the way conservation and management programs are developed. Sound pollution is an obvious example of a most important new factor that must be considered in future turtle conservation programs. We don’t know how motorboat or dredging operation sound interference may affect turtles’ abilities to communicate. Is it possible that sounds produced by ATVs driven across nesting beaches may cause premature hatching? Or perhaps even loud Cumbia music played on the beach may effect a hatching.
Turtles must find mates; until now we thought they merely bumped into each other, or maybe that pheromones played a role, as evidenced by a tortoise attempting to copulate with a head of lettuce walked over by a female. Clearly, acoustic and olfactory senses develop differently amongst turtle species. We know that P. expansa are very social, emitting sounds to group together for migration, to come out of the water and bask communally, and to leave the water and nest in groups. They might also be emitting sounds continually as they migrate to maintain pod structure, as ducks do when they fly in V formation or as red-winged blackbirds do in their massive spring and fall migrations. Do turtles give warning calls? Are there group leaders? Is there vigilance on beaches while their sisters nest? Turtles must no longer be considered animated rocks with legs; they have an intricate social life that we are just beginning to unravel.
Q. This field is ripe for further research. What are some areas you would like to see investigated?
A. It’s unlikely that individual females identify their young or vice versa, but it is rather a genetic group bonding effort. We need to know the genetic nature of these pods, are these family groups? Are the females that migrate with hatchlings from the nesting beaches’ sisters? Are these relationships maintained through the year? Do turtles go in and out of groups? What happens when you release a turtle of the same species from a different river system near the group? Does it join the group or try to find its way home? We need to conduct underwater playback experiments to understand the function of emitted sounds. Can we call turtles in to nest on the nesting beach of our choice? Can we use surrogate mothers when releasing headstarted turtles so that these naïve turtles can get to foraging grounds? What do the structures of these sounds look like in mixed species assemblages of turtles, where we may have 10 or more species in the same river? Can we use hydrophones to census turtles in streams, rivers, and lakes? On the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, three species of Graptemys hibernate together behind specific wing dams; why these wing dams and not others? These same species migrate 8-12 km to nest on the same beaches together year after year; is there interspecies communication? We need to collect data over a broad taxonomic scale to understand the level of communication among diverse taxonomic groups and the diversity of the acoustic repertoire. Are there universal sounds of similar wavelength and structure used by all turtles?
Q. The fact that female and hatchling South American Giant River Turtles are vocalizing, and that there is strong evidence that female turtles wait offshore for hatchlings to enter the water, has enormous implications for how we plan and execute headstart and release programs. Can you elaborate on the potential impact of your research on these conservation strategies?
A. There is more than strong evidence. We have over 20 years of research demonstrating that female Podocnemis expansa do indeed wait for hatchlings. To date, we know hatchlings migrate with the females in the deep channel of the river for up to 62 km. This year, we predict we’ll be able to document hatchling turtles reaching the flooded forest feeding grounds with the females. The practice of holding hatchling Podocnemis expansa in captivity for weeks or months before release, and the practice of releasing hatchlings at beaches different than their natal ones, may actually be harmful to the natural process of migration. There is recent documentation of young mature P. expansa nesting alone in inadequate beaches in shallow, fine sand in the lower Amazon River. These turtles may have lost their pod, or never were members of one; this could be the result of released or escaped turtles. It would be interesting to see if we could induce these turtles to follow the sounds of migrating turtles played from underwater speakers, bringing them to a migrating pod or up to the nesting beaches in the Trombetas River. Remembering that pre TSD conservation efforts by some sea turtle biologists produced all male turtles because of nest manipulations, it may be best to revisit the conservation strategies for P. expansa and consider a more hands off approach.

Further Reading
Ferrara, C.R., Vogt, R.C., and Sousa-Lima, R.S. 2012. Turtle vocalizations as the first evidence of post-hatching parental care in chelonians. Journal of Comparative Psychology 127:24–32
Legler, J. M. and Vogt, R. C. 2013. The Chelonian Ear and Vocalization, IN The Turtles of Mexico; Freshwater and land forms. University of California Press, Berkeley pp 31-33.
_______________________________________________________________
4) Breaking Ground on Turtle Survival Alliance’s -- Turtle Survival Center
by Cris Hagen, Rick Hudson and Scott Davis, Published in TSA’s 2013 Annual Magazine Full magazine, with photos, can be found at
http://www.turtlesurvival.org/storage/d ... e_2013.pdf
In February 2011, the TSA Board of Directors made the boldest move in the organization’s eleven-year history when they voted to purchase a 50-acre property in coastal South Carolina to be developed as a Turtle Survival Center (TSC). A former crocodilian and wildlife rehab facility, the site was perfect for maintaining assurance colonies of endangered turtles and tortoises.
In the end, the decision wasn’t difficult: the Board felt it had no other choice if the TSA was to maintain its commitment to zero turtle extinctions. It has become very clear that in situ efforts to protect wild populations are inadequate to ensuring the survival of many turtle species. Ex situ captive populations are necessary, making the TSC vital to our mission. The decision was made easier by Board Member Pat Koval’s commitment to put up half of the asking price for the land.
From the outset, we chose to base the TSC Collection Plan on the most up-to-date data available on Asian turtles and tortoises, including key workshops held in Singapore and China in 2011. Seven species of tortoises and 20 species of freshwater turtles—primarily Asian—were carefully selected for inclusion, based on the critical need of captive breeding for their survival. Four of the tortoise species and 17 of the turtle species are ranked by the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. Nine species are identified on the list of The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles, as released by the Turtle Conservation Coalition in 2011. These numbers alone speak convincingly and hopefully to the TSC’s eventual impact on the survival of many of the most endangered chelonians in the world.
At our annual conference in Tucson in August 2012, the TSA officially announced its plans for the TSC and embarked upon an ambitious capital campaign, targeting $1.6 million over five years. That figure included the $400,000 purchase price, $300,000 for construction and renovation, and $900,000 for facility operations through 2016.
After Pat’s generous jump start, the campaign received its second major “shot in the arm” when San Diego Zoo Global put up a $100,000 challenge, contingent on matches by the zoo community. The TSA set up a booth in the exhibit hall at the American Zoo Association (AZA) meeting in Phoenix, AZ in September 2012 and began seeking matches for San Diego’s generous challenge. We not only met but exceeded the San Diego Zoo challenge. To date, 38 AZA zoos and aquariums have pledged support for the TSC; that includes some very important multi-year commitments. At the time of this writing we have raised $935,195 toward our goal of $1.6 million, with zoos contributing $406,150 of that total.
The TSA officially closed on the TSC property on 21 January 2013, bringing to fruition nearly two years of discussion, fundraising, and facilities planning. Work began immediately to prepare the facility for operation. The first steps were to clean up the property, retrofit the existing facilities, and start construction. The first TSC volunteer work weekend was held on 9-10 February, and it was a huge success with enthusiastic support by loyal TSA members. Since then, there have been other volunteer work events, a veterinary team weekend to welcome the first influx of turtles, an AZA directors’ open house and dinner, a TSA Board of Directors meeting, various small and large construction projects, as well as the arrival of visitors from around the globe.
Cris Hagen, TSA’s Director of Animal Management, was the first person to permanently move to the TSC on 26 March, leaving a position that he had held for the past 11 years at the Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL). Next in line to relocate to the TSC were 300 individuals of priority turtle species maintained at SREL—a move of 120 miles across the state. But before this mass chelonian relocation could take place, facility renovations and construction had to be completed to provide the highest quality husbandry and security. Although the TSC is still a work in progress, we moved 91 turtles of 17 species from SREL to the TSC by the end of June.
The TSC property operated as a wildlife center under the direction of Dr. Sam Seashole for many years prior to the TSA purchase. Therefore, we spent most of the first two months cleaning and reorganizing the center. Trips to the county waste disposal facility were frequent as we removed bird and mammal holding facilities and renovated barn stalls to become turtle holding areas.
In spite of extremely rainy weather throughout the first six months of construction, we have made significant progress since our start on March 27th. Construction of an outdoor complex for forest and semi-aquatic species was initiated by Dave Manser (Ponds and Plants) and is nearing completion as of this writing. A 20’ x 40’ tortoise building and a 20’ x 50’ quarantine building have been erected. New ponds have been dug to accommodate F1 groups that are produced at the Center over the coming years. Drainage fields have been created to handle water usage, and hundreds of feet of plumbing and electrical wire have been buried. An 11-acre area was encircled by an eight foot high, electrified perimeter security fence.
During the remainder of 2013, we plan to complete two forested habitat complexes, finish out the interiors of the tortoise and quarantine buildings, erect several greenhouses, renovate one of the barn stalls into a kitchen and food preparation area, and install additional layers of security.
As facilities have been completed, turtles have begun being relocated to the TSC. As turtles arrive at the Center, they receive health assessments; blood is drawn and banked for DNA testing; animals are given transponders; swabs and fecals are taken to conduct disease testing; and the animals are placed in quarantine. This work is made easier by the fact that the TSC facility came with a full clinic, including gas anesthesia, a portable x-ray unit, a blood chemistry analyzer, and a full surgical suite. The veterinary work is overseen by the TSC’s veterinary advisory group, which includes Dr. Bonnie Raphael (WCS-Bronx), Dr. Keith Benson (Riverbanks Zoo), Dr. Sam Rivera (Zoo Atlanta), Dr. Charles Innis (New England Aquarium), Dr. Joseph Flanagan (Houston Zoo). Thanks to their help, we are well on our way to developing a complete set of husbandry and veterinary protocols and to ensuring the highest standard of care for TSC animals.
By mid-June we had a full staff at the TSC. Luke Wyrwich is our Lead Keeper and came to us from Zoo Atlanta where he managed their chelonian collection for the past five years. He brings a strong background in construction and maintenance, as well as first-hand husbandry experience with a number of the target species at the Center. Luke is currently tackling the numerous construction projects that are underway.
Sheena Koeth is our Veterinary Care Manager and comes to us from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with thirteen years of experience working as a veterinary technician. She will be the primary point person for all veterinary needs under the guidance of the TSC’s veterinary advisory group. She is also responsible for implementing our record keeping system.
Theresa Stratmann began a two-month internship in late May and spent eight weeks with us this summer before starting her graduate degree at Clemson University. Theresa is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and has several years experience caring for TSC target species while volunteering at the Riverbanks Zoo.
The TSC staff quickly adapted to working well together in a rural area under difficult weather conditions. The team faces the enormous challenge of bringing the TSC on line while preparing to accommodate a diverse collection of highly endangered chelonians. The pressures are daunting and every day brings new and unexpected trials. Recordkeeping systems must be developed, protocols written, and routines and schedules established. Fortunately, the team brings a diverse set of knowledge and skills to the TSC, and their backgrounds have prepared them well for meeting the challenges of developing and operating a professional turtle center.
Two TSC work weekends in February and March were organized for TSA members to come out and volunteer their time and energy to clean up the site in preparation for construction. The hard work and dedication of TSA members has always been a key to our success and we were delighted by the great group of volunteers who showed up to help. Dumpsters were filled and hauled off, trees removed, trenches dug, and several tons of gravel removed from existing ponds during two days of backbreaking work. Hardware cloth was installed at the base of chain link fences surrounding existing ponds, and old pasture fencing was torn down. We are very appreciative of all the hard work volunteers contributed to the development of the Center. Jay Allen (Aquarium Innovations), Kathy Vause (Riverbanks Zoo and Garden), and Roman Fletcher deserve special thanks for repeat visits and sustained commitment to the project. Kurt Buhlmann, Whit Gibbons, Judy Greene, Tracey Tuberville, Brian Metts, and Sean Poppy all contributed time and energy to transitioning turtles from SREL to the TSC.
On 6 April the TSC veterinary advisory group, along with veterinary technician Sheena Koeth, arrived for a hectic fun-filled weekend with Cris Hagen processing the first wave of arriving turtles. The vet team spent the weekend collecting quarantine samples and conducting health assessments on the first 47 turtles transferred from the SREL collection. These collaborative efforts are very important for the development of the TSC, and represent the first steps in establishing effective quarantine and disease prevention protocols for the Center.
The TSA is grateful for the expert care provided by the vet team. However, their dedication was not limited to veterinary medicine. Dr. Innis was the first to arrive and within minutes was mired in mud, shoveling wet cement to build walls for a forest enclosure. Dr. Flanagan baked home-made bread for the group every morning. The camaraderie was a true pleasure, and the seven people present shared in a significant occasion: the release of the first turtles into the outdoor ponds: 1.1 Batagur borneoensis, 1.3 Orlitia borneensis, 11.14 Mauremys annamensis, 5.3 Mauremys nigricans, and 1.1 Geoclemys hamiltoni. On a poignant note, some of the first arrivals to the TSC were a group of three Burmese Mountain Tortoises and a pair of Sulawesi Forest Turtles, brought there as a result of the untimely passing of Dr. Greg Fleming.
No sooner had the vet team departed the TSC than we began preparations for another arrival. On Thursday evening, 11 April, the TSC hosted over 40 delegates from the American Zoo Association mid-year conference in Charleston, SC. The group, which included directors, curators and AZA staff, spent two hours touring the facility and learning about our vision for the Center. That was followed by a southern BBQ dinner. The next night the TSA Board of Directors arrived for their annual board meeting, and they were treated to a traditional Low Country Boil prepared by Thomas Rainwater and Cris Hagen
Despite the chaos, ongoing clean up and construction, we still found time to host a few turtle biologists. Maurice Rodrigues from the Turtle Conservancy stopped by in early April. Dick Vogt was conducting research in Charleston, SC, and came to the Center in late April. Nguyen Thu Thuy, Turtle Program Coordinator for the Asian Turtle Program, based in Hanoi, Vietnam, spent 2 days at the Center at the end of May. Bernard Devaux and Franck Bonin from SOPTOM in France, as well as Uzma Noureen from WWF Pakistan, spent an afternoon with us in early June.
As much as we enjoyed showing off the TSC, we are discouraging further visits until heavy construction is complete and the bulk of the TSA collection has been settled in to their new homes. We look forward to the day when the Center no longer looks like a muddy construction site!
If there is a single group of turtles that stands to benefit most from the TSC, and which should be considered emblematic of the Center, it is the Asian Box Turtles (genus Cuora). The most imperiled group of turtles in the world, 12 of the 13 recognized Cuora species are considered critically endangered. Several are extinct in the wild, and others are biologically extinct, meaning their populations have reached such low numbers that they are no longer viable. Collecting pressures on the remaining wild stocks are so intense that their future rests solely on captive populations. The TSC was founded specifically for species in such dire straits.
Over the past year the TSC has acquired several groups of priority Cuora species through breeding loan agreements and donations. We were incredibly fortunate to be able to acquire founder adult specimens of C. aurocapitata, C. bouretti, C. mccordi, C. pani, C. picturata, and C. zhoui—most of which are presently unrepresented in the global captive population. These turtles will form the nucleus of important breeding programs at the TSC, and we expect these groups to thrive and reproduce well here in the moderate coastal climate of South Carolina. Although the low country climate and topography has presented challenges to our construction projects, it is an excellent match to the climate of southern China where many of these species occur. Building highly secure and functional habitats for these species is our leading priority.
The decision to acquire and develop the Turtle Survival Center was a bold move, and certainly one with risks. The successful launch of the Center certainly bodes well. But our overwhelming challenge over the next five years will be to continue the momentum behind the TSC, while simultaneously sustaining consistent funding for our many field programs—both efforts are vital to our mission. We have full time staff in Madagascar (2), Burma (2), India (6) and Colombia (1) that we cannot afford to lose if we are to meet growing threats and obligations.
The TSA Board and our core donors have proven their dedication to our mission time and again, and have always come through. They have now made a leap of faith, and shown vision in their simultaneous commitment to maintaining our field programs while also constructing the TSC. We trust that one day soon—when the TSC is firmly established and a handful of critical species have gained a foothold on a secure future—that our current financial travails will be but a distant memory. Then we will look back with pride and know that our bold gamble paid off.
Until that day, please join the Turtle Survival Alliance at http://www.turtlesurvival.org/in helping make the TSC and our field programs thrive, for the betterment of chelonians around the planet.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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
____________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

Instructions on how to unsubscribe are also there.
__________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:22 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 48 10/18/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1)A Video Fresh Water Turtle Trade Monitoring in the Dhaka City of Bangladesh (September 2011 toAugust 2012)
2) 5th Annual Reptile and Amphibian Appreciation Day -Natural History Museum of LA County3) From Continental Priorities to Local Conservation: A
3) From Continental Priorities to Local Conservation: A
Multi-Level Analysis for African Tortoises

4) Eulogy- Dr. Kevin Wright- Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians

5) The Travel Grant Committee for the 34th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation (10-17 April 2014) is pleased to announce that limited travel funds are available to assist students and participants in their efforts to attend the Symposium and provide volunteer help, if needed.

6) Water plan threatens sea turtles, group warns (Texas)

7) Frog-Killing Fungus Paralyzes Amphibian Immune Response

8) Bullfrogs May Help Spread Deadly Amphibian Fungus, but Also Die from It
9) Cows help Salem County bog turtles' survival
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.
__________________________________________________
1)A Video Fresh Water Turtle Trade Monitoring in the Dhaka City of Bangladesh (September 2011 toAugust 2012)
A depressing video-very graphic - of turtle trade in Bangladesh-but worth seeing if you are interested in the conservation of turtles. It is a video version of a paper in process by same name. By Wild Safiq at safiqujnu@facebook.com he is on Facebook if you wish to contact him.
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7gQ2v4 ... =drive_web
___________________________________________________________________
2) 5th Annual Reptile and Amphibian Appreciation Day -Natural History Museum of LA County
Sunday, October 20, 2013 9:30am-5:00pm
Natural History Museum of LA County
It's time for NHM's 5th annual Reptile and Amphibian Appreciation Day! There will be loads of live reptiles and amphibians, including live animal presentations in the new Nature Lab. Visitors can see specimens from the herpetology and anthropology collections, watch snake feeding demos, take behind-the-scenes tours, hear guest speakers, and check out displays from local herpetological societies, professional herpetologists and more!
www.nhm.org/raad
____________________________________________________________
3) From Continental Priorities to Local Conservation: A
Multi-Level Analysis for African Tortoises

Pierluigi Bombi1* , Manuela D’Amen1,2 , Luca Luiselli3,4
1 Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology, National Research Council, Monterotondo, Italy, 2 Centro Nazionale Biodiversità Forestale ‘Bosco
Fontana’, Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Verona, Italy, 3 Centre of Environmental Studies Demetra s.r.l., Rome, Italy, 4 Eni s.p.a. Environmental Department,
Rome, Italy

Contact for copt - * E-mail: pierluigi.bombi@gmail.com

Abstract
Terrestrial tortoises are the most endangered group of vertebrates but they are still largely ignored for defining global conservation priorities. In this paper, we explored within a hierarchical framework the potential contribution of
prioritization studies at the continental scale to the planning of local initiatives for the conservation of African tortoises at the regional level. First, we modeled the distribution of all the African tortoise species, we calculated three
indicators of conservation priority (i.e. species richness, conservation value, and complementarity), and we carried out a gap analysis at continental scale. Second, we focused on the most important region for tortoise conservation
and performed the same analyses at higher resolution. Finally, we compared the results from the two scales for understanding the degree to which they are complementary. Southern Africa emerged from the continental analysis
as the most important region for tortoises. Within this area, the high-resolution analysis pointed out specific core sites for conservation. The relative degree of species protection was assessed similarly at the two different resolutions.
Two species appeared particularly vulnerable at both scales. Priority indices calculated at high resolution were correlated to the values calculated for the corresponding cells at low resolution but the congruence was stronger for
species richness. Our results suggest to integrate the calculation of conservation value and complementarity into a hierarchical framework driven by species richness. The advantages of large scale planning include its broad
perspective on complementarity and the capability to identify regions with greatest conservation potential. In this light, continental analyses allow targeting fine scale studies toward regions with maximum priority. The regional analyses
at fine scale allow planning conservation measure at a resolution similar to that required for the practical implementation, reducing the uncertainty associated with low resolution studies.

Citation: Bombi P, D’Amen M, Luiselli L (2013) From Continental Priorities to Local Conservation: A Multi-Level Analysis for African Tortoises. PLoS ONE
8(10): e77093. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077093

Editor: Brock Fenton, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Received May 26, 2013; Accepted August 29, 2013; Published October 8, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Bombi et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

• E-mail: pierluigi.bombi@gmail.com
_________________________________________________________________
4) Eulogy- Dr. Kevin Wright- Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veternarians

On September 26, 2013, the field of veterinary medicine lost a great mind. Kevin Wright completed his DVM at the University of Florida in 1988, launching one of the greatest careers in herpetological medicine possible. First as a veterinarian at the Philadelphia zoo and then at the Phoenix zoo, he had the fortuitous opportunity to immerse himself in zoological medicine. From there, he launched into private practice as the president and leader of the team at the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital and then as solo practitioner of his own Wright Exotic Pet and Bird House Call Service. Over these years, in addition to practicing medicine of the highest caliber, he was the president of the ARAV, published countless papers on a myriad of exotic animal veterinary medical topics, co-authored the legacy text on amphibian medicine and surgery, and even edited the amphibian medicine chapters for the most recent edition of Reptile Medicine and Surgery. An accomplished speaker and presenter, his talks were both exceptionally informative and engaging. He was awarded the Hill’s Nutrition Award in 1988, the Exotic DVM of the year in 2008, and twice awarded the Speaker of the Year at the NAVC conference, in 2009 and again in 2012. In 2010 he achieved the goal he sought in his professional life; he was one of the first 5 clinicians awarded ABVP diplomate status as a specialist in reptile and amphibian medicine and surgery.

For all his professional achievements, they are pale to the ones he achieved in his life. Dr. Wright has mentored and guided dozens, if not hundreds, of young, eager students and interns to strive for the best. He knew the way to light the fire of curiosity and knowledge in so many people that it will never be possible to assess the reach his enthusiasm had. Many hundreds of colleagues the world over are proud to have known him and thankful for the positive influence he has had on them. Those who had the pleasure to talk with him all remember the hyperintelligent, irreverent man best known both for atypical greetings and the ability to make astounding, brilliant statements and deductions. Furthermore, his presentation of these topics would make them as understandable and modest as the nose on his face. It has been remarked that his mind could do laps while the bulk of us would just crawl: The difference was that he was always willing to carry us around the track with him.

On a personal note, Kevin was a dear friend to so many of us. Some would see and talk with him often, while others would only see him annually; it made no difference, as he was a “forever” friend. Even if no words had passed in some time, he would warmly welcome you the moment he saw you, and within minutes, it would feel like it had only been yesterday. We all understand when we say, “the personal details of his greetings are best left unsaid…”
He loved his science and his medicine, but he adored his home, his pets, his comics and toys, and most of all, his wife of 25 years, Marlene. She has long been the support that kept him strong, a guide through his maze of a life, and always his encouragement. We all now share in her grief and loss, and keep her in our thoughts for strength and healing.

In memoriam, the world is a quieter, less brilliant, and much less silly place without Dr. Kevin Wright in it. The world will never see another mind like his.
___________________________________________________________
5) The Travel Grant Committee for the 34th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation (10-17 April 2014) is pleased to announce that limited travel funds are available to assist students and participants in their efforts to attend the Symposium and provide volunteer help, if needed.

Awards should not be expected to cover the full cost of symposium travel. As has been previously announced, the ISTS is currently facing serious financial difficulties and as such, the Travel Grant Committee will be extra judicious in its awarding decisions for the upcoming symposium.
Priority will be given to those who will be presenting orals or posters and to individuals from under-represented regions. The committee looks favorably upon those who demonstrate efforts to secure additional sources of travel funds or matching grants. If you are in need of assistance for travel to the Symposium, apply via the Symposium website (instructions and link provided below) before the deadline.
Travel grant applications are due on 04 November 2013 and no late applications will be considered.
Applicants should follow the following procedure to apply for a travel grant:
1. Register for the symposium (click here)
2. Submit your abstract to the symposium for consideration (required for travel applicants from the US and Canada)
3. Using your symposium registration number, complete the online travel grant application in full prior to the 04 November 2013 deadline.
All the information on the upcoming 34th Sea Turtle Symposium (including information on registering and applying for a travel grant) can be found at:
http://iconferences.seaturtle.org
Applicants should apply to the region that they are traveling from, NOT where the research was conducted.
Awards will be announced during the first two weeks of February 2014. Please contact the appropriate Regional Travel Chair with any questions. It is greatly preferred that all correspondence is carried out by email/internet; however, if it is impossible to access an online computer, applicants can make contact with their Regional Travel Chairs by fax.
If asked to do so, all grant recipients are expected to serve as volunteers for some of the multiple and important tasks related to the functioning of the event.
If you have specific questions, please contact the travel chair for your region. Contact information for each Regional Travel Grant Chair is provided below.
Visas
If you require a Visa to attend the 34th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, you should start the application process immediately after registering for the Symposium in order to avoid unnecessary delays. It would be wise to allow a minimum of 60 days between your application and Visa approval. If administrative processing is required, this process could take up to 90 days. Please see U.S. Visa Policy, U.S. Visa Waiver Program, U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions for detailed information.
Kind regards, Alexander Gaos, Travel Committee Chair
ISTS 34 – New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Travel Support Contacts
Travel Grant Committee Chair
Alexander GAOS
Email: gaos@hawksbill.org
Fax: +1 619 594 5676

Regional Travel Chairs
Africa Regional Travel Chair
Angela FORMIA
Email: aformia@seaturtle.org
Fax: +39 055 2288289

Europe Regional Travel Chair
Aliki PANAGOPOULOU
Email: aliki@archelon.gr

South Asia Regional Travel Chair
Andrea Phillott
Email: andrea.phillott@auw.edu.bd

Middle East Regional Travel Chair
ALan REES
Email: arees@seaturtle.org
Fax: +44(0) 1326 253638

Southeast Asia/Pacific Regional Travel Chair
Maggie MUURMANS
Email: maggiemuurmans@gmail.com

Caribbean (English-speaking) Regional Travel Chair
Karen ECKERT
Email: keckert@widecast.org
Fax: +1 252 504 7648

USA and Canada Regional Travel Chair
Kelly STEWART
Email: kelly.stewart@mail.seaturtle.org
Fax: +1 858 546 7003

Mexico, Central America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean Regional Travel Chair
Emma HARRISON
Email: emma@conserveturtles.org
Fax: +506 2297 6576

South America Regional Travel Chair
Alejandro FALLABRINO
Email: afalla7@gmail.com
Fax: +00 598 43721622 546 7003
______________________________________________________________
6) Water plan threatens sea turtles, group warns (Texas)
By Matthew Tresaugue | October 11, 2013
The endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle will be placed in harm's way with the suspension of freshwater, an environmental group warned. This will diminish the turtle's primary food source, blue crabs.
The endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle will be put in harm's way by a Central Texas river authority's emergency plan to cut off freshwater from Matagorda Bay, an environmental group warned state regulators Friday.
In a 12-page letter, the Matagorda Bay Foundation urged the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to reject the plan, saying the suspension of freshwater will diminish the turtle's primary food source, blue crabs. The commission is expected to vote next month on the plan.
'Do the right thing'
"We are asking the commission to do the right thing," said Jim Blackburn, a Houston attorney representing the foundation. "There is an incredibly strong linkage between flows into the bay and blue crabs and Kemp's ridleys."
Kemp's ridleys, he said, serve as indicators of the bay's ecological health.
Scientists already are concerned about an unexpected drop in the number of the sea turtle's nests. They found 153 nest along the Texas coast from May to July, down from 209 in 2012. The reason for the decline is not yet known.
The Lower Colorado River Authority, which is seeking the suspension order, also received Blackburn's letter and is reviewing it, a spokeswoman said.
In September, the river authority's board voted 9-6 to approve the drought-related plan, which would keep water in two key reservoirs near Austin for up to four months rather than allowing it to flow into Matagorda Bay.
The authority, which manages the river from the Hill Country to the bay, said it made the decision because of near-record low levels in the Highland Lakes, which provide water for more than 1 million people in and around Austin.
Freshwater needed
When the Colorado River is flowing into the bay, the freshwater mixes with the Gulf's backwash to create an ecological superconductor, with a seemingly endless supply of oysters, shrimp and fin fish. Kemp's ridleys, the smallest of the sea turtles, are a seasonal resident in this ecosystem.
But things have been unraveling during Texas' current drought. Less rain means less water coming out of the rivers that feed the bay and less dilution for the saltwater that creeps in from the Gulf.
If the water is too salty, it could be detrimental to the blue crabs, said Ronald Sass, a noted Rice University biologist who is helping the Matagorda Bay Foundation.
Blackburn made a similar argument in 2009 when he sued the state for denying endangered whooping cranes the freshwater they need to survive by allowing too many withdrawals on the Guadalupe River.
'Health of our bays'
A federal judge ruled that Texas officials must provide enough water to maintain the bird's habitat. But the state is seeking a reversal in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"This is different because there was a vote to kill Matagorda Bay," Blackburn said. "I don't think it's right, and I don't think it is in the best interest of Texas. This is about the health of our bays."
___________________________________________________________________
7) Frog-Killing Fungus Paralyzes Amphibian Immune Response
Oct. 17, 2013 Science Daily-— A fungus that is killing frogs and other amphibians around the world releases a toxic factor that disables the amphibian immune response, Vanderbilt University investigators report Oct. 18 in the journal Science.
The findings represent "a step forward in understanding a long-standing puzzle -- why the amphibian immune system seems to be so inept at clearing the fungus," said Louise Rollins-Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. Although the identity of the toxic fungal factor (or factors) remains a mystery, its ability to inhibit a wide range of cell types -- including cancerous cells -- suggests that it may offer new directions for the development of immunosuppressive or anti-cancer agents.
The populations of amphibian species have been declining worldwide for more than 40 years. In the late 1990s, researchers discovered that an ancient fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, was causing skin infections, and the fungus is now recognized as a leading contributor to global amphibian decline.
Rollins-Smith, an immunologist, and her colleagues have been studying the immune response to the fungus for more than 10 years.
"Amphibians have excellent and complex immune systems -- nearly as complex as humans -- and they should be able to recognize and clear the fungus," she said.
In early studies, the investigators demonstrated that some frogs produce anti-microbial peptides in the skin that offer a first layer of defense against the fungus. But when the fungus gets into the layers of the skin, Rollins-Smith said, the conventional lymphocyte (immune cell)-mediated immune response should be activated to clear it.
They found in the current studies that recognition of the fungus by macrophage and neutrophil cells was not impaired.
"We think it's not a block at the initial recognition stage," Rollins-Smith said. "The macrophages and neutrophils can see it as a pathogen, they can eat it up, they can do their thing."
But during the next stage of the immune response, when lymphocytes should be activated, the fungus exerts its toxic effects. The investigators demonstrated that B. dendrobatidis cells and supernatants (the incubation liquid separated from the cells) impaired lymphocyte proliferation and induced cell death of lymphocytes from frogs, mice and humans. The toxic fungal factor also inhibited the growth of cancerous mammalian cell lines.
The toxic factor was resistant to heat and proteases (enzymes that cut proteins into pieces), suggesting that it is not a protein. It appears to be a component of the cell wall, because drugs that interfere with cell wall synthesis reduce its inhibitory activity and because the zoospore -- an immature form of the fungus that lacks a cell wall -- does not produce the factor.
The new findings suggest the possibility that toxic factors -- in addition to acting locally to inhibit the immune response -- might also get into the circulation and have neurotoxic effects, Rollins-Smith said.
"Fungal infection causes rapid behavioral changes -- frogs become lethargic and start to crawl out of the water -- suggesting that even though the fungus stays in the skin, the toxic material is having effects elsewhere."
The studies, led by graduate students J. Scott Fites and Jeremy Ramsey, could also suggest new conservation measures for species that may be medically important.
"Amphibian skin has long been favored in folklore for its medicinal properties," Rollins-Smith said. "Frogs are a rich source of potentially useful molecules that might work against human pathogens."
The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. Other authors of the Science paper include Whitney Holden, Sarah Collier, Danica Sutherland, Laura Reinert, Sophia Gayek, Terence Dermody, M.D., Thomas Aune, Ph.D., and Kyra Oswald-Richter, Ph.D.

___________________________________________________________________________
8) Bullfrogs May Help Spread Deadly Amphibian Fungus, but Also Die from It
June 17, 2013 Science Daily— Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and a major cause is a deadly fungus thought to be spread by bullfrogs, but a two-year study shows they can also die from this pathogen, contrary to suggestions that bullfrogs are a tolerant carrier host that just spreads the disease.
When researchers raised the frogs from eggs in controlled experimental conditions, they found at least one strain of this pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, also called Bd or a chytrid fungus, can be fatal to year-old juveniles. However, bullfrogs were resistant to one other strain that was tested.
The findings, made by researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Pittsburgh, show that bullfrogs are not the sole culprit in the spread of this deadly fungus, and add further complexity to the question of why amphibians are in such serious jeopardy.
About 40 percent of all amphibian species are declining or are already extinct, researchers say. Various causes are suspected, including this fungus, habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, invasive species, increased UV-B light exposure, and other forces.
"At least so far as the chytrid fungus is involved, bullfrogs may not be the villains they are currently made out to be," said Stephanie Gervasi, a zoology researcher in the OSU College of Science. "The conventional wisdom is that bullfrogs, as a tolerant host, are what helped spread this fungus all over the world. But we've now shown they can die from it just like other amphibians."
The research suggests that bullfrogs actually are not a very good host for the fungus, which first was identified as a novel disease of amphibians in 1998. So why the fungus has spread so fast, so far, and is causing such mortality rates is still not clear.
"One possibility for the fungal increase is climate change, which can also compromise the immune systems of amphibians," said Andrew Blaustein, a distinguished professor of zoology at OSU and international leader in the study of amphibian declines. "There are a lot of possible ways the fungus can spread. People can even carry it on their shoes."
The average infection load of the chytrid fungus in bullfrogs, regardless of the strain, is considerably lower than that of many other amphibian species, researchers have found. Some bullfrogs can reduce and even get rid of infection in their skin over time.
While adult bullfrogs may be carriers of some strains of Bd in some areas, the researchers concluded, different hosts may be as or more important in other locations. International trade of both amphibian and non-amphibian animal species may also drive global pathogen distribution, they said.
The findings of this study were published in EcoHealth, a professional journal.
__________________________________________________________________________
9) Cows help Salem County bog turtles' survival
By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: October 15, 2013
The disappearing bog turtle, newly distinguished among endangered species, has found a friend in the lowly cows that graze on marshy New Jersey farmlands.
The unlikely relationship between the two creatures is being nurtured under the year-old federal Working Lands for Wildlife program, which identifies seven critically endangered and threatened species across the country for special attention. The bog turtle, one of America's tiniest turtles and a native of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, joins several birds, a tortoise, and a rare rabbit whose survival has become a priority.
"The bog turtle is the rarest turtle in the Northeast," said Brian Zarate, a state Department of Environmental Protection zoologist in charge of monitoring the species in New Jersey.
Though the turtles, which can be held in the palm of the hand, are usually found in small pockets throughout the area, a significant colony of 30 lives near a stream on a 300-acre dairy farm in Salem County. Under the federal program, new measures are being taken to help this population flourish.
On a recent crisp morning, 40 cows on that farm unwittingly participated by mowing down and munching on red maple saplings, sedges, ferns, and tangled weeds that might deprive the turtles of the sunshine they need for basking and warming their bodies. Keeping the vegetation in check also allows the turtle eggs to get the sun they need to incubate, according to Bill Pitts, a DEP zoologist who keeps an eye on the Salem turtles.
In March, the farmer had received a $4,000 federal grant to erect fences and gates to manage the cows' grazing habits to meet the turtles' needs. For six months each year, the cows will freely roam in the wetlands portion of the pasture, and in the remaining months, they will be funneled to another field.
Though the turtles need sun, they also need vegetation for their nests and for foraging during the nesting and breeding season in the spring, Pitts said. The fence strategy also allows the turtles to move about during that season without the risk of being stepped on.
"It's a recovery plan," said Pitts, who visits periodically, marking the turtles to maintain a count and to chart their health. "The ultimate goal is to remove them from the list of endangered species" the way the American bald eagle was delisted when it began to thrive on its own.
To find the black-shelled, roughly four-inch-long critters, Pitts hunts among the sedges or pokes a stick repeatedly into the muck to see whether he hits something hard. He requested the farm's exact location be withheld to prevent possible poaching of the rare creatures.
The greatest threats to the turtles are development, invasive and native over-growth of plants in their habitat, and illegal trade and collecting, according to a website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides funding for the program. The USDA could not be reached for comment because of the federal government shutdown.
The website said two-thirds of the lands occupied by endangered species are privately owned. By cooperating with the landowners, the website says, the survival rates of these turtles can be improved. Sheep and goat farmers also participate.
Because the turtles are so reclusive, hiding in the muck during much of their lives, it is difficult to estimate the total population. But the DEP has counted and marked roughly 1,000 statewide since 1974, Pitts said. Other states, he said, have far fewer, and the numbers are declining.
The turtles, known by the distinctive orange patches on the sides of their heads, live mostly in wetlands. To survive, they require a "mosaic of habitats" with spring-fed streams, muck, and some dry land for breeding and nesting cycles, Pitts said. "They don't travel far - they're homebodies," he said.
Smaller pockets of the critters have been identified in Burlington and Gloucester Counties, Pitts said.
But the Salem colony is "a showcase project," according to Zarate. "Turtle-wise, 30 is a fairly good number."
At some other non-dairy farms, Zarate said, the DEP is recommending the landowners introduce grazing animals to help the bog turtles thrive. When there are no cows to control vegetation, the DEP sometimes has to cut down trees or do controlled burns to removed unwanted overgrowth.
Pitts said sometimes other measures must be taken to keep predators - foxes, raccoons, and hawks - from stealing the bog turtles' eggs. The nests are covered with wire mesh.
Farmers who don't participate in the program still must avoid jeopardizing the survival of the bog turtles. The DEP has the authority to file complaints against any landowners who violate endangered-species laws.
Last year, a Burlington County flower farmer was fined for chopping down a row of trees and blocking up a stream, which led to the deaths of bog turtles that lost their critical water source. The DEP said the farmer had been warned against clearing land so close to the turtle habitat.
Developers also must do environmental assessments to check for bog turtles and other endangered species before they can proceed with a project. If turtles are found, the developers must take measures to protect their habitat and include a 350-foot buffer.
"We really need to give these turtles the habitat they need to persist," Pitts said. "They are a species whose numbers are dropping precipitously."
___________________________________________________________________
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
____________________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

Instructions on how to unsubscribe are also there.
__________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:33 am

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 49 10/22/13 (Some Important Journal Articles You Might Have Missed)
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) Realizing the full potential of citizen science monitoring programs
2) Chasing maximal performance: a cautionary tale from the celebrated jumping frogs of Calaveras County
3) Motivating Your Frogs, Calaveras County Can Help
4) The Invasive Chytrid Fungus of Amphibians Paralyzes Lymphocyte Responses: Evasion of host immunity may explain why this pathogen has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.
5) Detecting spring after a long winter: coma or slow vigilance in cold, hypoxic turtles?
6) Small reptile community responses to rotational logging
7) Enigmatic declines of Australia’s sea snakes from a biodiversity hotspot
8) The body temperature of active amphibians along a tropical elevation gradient: patterns of mean and variance and inference from environmental data
9) Integrating telemetry with a predictive model to assess habitat preferences and juvenile survival in an endangered freshwater turtle: Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus)
10) The effects of weather conditions on dispersal behaviour of free-ranging lizards (Tiliqua, Scincidae, Bluetongued Skinks) in tropical Australia
11) Life-history traits and extrinsic threats determine extinction risk in New Zealand lizards
12) Regrowth woodlands are valuable habitat for reptile communities
13) Correcting for heterogeneous availability bias in surveys of long-diving marine turtles
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.
__________________________________________________
1) Realizing the full potential of citizen science monitoring programs
Biological Conservation
Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 128–138
• Ayesha I.T. Tullocha, , , a.tulloch@uq.edu.au
• Hugh P. Possinghama, , h.possingham@uq.edu.au
• Liana N. Josephb, , ljoseph@wcs.org
• Judit Szaboc, , Judit.Szabo@cdu.edu.au
• Tara G. Martind, Tara.Martin@csiro.au

• a ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub, Centre for Biodiversity & Conservation Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
• b Wildlife Conservation Society, New York 10460, USA
• c Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0909, Australia
• d CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia


Highlights
We review the ability of volunteer-monitoring schemes to achieve management, ecological knowledge or social objectives.
We use return-on-investment to determine the influence and cost-effectiveness of different citizen science programs.
Cross-sectional schemes (Bird Atlases) and longitudinal schemes (Breeding Bird Surveys) achieve different objectives.
Schemes with higher temporal and spatial resolution are more cost-effective and influential in the scientific literature.
We outline ways to devise cost-effective citizen science programs capable of fulfilling multiple objectives.
Abstract
Citizen science is on the rise. Aided by the internet, the popularity and scope of citizen science appears almost limitless. For citizens the motivation is to contribute to “real” science, public information and conservation. For scientists, citizen science offers a way to collect information that would otherwise not be affordable. The longest running and largest of these citizen science programs are broad-scale bird monitoring projects. There are two basic types of protocols possible: (a) cross-sectional schemes such as Atlases – collections of surveys of many species contributed by volunteers over a set period of time, and (b) longitudinal schemes such as Breeding Bird Surveys (BBS) – on-going stratified monitoring of sites that require more coordination. We review recent applications of these citizen science programs to determine their influence in the scientific literature. We use return-on-investment thinking to identify the minimum investment needed for different citizen science programs, and the point at which investing more in citizen science programs has diminishing benefits. Atlas and BBS datasets are used to achieve different objectives, with more knowledge-focused applications for Atlases compared with more management applications for BBS. Estimates of volunteer investment in these datasets show that compared to cross-sectional schemes, longitudinal schemes are more cost-effective, with increased BBS investment correlated with more applications, which have higher impact in the scientific literature, as measured by citation rates. This is most likely because BBS focus on measuring change, allowing the impact of management and policy to be quantified. To ensure both types of data are used to their full potential we recommend the following: elements of BBS protocols (fixed sites, long-term monitoring) are incorporated into Atlases; regional coordinators are in place to maintain data quality; communication between researchers and the organisations coordinating volunteer monitoring is enhanced, with monitoring targeted to meet specific needs and objectives; application of data to under-explored objectives is encouraged, and data are made freely and easily accessible.
________________________________________________________
2) Chasing maximal performance: a cautionary tale from the celebrated jumping frogs of Calaveras County
Journal of Experimental Biology, November 1, 2013 Pg 3947-3953
1. H. C. Astley1,*,
2. E. M. Abbott†,
3. E. Azizi†,
4. R. L. Marsh2 and
5. T. J. Roberts1
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Brown University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Providence, RI 02912, USA
2. 2Northeastern University, Department of Biology, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3. ↵* Author for correspondence at present address: Department of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA (henry.astley@physics.gatech.edu)
• Received April 27, 2013.
• Accepted July 15, 2013.

SUMMARY
Maximal performance is an essential metric for understanding many aspects of an organism's biology, but it can be difficult to determine because a measured maximum may reflect only a peak level of effort, not a physiological limit. We used a unique opportunity provided by a frog jumping contest to evaluate the validity of existing laboratory estimates of maximum jumping performance in bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana). We recorded video of 3124 bullfrog jumps over the course of the 4-day contest at the Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee, and determined jump distance from these images and a calibration of the jump arena. Frogs were divided into two groups: ‘rental’ frogs collected by fair organizers and jumped by the general public, and frogs collected and jumped by experienced, ‘professional’ teams. A total of 58% of recorded jumps surpassed the maximum jump distance in the literature (1.295 m), and the longest jump was 2.2 m. Compared with rental frogs, professionally jumped frogs jumped farther, and the distribution of jump distances for this group was skewed towards long jumps. Calculated muscular work, historical records and the skewed distribution of jump distances all suggest that the longest jumps represent the true performance limit for this species. Using resampling, we estimated the probability of observing a given jump distance for various sample sizes, showing that large sample sizes are required to detect rare maximal jumps. These results show the importance of sample size, animal motivation and physiological conditions for accurate maximal performance estimates.

FOOTNOTES
• ↵† Present address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
• AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
• All authors contributed to writing the paper and devising the study; H.C.A., R.L.M., T.J.R. and E.M.A. attended the fair and gathered the video; H.C.A. and E.M.A. processed and digitized the video; all authors were involved in analysis.
• Supplementary material available online at http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/f ... 1/3947/DC1
_________________________________________________________
1. Motivating Your Frogs, Calaveras County Can Help
Journal of Experimental Biology, November 1, 2013
1. Nicola Stead


The tiny Cuban tree frog can jump an impressive 1.7 m, but its relative, the larger and more muscular bullfrog, can rarely muster anything farther than 1 m in the lab. Initially, the bullfrog's dismal jumping performance was blamed on a trade-off caused by the need to jump and swim; however, Henry Astley, a PhD student from Brown University, USA, wasn't convinced: ‘Other papers suggested that they had a catapult mechanism like the tree frogs, where they stretch an elastic tendon and then quickly recoil, like a bow and arrow, and if so, they should be doing a lot better than they appear to be doing in lab.’ What's more, The Guinness Book of World Records documents the achievements of ‘Rosie the Ribeter’ a wild bullfrog who, in 1986, at the annual Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubliee, jumped a colossal 2.2 m. Was Rosie's jump just a once in a million fluke or were bullfrogs indeed able to jump this far? If so, why weren't they performing to their maximum potential in the lab? Astley decided it was time to find out (p. 3947).
Along with other lab members, Astley made the trip out to Angels Camp, CA, USA, for the 84th session of the fair. Over the course of 4 days, the team filmed jumps from both ‘rentals’ (frogs rented from the fair organisers) and ‘professionals’ (frogs hand-selected from the wild by teams that competed annually). During the breaks, the team would lay down a measuring grid for calibration purposes, but on the whole the team were able to sit back and soak up the atmosphere. ‘It's a tremendously fun fair to go to and everyone was so enthusiastic about the frogs’, says Astley, jokingly adding, ‘Plus, how often do you have fieldwork were you eat funnel cake and hot dogs?’
Back in the lab, however, the work began in earnest, and several undergraduate students were recruited for the daunting task of digitising over 3000 jumps. Astley was then able to calculate take-off velocities and angles, and estimate the power used during the jumps. However, what really stood out was that most of the frogs outperformed frogs in the lab; rental and professional frogs' jumps averaged at 1.1 and 1.5 m, respectively. Even more impressive was just how close some frogs came to Rosie's world record – clearly bullfrogs are capable of enormous jumps. So, what was the trick? Astley explains that professional competitors are secretive about their ‘trade secrets’ of where to collect frogs and how to look after them and motivate them to jump on stage. However, overall they didn't look dramatically different to the rental frogs and the only change was that professional frogs were kept at warmer temperatures.
Astley wondered whether it was just a matter of probability, so he randomly took samples of frog jumps to find out what the chance of seeing a long jump was. He revealed a non-linear relationship between sample size and jump distance. For example, a sample size of 10 rental frogs (the equivalent of the lab frogs, which aren't selected by ‘professionals’ with decades of experience) gives you just a 14% chance of seeing a jump over 1.6 m, while increasing the sample size to 50 frogs gives a 56% chance. In conclusion, Astley says researchers would have to process a large number of frogs to stand a chance of seeing an impressive jump, but as he jokes: ‘We can order a dozen frogs from our supplier, but a hundred frogs? The animal care bills would bankrupt us!’ So, perhaps, fairs like the one at Calaveras represent an underused resource in the field of animal performance.
____________________________________________________________________
4) The Invasive Chytrid Fungus of Amphibians Paralyzes Lymphocyte Responses: Evasion of host immunity may explain why this pathogen has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.
Science -- October 18, 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6156 pp. 366-369

1. J. Scott Fites1,
2. Jeremy P. Ramsey2,*,
3. Whitney M. Holden2,
4. Sarah P. Collier2,
5. Danica M. Sutherland2,
6. Laura K. Reinert2,
7. A. Sophia Gayek2,
8. Terence S. Dermody2,3,
9. Thomas M. Aune2,4,
10. Kyra Oswald-Richter2,
11. Louise A. Rollins-Smith1,2,3,†
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA.
2. 2Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
3. 3Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
4. 4Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
+ Author Notes
↵* Present address: Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD 21021, USA.
↵†Corresponding author. E-mail: louise.rollins-smith@vanderbilt.edu

Abstract

The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, causes chytridiomycosis and is a major contributor to global amphibian declines. Although amphibians have robust immune defenses, clearance of this pathogen is impaired. Because inhibition of host immunity is a common survival strategy of pathogenic fungi, we hypothesized that B. dendrobatidis evades clearance by inhibiting immune functions. We found that B. dendrobatidis cells and supernatants impaired lymphocyte proliferation and induced apoptosis; however, fungal recognition and phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils was not impaired. Fungal inhibitory factors were resistant to heat, acid, and protease. Their production was absent in zoospores and reduced by nikkomycin Z, suggesting that they may be components of the cell wall. Evasion of host immunity may explain why this pathogen has devastated amphibian populations worldwide.
____________________________________________________________
5) Detecting spring after a long winter: coma or slow vigilance in cold, hypoxic turtles?
Published October 9, 2013 doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0602
Biology Letters December 23, 2013 vol. 9 no. 6 20130602
1. Jesper G. Madsen⇑,
2. Tobias Wang,
3. Kristian Beedholm and
4. Peter T. Madsen
- Author Affiliations
1. Zoophysiology, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Building 1131, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
2. e-mail: jesperguldsmedmadsen@gmail.com
Abstract
Many freshwater turtle species can spend the winter submerged in ice-covered lakes by lowering their metabolism, and it has been proposed that such severe metabolic depression render these turtles comatose. This raises the question of how they can detect the arrival of spring and respond in a sensible way to sensory information during hibernation. Using evoked potentials from cold or hypoxic turtles exposed to vibration and light, we show that hibernating turtles maintain neural responsiveness to light stimuli during prolonged hypoxia. Furthermore, turtles held under hibernation conditions for 14 days increase their activity when exposed to light or elevated temperatures, but not to vibration or increased oxygen. It is concluded that hibernating turtles are not comatose, but remain vigilant during overwintering in cold hypoxia, allowing them to respond to the coming of spring and to adjust their behaviour to specific sensory inputs.

• Received July 2, 2013.
• Accepted September 6, 2013.
_________________________________________________________________________
6) Small reptile community responses to rotational logging
Biological Conservation
Volume 166, October 2013, Pages 76–83
• Yang Hua, , ,
• Sarra Magatona,
• Graeme Gillespiea,
• Tim S Jessopa, b

• a Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
• b Wildlife and Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria 3056, Australia

Corresponding author. Yang Hu- Tel.: +61 437 724 722.

Abstract
Timber harvesting is a common global disturbance that has important effects on the ability of forests to provide ecosystems services and retain biodiversity. Using predictive frameworks to examine biodiversity responses to logging could assist in retaining natural forest values. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) and the habitat accommodation model (HAM) potentially offer frameworks for explaining different coarse scale community responses to logging. We used a 60 year post-logging chronosequence to investigate small reptile community responses to age post-logging in temperate forests using three metrics (species richness, evenness and relative abundance). First, we evaluated if variation in these metrics adhered to prior predictions, including the IDH. Second, we evaluated how age post-logging influence community responses through fine scale vegetation elements. Third, we evaluated support for the HAM by measuring compositional change (species turnover) of small reptile community to age post-logging. Reptile relative abundance exhibited a curvilinear relationship to age since logging, contradicting our prior prediction of sustained increase. Species richness and evenness were unrelated to age since logging thus providing no support to IDH and other prior predictions. Relative abundance and richness did not relate to any vegetation characteristic tested. These metrics were also unrelated to logging method. Community composition was marginally significantly influenced by age since logging, thus supporting the HAM. Our results suggest that forest reptiles exposed to logging exhibit variable changes depending on the community metric in question, and that different approaches, including those based on species traits, are needed to improve evaluating disturbance related biodiversity responses.
_______________________________________________________________
7) Enigmatic declines of Australia’s sea snakes from a biodiversity hotspot
Biological Conservation
Volume 166, October 2013, Pages 191–202
• Vimoksalehi Lukoscheka, , ,
• Maria Begerb,
• Daniela Ceccarellic,
• Zoe Richardsd,
• Morgan Pratchetta
• a Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
• b Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
• c Marine Ecology Consultant, P.O. Box 215, Magnetic Island, QLD 4819, Australia
• d Aquatic Zoology, Western Australian Museum, 49 Kew Street, Welshpool, WA 6105, Australia

Author Contact: Vimoksalehi Lukoscheka, -____vimoksalehi.lukoschek@jcu.edu.au

HIGHLIGHTS
Ashmore Reef has historically been a biodiversity hotspot, particularly for sea snakes.
Sea snake numbers dropped dramatically from >40 day−1 in 1973 and 1994 to 1–7 day−1 between 2005 and 2010.
Species richness declined from nine resident sea snake species to one or two species.
Eight sea snake species, including three endemics, have become locally extinct.
Enigmatic declines of sea snakes have occurred while Ashmore Reef was a protected National Nature Reserve.
ABSTRACT
Declines in the abundance of marine vertebrates are of considerable concern, especially when they occur in isolated locations relatively protected from most major anthropogenic disturbances. This paper reports on sustained declines in the abundance and diversity of sea snakes at Ashmore Reef, a renowned biodiversity hotspot in Australia’s Timor Sea. Surveys conducted in eight years between 1973 and 2010 recorded the highest abundances (average 42–46 snakes day−1) and species richness (nine species) in 1973 and 1994. In 2002 abundance had declined by more than 50% (21 snakes day−1) and only five species were recorded. Since 2005 abundances have been consistently low (1–7 snakes day−1), with just two species, Aipysurus laevis andEmydocephalus annulatus, recorded in significant numbers. Despite extensive searches since 2005 (especially in 2010) five species of sea snake historically abundant at Ashmore Reef have not been sighted and are presumed to have become locally extinct. These species include three Timor Sea endemics Aipysurus apraefrontalis, Aipysurus foliosquama, Aipysurus fuscus, and one Australasian endemic Aipysurus duboisii. Declines in the abundance and diversity of sea snakes at Ashmore Reef cannot be attributed to differences in survey methods among years. Ashmore Reef was declared a National Nature Reserve (IUCN Category 1a) in 1983 and, although the causes for the declines are not known, this protection has not prevented their occurrence. We discuss possible causes for these enigmatic declines however, in order to implement effective management strategies, studies are needed to determine why sea snakes have disappeared from Ashmore Reef.
______________________________________________________________________

8) The body temperature of active amphibians along a tropical elevation gradient: patterns of mean and variance and inference from environmental data
Functional Ecology
Volume 27, Issue 5, pages 1145–1154, October 2013
1. Carlos Arturo Navas1,*,
2. Juan Manuel Carvajalino-Fernández1,2,
3. Liliana Patricia Saboyá-Acosta3,
4. Luis Alberto Rueda-Solano4,†,
5. Marcos Antonio Carvajalino-Fernández5
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2013
Author Information
1. 1Department of Physiology, Biosciences Institute, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
2. 2Department of Biology, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia
3. 3Department of Biological Science, Magdalena University, Santa Marta, Colombia
4. 4Department of Biological Sciences, Los Andes University, Bogotá, Colombia
5. 5Fundación Pro-Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Santa Marta, Colombia
6. †Grupo de Ecología Neotropical, Facultad de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta, Colombia

*Correspondence author. E-mail: cnavas@ib.usp.br
Summary
1. Tropical montane amphibians have been the focus of recent and crucial conservation efforts. These initiatives require understanding on how elevation influences amphibian body temperature beyond the simplistic assumption of a monotonical decrease with elevation. This study addresses patterns and potential for inference in this context.
2. As elevation increases, mean body temperature (BT) of tropical montane amphibians decreases linearly, but intrapopulation variation (VAR) in BT increases exponentially. These relationships are influenced by biome structure, but display both local nuances and species-specific remarks.
3. Substrate temperature (ST) and BT hold a close relationship across elevation. The noise around this relationship is lowest in mid-elevation cloud forests and maximum in the paramo, a biome above the tree line.
4. The relationships between BT and ST, and between elevation and either BT or VAR, are valuable to infer general patterns of thermal ecology for amphibians and to highlight species-specific exceptional cases.
5. The BT of montane tropical amphibians can be estimated from temperature data collected at a scale compatible with the size and microhabitat of individual frogs. Estimates from elevation are valid as general trends that can be enhanced if natural history is taken into account. Worldclim data allow for rough inference only and have limited predictive power.
6. A framework is proposed to study how the BT and VAR of amphibians change with elevation. This framework encompasses information on biome structure and natural history.
_____________________________________________________________
9) Integrating telemetry with a predictive model to assess habitat preferences and juvenile survival in an endangered freshwater turtle: Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus)
Freshwater Biology
Volume 58, Issue 11, pages 2253–2263, November 2013
1. Mariana A. Micheli-Campbell1,*,
2. Hamish A. Campbell1,
3. Marilyn Connell2,
4. Ross G. Dwyer1,
5. Craig E. Franklin1

Author Information
1School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld, Australia
2Tiaro & District Landcare Group, Tiaro, Qld, Australia
*Correspondence: Mariana A. Micheli-Campbell, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia. E-mail: m.campbell4@uq.edu.au
Article first published online: July 26, 2013
Summary
1. The introduction of predators and habitat destruction is leading to a worldwide decline in freshwater turtles. Here, we assessed the preferred habitat and the predation rates for juveniles of the endangered Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus).
2. Juvenile turtles were fitted with miniaturised transmitters and located accurately over a 21-day period. Water depth and velocity were measured at each locality, and the data used to populate a predictive distribution model (ecological niche factor analysis – ENFA – with Mahalanobis distances). The model showed that the juvenile turtles preferred areas of shallow, slow-flowing water near riffles. Extrapolation of the model throughout the entire river trunk identified a further 49 discrete locations that possessed the environmental characteristics preferred by the juvenile turtles.
3. A further 12 juveniles were released with long-life (9 months) acoustic transmitters, and static underwater receivers were deployed to continuously record the presence and absence of turtles. The passive telemetry results supported the ENFA model and also suggested a 50% predation rate of the juvenile turtles over 9 months. Half of the predated turtles were probably taken by fish, whilst the other half were taken by a bird or mammal predator (inferred by changes in the movement of the attached transmitters).
4. Combining telemetry with a predictive distribution model showed where juvenile E. macrurus are likely to be found and the riverine features that require preservation to conserve the species.

____________________________________________________
10) The effects of weather conditions on dispersal behaviour of free-ranging lizards (Tiliqua, Scincidae, Bluetongued Skinks) in tropical Australia
Functional Ecology
Accepted Article (Accepted, unedited articles published online and citable. The final edited and typeset version of record will appear in future.)
1. Samantha J. Price-Rees,
2. Tom Lindström,
3. Gregory P. Brown,
4. Richard Shine*

School of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
* Corresponding author.
E-mail: rick.shine@sydney.edu.au
Tel: +612-9351-3772
Fax: +612-9351-5609
1. This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12189
Summary
1. Animals may switch between alternative modes of movement (e.g. philopatry vs. dispersal) in response to complex interactions between internal state, landscape characteristics, dispersal capacity, and navigational capacity.
2. In this study, we use an extensive data set from GPS telemetry of free-ranging lizards (bluetongue skinks, Tiliqua spp.) in the Australian wet-dry tropics, to examine how abiotic conditions (temperature, air pressure, precipitation, humidity and wind speed) influence lizard dispersal. The GPS transmitters provided >60,000 records of lizard location from 49 individuals (42 T. scincoides intermedia, 7 T. multifasciata) monitored for a mean of 65 days each.
3. We used a maximum likelihood analytical tool to objectively distinguish intra-patch movements from dispersive movements. Threshold levels of dispersal to differentiate between these two movement phases averaged 36–42 m displacement per hour, depending upon species and site.
4. Whether bluetongue lizards within the study population dispersed (rather than remained encamped) was highly associated with weather variables, notably air temperature and atmospheric pressure. Fine-scale (hourly) weather conditions were better predictors of lizard dispersal than daily mean values.
1. Lizards primarily dispersed between widely scattered patches of core-habitat under fine, hot, clear weather conditions. Air pressure tended to predict lizard dispersal more accurately than did more commonly-analysed variables such as temperature and precipitation.
__________________________________________________________________
11) Life-history traits and extrinsic threats determine extinction risk in New Zealand lizards
Biological Conservation
Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 62–68
• Reid Tingleya, ,
• Rod A. Hitchmoughb, ,
• David G. Chapplec, d, , david.chapple@monash.edu
• a ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
• b Department of Conservation, PO Box 10-420, Wellington, New Zealand
• c Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
• d School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia


Highlights
Understanding the factors that determine extinction risk is vital for effective conservation.
Relative to other vertebrate groups, extinction risk has rarely been examined in reptiles.
We conduct the most comprehensive study of extinction risk within a reptile group.
Body size, geographic range size and habitat specialization were the strongest predictors of extinction risk.
We place our results in context with studies on extinction risk in other vertebrate groups.
Abstract
A species’ vulnerability to extinction depends on extrinsic threats such as habitat loss, as well as its intrinsic ability to respond or adapt to such threats. Here we investigate the relative roles of extrinsic threats and intrinsic biological traits in determining extinction risk in the lizard fauna of New Zealand. Consistent with the results of previous studies on mammals and birds, we find that habitat specialization, body size and geographic range size are the strongest predictors of extinction risk. However, our analyses also reveal that lizards that occupy areas with high levels of annual rainfall and are exposed to exotic predators and high human population densities are at greater risk. Thus, while the intrinsic traits that render species prone to extinction appear largely congruent across vertebrate taxa, our findings illustrate that both extrinsic threats and intrinsic traits need to be considered in order to accurately predict, and hence prevent, future population declines.
______________________________________________________
12) Regrowth woodlands are valuable habitat for reptile communities
Biological Conservation
Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 95–103
• Melissa J. Brutona, , , melissa.bruton@uqconnect.edu.au
• Clive A. McAlpinea, b,
• Martine Marona, b
• a The University of Queensland, Landscape Ecology and Conservation Group, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, St. Lucia 4067, Australia
• b The University of Queensland, ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, St. Lucia 4067, Australia


Highlights
For reptiles, regrowth subtropical woodlands are equivalent in habitat value to remnant woodlands.

Passive regrowth can cost-effectively increase reptile diversity in disturbed landscapes.
Our findings were consistent in structurally diverse woodlands, indicating wider applicability.
Reptile abundance trends are highly variable and of little importance in determining habitat value.
Abstract
Protection of passive regrowth, or secondary vegetation, offers the potential to cost-effectively alleviate biodiversity declines caused by deforestation. This potential often goes unrealised because the habitat value of regrowth is generally considered marginal. However, the habitat value of regrowth varies among taxa. Disturbed subtropical woodland landscapes provide large-scale passive restoration opportunities. Subtropical woodlands are also rich in reptile diversity. We addressed the question: ‘What is the habitat value of subtropical regrowth woodlands for reptile communities?’ We identified five commonly-observed models of regrowth habitat value and then surveyed reptile communities in 43 cleared, regrowth and remnant Acacia- and Eucalyptus-dominated woodland sites in subtropical Queensland, Australia. Reptile species richness, diversity, dominance and community composition followed the “regrowth = remnant” model of high regrowth value, where the habitat values of regrowth and remnant woodlands were similar, and higher than that of cleared land. Unexpectedly, the proportion of juveniles was highest in cleared sites and lower in both regrowth and remnant sites. Our findings challenge the view that the habitat value of regrowth is limited. Consistency in findings between contrasting woodland types suggest that our results may apply in other similarly disturbed woodlands. We conclude that although remnant woodlands are irreplaceable, regrowth woodlands provide valuable habitat for reptile communities and the protection of such regrowth should be a high priority in disturbed subtropical woodland systems.
__________________________________________________________________________
13) Correcting for heterogeneous availability bias in surveys of long-diving marine turtles
Biological Conservation
Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 154–161
• Jordan A. Thomsona, b, , , jathoms@fiu.edu
• Andrew B. Cooperc,
• Derek A. Burkholderb,
• Michael R. Heithausb,
• Lawrence M. Dilla
• a Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr., Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada
• b Marine Sciences Program, School of Environment, Arts and Society, Florida International University, North Miami, FL 33181, USA
• c School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada


Highlights
During surveys, diving taxa must often be at or near the surface to be detected

We studied effects of variation in sea turtle diving on analyses of sightings data.
Several analyses were biased or confounded by spatiotemporal variation in diving.
Long winter dives led to negative detection bias and density underestimates.
Diving and depth use studies are needed for the conservation of diverse divers.
Abstract
Effective conservation requires reliable data on the abundance and distribution of animals in space and time. During ship-based or aerial surveys for diving marine vertebrates such as sea turtles and marine mammals, a proportion of animals in a surveyed area will be missed because they are diving and out of view. While it is likely that dive and surface times vary with environmental conditions, such variation is rarely incorporated into survey-based research and its consequences for analyses of survey data are not well known. We quantified the effects of neglecting to account for variation in the dive-surfacing patterns of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) when analyzing boat-based survey data from a foraging ground in Western Australia. We found that analyses of turtle sightings data can be confounded by variation in the probability of turtles being at the surface where they are available for detection. For example, during the cold season in deeper areas in Shark Bay, green and loggerhead turtle density was underestimated by 45% and 21%, respectively, if extended dive times relative to population medians were not accounted for. These results have important implications for applications of survey data for a variety of taxa including other sea turtles, marine mammals and large sharks that are surveyed by boat or plane. Diving and depth use studies have much to contribute to the assessment and management of these groups, which include many species of conservation concern.
________________________________________________________You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:04 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 50 10/26/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable) ONLY 2 LEFT

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) FWC: Father Turns In Son Who Killed Alligator With Machete
2) Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course Planners Say Alligators Won’t Bite
3) Deadly fungus cripples frog immune systems
4) Sooner or later, they have to move the gators
5)Winnipeg man raises rescued tiny turtles in his basement
6) Helping Tiny Turtles (Spiny Softshell Turtles) Get Ready for Winter
7) 294 endangered sea turtles buried in Palawan
8) Lodge Owner's Efforts At Turtle Egg Hatchery A Success
9) NC beach communities wary of proposed turtle rules
10) Norwood High zoology students raise endangered turtles
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.
__________________________________________________
1) FWC: Father Turns In Son Who Killed Alligator With Machete
wftv.com- W. Palm Beach, Fla. 10/17/13 —
Florida wildlife officials say a father turned in his 19-year-old son after the teen sent a text message bragging about killing an alligator with a machete.

Alligators can only be killed in Florida by people with certain permits. Otherwise, state law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested Corey Hardie of Palm Beach Gardens last week on charges that include the illegal killing of an alligator and killing or wounding a protected species. The Palm Beach Post reports (http://bit.ly/1aOU8x5 ) that Hardie posted $6,000 bond Saturday. Jail records did not show whether he had an attorney.

Officials say that Hardie's father alerted them after his son texted a photo Aug. 4 showing him kneeling over an alligator that he said he had killed.
_________________________________________________________________________
2) Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course Planners Say Alligators Won’t Bite
By Tariq Panja - Oct 17, 2013, Bloomberg News,

Organizers of the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years say there is little risk of alligator-like creatures slithering onto fairways or greens during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
As many as 6,000 caimans, members of the alligator family, live in sewage-infested lagoons around western Rio, and some have moved into water features built as part of Gil Hanse’s design for Brazil’s first public golf course. The reptiles, much smaller and more docile than crocodiles, are not considered a risk to people, though encroachment on their habitat has meant contact with humans is increasing.
“We’ll have a strategy in place that will minimize any possibility of a player or spectator coming across these,” Anthony Scanlon, executive director of the International Golf Federation, told reporters in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. “The risk is minimal.”
Some caimans have migrated toward ponds on the site of the golf course as their natural mangrove-filled habitat has become inundated with sewage from condominiums that have mushroomed in recent years around Rio’s Barra district.
“The other thing to remember about these alligators is, if they do arrive, they arrive at night and we won’t be playing golf at night,” Scanlon said on a visit to Rio. “I don’t think we’re going to get a bite.”
Scanlon said course builders are working with conservation experts to contain animals including the caiman and the capybara, the largest rodent and potentially more of a risk to the course.
“They’re herbivores so they could potentially dig up the grass,” he said of the capybaras, who also live near water.
Scanlon pointed out wildlife isn’t uncommon at golf courses, such as alligators in Florida and kangaroos in his native Australia.
“Where you have a natural green space like this it attracts wildlife, which is what you want,” Scanlon said. “You want to create your own ecosystem.”
Golf is returning to the Olympic program for the first time since 1904. Both the men’s and women’s events will feature 72-hole stroke-play formats.
The world’s top 15 players will qualify, with a maximum of four representatives from each nation. Outside of the elite 15, each competing federation can select up to two players to compete in the 60-player tournaments.
____________________________________________________
3) Deadly fungus cripples frog immune systems
New Scientist, October 18, 2013 by Bob Holmes

The killer fungus ravaging amphibian populations around the world is so deadly because it secretes a chemical that causes its hosts' white blood cells to self-destruct. Once the molecule responsible for this attack is identified, it may be possible to combat the disease by bolstering species' immune systems.
Since the 1980s, many species of frogs and salamanders have been wiped out. Scientists agree that the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is at least partly responsible for these mass die-offs. The fungus attacks the amphibians' skin cells, upsetting their fluid balance and, in severe infections, causes death by heart failure.
But this vulnerability is surprising. After all, amphibians spend a lot of their lives in pools of murky water, teeming with all kinds of microorganisms. "Amphibians have really capable immune systems, yet here they are stumbling against this skin pathogen," says Louise Rollins-Smith, an immunologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. "Why does this pathogen seem to fail to activate that robust response?"
Self-destruct button
To find out, Rollins-Smith and her colleagues tested the effect of chytrid fungal cells on white blood cells, or lymphocytes, cultured from frogs. They found that both live and heat-killed chytrids inhibited the production of lymphocytes and made them more likely to self-destruct in a process called apoptosis – the way old or damaged cells are naturally cleared from the body. The loss of these cells leaves the animals unable to eradicate the chytrid infection before it does further damage to their skin cells.
The same effect was seen when the researchers inserted a permeable membrane between the chytrids and the lymphocytes, suggesting that the culprit is a soluble molecule released by the chytrids.
James Collins, an ecologist at Arizona State University in Tempe, who specialises in amphibian disease, calls the experiments thoughtful and thorough, and says they help answer the question of how the chytrid fungus is able to overcome amphibians' usually robust immune system.
Potent immune suppressant
Rollins-Smith's team has not yet identified the molecule responsible. So far, tests have shown that it is not a protein. They suspect it may be part of the chytrid's cell wall since chytrid spores, which lack such architecture, do not have the same effect.
Whatever the immune-suppressing chemical is, it seems to be unusually broad in its effect, acting on a wide range of amphibians and even mammalian cell cultures, the team found. Indeed, the molecule may be worth investigating as a potential source of new immune-suppressing drugs for people, Collins suggests.
The discovery may also lead to new ways to manage chytrid infections in amphibians. Once researchers identify the molecule and how it disables the immune system, the hope is that conservationists may be able to block that action or find a way to boost the frogs' immunity, says Rollins-Smith.
Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1243316
_____________________________________________________________________________
4) Sooner or later, they have to move the gators
By Lee Tolliver
The Virginian-Pilot, October 21, 2013, CHESAPEAKE
http://hamptonroads.com/node/693774 for video

James Brown scrubbed Bubba's back while Chris Columbus rinsed him off.
The alligator hissed his approval.
Bubba and 11 other American alligators spent a sunny Sunday afternoon getting the royal treatment from volunteers who helped move them from their warm-weather digs to wintering pens in a large garage in rural Chesapeake.
There, they will spend several months in a state of semi-hibernation until temperatures start to rise in the spring. Sometime around April, the gators will move back outside to large cages equipped with kiddie pools.
The move has become a biannual ritual for Jimmi Bonavita, who has cared for his gators for nearly 35 years.
A former Virginia Beach police officer, Bonavita started taking care of the gators when no zoos would take Bubba and game department officials asked if he would.
"That was back when there were no permit laws," said Bonavita, who also has several dozen snakes. He said he now has an exhibitor's license and "all the necessary city and state permits you have to have."
Bonavita takes in the gators when they are confiscated from unlicensed owners.
"They would be put down if I didn't," he said. He said he spends several thousand dollars a year on caging, food and medical supplies for the animals.
His 12 gators range from as small as two feet up to 10 feet long.
Bonavita said that Buddy, one of his biggest alligators, was found in a dark basement, in bad health. Under his care, the animal, now about 15 years old, is a hefty 250 pounds and a toothy bundle of energy.
"People get exotic pets and aren't prepared for how big they'll get or how to even take care of them. They let them go in the wild or who knows what," he said, scratching Buddy at the base of his head while Brown and Columbus scrubbed algae and mud off him in preparation for his sterile winter home.
"You really have to be dedicated," Bonavita said, because gators can live to be as old as 70. "I have a trust set up so somebody can take care of them when I'm gone."
Bonavita, who works as an environmental protection specialist for the government, gives seminars on snake and reptile identification to rescue squads, fire departments, emergency room personnel and military units.
American alligators don't venture this far north on their own. The Pasquotank River in northeastern North Carolina is generally the northernmost point of their range. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge just outside Manteo was named because of the reptile's presence.
"They're not supposed to be here, but people find a way and it's not in the animal's best interest," Bonavita said. "So I provide a valuable resource to local, state and federal authorities for the benefit of the animals and for the public at large.
"And I do it because I really care about them."
He explained that his gators wouldn't survive the cold winter if they weren't placed inside.
"They stop eating when it gets below 70 degrees," he told several dozen family members and friends who attend the event each year. "They haven't eaten in about a month and won't need to until they go back outside in the spring."
With all the large gators secure in their tanks, the volunteers gathered the smaller ones for photo opportunities. Little children rubbed their backs and pointed at the sharp teeth.
One youngster, bored with getting his picture taken, turned as he walked away and waved to the animals.
"See ya later, alligator."
________________________________________________________________________
5) Winnipeg man raises rescued tiny turtles in his basement
CBC – Mon, 21 Oct, 2013

Manitoba biologist Doug Collicutt has become the surrogate parent to 10 baby painted turtles.
They hatched from eggs that were accidentally dug up in a parking lot at Grand Beach Provincial Park in July. Now, the little guys — the size of a toonie — are wading it out (literally, just swimming and hanging out in an aquarium) at Collicutt's house until next year when warmer weather returns.
His son, who was working as an interpreter at the park was given the eggs by other park workers who turned them up while doing maintenance work.
The location wasn't a great spot to rebury them, Collicutt noted. So his son kept them and passed them on to Collicutt.
"I've always had a great passion for turtles and had reared eggs and hatchlings before. It was only a couple of years ago when I helped rescue a clutch of snapping turtle eggs from a trail at a condo development along Winnipeg's Red River," he wrote in his .
Collicutt put the painted turtle eggs in a bucket of sand on his freezer. He wasn't sure if they would hatch but recently saw one and then nine more soon after.
He intends to feed them a diet of fish and lettuce.
And for the record, he has no intention to name them after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In fact, he's leaving them nameless.
"I'm long past the age where I felt it necessary to name pets, and anyway these baby turtles aren't pets, they're just temporary lodgers in my basement," he stated in the blog.
_____________________________________________________________________________
6) Helping Tiny Turtles (Spiny Softshell Turtles) Get Ready for Winter
Oct 18, 2013 By Melissa Howell - BURLINGTON, Vt. - Early Wednesday morning, ECHO Lake Aquarium received a special delivery.

Steve Parren is with Vermont Fish and Wildlife. Every year, he waits for hundreds of spiny softshell turtles to hatch along the shores of Lake Champlain. The ones that don't, he collects and keeps safe until they do.
"I've got probably 25 eggs," Parren said.
And with all those eggs waiting at home, he's dropping off 14 turtles he collected from eight nests to be looked after until they're ready to be released in June.
"They're gonna get fed really well, they're gonna be warm and toasty and cared for," Parren said.
The turtles are kept in a reservoir and monitored to make sure they're adjusting to their new environment.
"This reservoir is maintained at 65 degrees, the heat lamps will gradually warm it up," said Steve Smith, the director of animal care and facilities at ECHO.
Here, they'll be safe from flooding and hungry predators.
"Raccoons, skunk, foxes, birds will take them," Parren said.
Only 2 percent of all spiny softshell turtles that survive reproduce after 12 years of life. Parren hopes to help increase that number to 5 percent.
"They live, potentially, until they're 60," he said. "They grow every year, they get bigger, they can breed and produce every year."
Parren has done everything from building fences to elevating the nesting grounds to protect the eggs. He usually saves 90 turtles every year. Once they hatch, the turtles have a greater chance of survival at ECHO.
"We're going to watch for good energy levels, make sure they're doing well, watch their consumption, make sure they're eating and once we see that, we'll transfer them to this display," Smith said.
So, as baby turtles in the wild hibernate for the winter, these little guys will be eating and growing, giving them an advantage when it comes to surviving on their own.
Once the baby turtles are ready to be put on display, visitors can interact with them through a video camera and temperature sensor.
___________________________________________________________________________
7) 294 endangered sea turtles buried in Palawan
ABS-CBNnews.com, 10/23/2013--MANILA -- At least 294 critically endangered sea turtles were buried in Puerto Princesa following an inventory on the items taken by Vietnamese poachers in Palawan.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development conducted the inventory on the illegal haul on board a gunboat on Tuesday.
This came a day after charges were filed against the Vietnamese poachers for violating Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
Thirteen Vietnamese fishermen were arrested on Friday last week off Palawan, where authorities said foreign poaching of endangered or protected species has become a major problem.
Sea turtles are protected under Philippine law and catching them is punishable by at least 12 years in jail.
In recent years, Philippine authorities have frequently caught foreigners, often Chinese, catching or buying sea turtles in the waters off Palawan.
Turtles are used in traditional medicine or are served as delicacy in many Asian countries. -- With Agence France-Presse
___________________________________________________
8) Lodge Owner's Efforts At Turtle Egg Hatchery A Success
By Haslin Gaffor, National News Agency of Malaysia

SANDAKAN (Bernama) -- By any stretch of imagination, this should have been a very mundane event. For centuries, turtles have been coming ashore to lay eggs, the event happening without much ado.

But this time when Alexander Yee noticed a number of turtles coming ashore to lay eggs, it was news, an exciting piece of news.

He knew he has finally got it right. It worked. Turtles laid eggs.

It was last year only that the Management Director of Trekkers Lodge, Sdn Bhd, set up the Turtle Egg Hatching Centre in Libaran Island. The turtles laying eggs was proof that his effort had paid off. From January through July this year, 50 green and hawksbill turtles have come ashore to lay eggs, compared to 37 during the same period last year.

A total of 4,715 turtle eggs were collected this year, up from 3,156 collected last year.

Meanwhile, 1,922 hatchlings were released into the sea between January and July this year, compared to 1,165 during the same period last year.

"Seeing this significant increase in the number of turtles that came ashore, the eggs collected and the hatchlings released into the sea, I was sure that I had made the right decision by establishing the centre.

"This is my little contribution towards efforts to conserve the environment, particularly the turtles, an important part of the ocean's ecosystem", he told Bernama.

Alexander is also the president of the Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association (KiTA) and runs a lodging business in Kampung Bilit, Kinabatangan and Rumah Terbalik (the Upside Down House) in Tamparuli, Tuaran.

HATCHING CENTRE

Libaran Island is a 40-minute boat ride from Sandakan town, not very far from Selingan Island that falls in the Turtle Islands Park region. Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan make up for the other two islands there.

The fact that the Libaran Island is located near the park is the reason turtles prefer it to lay eggs.

Alexander said the decision to set up a turtle hatchery was prompted by a suggestion that a Sabah Wildlife Department officer made four years ago.

Soon after he decided, he rented a privately-owned piece of land on the island and established the three-hectare strip of land running along the beach shore that was already marked out for turtle hatching.

TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME

He said the hatchery was opened as a result of joint efforts with the Sabah Wildlife Department, with which he signed an MoU last year on July 2 in Tamparuli, Tuaran.

The MoU states that 11 Trekkers Lodge staff, including Alexander and the Libaran Island village chief, have undergone the necessary training organised by the department and were subsequently appointed as Honorary Wildlife Wardens.

Four of Alexander's staff are in charge of operating the hatchery.

Thanks to the cooperation with the wildlife department, the turtle conservation programme via the egg-hatching centre is now a reality. The joint venture also kickstarted an awareness programme for villagers and visitors.

Besides that, the conservation programme also enabled research projects to study the life cycle of turtles on the Libaran Island, and one of these was made available to local and international students.

Alexander is also planning to open camping sites on the island to better disseminate awareness about turtle conservation and research programmes.

CHALLENGES

However, conservation efforts do not succeed easily, particularly when people's proclivity is to rather do exactly the opposite.

In the 65 houses on the Libaran Island, there live 360 native people, most of them fishermen who are used to collecting turtle eggs for meals.

The Libaran Village Chief, Sarief Nasidip Uyung, said for the villagers, this has been a practice long before the hatchery was established.

Certainly, asking villagers to suddenly abandon an age old practice in the name of conserving environment was not easy. Collecting turtle eggs for conservation is currently limited to the rented shore strip.

"This will continue till better awareness can be inculcated among the villagers about turtle conservation. Then we would be able to collect eggs for conservation from the entire island".

Alexander admitted it was a tricky situation, and must be approached tactfully.

"The villagers are used to collecting the eggs for their meals, so a turtle conservation programme in such a situation is sure to run into a lot of challenges.

"However, I believe that a subtle approach and continual campaigns stressing the importance of turtle conservation for mankind and marine life is key to inculcating a culture of informed choice and conservation among the island residents", he said.

AWARENESS

Charity always begins at home, and this venture was no different. He said the entire awareness campaign actually began with his staff at the hatchery and their family members first realizing the importance of what needs to be done. The children came in for a special focus in these efforts.

Alexander said apart from the Sabah Wildlife Department's efforts, an educational programme will also be organised at the Pulau Libaran Primary School.

"This will be a part of a continual awareness programme tailored for the long run, because this is not something that can be easily implemented on a short term basis".

One of his staff at the hatchery, Harun Harris, 32, said he was happy to be part of the turtle conservation efforts.

Harun earlier worked in a tourism centre on the Selingan Island for a year, and had the opportunity to witness a turtle egg-hatching programme organised by the Sabah Parks.

His earlier dealings with turtles were of a different sort - he used to eat their eggs, something he admits to. But ever since he joined this programme, Harun is a votary of conservation.

Now, in fact, he is advocating the cause, and has been running an awareness campaign among his family members and slowly reaching out to fellow villagers, too.

"We are counting on an increased awareness among the villagers to help make the conservation effort a success, since this is something whose rewards can be reaped by the villagers, too.

"I believe that if the hatchery expands, the island will attract more visitors. This will prove to the villagers that the centre benefits them too", he said.

Harun said he would like to ensure that the island remains a destination conducive for turtles to come ashore and lay eggs, so that his children, one just a year old and the other nine years of age, are able to witness the nature's bounty when they are older.

BENEFITTING ALL

Alexander agreed with Harun and believed that the turtle hatchery would turn the island into a major tourist destination for those seeking an opportunity to watch turtles lay eggs, apart from bringing villagers good income.

The island has its own primary school, a health clinic, a community centre, a surau and a jetty.

He is also hoping that more private companies, particularly those involved in the tourism industry, would carry out similar environmental conservation efforts.

He understood that any company needs to make a profit but hoped that in doing so, they would not jeopardize the environment.

After all, reaping profits cannot happen at the cost of exterminating a species. No logic of profit making can be allowed to turn turtle at the sea, certainly not after turtles have survived for centuries, and have a chance again. See those eggs? That's the proof.

-- BERNAMA
_____________________________________________________________________
9) NC beach communities wary of proposed turtle rules

By Martha Waggoner, The Associated Press, Saturday, October 19, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One of the first sights visitors to Caswell Beach see are signs identifying the town as a turtle sanctuary. At the town hall, the best-selling T-shirt features turtles. And during loggerhead hatching season, volunteer residents watch over turtle nests and help the newborns reach the sea.
But Mayor Harry Simmons is concerned the intense focus on the turtles will be to the detriment of human residents and tourists, who he says could lose access to the beach if environmentalists get their wish to designate it a "critical habitat" for the turtles.
Environmentalists and federal government officials say a "critical habitat" designation will only affect actions by federal agencies in the area, not those of state and local governments. But Simmons and others say they have actually seen local communities affected: They've seen beaches closed to people farther up the coast, in Dare County, to protect turtles and birds, and they fear the same will happen at their beaches.
"I do think the people here are over the top in support of the turtles to the point that they will take some efforts to not have lights on on the oceanside of oceanfront houses" to avoid disorienting the turtles, Simmons said. "Does it mean, though, they want to tear down the houses and move to Chadbourn? No. The human habitat is as important. And it's a good balance we have now."
The proposals that have upset Simmons and other leaders of beach communities in North Carolina come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which regulates turtles on the beach, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversees turtles in the water.
One proposal would declare 739 miles of beaches from Mississippi to North Carolina as critical habitats for loggerhead turtles, which the government lists as a threatened species. In North Carolina, the proposal covers 96 miles of beaches in Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties.
The Fisheries Service, meanwhile, has proposed that waters near the designated beaches, as well as additional waters off North Carolina and Florida and migratory corridors between those two states, also be designated as critical. The federal agencies are expected to have a final rule ready in July 2014.
Environmental groups filed petitions and lawsuits, prompting the federal agencies to consider the loggerhead turtle not as one global population but as nine distinct populations, including the one that lives in North Carolina, now considered part of a northwest Atlantic population. The groups then sought and got the "critical habitat" designation assigned to each loggerhead population.
Chuck Underwood, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman, said if the designation is also given to the beaches, it won't change much because the turtle is already regulated as a threatened species. Beach communities are concentrating on a part of the proposal that lists threats to the turtles, including recreational activities on the beach. They need to read further where the service lists all the actions taken to alleviate that threat, he said.
"Yes, beach driving is a threat. Yes, beach access is a threat," he said. "That is absolutely true. But the consideration of that impact is already part of the current permitting process."
But Greg "Rudi" Rudolph, shore protection manager for Carteret County, and other beach community leaders say they believe that if the beaches themselves are now designated as critical habitats, groups will keep suing until access is limited to them just as it is in Dare County.
"If you talk to the FWS, you're going to hear, 'This is nothing,'" Rudolph said. But if the federal agencies don't change the way the beaches are managed, the same groups that sued for the critical habitat will then sue for more protections, he said.
Underwood didn't dispute that possibility. "We heard some concerns that third parties might use critical habitat as another argument in litigation," he said. "That would be up to those third parties."
The Carteret County Board of Commissioners in August filed a notice of intent to sue if beaches there are designated as critical habitats. Other beach communities have approved resolutions against the designation, and North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources has filed a public comment, asking the Fish and Wildlife Service to, among other things, clarify the potential effects of the designation.
"We can readily foresee increased planning, permitting, construction and monitoring costs — both monetary, and in time — for projects that are already subject to significant regulatory reviews and permit conditions," department officials wrote.
While much of the focus is on the land designation, fishermen are worried about additional restrictions in the water, said Britton Shackelford of Wanchese, president of N.C. Watermen United.
"Fishermen have been dealing with sea turtles for 10 years," he said, particularly regarding large-mesh gill-net fishing. "We've had the water-based issue of turtles. And now it's getting ready to cross into land."
The new proposed rules "are going to further exacerbate a very bad situation for fishermen now," he said.
Because the "critical habitat" designation requires federal agencies, but not private, state or local groups, to examine the effect of their actions on the turtle's environment, the beach communities don't need to worry so much, said Sierra Weaver, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, or SELC, a Chapel Hill-based advocacy group.
Since turtles have been protected for 40 years or so, the designation merely adds another layer of protection, she said.
"I think the big problem we have is misinformation," Weaver said. "There's a lot of concern about what this means. In reality, it is likely to have little to no impact on these local communities. North Carolina beach communities have a long history of sea turtle protections and having vibrant coastal economies. There's no reason that the 'critical habitat' designation should change that."
But local governments are as wary of the SELC as they are of the federal government, viewing the environmental group as one of several responsible for beach closures in Dare County and for blocking the state's preferred replacement for the Bonner Bridge, the only road link between Hatteras Island the mainland.
And the governments have their own public relations headaches: It's not easy to appear to be against protections for sea turtles along the North Carolina coast where people "have a strong affinity for those big brown eyes and flippers," Rudolph said. "Two-thirds of our restaurants seem to have turtle or tortuga (the Spanish word for turtle) in their name."
___________________________________________________________________________
10) Norwood High zoology students raise endangered turtles
By Brad Cole, Wickedlocal.com
Oct 10, 2013 -Norwood, MA- In the new senior zoology elective, Norwood High students are raising northern red-bellied cooters, an endangered turtle that lives in Plymouth County.
“(The Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Service) takes the hatchlings from their nests, and we raise them until May, so their numbers don’t go down,” zoology teacher Jessica Flaherty said. “When we return them in May, they’re big enough that they don’t get preyed upon by other species, and can join the mating population.”
The turtles face a harsh life in the wild, and the soft-shelled hatchlings must avoid raccoons, bullfrogs, skunks, possum and fish to survive. Most don’t.
“Only one in every 200 hatchlings in the nature make it to adulthood,” Flaherty said. “This is a way to help beat those odds.”
The hatchlings are provided by the National Heritage Association and Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Service. This program has existed for about 20 years, though this is the first time Norwood High is participating.
There are five students involved in the course, which is an independent study program that involves raising four turtles. In order to be accepted into the course, students had to write a short essay and receive a recommendation from their past science teacher, Flaherty said.
“The course is something other school don’t offer, so it helps students have something different on their transcript, and even something to write about for their college essay,” Flaherty said.
Some students opted to take the course because of their college plans.
“When I go to college, I want to go into wildlife ecology as a major, and I thought this would help me out,” senior Chelsey Gundlach said. “They’re endangered. It’s important to preserve them, as their loss would throw off the ecosystem.”
Other students in the class, including seniors Liz Kearns and Mira Hickman, plan on majoring in biology in college.
“I’m particularly interested in endangered species,” Hickman said. “I would recommend this class to anyone interested in biology of their particular field of biology.”
Kearns said that raising an endangered species is far different from owning a pet like a cat or dog. The students observe the four turtles in their 30-gallon tank, changing a portion of the water daily and cleaning it daily. Students are also tasked with weighing the turtles to measure their growth, feeding them romaine lettuce and weighing the lettuce in the tank, to see how much the turtles have eaten.
“They just keep eating it and eating it. They can go through three good leaves a day,” Flaherty said. “We’re supposed to feed them as much of the lettuce as they can eat.”
The cooters raised in captivity grow much faster than those in the wild with this diet. By the time the turtles are released in May, they will be the size of a six-year-old wild cooter, Flaherty said. When the turtles hatched in early September and weighed about nine grams when they arrived at Norwood High. In the month since, they’ve more than doubled in size, and weigh 20 grams.
When students are unable to observe the turtles, such as on long weekends or holidays, Flaherty checks on them and changes the water, while Norwood High custodians feed them.
Flaherty added the course to the Norwood High curriculum after attending a class regarding the program this summer. She thought it would be a good fit for Norwood High.
“My goal is to diversify the biology program. Because I feel there should be more,” Flaherty said. “The response was really positive. We were interested in having something for the students to do that would help them get into college and get them interested in the biological sciences.”
Five students applied to participate in the course this year, and all were accepted, Flaherty said. This might not be the case in future years. While Flaherty hopes to increase the class size to six to nine students, it will remain a competitive course students must apply for. She expects the number of applicants will increase next year, as more students are learning about the program.
“This past year the guidance staff told students they thought might be interested in it, but next year I think more students will be interested due to word of mouth about the unique course,” Flaherty said. “Plus, I hope more students actually read the course catalog completely.”
________________________________________________________You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:05 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 51 10/29/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

And for a very limited time “The Tortoise” Issue # 1 (out of print and already a collectable) ONLY 2 LEFT

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) Poisonous toads threaten pets in Tampa
2) Early-Life Exposure of Frogs to Herbicide Increases Mortality from Fungal Disease
3) Australian Lizards Thrive When Humans Hunt Them
4) Hatchling lizards are smarter than you think
5) New study finds that male lizards use different tactics to win the ladies
6) Oldest Lizard Fossil Discovered, Yields New Insights Into Reptile Evolution
7) Findings bring scientists closer to establishing regenerative therapies for humans
8) Animals Born In Space Have A Hard Time Adjusting To Life On Earth - Animals that have been bred in space, include frogs and salamanders.
9) Designer Monika Jarosz creates luxury bags using dyed cane toad skins; sell for up to $360
10) Authorities find 12-foot 'gator tied to tree near Hillsborough River
_________________________________________________
Rare out of print books on sale - By David M. Caroll
Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turles.
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.

______________________________________________________________
1) Poisonous toads threaten pets in Tampa
AP, 9/27/13 TAMPA — A Tampa dog is being treated for poisoning by a Bufo toad, a species known for its hallucinogenic toxins and increased activity during periods of unusually heavy rains.
The dog was “expected to recover because it was the second time this animal had a run-in with a Bufo toad and the owners knew what to do immediately,” said James Judge, a spokesman with BluePearl Veterinary Partners.
However, the incident — as well as the poisoning death of a Jack Russell Terrier in Temple Terrace last October — has area veterinarians warning pet owners about the dangers of the huge toads. That dog bit into a Bufo toad and was killed by the toxins.
The incident has area pet owners on edge.
Tampa veterinarian John Gicking said several cases of toad poisoning are treated every week during periods of increased Bufo toad activity.
Curious dogs and cats tend to lick or pick up Bufo toads with their mouths.
When this happens, the toad secretes a poison from glands on the back of its head, which causes the pets to have symptoms.
Symptoms of intoxication include “seizures, drooling, really red gums, pawing at their mouths, stumbling, heart arrhythmia, excitable behavior, pacing and trembling,” Gicking said.
__________________________________________________
2) Early-Life Exposure of Frogs to Herbicide Increases Mortality from Fungal Disease
Oct. 23, 2013 — The combination of the herbicide atrazine and a fungal disease is particularly deadly to frogs, shows new research from a University of South Florida laboratory, which has been investigating the global demise of amphibian pUSF Biologist Jason Rohr said the new findings show that early-life exposure to atrazine increases frog mortality but only when the frogs were challenged with a chytrid fungus, a pathogen implicated in worldwide amphibian declines. The research is published in the new edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
"Understanding how stressors cause enduring health effects is important because these stressors might then be avoided or mitigated during formative developmental stages to prevent lasting increases in disease susceptibility," Rohr said.
The study was conducted by Rohr and Lynn Martin, Associate Professors of USF's Department of Integrative Biology; USF researchers Taegan McMahon and Neal Halstead; and colleagues at the University of Florida, Oakland University, and Archbold Biological Station.
Their experiments showed that a six-day exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of atrazine, one of the most common herbicides in the world, increased frog mortality 46 days after the atrazine exposure, but only when frogs were challenged with the chytrid fungus. This increase in mortality was driven by a reduction in the frogs' tolerance of the infection.
Moreover, the researchers found no evidence of recovery from the atrazine exposure and the atrazine-induced increase in disease susceptibility was independent of when the atrazine exposure occurred during tadpole development.
"These findings are important because they suggest that amphibians might need to be exposed only to atrazine briefly as larvae for atrazine to cause persistent increases in their risk of chytri-induced mortality," Rohr said. "Our findings suggest that reducing early-life exposure of amphibians to atrazine could reduce lasting increases in the risk of mortality from a disease associated with worldwide amphibian declines."
Until this study, scientists knew little about how early-life exposure to stressors affected the risk of infectious diseases for amphibians later in life.
"Identifying which, when, and how stressors cause enduring effects on disease risk could facilitate disease prevention in wildlife and humans, an approach that is often more cost-effective and efficient than reactive medicine," Rohr said.
The findings are also the latest chapter in research Rohr and his lab has conducted on the impact of atrazine on amphibians. These findings are consistent with earlier studies that concluded that, while the chemical typically does not directly kill amphibians and fish, there is consistent scientific evidence that it negatively impacts their biology by affecting their growth and immune and endocrine systems.
_______________________________________________________________________
3) Australian Lizards Thrive When Humans Hunt Them
By Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience Contributor October 22, 2013 7:04 PM

Hunters are often thought of as bad for wildlife, but scientists have recently found that Aboriginal hunters in Australia actually boosted certain lizard populations by improving the locales where the reptiles live.
Scientists investigated the Western Desert of Australia, where many native species have declined or gone extinct in the past century. But paradoxically, numbers of the sand monitor lizard (Varanus gouldii) — reptiles that weigh about 1 lb. (0.45 kilograms) and feed on smaller lizards, insects and arachnids — are higher where Aboriginal hunting is most prevalent.
Researchers investigated the Martu, an Aboriginal group that lives in the Little Sandy Desert in western Australia. The Martu use fires to burn patches of grasslands to help flush out prey — such as sand monitor lizards and other reptiles, as well as small mammals such as rufous hare wallabies — from their burrows. [Photos: The 10 Biggest Deserts on Earth]
More than half of the time the Martu spend foraging is devoted to hunting sand monitor lizards. The investigators followed the Martu people on about 350 foraging trips over the course of about a decade.
"It is a vast, vast desert and a very severe environment, where you have a suite of the most poisonous snakes in the world— but with Martu, it's a very welcoming one," said study author Doug Bird, an ecological anthropologist at Stanford University in California. "If you don't know what you're doing, and if you're not with folks who know how to really handle themselves out there, it would be a very, very difficult place — but it's also incredibly beautiful."
The scientists found that the fires the Martu set eventually created small patches of regrowth, thus increasing the diversity of the landscape. The more diverse landscape, in turn, was able to accommodate a wider variety of wildlife, leading to greater biodiversity and more stable populations.
"It's a counterintuitive result: The more Martu hunt, the more prey there are to hunt," Bird told LiveScience. "It flies in the face of a lot of common ways of thinking about the role of people in ecosystems."
In places where Martu hunting was the heaviest, there were nearly twice as many lizard sites as there were where Martu hunting was the lightest. In places where there were no hunters, lightning-triggered fires spread over vast distances instead of the relatively small patches resulting from Martu burning. This made the landscape less patchy and sand monitor lizards less prevalent.
The investigators noted that Aboriginal hunters have inhabited the arid desert grasslands that cover much of Australia for at least the past 36,000 years, so the hunters may have become key parts of the ecosystems there over the course of millennia. The researchers suggested that the loss of Aboriginal fire-based hunting in the mid-20th century may have contributed to the extinction of 10 to 20 native desert animal species and the sharp decline of more than 40 others.
"Martu insist that they don't manage or control their landscapes, but that they're fundamentally a part of those ecosystems," Bird said.
"There's a lesson here of the importance of these remote indigenous communitieswhen it comes to the role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and the way in which ecosystems support remote communities," Bird added. "That's really not at all recognized in economic or educational policy throughout Australia, where things like foraging are generally seen as a deficient way of making a living, so remote Aboriginals are often cast as being unproductive and unemployed. It turns out the work Martu do provides tremendous public goods in the form of supporting the health of a vast tract of landscape in the Western Desert of Australia."
The scientists detail their findings online Oct. 23 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
_____________________________________________________________________________
4) Hatchling lizards are smarter than you think
October 21st, 2013 (Phys.org) —A collaborative research team from Macquarie University and Sydney University have discovered that young (hatchling) lizards are capable of learning complex tasks, particularly if they hatched from eggs incubated at warmer temperatures.
The team, lead by Associate Professor Martin Whiting from Macquarie University's Lizard Lab, tested the intellectual abilities of 14 week-old three-lined skinks by challenging them to first remove a cap covering a 'well' to access a food-reward, and secondly to correctly identify which coloured cap shields the food-reward.
"In the final stage of the testing, we complicated the challenge for the lizards by switching the reward to a different container, with a different coloured lid," said Associate Professor Whiting.
"We found that the lizards did not rely on previous spatial locations to locate the reward, but could discriminate between the colours to identify where to look first.
"Some of the lizards we tested never really got it, but others solved every challenge we threw at them. Our results add to a growing body of literature that shows that at least sometimes, lizards can be far smarter than many scientists previously believed."
A key element of the study was to compare the learning rates and abilities of lizards that had been incubated in warmer compared to cooler temperatures, with the former performing more successfully overall.
"The lizards from the 'hot' incubation temperatures were generally larger, but even the largest 'cold' incubated hatchlings did not progress beyond the training phase. Therefore, success at the motor task was due to more than just body size," said Whiting.
"It looks like the temperature of a nest influences the problem-solving ability of a young lizard. These results are significant because they underlie the importance of an animals developmental environment on learning ability and cognition."
The research paper has been published in full online in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
More information: Benjamin, F. et al. (2013) Colour discrimination and associative learning in hatchling lizards incubated at 'hot' and 'cold' temperatures, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00265-013-1639-x
Provided by Macquarie University
__________________________________________________________________________
5) New study finds that male lizards use different tactics to win the ladies
October 21st, 2013 (Phys.org) —New collaborative research conducted by Macquarie University and the Australian National University on a common Australian lizard, the Eastern Water Skink, has revealed that sexual selection, the process whereby certain individuals gain a reproductive advantage, likely promotes the evolution of 'floater' and 'territorial' behavioural reproductive tactics in males.
The researchers studied six marked populations of the Eastern Water Skink in large naturalistic outdoor enclosures. They followed the movements and behaviour of males during the breeding season, and used genetic paternity testing to determine reproductive fitness.
"Ultimately, we were interested in what behavioural traits make a successful male lizard" said lead researcher Daniel Noble.
"As it turns out, large males that adopt either a territorial-like tactic (where they defend a fixed area), or a 'floater' or 'sneaker'- like tactic (with no defense of a particular space, but who move over a wider area), father the most offspring and therefore have the highest fitness."
Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) have been studied in a wide range of species. However, few studies document ARTs in species where there are no distinguishing features separating males from each other. This study demonstrates that ARTs can be driven by behaviour alone.
Noble explains "Males adopting ARTs are often distinct from one another in terms of body size, colouration, or the presence and size of armaments such as horns. We know very little about ARTs in nondescript species.
"What makes these results particularly interesting is that we simply quantified behavioural variation to test whether there was evidence of disruptive selection on trait combinations predicted to be associated with ARTs in water skinks.
"In many systems, we cannot take this approach because polymorphic species (that is, males with different coloration) lack intermediate phenotypes. Our results have important implications for understanding the early evolution of ARTs because they suggest selection starts by acting on more labile behavioural traits, which allow males to gain access to mating opportunities through different mechanisms."
The authors have documented a rare case of ARTs evolving through selection on suites of male behaviours. This cryptic system may be more common than currently understood, and underscores the importance of behaviour as an ART in its own right.
The research paper has been published in full online in the American Naturalist.
More information: Daniel, W. et al. Behavioral and Morphological Traits Interact to Promote the Evolution of Alternative Reproductive Tactics in a Lizard (2013), The American Naturalist. www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673535
Provided by Macquarie University
_____________________________________________________________________________
6) Oldest Lizard Fossil Discovered, Yields New Insights Into Reptile Evolution
September 25, 2013, Brett Smith for redOrbit.com
An international team of researchers has discovered the oldest known lizard-like fossil near Vellberg, Germany. The find offers new insights into the evolution of reptiles including lizards, snakes and tuatara, according to a newly published report in BMC Evolutionary Biology.
The ancient reptile’s fossilized jaws indicate that these reptiles were alive during the Middle Triassic period some 240 million years ago.
“The Middle Triassic represents a time when the world has recovered from the Permian mass extinction but is not yet dominated by dinosaurs,” said study author Marc Jones, an evolutionary biologist at the University College London (UCL). “This is also when familiar groups, such as frogs and lizards, may have first appeared.”
The jaws’ construction indicated that the extinct reptile preyed on small insects and closely resembled that of tuatara, a lizard-like reptile native to New Zealand.
Tuatara was originally relegated to the 35 islands sitting off the coast of New Zealand but has been recently reintroduced to habitats on the mainland. The reptiles are referred to as ‘living fossils’ because they are the only survivors of a group that once inhabited ecosystems around the world. In addition to feeding on insects, tuatara occasionally prey on small lizards and the occasional sea bird.
With over 9,000 known species of lizards, snakes and tuatara around the world, knowing when their common ancestor first appeared is vital for understanding reptile diversification.
To establish the age of the newly discovered fossil, the team of evolutionary biologists used a dating technique known as a ‘molecular clock.’ This technique uses the amount of genetic divergence between living animals with a common ancestor as indicated by accumulated changes in their DNA sequences. These mutations occur at a regular pace in the same way that a clock ticks at a steady rate. For the molecular clock to translate genetic differences into geological time, it needs to be calibrated with one or more fossils of a known relationship and age.
The researchers say these new fossil jaws can be used to improve dating estimates of when reptiles began to split into snakes, lizard and tuatara, in addition to indicating when the first modern lizards arose on earth. Previous studies have varied over a range of 64 million years, but the scientists said they expect to narrow that range down.
“Some previous estimates based on molecular data suggested that lizards first evolved 290 million years ago,” said co-author Cajsa Lisa Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Gothenburg. “To a paleontologist this seems way too old and our revised molecular analysis agrees with the fossils.”
The latest calculations based on the new fossils indicate that lizards began to diversify less than 150 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.
The study researchers said the Vellberg site will probably yield yet more fossil discoveries in the future, enabling us to broaden our knowledge of vertebrate evolution.
“The fossil record of small animals such as lizards and frogs is very patchy,” said co-author Susan Evans, from the UCL Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. “Hopefully, this new fossil site in Germany will eventually give us a broader understanding of what was going on at this time.”
____________________________________________________
7) Findings bring scientists closer to establishing regenerative therapies for humans
October 25, 2013, News Medical
Cells triggering tissue regeneration that are taken from one limb and grafted onto another acquire the molecular "fingerprint," or identity, of their new location, UC Irvine developmental biologists have discovered.
The findings provide a better understanding of how grafted tissue changes its identity to match the host tissue environment during the process of limb regeneration and bring scientists closer to establishing regenerative therapies for humans. The results also challenge the conventional assumption in regeneration biology that cellular properties are predetermined.
By examining cells from blastema tissue in salamanders - amphibians that can regrow lost limbs - the researchers learned that grafted tissue does not spur growth of structures consistent with the region of the limb it came from, but rather it transforms into the cell signature of the limb region it's been grafted onto. This ability of cells to alter identity from the old location to the new location is called positional plasticity.
"This work provides the first piece of molecular evidence supporting the idea that early- and late-stage blastema cells receive information about the 'blueprint' of the missing limb from the host site," said Catherine D. McCusker, postdoctoral fellow in developmental & cell biology and lead author on the study.
The blastema is a group of cells that accumulate at the site of a severed limb in organisms such as salamanders and re-create the missing appendage. It's formed when regenerating nerve fibers from the limb stump interact with thin skin that covers the surface of the wound.
This interaction attracts cells from the stump tissue that undergo a process called dedifferentiation, in which the cells revert to a more embryonic state. Once a blueprint of the missing limb structures is established in the blastema, these cells gradually differentiate into the replacement limb.
In her study, McCusker found that signals from nerve fibers played a crucial role in sustaining the cells' ability to change their identity to suit a new environment throughout the course of regeneration. She hypothesizes that it's important for the nerve fibers to maintain positional plasticity in the blastema until a complete blueprint of the new limb is formulated.
These findings also have potential implications in cancer biology, as cancer cells too are strongly influenced by the surrounding tissue environment.
"Our study shows that the blueprint, which drives the behavior of cells, can be manipulated," McCusker noted. "Thus, understanding how differing environments affect blastema cell behavior will provide valuable insight into how to control the behavior of cancer cells."
Source: University of California - Irvine
___________________________________________________________________________
8) Animals Born In Space Have A Hard Time Adjusting To Life On Earth - Animals that have been bred in space, include frogs and salamanders.
By Kelly Dickerson | Business Insider – Oct 24, 2013
LikeReturning from space isn't confusing only for humans. Non-terrestrial animals like jellyfish even have a hard time with the return to gravity.

An article by RR Helm in Deep Sea News pointed our way to some interesting research from the 90s on what happened to jellyfish that were born in space. Sending jellyfish to space might seem silly, but these simple animals have given scientists plenty of insight into the effects long-term zero gravity exposure.
If humans colonize space, it is possible that children could eventually be born and raised in zero gravity. This could mean that humans born in space never develop a normal sense of balance or normal muscle response to gravity.
Even though they don't have legs and live in the ocean, jellyfish are sensitive to gravity just like humans. So scientists bred jellyfish — a species appropriately named moon jellyfish — in space and brought their babies back to Earth to see how they fared. The 1994 experiment was detailed in a study published in Advances in Space Research.
Jellyfish are full of graviceptors — small crystals of calcium sulfate stored in pockets surrounded by sensitive hair cells. When a jellyfish changes direction, the crystals respond to gravity and roll around to the bottom of these pockets and signal the hair cells which way is up.
Of course gravity has to be present for these crystals to work.
When they baby jellies returned to Earth, they had a hard time getting around. The space jellyfish had more trouble orienting themselves and moving around than their Earth-born relatives.
Their gaviceptors seemed to look normal, so the researchers think there must be some way in which they were calibrated wrong, or were connected to the jellie's nervous system incorrectly.
The human inner ear contains fluids and cyrstals that function in a similar way to jellyfish graviceptors. The inner ear crystals signal what angle our head is at and give us a sense of our forward momentum. Like the space born jellyfish, humans raised in zero gravity may have trouble moving around normally if they returned to Earth.
A surprising number of animals have been bred in space, including frogs, salamanders, and sea urchins. Fish and tadpoles swam in loops instead of straight lines when they were taken to space, according to NASA.
More recently animal space research focused on rats. In 2007 Jeffrey Alberts worked with NASA to study how spending the last week of gestation in space would affect newborn rats. Alberts found that rats who spent a week in the womb with zero gravity couldn't tell up from down when they were first born.
The baby rats were unable to flip themselves right side up when they were dropped in water, but eventually recovered a normal sense of gravity.
A study published in PLoS ONE in 2011 described how snails fared when they returned to Earth. Snails also have gravitoceptors like humans, but snails born in space ended up growing really large gravitceptors — probably to compensate for the lack of gravity.
When the space snails were tilted or turned upside down, they actually started trying to turn themselves right side up faster than their Earth-born relatives, but not always in the right direction. The scientists concluded that being born in space made the snails more sensitive to gravity changes, but they could not tell which way was up.
More research is needed before we can fully understand how growing up in space could impact a human. But you can figure it's going to be weird.
_________________________________________________________________________
9) Designer Monika Jarosz creates luxury bags using dyed cane toad skins; sell for up to $360
AFP, October 24, 2013 adelaidenow.com.au

YOU may know cane toads as a poisonous ecological invader, but one fashion designer has turned them into a hot fashion accessory.
Polish designer Monika Jarosz's luxury Kobja brand inspired by the fairytale idea of the "toad that transforms itself into Prince Charming".
Introduced from South America decades ago to control the native cane beetle, the cane toad may have outstayed its welcome in the South Sea Islands and in Australia, but today their skins have become a much-prized luxury fashion material.
A friend unknowingly set the wheels of innovation in motion by giving Ms Jarosz a stuffed frog from New Zealand as a gift.
"(It) disgusted me but ended up by fascinating me," she said.
Three short years later, and her luxury accessory business is producing bags, belts and purses made from whole skins, set with semi-precious stones or Swarovski crystals in place of the eyes.
The high-end leather items, which come in an array of colours including vermilion red, emerald green, turquoise, fuchsia and black, are now sold in Asia, Europe and the US.
A purse can cost between between 220 and 250 euros ($300 and $360), depending on the country, while a large bag would be priced at around 1200 euros.
Ms Jarosz came to France from Poland 12 years ago to work as a model before developing an interest in design, in particular working with unusual materials.
Fascinated by the stuffed frog, she recalled that the more she stroked it the more the idea of creating something "really good like a jewel" from a similar material started to take shape.
But finding skins to work with presented a problem. In vain, Ms Jarosz made inquiries with restaurants serving frogs legs.
Then she discovered the existence of the toads of the South Sea Islands where they had proliferated to such an extent they were in the process of destroying several local species.
Animal defence organisations had recommended that they be selectively eliminated.
With the help of a taxidermist in Cairns, Ms Jarosz set about transforming the skins into high fashion.
After the taxidermy, the skins are tanned, dried and coloured in France, ending up in a workshop in Paris where the leather is cut, stitched, set with crystals or stones and lined with lamb or goat skin.
"When I called Jean-Charles Duchene (who runs the tannery in Paris) for a quote, they thought it was a joke," she recalled.
"It was a challenge because we had to adapt to the material. The toad (skin) is denser than lamb, the dye is fixed quicker and it needs less," she added.
A symbol of fertility and prosperity in some cultures, the toad is also linked to sorcery, Ms Jarosz added.
Now sold in luxury goods shops or concept stores in Tokyo, Beijing, New York, Paris and Berlin, Ms Jarosz's quirky products have developed an almost cult-like following among some customers.
Some even give their bags names, she said, and regularly update her with news about them.
__________________________________________________________________
10) Authorities find 12-foot 'gator tied to tree near Hillsborough River
Will Hobson, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:08pm
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Trappers and wildlife officials examine an alligator estimated at 12 feet and 500 pounds after it was found this week tethered to a tree outside an apartment complex along the Hillsborough River near Tampa.
TAMPA — Authorities are looking for the person, or people, who thought it was a good idea to tie up an approximately 12-foot alligator behind an apartment complex along the Hillsborough River.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call Wednesday afternoon about children feeding and harassing an alligator in the river behind Rivertree Landing Apartments, 6909 Indian River Drive, just north of E Sligh Avenue near Temple Terrace.
When wildlife officers arrived, they found the alligator, weighing more than 500 pounds, tethered to a tree near the river.
Officers and a local trapper captured the alligator, which was later euthanized.
Any alligator that has been fed by humans is deemed a threat, according to agency spokesman Baryl Martin.
"Any time an animal is fed, especially an alligator, it begins to associate humans with food," Martin said.
Whoever tied up the alligator could be guilty of either attempting to take an alligator or possession of an alligator without permits — crimes that can be considered felonies under Florida law, Martin said.
He urged anyone with information about the incident to contact the wildlife commission toll-free at 1-888-404-3922.
_______________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:00 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 52 11/1/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, SNAKES, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, FROGS, -same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

We are out of “The Tortoise” Issue # 1

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) Radiata 22(3)-Contents (Both German and English editions)
2) East Texas man sentenced to probation for smuggling snakes on planes from South America
3) Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling
4) Brain has specific radar for snakes, study shows
5) How do snakes fly? Just ask your favorite graphics chip
6) Snakes control blood flow in their 'spectacles'
_________________________________________________
Rare out of print books on sale - By David M. Caroll
Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turles.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.
______________________________________________________________

1) Radiata 22(3)-Contents (Both German and English editions)
Published by DGHT, From Zen Scientists Blog
Herz, Mario. 2013. Langjährige Erfahrungen mit der Haltung und Zucht der Maurischen Landschildkröte Testudo graeca ibera Pallas, 1814. Radiata. 22 (3): 4-18. [ marginata1@freenet.de]
Herz, Mario. 2013. Long-term experiences with the husbandry and propagation of the Turkish Spur-thighed Tortoise, Testudo graeca ibera Pallas, 1814. Radiata. 22 (3): 4-18. [ marginata1@freenet.de]
Schmidt, Hans-Ulrich and Lars-Gunnar Frahm. 2013. Testudo hermanni hermanni auf Menorca Teil 8. Radiata. 22 (3): 29-35. [ hans-ulr.schmidt@t-online.de]
Schmidt, Hans-Ulrich and Lars-Gunnar Frahm. 2013. Testudo hermanni hermanni on Minorca Part 8. Radiata. 22 (3): 29-35. [ hans-ulr.schmidt@t-online.de]
Schweiger, Mario. 2013. Die Landschildkröten Marokkos. Radiata. 22 (3): 19-28. [ office@vipersgarden.at]
Schweiger, Mario. 2013. The tortoises of Morocco. Radiata. 22 (3): 19-28. [ office@vipersgarden.at]
_________________________________________________________________________________
2) East Texas man sentenced to probation for smuggling snakes on planes from South America
October 28, 2013, Associated Press, TYLER, Texas – A Texas man who admitted taking snakes onto planes won't have to serve time in a prison.

A federal judge Monday sentenced William Wylly Lamar in Tyler to three years of probation. The 63-year-old ecotourism guide pleaded guilty in June to importing wildlife taken in violation of foreign law.
Lamar admitted smuggling snakes on several planes from Peru to the United States. Prosecutors say he bought the seven live snakes in August 2012 in a market in Lima, Peru, and smuggled them in his jacket on flights from Lima to Miami, then to Dallas.
Game wardens seized the snakes from Lamar's home in Tyler. Peruvian law prohibits the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle unless the exporter has the proper paperwork.
_______________________________________________________________________________
3) Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling
by NPR, October 18, 2013 4:12 PM
Two weeks ago, NPR of Pentecostals in Appalachia reported on people who handle snakes in church to prove their faith in God. The story got us thinking: Why are the handlers bitten so rarely, and why are so few of those snakebites lethal?
After the story aired, NPR was contacted by snake experts who strongly suggest that a snake's reluctance to bite a religious serpent handler may have more to do with the creature's poor health than with supernatural intervention.
The herpetologists at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo have been following the activities of Pentecostal snake handlers for years. They have watched hours of video of snake-handling services and examined snakes used in church.
"The animals that I've seen that have come from religious snake handlers were in bad condition," says Kristen Wiley, curator of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, a facility in the town of Slade that produces venom and promotes the conservation of snakes. "They did not have water. The cages had been left not cleaned for a pretty long period of time. And the other thing we noticed is there were eight or 10 copperheads in a container that was not very large."
What's more, she says there was no fecal material in the container, which indicated the snakes were not being fed. Riley says a snake that may be dehydrated, underweight and sick from close confinement is less likely to strike than a healthy snake. Moreover, the venom it produces is weaker.
She says snake-handling preachers who don't take care of their snakes are "setting themselves up for a safer encounter during their services when they use a snake that is in bad condition to begin with."
One of the pastors they level criticism at is Jamie Coots, who regularly takes up serpents in his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky. Coots was featured in NPR's story as well as a National Geographic reality series called .
When we visited the snake room behind Coots' house, there were about 30 snakes — mostly timber rattlers and copperheads — crowded into glass cages. He says he waters them regularly but that his supplier of live mice and rats moved away. And many of the snakes won't eat anyway.
In a follow-up call, I asked him how long his snakes usually live.
Pastor Jamie Coots holds a snake at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church of Middlesboro, Ky.
"Average is probably three to four months," Coots says.
The Kentucky Reptile Zoo reports that well-cared-for snakes live 10 to 20 years or longer in captivity.
Coots rejects the criticism.
"People who don't believe in it are gonna say anything to try and discredit us, you know, to say that it's not God actually doin' it," he says.
Coots was arrested in 2008 by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife for trafficking in illegal venomous snakes. He was convicted and fined. Today he possesses permits to keep and transport snakes legally.
He says any suggestion that the serpents they take up in church are not deadly is ridiculous. Handlers get bitten all the time, he says, and every few years someone dies. He invites his critics at the Reptile Zoo to come to his church to see if the anointing power of God is a sham.
"If they want to bring some of theirs down here, we'd readily handle them. Or if they want to come down here and free-handle ours and see if they don't get bit, they're welcome to do that, too. We get fresh snakes all the time," Coots says.
An entirely different view of religious snake handling comes from Whitfield Gibbons, an authority on snakes of the Southeastern U.S. at the University of Georgia.
"I think most snakes, a rattlesnake or a copperhead, if you are gentle with them after they've been in captivity and [you] pick them up gently, they won't bite you. So, it wouldn't matter what [your] religious belief was," Gibbons says.
He does not recommend that anyone try this.
________________________________________________________________________
4) Brain has specific radar for snakes, study shows
Saturday, November 2, 2013 11:37AM EDT
(AFP) - Ever wonder why snakes inspire such fear? A new study on monkeys out Monday says the brain has specific cells that fire off rapid warnings when confronted with slithery danger.
Certain neurons respond "selectively" to images of snakes, and they outpace comparable neurons that react to visuals of faces, hands or geometric shapes, the researchers said.
The report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers new evidence to support the notion that primates evolved keen vision skills so they could survive the threats snakes pose in the jungle.
"It really strengthens the argument that snakes are very important for the evolution of primates," lead co-author Lynne Isbell, a professor in the anthropology department at the University of California Davis, told AFP.
"Snakes elicited the strongest, fastest responses," said the study, co-authored by Quan Van Le of the University of Toyama and researchers at the University of Brasilia.
The research was done using two young macaque monkeys that were born on a national monkey farm in Japan.
Researchers said they believe the monkeys had no chance to encounter snakes prior to the experiment.
Scientists surgically implanted micro-electrodes in a part of the brain known as the pulvinar, which is involved in visual attention and the fast processing of threatening images.
Then they showed the monkeys various color images on a computer screen, including snakes in various positions, threatening monkey faces, pictures of monkey hands and simple shapes like stars or squares.
Seeing a snake caused the brain to fire off rapid fear responses that were unparalleled by those observed in reaction to faces, hands or shapes.
Researchers found that of about 100 neurons that fired off when presented with at least one of the image types, 40 percent had the largest response to snakes.
That was the biggest group, followed by almost 29 percent that were superior at responding to faces.
While researchers have long known that primates have an uncanny ability to see snakes even in cluttered surroundings, the latest data adds a new answer to the question of why.
Whether snakes were eating primates, or simply delivering lethal bites, the evolutionary process to boost survival in their midst likely began tens of millions of years ago, said Isbell.
Previous research has even shown that some primates, such as the Malagasy lemurs of Madagascar where there are no venomous snakes, do not express fear of them they way other apes and monkeys do.
"Snakes are largely responsible for the origin of primates. Vision is what separates primates from other mammals. A lot of the structures in our brain are devoted to vision," said Isbell, who wrote a book on the topic in 2009 called "The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well."
"I pulled together indirect evidence," she told AFP.
"Here is the first time that somebody has come along and actually tested some of the predictions in the book and I am really gratified that it was supported."
While the study included only two monkeys, future research could focus on responses to other predators by primates, as well as the potential for learning more about how the human brain responds, Isbell said.
Susan Mineka, a professor of clinical psychology at Northwestern University and an expert on primates, described the work as "absolutely fascinating" and "really important."
She said one potential weakness was that the research team seemed unable to say for certain whether the monkeys studied had ever encountered a snake.
"It is too bad that they didn't also document what these monkeys' behavioral responses to snakes were like," Mineka added.
"We have known that many species of monkeys either have an innate fear of snakes or pick up a fear of snakes very readily. This provides a probable mechanism. That has been a huge question in the literature."
___________________________________________________________________________

5) How do snakes fly? Just ask your favorite graphics chip
11/1/13 by Robert McMillan Wired.co.uk
Jake Socha has been studying flying snakes since 1996, and he still doesn't know exactly how they do it.
But he's getting closer -- thanks to the magic of 3D printing and high-power computer simulations that use the graphical programming units, or GPUs, that now power everything from game consoles to supercomputers.
It's a tricky thing to study. As his research collaborator, George Washington University Professor Lorena Barba, wrote in an abstract for an upcoming talk: "It would be hard to put a flying snake in a wind tunnel. So we are trying to put them in GPUs instead."
Scientists have been living in an golden age of computer simulation, as they've discovered that these graphical processing units are good for more than speeding up explosions in Call of Duty. They are also great for certain types of mathematical work, such as simulating flying snakes.
The researchers have created two-dimensional computer models of the flying snakes, but they've also done real-world simulations -- using 3D printed components in water tunnels. Both show that snake-shaped objects would get a special aerodynamic pop should they tilt their bodies at 35 degrees as they drop from tree branches.
For the computer simulations, which were led by Barba and Anush Krishnan of Boston University, the researchers used a single Nvidia Tesla C2075 GPU accelerator 1 to simulate a two-dimensional cross section of the snake at a range of different speeds and angles of attack and then measure how that could provide lift. As it turns out, that 35 degree tilt provides more lift than one would expect, Socha says. "Its this spot where the lift really pops up," he says.
Socha, a professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, has studied three species of these snakes -- all of which live in southern Asia. They seem to use air travel as a kind of defense mechanism, flattening their bodies into an aerodynamic wing-like shape and then flinging themselves off of a tree. They drop fast and then even out in a kind of undulating and spooky s-like glide. They can easily cover 30 feet, if they drop from a tall enough tree.
Now that the first flying snake computer models have been built, the researchers hope to build more complex, three-dimensional simulations that will tell them more about how the motion of the snake affects things and whether the animal might be able to get additional lift by positioning the back part of its body behind the front -- much like a bicyclist drafts the person in front.
Either way, the simulations are important steps toward understanding the flying snake. Scientists know about the snakes basic movements in the air, but there's still a lot to learn Socha says. "The question I'm still most interested in is how exactly does the animal produce its aerodynamic force and how does it maintain control in the air."
So why care about the flying snake? Socha says his work into this very novel type of flight could be applied to build a whole new kind of autonomous robots. "Maybe you can build a search and rescue robot that is able to get into cracks like a snake and go through rubble and emerge from the top of the pile and jump off and glide somewhere else."
The Pentagon has already funded research in this area, by way of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Slithering drone, anyone?
This story originally appeared on Wired.com
____________________________________________________________________________________
6) Snakes control blood flow in their 'spectacles'

10/31/13- BBC, Nature News, UK- Snakes can control blood flow in their "spectacles", scientists have found.
The animals are known for their lack of eyelids, and instead have a transparent scale covering their eyes for protection.
These "spectacles" contain blood vessels, and researchers investigated how this arrangement does not obscure vision.
They found blood flow changed when the snakes perceived a threat, allowing for optimal vision.
The study, by scientists from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in Canada was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
"Reptilian spectacles are essentially the result of eyelids that fused and became transparent during embryonic development," said lead researcher Dr Kevin van Doorn.
"And because these are scaly animals we're talking about, a large scale covers its surface and is referred to simply as the 'spectacle scale'."
He said that spectacles were "ubiquitous" among snakes, were also found in many geckos and other varied lizard species, and could be seen in the shed skins of the reptiles.
"I was actually investigating another aspect of the snake eye, but the illumination used by my instrument was just perfect for exposing the vessels," said Dr van Doorn.
He was surprised to see the blood vessels, which despite first being reported in the 19th Century are little-known by many herpetologists.
Fight-or-flight response
"Our research was based on the premise that perhaps spectacle blood flow could be adjusted to minimise the vessels' effect on vision," said Dr van Doorn.
While inspecting the spectacles of coachwhip snakes in the lab, Dr van Doorn found that blood flow was indeed dynamic and not constant.
"Instead, there are cycles of flow and no flow - dilation and constriction of the vessels - in resting animals, such that, for a significant proportion of the time, the absence of blood cells within the vasculature means that the clarity of their vision is likely spared," he said.
Coachwhip snakes are common in the United States and Mexico
And it was the researcher's own presence in the lab that delivered further results.
"I was happily observing the spectacle blood flow in one of my snakes when I turned away to adjust my instrument; when I turned back, flow had stopped," he said.
"It took me a moment, and several repeats of adjusting my instrument, to realise the spectacle blood flow was responding to my own activity."
Dr van Doorn suggested the response could be an element of a broader reaction to a perceived threat that occurs through the whole body - or it could be part of a fight-or-flight response that is known to affect blood flow to the skin.
"Regardless of these uncertainties, the fact remains that vision is spared some of the time while the snakes are at rest and for most of the time when visually engaged," he said.
__________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:28 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 53 11/5/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
DON’T WAIT UNTIL WE ARE OUT.
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 2 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) PARC's Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) criteria and implementation plan are now available for download!
2) Hot tadpoles from cold environments need more nutrients – life history and stoichiometry reflects latitudinal adaptation
3) Mechanisms of competition between tadpoles of Australian frogs (Litoria spp.) and invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina)
4) Evolutionary conservatism and convergence both lead to striking similarity in ecology, morphology and performance across continents in frogs
5) Home, Home on the Range: Where the Desert Tortoises Roam?
6) In long run, flood may benefit Boulder County, Colorado, USA, native wildlife-Still, burrowing animals (like herps) hit hard by September deluge
_________________________________________________
Rare out of print books on sale - By David M. Caroll
Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turles.
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
&
As Are The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.


______________________________________________________________
1) PARC's Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) criteria and implementation plan are now available for download! PARC Friends and Colleagues:

From PARC
We all know that amphibians and reptiles are experiencing exceptional declines, with habitat loss and fragmentation among the leading threats to both groups. Furthermore, municipalities, land trusts, land managers and large land owners are increasingly seeking guidance in identifying areas of the landscape that provide exceptional biodiversity value. In response, PARC developed the Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) project.
PARCAs are a nonregulatory designation whose purpose is to raise public awareness and spark voluntaryaction by landowners and conservation partners to benefit amphibians and/or reptiles. Areas are nominated using scientific criteria and expert review, drawing on the concepts of species rarity, richness, regional responsibility, and landscape integrity. Modeled in part after the Important Bird Areas program developed by BirdLife International, PARCAs are intended to be coordinated nationally but implemented locally at state or regional scales.
Importantly, PARCAs are not designed to compete with existing landscape biodiversity initiatives, but to complement them – providing an additional spatially explicit layer for conservation consideration.
Read more about PARCAs and download the criteria and implementation plan here!

This resource was developed by a PARC National Task Team of volunteers representing each of PARC's five regions, and peer-reviewed by experts. As PARC's aim is to continue to provide resources to add value to our partners' conservation efforts, and to help build conservation capacity for herpetofauna, we hope that you find this resource to be useful!
Please spread the word!
_________________________________________________________________________
2) Hot tadpoles from cold environments need more nutrients – life history and stoichiometry reflects latitudinal adaptation
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 82, Issue 6, pages 1316–1325, November 2013
1. Antonia Liess1,*,
2. Owen Rowe1,
3. Junwen Guo1,
4. Gustaf Thomsson1,
5. Martin I. Lind1,2,3
Article first published online: 8 AUG 2013
Author Information
1. 1Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
2. 2Department of Animal and Plant Science, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
3. 3Animal Ecology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
*Correspondence author. E-mail: antonia.liess@emg.umu.se
Summary
1. High-latitude species (and populations within species) are adapted to short and cold summers. They often have high growth and development rates to fully use the short growing season and mature before the onset of winter.
2. Within the context of ecological stoichiometry theory, this study combines ecology with evolution by relating latitudinal life-history adaptations to their molecular consequences in body nutrient composition in Rana temporaria tadpoles.
3. Temperature and food quality were manipulated during the development of tadpoles from Arctic and Boreal origins. We determined tadpole growth rate, development rate, body size and nutrient content, to test whether (i) Arctic tadpoles could realize higher growth rates and development rates with the help of higher-quality food even when food quantity was unchanged, (ii) Arctic and Boreal tadpoles differed in their stoichiometric (and life history) response to temperature changes, (iii) higher growth rates lead to higher tadpole P content (growth rate hypothesis) and (iv) allometric scaling affects tadpole nutrient allocation.
4. We found that especially Arctic tadpoles grew and developed faster with the help of higher-quality food and that tadpoles differed in their stoichiometric (and life history) response to temperature changes depending on region of origin (probably due to different temperature optima). There was no evidence that higher growth rates mediated the positive effect of temperature on tadpole P content. On the contrary, the covariate growth rate was negatively connected with tadpole P content (refuting the growth rate hypothesis). Lastly, tadpole P content was not related to body size, but tadpole C content was higher in larger tadpoles, probably due to increased fat storage.
5. We conclude that temperature had a strong effect on tadpole life history, nutrient demand and stoichiometry and that this effect depended on the evolved life history.

__________________________________________________________________________
3) Mechanisms of competition between tadpoles of Australian frogs (Litoria spp.) and invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina)
Freshwater Biology
Volume 58, Issue 12, pages 2584–2600, December 2013
Elisa Cabrera-Guzmán*,
Michael R. Crossland,
Richard Shine

Article first published online: 13 SEP 2013

Author Information
1. School of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
*Correspondence: Elisa Cabrera-Guzmán, School of Biological Sciences A08, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. E-mail: elicabguz@hotmail.com
Summary
1. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) have wrought considerable ecological damage during their invasion of tropical Australia, spurring the search for novel ways to reduce toad numbers.
2. Previous laboratory and field studies have shown that the tadpoles of native frogs, which often co-occur with toad tadpoles in temporary waterbodies, compete with the invaders and can suppress their survival, growth and development.
3. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for that competitive suppression might suggest new ways to control toads: for example, a chemical produced by native tadpoles that disrupts toad development.
4. Our laboratory experiments confirm that toad tadpoles are negatively affected by the presence of tadpoles of three native hylid frogs (Litoria caerulea, Litoria longipes and Litoria splendida) and identify direct exploitative competition for food as the primary mechanism. Manipulations of chemical cues and visual cues in the water had no significant effects on the viability of toads, whereas manipulations of direct physical contact and food supply relative to tadpole density had strong effects.
5. The lack of chemically mediated interference competition may reflect the very short timescale of sympatry between the invader and native taxa, restricting opportunities for the evolution of such mechanisms.
6. Re-introducing native anurans to anthropogenically degraded sites (especially those where local frogs previously occurred, but have been lost) may provide a simple and effective way to reduce the recruitment rate of invasive cane toads.
____________________________________________________________
4) Evolutionary conservatism and convergence both lead to striking similarity in ecology, morphology and performance across continents in frogs
Proc. R. Soc. B 22 December 2013 vol. 280 no. 1773 20132156

Daniel S. Moen1,2⇑,
Duncan J. Irschick3,4 and
John J. Wiens1,5

- Author Affiliations
1. 1Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, 650 Life Sciences Building, Stony Brook, NY 11795-5245, USA
2. 2Center for Applied Mathematics, École Polytechnique, UMR 7641 CNRS, Route de Saclay, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France
3. 3Department of Biology, 221 Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
4. 4Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
5. 5Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0088, USA
1. e-mail: daniel.moen@cmap.polytechnique.fr
Abstract
Many clades contain ecologically and phenotypically similar species across continents, yet the processes generating this similarity are largely unstudied, leaving fundamental questions unanswered. Is similarity in morphology and performance across assemblages caused by evolutionary convergence or by biogeographic dispersal of evolutionarily conserved ecotypes? Does convergence to new ecological conditions erase evidence of past adaptation? Here, we analyse ecology, morphology and performance in frog assemblages from three continents (Asia, Australia and South America), assessing the importance of dispersal and convergent evolution in explaining similarity across regions. We find three striking results. First, species using the same microhabitat type are highly similar in morphology and performance across both clades and continents. Second, some species on different continents owe their similarity to dispersal and evolutionary conservatism (rather than evolutionary convergence), even over vast temporal and spatial scales. Third, in one case, an ecologically specialized ancestor radiated into diverse ecotypes that have converged with those on other continents, largely erasing traces of past adaptation to their ancestral ecology. Overall, our study highlights the roles of both evolutionary conservatism and convergence in explaining similarity in species traits over large spatial and temporal scales and demonstrates a statistical framework for addressing these questions in other systems.
_______________________________________________________________________
5) Home, Home on the Range: Where the Desert Tortoises Roam?
Nevada Busiiness, November 1, 2013 By, Lyle Brennan

Cliven Bundy is a man on a mission. He’s been battling the federal government — specifically, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — for more than 20 years, and he’s determined to win this David-and-Goliath battle.
Bundy’s family has raised cattle on the land around Mesquite since the 1870s, and he now owns about 500 cattle roaming through the desert rangeland. He tends them, brands them, and drives them to market much like his ancestors did. It’s a hard way of life, but he’s carrying on the family tradition. Now 67, Bundy hopes to someday pass it on to his 14 children.
The only problem is that Bundy doesn’t own the land his cattle are grazing on. Like more than 85 percent of Nevada, that land is owned by the federal government and managed by the BLM, which leases grazing rights to ranchers for an annual fee. Since 1993, Bundy has refused to pay the fees, claiming that his Mormon pioneer family settled the area long before the BLM even existed. He also insists that the land belongs to the state, not to the federal government, which has no right to order him around or fine him. The government at first wanted him just to pay the fees, then cancelled his grazing rights altogether and demanded he remove his cattle from “their” land. The BLM keeps winning judgments against him in court, where he defends himself, and Bundy keeps ignoring their orders.
In July, the U.S. district court ruled that if Bundy didn’t remove his cattle by August 23rd, they could be seized by the BLM. The government also wants him to remove all his improvements, including water tanks and wells. The deadline came and went, and so far (as of press time), the cattle are still on the land and Bundy still refuses to pay the fees, which may now total more than $300,000. He has declared himself willing to do whatever it takes to defend his property, which seems to have scared off the feds.
Bundy says he has “fired” the BLM, whose so-called experts said he would be permitted to run his cattle on the range only from mid-summer through winter. As a rancher, Bundy knows that spring is the only time cattle fatten up, but the BLM was concerned that cows might step on baby tortoises when they emerge in the spring, and as everyone knows, the desert tortoise is an “endangered species”.
Range biologists demonstrated years ago that desert tortoises actually do better on land that’s being grazed by cattle and managed by ranchers. People who have lived in Southern Nevada awhile know that this business of “protecting the desert tortoise” is an example of government interference at its worst. In the 1990s, the feds insisted that tortoises were in danger of extinction. They blocked off huge areas of land from development, and charged exorbitant fees to developers, which were used to establish a Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. You may have read recently that the center was so overcrowded with tortoises that they had to euthanize many of them. They couldn’t release them into the wild because that would cause overcrowding in the native population. How can an endangered animal population be overcrowded? That’s government logic for you.
Cliven Bundy may be on the wrong side of the law according to the courts, but to my way of thinking, we need more citizens like him to stand up to the federal government instead of giving in to their insatiable power grabbing. Let the cattle graze and the cowboys ride the range, and if they occasionally step on a tortoise, that’s a small price to pay for living free.
________________________________________________________________________
6) In long run, flood may benefit Boulder County, Colorado, USA, native wildlife-Still, burrowing animals (like herps) hit hard by September deluge
By Stephen Jones and Ruth Carol Cushman, Daily Camera
11/03/2013

During the height of the September rainstorms, an Eldorado Springs resident found a mink holed up in her kitchen, and neighbors saw rattlesnakes swimming in the town's sewage treatment pond.
Dozens of drowned prairie dogs turned up on city of Boulder and Boulder County open space properties, and a few prairie dog colonies located in floodplains appear to have been entirely depopulated. Some prairie dog burrows remained flooded for several weeks after the storms.
Preliminary reports suggest that burrowing animals, including rodents and snakes, may have suffered the greatest losses during the September rains. Many animals probably drowned in their burrows, while others were swept away by the raging waters or killed by predators.
Federally threatened Preble's meadow jumping mice were about to enter hibernation as the deluge struck. Their burrows lie in floodplains that were saturated by the rains, so open space ecologists fear that many may have drowned. One hiker did find several dead mice of undetermined species near the high water mark along Bobolink Trail.
Several people found tiger salamanders and toads in their window wells. One observer reported dozens of small dead snakes littering Colo. 93 during the height of the downpours.
Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center east of Lyons admitted baby squirrels that may have been washed away from their nests, along with several emaciated rock pigeons. A few observers found dead birds on the ground, including a mourning dove, a crow, two magpies, a Bullock's oriole and a house finch. Some of these birds may have died of hypothermia after the feathers became soaked.
However, some birds probably benefited from the proliferation of mosquitoes and other insects after the deluge. A couple of weeks after the storms, we saw flocks of black-capped chickadees and Audubon's warblers feasting on swarms of mosquitoes at Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Area.
On Shanahan Ridge in south Boulder, we marveled at the sight of butterflies and moths flitting across the grasslands within hours after the rains subsided. Moths commonly shelter under tree bark and building eaves during rainstorms, but many of the butterflies must have stayed dry by clinging to the undersides of hanging leaves and tree branches.
Within days after the storms, we found more than a dozen recently emerged common buckeye butterflies on Shanahan Ridge. The chrysalises of these locally uncommon beauties may have come through the deluge in such good shape because buckeyes evolved in the southeastern United States, where autumn downpours frequently occur.
In the long run, alteration of prairie streams and floodplains may benefit native wildlife populations. Along Coal Creek south of Boulder, the raging waters thinned out overcrowded groves of cottonwoods and willows while dramatically widening the stream channel and depositing immense piles of sand and silt.
This natural thinning of riparian woodlands will create more space for grassland-nesting songbirds while reducing nesting opportunities for non-native eastern species. The piles of sand will provide nurseries for cottonwood seedlings, adding age and height diversity to streamside woodlands. Finally, the widened stream channel will enable the creek to meander more freely, creating deep pools for native fish and amphibians.
For years, ecologists have been telling us that periodic scouring floods are essential to maintaining ecosystem health in prairie stream corridors. Only time will tell how local wildlife populations respond to this most recent flooding event.
Stephen Jones and Ruth Carol Cushman are authors of "Wild Boulder County" and "The North American Prairie."
_________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:58 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 54 11/9/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
_________________________________________________________________
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
The 2014 calendars are here, TURTLES, Sea Turtles, Frogs, Snakes,-same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
DON’T WAIT UNTIL WE ARE OUT.
Which we are about to be -This is what is left: 1 snake, 2 frogs, 4 sea turtles and 9 turtle calendars left. So Act now.
________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 2 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) A Herpetological Weekend in NY
2) The Ears Have It: First Snakes Were Burrowers, Not Swimmers
3) Doctoral assistantship in amphibian population ecology
4) Conservation group finds 70 dead sea turtles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast
5) Settlement Will Safeguard California Frog From Harmful Pesticides
6) Male lizards prefer more-feminine lizards to 'bearded ladies,' new research finds
7) Tortoises - Which Way Do They Prefer To Roll?
8) Lizard Societies – Great Desert Skink Families Build Communal Homes
9) Record Number of Acres Restored for Protection of Bog Turtle

10) Almost 500 protected turtles found in Thai airport bags, over 1,000 creatures found in a week
11) Crocodile University- Crocodilian Biology, Behavior, Husbandry and Conservation Course. Dec 9-14, 2013
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps to Birds to Mammals to You Name it Are Back
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive. All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
We are also running out of magnets, 18 are sold out. half were herps. Go to the above url to see what is left. Act Now. Don’t wait until the last minute when there is nothing left. Don’t wait until Black Friday or Cyber Tuesday. Great Hanukah gifts.
The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you and family and friends. And animal or Herp lover.
______________________________________________________________
1) A Herpetological Weekend in NY
Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m.–5:00 p.m.:
New York Turtle Rehabilitation Meeting
Teatown Lake Reservation, Cliffdale Farm, Teatown Road, Ossining, NY

Sunday, November 17, 11:00 a.m., The Arsenal Gallery, Central Park,
5th Avenue at 64th Street, NYC:
Naturalist at Large Peter Warny: “Road Trips for Turtles 2013” and
SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Kerry Kriger:
“Amphibian Conservation in the 21st Century”
Go to www.nytts.org for more information.
______________________________________________________________
2) The Ears Have It: First Snakes Were Burrowers, Not Swimmers
Science November 8, 2013: Vol. 342 no. 6159 p. 683
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6159.683-a
News & Analysis
Paleontology
1. Michael Balter
One of paleontology's sharpest debates concerns whether the first snakes crawled on land or swam in the water. Data on the inner ear anatomy of living and fossil snakes, presented at a recent meeting, suggest that snakes evolved from terrestrial, burrowing ancestors.
______________________________________________________________
3) Doctoral assistantship in amphibian population ecology

Graduate Assistantship: There is a new Ph.D. post available beginning summer
2014 to participate in studies of amphibian population ecology, as part of
an NSF-supported “Coupled natural-human systems” interdisciplinary team.
Specifically this person will work with Drs. Aram Calhoun and Mac Hunter,
professors in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine
in Orono. The focus of the project is to study pool-breeding amphibian
ecology in the context of responses to urbanization to better understand
population persistence in complex landscapes. The results from this work
will be integrated with concurrent research examining other amphibian
species, collaborative management, economics of conservation, and community
engagement in vernal pool conservation to develop management policies that
consider the socio-economic needs of Maine citizens while also conserving
amphibian populations and other vernal pool ecosystem functions.

Qualifications:
A Master’s degree in a related field; excellent GPA and GRE scores; an
interest in collaborative, multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving;
and substantial field experience. Support includes an assistantship stipend,
a tuition waiver, subsidy for health insurance, and funds for field
research.

Application Procedures:
Please submit the following information to wildeco@maine.edu with subject
line “amphibian assistantship.”

1. a letter detailing your interest in this position and your interest in
applied research;
2. a resume;
3. photocopies of GRE scores and transcripts; and
4. names, phone numbers, and email addresses of three references familiar
with your academic and research history.

Review of materials will begin in early December and continue until the
position is filled.
________________________________________________________________
4) Conservation group finds 70 dead sea turtles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast
Posted: Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - By L. Arias
The group Widecast on Monday launched a publicity campaign to denounce fishing bycatch that is snaring and killing sea turtles.

Dead green sea turtles were discovered over the weekend attached to longline fishing hooks, nylon strings and rope. Courtesy of Widecast
Members of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (Widecast) last Saturday discovered at least 70 dead green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) near the Murciélago archipelago, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, the conservation group reported.
Widecast member Aníbal Lara found the first group of dead turtles off the coast of Santa Elena, Widecast Costa Rica Director Didiher Chacón told The Tico Times. Several of the turtles were attached to longline hooks, nylon strings and rope.
"It is not difficult to conclude that they were caught by longline fishing devices," he said. “Last week, we had reports of Mahi Mahi in the area, and behind them usually comes the longline fishing fleet.”
On Tuesday, Widecast members searching the area found two turtles that were still alive. They were sent to the National University Veterinary Faculty in an attempt to save their lives. Some of the dead turtles also were sent to determine the official causes of death.
In January this year, 280 dead sea turtles were discovered in the Gulf Dulce, in the southern Pacific area of Costa Rica. At the time, veterinarians discovered inflammation and damage to their respiratory systems, leading them to determine the turtles had drowned after being snared in nylon fishing lines, which use several hooks and live bait.
Chacón said the most recent discovery coincided with the launch of a Widecast campaign to reduce bycatch in commercial fishing.
The campaign, called "Yes to sustainable fishing," was launched on Monday night and aims to inform the public about several turtle deaths in Costa Rica's Pacific Ocean due to bycatch.
In addition to providing data, the campaign’s main objective is to collect signatures calling for technical, administrative, legal and socio-economic measures to ensure sustainable fishing practices in the country.
According to Widecast, up to 30,000 sea turtles are snared each year as bycatch due to fishing practices that are not selective.
Green sea turtles are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
"With this campaign, we intend to ask the government to regulate longline fishing, which includes eliminating the use of live bait and prohibiting that type of fishing in areas with large sea turtle populations," an announcement about the campaign said.
The petition also calls for fines for those who leave fishing lines out at sea, and increased fines for snaring sea turtles as bycatch.
To support and sign the petition, visit: www.sialapescasostenible.com.
___________________________________________________________________________
5) Settlement Will Safeguard California Frog From Harmful Pesticides
SAN FRANCISCO— A federal district court approved a settlement today requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better protect California red-legged frogs from seven common pesticides known to be highly toxic to amphibians. The settlement gives the agency two years to prepare “biological opinions” under the Endangered Species Act to analyze pesticide use in and near the frog’s aquatic and upland habitats.
“We’re hopeful the analysis required by this agreement will stop the use of harmful pesticide in the red-legged frog’s most vulnerable habitats and open the door to its recovery,” said Justin Augustine, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s long overdue.”
A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center required the EPA to assess pesticide impacts on red-legged frogs and to then formally consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. The EPA’s assessments found that widespread use of pesticides is likely harming red-legged frogs and the court ordered temporary pesticide use restrictions that remain in effect today. Despite the EPA’s findings, however, the Service and EPA failed to complete the required consultation, resulting in the litigation by the Center that culminated in today’s settlement.
Today’s court order gives the Fish and Wildlife Service two years to complete biological opinions for seven pesticides: glyphosate, malathion, simazine, pendimethalin, permethrin, methomyl and myclobutanil. This consultation process could lead to permanent restrictions on some of the most harmful pesticide uses.
“Because they’re so sensitive to chemical contaminants, frogs are an important barometer of the health of our ecosystems,” said Augustine. “Pesticides found in red-legged frog habitat can also contaminate our drinking water, food, homes and schools, posing a disturbing health risk.”
Once abundant throughout California and made famous in Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” California red-legged frogs were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1996. Their numbers have declined more than 90 percent; the species is no longer found in 70 percent of its former range. The most severe declines have been observed in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of California’s central valley, where frogs are exposed to pesticides from the intensely agricultural San Joaquin valley.
More than 200 million pounds of pesticides are applied each year in California; for most of these chemicals, governmental agencies have not evaluated impacts on wildlife as required under the Endangered Species Act.
Background
Amphibians are declining at alarming rates around the globe and scientists believe pesticides may be partly to blame. Agricultural pesticides introduced into wetlands, ponds and streams are particularly harmful to frogs, whose permeable skins readily absorb toxins from their aquatic environments.
The pesticides of concern for red-legged frogs include several controversial chemicals that public health, sustainable-farming, farmworker and conservation groups advocate banning due to unacceptable hazards to humans and wildlife. For example, simazine — one of the pesticides covered by today’s settlement — is a known endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disrupters may interfere with natural hormone functions, damage reproductive function and offspring and cause developmental, neurological and immune problems in wildlife and humans.
The Endangered Species Act requires the EPA to consult with federal wildlife agencies to ensure that the agency avoids authorizing pesticide uses that jeopardize endangered species. If the Fish and Wildlife Service determines EPA registration of a pesticide is likely to harm listed species, it may specify use restrictions to avoid adverse effects. Conservation groups, including the Center, have filed a series of lawsuits attempting to force such consultations, which have resulted in restrictions on pesticide use near endangered species habitats.
In June 2013 the Center and Pesticide Action Network filed an amended complaint in their ongoing efforts to protect the nation’s most vulnerable wildlife from toxic pesticides. The lawsuit seeks to compel the EPA to evaluate the impacts of dozens of pesticides known to be toxic to more than 100 endangered and threatened species, including Florida panthers, California condors, piping plovers, black-footed ferrets, arroyo toads, Indiana bats and Alabama sturgeon. Documents from the Fish and Wildlife Service and EPA, as well as peer-reviewed scientific studies, indicate that these species are harmed by the pesticides.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
__________________________________________________________
6) Male lizards prefer more-feminine lizards to 'bearded ladies,' new research finds
Which females do male lizards find to be the sexiest? Tracy Langkilde, an associate professor of biology at Penn State University, and Lindsey Swierk, a graduate student in Langkilde's lab, tackle this question by examining the mating behavior and blue-color patterns of fence lizards in Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. The results of their research, which offer a snapshot into the evolution of male-female differences, will be published in the early online edition of The Royal Society journal Biology Letters on 6 November 2013.
Male fence lizards of the species Sceloporus undulatus have bright blue "badges" outlined in black on both sides of their throats and abdomens, and previous studies have shown that testosterone drives the production of these badges, which are highly visible during the animal's courtship rituals and other behavioral displays. However, many females also have this blue ornamentation, although it is less vibrant and covers a smaller area. "Just as some human females have male-pattern facial hair, albeit less pronounced than in males, some female fence lizards display the typically-male blue markings," Langkilde said. "However, whereas in human females the masculine characteristics are less common within the population, in fence lizards, we see the opposite pattern: About three quarters of the females are so-called 'bearded ladies,' making masculinized females much more common than their counterparts with little or no blue ornamentation."
Using a combination of field observations and laboratory manipulations, Langkilde and Swierk designed experiments to determine whether male lizards preferred the more-masculine bearded ladies or their more-feminine sisters. "We found that, although males do not say 'no' to bearded ladies, they clearly discriminate against blue-ornamented females, opting more often to court females without coloring," Swierk said. "The question is 'why'? Is it possible the males mistake the bearded ladies for fellow males? Or are bearded ladies somehow less fit and, therefore, less attractive to males?"
To answer this last question, the team members studied the differences between the reproductive output of bearded ladies and the less-common females without male-pattern coloring. They found that, compared to their more-feminine counterparts, bearded ladies laid clutches that weighed less. In addition, they laid their eggs about 13 days later in the mating season. "The lower mass may indicate that the eggs have smaller yolks and so the embryos don't have as many available nutrients," Langkilde said. "As for the timing, the 13-day difference is significant. It means that the bearded ladies' offspring hatch later, so they have less time to gather food and to prepare for overwinter hibernation, which is a tough period that few babies survive. As a result, females with less blue coloration may have an evolutionary advantage with regard to the fitness of their offspring. This might explain why males tend to prefer them."
Langkilde and Swierk hypothesize that, although bearded ladies currently are more common in many fence-lizard populations, the evolutionary tide might be turning. "What we might be observing is a gradual trend toward more sexual dimorphism within this species," Swierk said. Sexual dimorphism is defined as the difference in color, shape, size, or structure between males and females of the same species. For example, human males tend to be larger than human females and they also have other distinguishing characteristics such as stronger brow ridges and more facial and body hair. Darwin and others have suggested that one of the major factors driving these differences is sexual selection -- the theory that an animal chooses a member of the opposite sex based on some observable feature that signals good health and superior genes. Although the classic example of this phenomenon involves selection of males by females -- namely, the male peacock's elaborate and calorically expensive tail attracting the female peahen -- sexual selection likely also explains why males are more attracted to females with certain "fitness-signaling" traits. "It is possible that, over the course of several generations, we will see the more-feminine lizards winning out over their bearded-lady sisters," Langkilde added. "In time, the percentage of bearded ladies could dwindle and the balance could shift. However, another possibility is that bearded ladies have some other evolutionary advantage that keeps their numbers high within populations."
That other evolutionary advantage, the team members explained, could be behavioral. For example, bearded ladies, which likely have higher levels of testosterone, might be more aggressive and thus better able to fight off predators or competitors when compared to the more-feminine females. "Bearded ladies also may be more sexually aggressive so, although the males don't prefer them, they may initiate more of the courtship and mating and produce as many or more offspring for this reason," Langkilde said. "Another possibility," she added, "is that bearded ladies may benefit by having especially sexy sons." The team's previous research has shown that females prefer really blue males and so, "if these bearded ladies pass their vivid coloration on to their sons, this could give them an advantage by ensuring they have lots of grandchildren," Langkilde said.

###

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Fellowship, the National Geographic Society, and the Eppley Foundation for Research.
Katrina Voss
CONTACTS
Tracy Langkilde:
(+1) 814-867-2251 (office)
(+1) 814-359-6922 (mobile)
tll30@psu.edu
Barbara Kennedy (PIO):
814-863-4682
science@psu.edu
__________________________________________________________________
7) Tortoises - Which Way Do They Prefer To Roll?
By Martin Gardiner | November 5th 2013

(About Martin I specialise in beachcombing the scholarly journals and university websites for uncommonly intriguing academic articles by uncommonly intriguing people. Articles such as moustache transplants, the aerodynamics of boomerangs, and uses for phatic cushions. I always provide links back to the original source – just in case anyone thinks I’m making it all up. I'm currently Rio de Janeiro desk chief for Improbable Research. Anyone with a requirement for original articles about intriguing research can contact me via : research at univ dot org dot uk
I specialise in beachcombing the scholarly journals and university websites for uncommonly intriguing academic articles by uncommonly intriguing...)

If one were to overturn a tortoise, would it be more likely to right itself (i.e. get back on its feet) to the right or to the left?
To find out, a joint research team from the Comparative Psychology Research Group, University of Padova, Italy and the B.R.A.I.N. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Trieste, Italy, performed a unique set of experiments with 34 overturned tortoises.
“Each trial consisted of overturning a tortoise (about its sagittal axis) and gently placing it on the above described apparatus. [The test apparatus consisted of a plastic arena 38.5 cm × 29cm × 15 cm high filled with sand up to 2 cm from the top.] Before of each single test the layer was levelled evenly. The righting response was video-recorded and the direction of righting was scored. After completing each response the tortoise was free to rest and walk around for some minutes before being administered a next righting trial.”
The experiments revealed a distinct bias in the tortoises’ righting behaviour – for reasons which are, as yet, poorly understood.
“A bias at the individual as well as at the population level was found for preferentially turning on the right side.”
‘Lateralized righting behavior in the tortoise (Testudo hermanni)’ is published in Behavioural Brain Research, 173: pp. 315-319.
Notes:
• All tortoises successfully completed the righting procedure within 2 minutes.
• No invasive procedures were used. Tortoises’ experimental and housing conditions were in accordance with the Italian and European Community laws on protected wild species (Art. 8/bis 150/92 all. A Reg.(CE) 338/97).
Queries:
• Would the results have been different if the tortoises had been overturned about another axis – e.g. the coronal axis or transverse axis?
__________________________________________________________________
8) Lizard Societies – Great Desert Skink Families Build Communal Homes
Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Twenty of the world’s 5,000+ lizard species have been shown to live in family groups (i.e. the Prehensile Tailed Skink, Corucia zebrata, and the USA’s Desert Night Lizard, Xantusia vigilis). Field studies have now revealed that one social lizard – Great Desert Skink or Tjakura, Liopholis kintorei – actually constructs complex, long-term dwellings and lives in extended family groups. Native to the red sand plains of central Australia, it is the only lizard known to exhibit such highly-evolved social behavior.
Natural History and Conservation
The Great Desert Skink is stoutly-built, much like the familiar Blue-Tongued Skink (please see photo) and sports rust to burnt-orange coloration that closely matches the red sands in which it lives; its Aboriginal name, Mulyamiji, means “red nose”.
The diet is comprised largely of beetles, spiders and other invertebrates, with termites being an important food source for part of their active season. Small snakes, lizards and some vegetation are also taken. Please click here to view a photo of this most attractive lizard.
The Great Desert Skink’s range has greatly decreased in recent years, and it is classified as Vulnerable by the Australian Government (please see article below for conservation plan).
Skink “Towns”
The degree of social behavior exhibited by the Great Desert Skink is unprecedented among lizards, and has shocked the herpetological community. Researchers from Macquarie University and Parks Australia have discovered that families comprised of a breeding pair and several generations of offspring cooperatively build complex tunnel systems which are occupied for at least 7 years.
Their subterranean homes have up to 20 entrances and separate latrine areas, and may cover an area spanning 50 feet or more. Tunnel construction and maintenance duties are carried out by family members based upon size, with the largest individuals doing most of the “heavy lifting”…all seem to contribute some effort, however.
Mate Fidelity and Family Ties

Mated pairs of Great Desert Skinks remain together for years. Females seem to copulate only with their mate, but 40% of male skinks father young “outside” of their primary relationship. The young are born alive and remain within the tunnel system of their birth, with their parents and siblings, for several years. How and when they disperse and breed is being investigated.
Biologists hope that further studies of Great Desert Skink communities will reveal insights into the evolution of social behavior in reptiles and other creatures.
Please check out my posts on Twitter and Facebook . Each day, I highlight breaking research, conservation news and interesting stories concerning just about every type of animal imaginable. I look forward to hearing about your interests and experiences as well, and will use them in articles when possible.

Please also post your questions and comments here…I’ll be sure to respond quickly.
Thanks, until next time,
Frank Indiviglio
Further Reading
Natural History and Conservation of the Great Desert Skink (Australian Government Report)
Central Australia’s Red Sand Habitats
Social Behavior in the Prehensile-Tailed Skink
__________________________________________________________________
9) Record Number of Acres Restored for Protection of Bog Turtle

Press Release, NYRC - Millbrook, N. Y., November 14, 2013 – Winter 2012-2013 was a big year for bog turtle protection in the Hudson Valley as restoration efforts started on a record number of acres. With funding from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and technical assistance from the Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC), 6 sites representing 140 acres were able to be permanently protected under a conservation easement and restored for bog turtle protection in Dutchess County.

“This represents more acres than have been restored by NRCS New York in all the previous years combined (2003-2011),” said Jason Tesauro, a turtle specialist with MACHAC.

“We already have evidence that the restoration efforts are working,” said Don Petit, State Conservationist for NRCS NY. “This summer confirmed bog turtle egg shells were found in an area where restoration had been completed over the winter. This is good news for the recovery of the species.”

Bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) are the smallest and one of the rarest turtle species in North America. They live in unique, calcium rich wetlands throughout the Hudson Valley.

Restoration of their habitat involves removing overgrown trees and invasive plants which can shade out the sunny areas bog turtles need for basking and nesting. A rich diversity of native plants, many of which are only found in these rare, limestone wetlands, can then thrive. This provides excellent habitat for the bog turtle. Sometimes livestock like cattle, goats, or sheep are pastured in the wetlands which help control the growth of unwanted vegetation. When grazing does occur, it is carefully monitored and only a few animals at a time are allowed so wetland plants aren’t overgrazed or turtles trampled.

NRCS through WRP has funded approximately 15 bog turtle protection projects in the Hudson Valley. Other projects in New York have been funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Defense Fund, and The Nature Conservancy.

“The WRP program has successfully restored millions of acres nationwide providing habitat for lots of wildlife including water fowl and rare species like bog turtles. On a volunteer basis, landowners can enroll wetlands that have been modified for agriculture. USDA NRCS pays the landowner for a conservation easement which takes the property out of agricultural production and prevents future development. We then work with the landowner to restore the wetlands back to their original function,” said Elizabeth Marks, a biologist with USDA NRCS.
With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you have a farmed wetland or one containing bog turtles, or if you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office. For a list of offices, visit www.ny.nrcs.usda.gov.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marks (518) 828-4385 x105 elizabeth.marks@ny.usda.gov
__________________________________________________________________
10) Almost 500 protected turtles found in Thai airport bags, over 1,000 creatures found in a week
11/9/13 AFP- Thai customs have seized a haul of 470 protected turtles and tortoises in airport luggage, making it a total of over 1,000 creatures found in the country's airports in a week.
Officials at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport say a 25-year-old Pakistani man has been arrested on suspicion of wildlife trafficking after four suitcases on a flight from Lahore were found to contain protected black pond turtles.
Chris Shepherd of wildlife trade protection group Traffic says there has been a surge in smuggling for the pet trade in South Asia.
"It does seem that the number of turtles and tortoises coming out of South Asia is skyrocketing, especially with regards to the black pond turtle," he said.
Mr Shepherd says Thailand is a "globally significant trade hub" for turtles and tortoises, and authorities should do more to find and prosecute high level smugglers.
"Few, if any, significant traders or kingpins in the tortoise and turtle racket have been penalised," he said.
The discovery came after authorities found 423 protected tortoises and 52 black pond turtles stashed in unclaimed bags on a carousel on Wednesday after arriving on a flight from Bangladesh.
On Sunday, customs at the same airport found 80 protected turtles on luggage also from Bangladesh.
International trade of the rare black pond turtle, which originates in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, is forbidden.
____________________________________________________________________________
11) CROCODILE UNIVERSITY- Crocodilian Biology, Behavior, Husbandry and Conservation Course. Dec 9-14, 2013

At Crocodile Manor; 240 Bay Tree Lane, Palm Bay, FL 32909

Crocodile University is an intensive, hands-on, interactive and integrated educational course for individuals, groups and facilities who want professional training in Crocodilian Behavior, Husbandry, Biology and Conservation.

Our mission is to provide professional training for individuals, groups and institutions in Crocodilian Husbandry, Biology, Behavior and Conservation.

Developed and taught by IUCN Crocodile Specialists, former Zoo Curators, Biologists and Veterinarian with over 100 yrs combined experience...Crocodile University is an intensive, hands-on, interactive and integrated educational course for individuals, groups and facilities who want professional training in Crocodilian Behavior, Husbandry, Biology and Conservation.

This is a 6 day course that concentrates on REAL WORLD and USABLE crocodilian husbandry, biology and training. It has been developed with LESS lecture...MORE hands-on!

JOIN US for one of the most intensive and interactive Crocodilian Courses on the planet!

Instructors:

Shawn Heflick; IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, Nat Geo WILD HOST - The Python Hunters
Curt Harbsmeier; IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, Executive Board Member - Lowry Park Zoo
Flavio Morrissiey;IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, Director - Gator Adventure Productions
Greg Lepera; IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, Curator of Reptiles Retired - Jacksonville Zoo
Ken Alfieri; IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group, Zoological Director - Alligator Adventure
Kevin Oppenhiemer DVM; Reptile Specialist Veterinarian


OUTLINE:

MONDAY:

-Welcome/Intros
-Student Background
-Expectations
-Intro to Crocodilians & Taxonomy
-Facility Tour
-Intro to Live Crocodilians (Hands-on)
-Behavioral Training
-Q&A

TUESDAY:
-Species Identification
-Anatomy/Physiology
-Health
-Behaviors & Reproduction
-Breeding & Best Management
Practices
-Hands-on
-General Discussion Q&A

WEDNESDAY:
-Enclosure Construction &
Considerations
-Husbandry
-Diet/Nutrition
-Specimen Identification
-Introduction to Capture & Handling
-General Discussion Q&A

THURSDAY:
-Capture & Restraint
-Transport Techniques
-Regulations & Law
-Conservation Initiatives

FRIDAY:
-Behavior Training...Show & Tell
-Hands-on Training Continued
-Course Completion Festivities

SATURDAY:

-Field Trip (optional)
**TBD

General Information- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crocodil ... 9956748766

Registration Fee is $895.00 per person and covers fees, breakfast and most lunches.

To REGISTER send us an email at sheflick@aol.com or CONTACT US via Facebook, phone or email.
Phone: 321-626-0583
_______________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
STILL AVAILABLE- By David M. Caroll

Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turtles.

And on Ebay, all the money from the following items go to HerpDigest
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... CA:US:1123 &
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tagua-Nut-Torto ... CA:US:1123
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:01 am

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 55 11/14/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
_________________________________________________________________
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
TURTLES, SEA TURTLES, 2014 calendars are here, and we are running out of them fast, especially SEA TURTLES -same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
DON’T WAIT UNTIL WE ARE OUT OF STOCK OF ALL CALENDARS.

________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

THE NEW --The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
AND BACK IN STOCK
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 1 --
LIMITED # AVAILABLE (Available only if you also buy issue number 2)
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) Two Fascinating videos of rescuing two leatherback sea turtles at sea
2) Save the Date!-The 2014 NEPARC meeting will be on August 13-15, 2014 in Allegany State Park, Salamanca, NY.
3) Texas lizards and weasels -Editorial Houston Chronicle If we’re not going to protect a Texas species, let’s at least not pretend that we are
4) PARC Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation: Request for Nominations!
5) Tags slow down young turtles- Conservation Magazine-This Week 11/8/13
6) The Wildlife Ecotoxicology and Physiological Ecology Laboratory at Virginia Tech is currently seeking exceptionally qualified and motivated candidates for a Ph.D. graduate position for 2014.
The student will focus on the complex interactions between climate change and pollution on early development of amphibians using a combination of field and lab techniques.

7) Officials: This woman may know why alligator was found at Chicago's O'Hare
8) New life discovered growing on ocean plastic waste dubbed the 'plastisphere'
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps, Birds, Mammals, Invertebrates, Sea Creatures and... Are Back
But we are running out of them, 18 different kinds are already sold out. half were herps.
Go to the url below to see what is left. Act Now. Don’t wait until the last minute when there is nothing left. Don’t wait until Black Friday or Cyber Tuesday. Great Hanukah & Christmas gifts.
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
or
The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you, family and friends. Animal or Herp lover.
__________________________________________________
1) Fascinating videos of rescuing two leatherback sea turtles at sea
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=50 ... permPage=1
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=50 ... permPage=1
______________________________________________________________
2) Save the Date!-The 2014 NEPARC meeting will be on August 13-15, 2014 in Allegany State Park, Salamanca, NY.

Details will be added to the NEPARC website as we know more.

Please complete this Doodle Poll so the correct number of overnight accommodations can be reserved. If you are interested in staying in a cabin in the park, reservations should be made 9 months in advance and the minimum stay is one week. Visit Reserve America to make reservations.

See you at next year’s NEPARC Meeting!


2014 NEPARC Meeting Overnight Accommodations Doodle Poll: http://doodle.com/k8qrb7ekz3c957dy

NEPARC Meetings: http://www.northeastparc.org/meetings/index.htm

Reserve America: http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica ... Index=home
___________________________________________________
3) Texas lizards and weasels -Editorial Houston Chronicle
If we’re not going to protect a Texas species, let’s at least not pretend that we are

Sagebrush Lizard Controversy

November 12, 2013 12:38 am
A threatened reptile brings out the worst in sneaky Texas politics.

The dunes sagebrush lizard isn’t much to look at, and it isn’t easy to find. About three inches long, the brown "habitat specialist” lives only in the root systems of scrubby shinnery oaks, which grow in the desert sand dunes of West Texas and New Mexico. To stay out of the heat, it likes to bury itself.

For the last few years, the lizard has been talked about more than it’s been seen. It’s currently classified as “threatened,” one step below an “endangered species” protected by federal law. And that’s where the oil and gas industry, which has been drilling hot and heavy in the lizard’s home dunes, wants to keep it.

We agree. We don’t want to push a threatened species over the line.

And in its broadest outlines, we like the sound of the deal that the industry proposed a few years ago, as it was persuading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that really, the lizard didn’t need those big-stick, able-to-disrupt-business protections that come with being an endangered species. Instead of federal protections, why not work out a free-market solution? Why not let oil-and-gas payments reward private landowners who choose to take lizard-protecting measures? More habitat; less hassle for business.

The devil, as usual, is in the details. You’d expect a lizard-monitoring program to be overseen by Texas Parks and Wildlife, which knows something about animals. Instead, it falls under the purview of the Texas comptroller - the state’s bookkeeper and tax collector.

Why? Because that’s what the oil and gas industry wanted. In 2011, at the behest of lobbyists, then-state Rep. Warren Chisum slid the proposal into a fiscal-bill amendment.

Comptroller Susan Combs’ office, of course, knows doodly squat about lizards. So for day-to-day reptile monitoring, the comptroller contracted with a group called Texas Habitat Conservation Foundation - which just happens to have been founded by lobbyists for the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a group that represents petro-giants like Exxon and Chevron. The group is chaired by (wait for it) Warren Chisum, the former state rep who wrote the amendment that gave lizard oversight to the controller’s office and who works these days as a lobbyist for (yes!) the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Chisum says there’s no conflict of interest.

Environmental groups think otherwise. “It’s an example of the fox guarding the henhouse,” grumbled Noah Greenwald, endangered species director of the Center for Biological Diversity. And independent oil producers worry that a group run by lobbyists representing big oil companies will naturally skew lizard protection in a way that favors big companies. (That’s why Rep. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, pushed for a more accountable lizard program.)

Comptroller Combs contends that satellite imagery shows private landowners are keeping up their ends of the deal, but environmental groups are suspicious. And neither they, nor the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, has any way to double-check. The comptroller’s office keeps secret the identities of the landowners who are participating in the program.

This system is nutty. We’re embarrassed that Comptroller Combs - normally a straight shooter and a fan of government transparency - not only defends such a hot mess, but offers it as a model for other states.

Texas shouldn’t be a state that pussyfoots around, hiding sneaky lobbyist-fueled actions from the people. If we say we’re going to protect lizards, we should protect lizards - and we should do it in an open, easy-to-check way, one that doesn’t favor big companies over small ones.

And if we’re not going to protect lizards, let’s at least have the decency not to pretend that we are.
________________________________________________________________
4) PARC Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation: Request for Nominations!

PARC is seeking nominations for 2014 recipient of our annual $1,000 cash award in memory of our first PARC Federal Coordinator, Alison Haskell (1956 - 2006). This award is to recognize an individual in North America who exemplifies extraordinary commitment to herpetofaunal conservation, as did Alison. Alison's tenure with PARC was tragically shortened due to a valiant, but unsuccessful battle with ovarian cancer. Members of PARC aim to keep her memory alive through this annual award.

Nominations are due December 8, 2013. Read more about the award, how to submit nominations, and about Alison, here: http://www.parcplace.org/news-a-events/ ... award.html

We look forward to your nominations! Please spread the word!

PARC Administrators
______________________________________________________________
5) Tags slow down young turtles- Conservation Magazine-This Week 11/8/13
To learn more about marine life, scientists often attach instrumented tags to animals and record data on their environment and behavior. But these tags could drag down the movements of young turtles, making it harder for the animals to complete long journeys across the ocean.
This isn’t the first time that researchers have reported the ill effects of tags. In one study, a team found that birds fitted with tags have to expend more energy. Even when the instruments were less than 1% of their weight, tagged penguins took longer to find food and had less fat.
The researchers searched scientific papers published from 2000 to 2012 and found that tagging of marine turtles was mentioned in about 50 papers per year. Since young turtles have to migrate long distances, “long-term attachment of instruments with high drag costs may have considerable ecological implications,” the authors write in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
To quantify the effects on drag, the team created fiberglass casts of several types of marine turtles, including leatherback, green, and hawksbill turtles. The researchers attached tags to the casts and placed them in a wind tunnel. They could then estimate the change in drag that the animal might experience while swimming.
For adult-sized turtles, tags generally increased drag by less than 5 percent. But for juvenile turtles, drag jumped by more than 100 percent. “If the drag costs from carrying tags disrupts their natural behaviour, they may miss out on breeding and foraging seasons, be unable to catch enough food, or even end up becoming someone else’s meal,” said study co-author T. Todd Jones of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, Hawaii in a press release.
There is one thing that scientists can do to help the animals out: Turtles are often encrusted with barnacles that also increase drag. So cleaning off the barnacles “may offset the increased drag from instrumentation,” the authors note. — Roberta Kwok | 8 November 2013
Source: Jones, T.T. et al. 2013. Calculating the ecological impacts of animal-borne instruments on aquatic organisms. Methods in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12109.
_____________________________________________________________________________
6) The Wildlife Ecotoxicology and Physiological Ecology Laboratory at Virginia Tech is currently seeking exceptionally qualified and motivated candidates for a Ph.D. graduate position for 2014.

The student will focus on the complex interactions between climate change and pollution on early development of amphibians using a combination of field and lab techniques.

In addition to being enrolled in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, the incumbent will be a graduate fellow in Virginia Tech‚s Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. The assistantship will include 4 years (48 months) of full support as a graduate research assistant, a
full tuition waiver, and modest research funds. The student will be expected to apply for additional funding to support aspects of their field and laboratory research.

The fellowship will begin in 2014, but the start date is negotiable. Minimum qualifications include a M.S. degree (or equivalent experience) in a biological discipline and an existing publication record. Additional qualifications sought include experience with experimental design, knowledge of freshwater ecology, and animal husbandry.

Applicants should submit their CV (including GPA and GRE scores), contact information for at least three references, and a one-page letter describing their research interests as they relate to this position to Dr. William A. Hopkins, hopkinsw@vt.edu.

Additional information about our laboratory, including recent relevant publications on pollution and herpetofauna, can be found at http://ecophys.fishwild.vt.edu/. Information about the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Program can be found at http://globalchangephd.com/.

Submissions will be considered as they are received, but are due no later than January 31, 2014.
_________________________________________________________________
7) Officials: This woman may know why alligator was found at Chicago's O'Hare
By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 12:09 PM EST, Wed November 13, 2013

The Chicago Transit Authority released photos of a woman at O'Hare International Airport holding the alligator.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
• Authorities are searching for a woman who may have left a gator at an airport
• The alligator was discovered on November 1 underneath an escalator
• The discovery of the gator was national news earlier this month

She may be able to answer a question that's been vexing Chicago officials: Who left a tiny, little alligator at the O'Hare International Airport? And why?
The toothy reptile caused quite a stir and made headlines around the country when it was found at the airport November 1.
Security guard Tineka Walker was on patrol at Terminal 3 that day when a passenger alerted her to a gator squirreling around under an escalator.
"I looked, I said, 'What?'" Walker told CNN affiliate WBBM. "They probably realized they couldn't take it through the checkpoint, and just let him go, but, oh my God!"
Walker radioed police for backup. The creature was only about 18 inches long. An airport worker used a broom and dustpan to capture it.
The gator garnered quite a response. The incident was reported in publications from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., all asking the same question: what was a reptile doing at an airport?
The Chicago Transit Authority and police devised a plan to find out.
Transit officials said they used a photo posted on social media that showed a woman holding a small alligator on one of its train on November 1 to help jumpstart their investigation.
They scoured images from the system's 3,600 cameras and was able to track the woman's trip. At 1:17 a.m., cameras captured the woman on a train holding the alligator and showing it to passengers, transit officials say.
An hour later, the same woman was seen leaving the train at an airport station. About 30 minutes later, the woman was captured at "the turnstiles of the O'Hare rail station, this time without the reptile in view," transit officials said.
Now, transit official have a message for the woman.
"Those responsible for this act can face a misdemeanor charge of cruel treatment of an animal or face a fine $300 to $1,000 for cruelty to animals for abandoning the animal in a public place," they said.
As for the alligator, don't expect a reunion any time soon.
It was handed over to the Chicago Herpetological Society and was destined for a new life at a luxurious reptile park.
________________________________________________________________
8) New life discovered growing on ocean plastic waste dubbed the 'plastisphere'
Penny Orbell ABC Environment 13 Nov 2013

The dents in which the bacteria were found give scientists hope that they may be breaking down the plastic waste. Credit: Environmental Science and Technology
A whole new group of microscopic creatures has been found growing of the vast amount of discarded plastic floating in the world's oceans.
VAST AMOUNTS OF of plastic debris floating in the ocean are supporting new forms of microscopic life and whole new ecosystems. Scientists writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology are collectively calling this new life the 'plastisphere'.
Previous studies have thoroughly outlined the harmful effects of plastic on animals such as fish, birds and other forms of marine life. However, none had fully assessed the effects of plastic on microscopic ocean dwellers.
The team, which included Tracy Mincer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and Linda Amaral-Zettler of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, used fine mesh nets to collect pieces of plastic — around 1 to 5mm in diameter — from sites in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Using a combination of high-resolution imaging and genetic sequencing, they discovered unique ecosystems living on two kinds of plastic, with communities composed of microbes that are genetically distinct from those on other natural surfaces in the surrounding waters, such as driftwood or feathers. The plastic communities were also more diverse than those in seawater samples, which are typically dominated by only a few species.
"The organisms inhabiting the plastisphere were different from those in surrounding seawater, indicating that plastic debris acts as artificial 'microbial reefs'," said Mincer. "They supply a place that selects for and supports distinct microbes to settle and succeed."
More than 1,000 species of microbes were found in the study, including plants, algae and bacteria, some of which remain unidentified. These communities typically had a natural order: with plant-like organisms at the bottom of the food chain and higher order creatures that feed on them. Other organisms that live in harmonious relationships with each other were also identified.
"We're not just interested in who's there. We're interested in their function, how they're functioning in this ecosystem, how they're altering this ecosystem, and what's the ultimate fate of these particles in the ocean," said Amaral-Zettler. "Are they sinking to the bottom of the ocean? Are they being ingested? If they're being ingested, what impact does that have?"
Electron microscope images also reveal that some bacterial members of the plastisphere were nestled in 'pits' on the plastic surface, supporting the idea that these organisms may actually be contributing to the degradation of the plastic.
Studies conducted over the last 22 years found that despite an increase in the production of plastics, the amount of plastic oceanic debris has remained relatively stable. The scientists hope that 'pit formers' are breaking down the plastic, though they caution that more experiments need to be conducted.
"When we first saw the 'pit formers' we were very excited, especially when they showed up on multiple pieces of plastic of different types of resins," said Zettler. "Now we have to figure out what they are by sequencing them and hopefully getting them into culture so we can do experiments."
As the research is in its infancy, it is difficult to speculate yet about the potential effects of the emerging plastisphere on marine ecological environments.
Researchers are concerned that as the plastics, along with the unique micro-organisms they harbour, drift widely they have the potential to act as vectors for dispersal of harmful pest species or pollutants.
Penny Orbell wrote this article as part of her science communication studies at the University of Melbourne.
___________________________________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
STILL AVAILABLE- By David M. Caroll

Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turtles.

And on Ebay, all the money from the following items go to HerpDigest
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... CA:US:1123 &
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tagua-Nut-Torto ... CA:US:1123
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:12 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 56 11/19/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
_________________________________________________________________
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
TURTLES, SEA TURTLES, 2014 calendars are here, and we are running out of them fast, especially SEA TURTLES -same price as last year, $14.99 each, plus $6.00 S&H $2.00 for every additional calendar. To order, and see photos of the front and back covers as well as a sample photo of an inside page from all four calendars go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
DON’T WAIT UNTIL WE ARE OUT OF STOCK OF ALL CALENDARS.

________________________________________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

THE NEW --The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman
AND BACK IN STOCK
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 1 --
LIMITED # AVAILABLE (Available only if you also buy issue number 2)
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Influence Expression of Defensive Behavior in Plains Hog-Nosed Snakes (Heterodon nasicus)
2. Ozark National Scenic Riverways Announces Release of Draft General Management Plan-Home of Ozark Hellbender
3) Two bills in Pennsylvania's House and Senate could further damage state's endangered plants and animals
4) Reptile romance a field of conflict
5) Royal Thai Customs intercept three attempts to smuggle tortoise and freshwater turtle in less than a week
6) U.S. Offers Reward in Wildlife-Trade Fight
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps, Birds, Mammals, Invertebrates, Sea Creatures and... Are Back
But we are running out of them, 18 different kinds are already sold out. half were herps.
Go to the url below to see what is left. Act Now. Don’t wait until the last minute when there is nothing left. Don’t wait until Black Friday or Cyber Tuesday. Great Hanukah & Christmas gifts.
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
or
The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you, family and friends. Animal or Herp lover.
____________________________________________________
1) Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Influence Expression of Defensive Behavior in Plains Hog-Nosed Snakes (Heterodon nasicus)
Ethology-- Article first published online: NOV 13, 2013
1. Andrew M. Durso1,2,*,
2. Stephen J. Mullin2

Author Information
1. 1Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
2. 2Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, USA
* Correspondence
Andrew M. Durso, Department of Biology, Utah State University, 5305 Old Main Hill, Logan UT 84322, USA.
E-mail: amdurso@gmail.com

Abstract
Animals failing to deter predation are eaten. Among the many deterrents to predation, antipredator behaviors are perhaps the most variable, ranging from active (fight or flight) to passive (immobility). We assessed variation in the expression of a passive defensive behavior, death-feigning, in Plains Hog-nosed Snakes (Heterodon nasicus) and predicted that intrinsic and extrinsic factors would influence the duration of this behavior and the latency to its onset. We simulated predatory attacks on 27 snakes encountered in the field, and analyzed the behavioral responses of snakes as a function of differences among individuals (sex and size) and environmental factors (temperature and microhabitat). Larger snakes death-feigned for longer durations than smaller ones; this relationship was stronger for female snakes than for males. Death feints were initiated sooner when snakes were encountered at higher temperatures. Extrinsic factors had a greater influence on latency to death-feigning behavior, whereas intrinsic factors more strongly influenced its duration. Because our results involved wild snakes, they provide an improved, highly relevant understanding of individual and environmental factors that regulate the expression of immobile defensive behavior. Furthermore, additional hypotheses can now be proposed that address the evolution of defensive behaviors that leave animals prone to attack.
_______________________________________________
2) Ozark National Scenic Riverways Announces Release of Draft General Management Plan-Home of Ozark Hellbender
Press Release 11/1/13, VAN BUREN MO: Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Bill Black announced today that the Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Statement (Draft Plan) will be available for public review on November 8.
The Draft Plan includes detailed maps and narratives describing a No-Action Alternative and three Action Alternatives.The No-Action Alternative explains how the Riverways is currently managed. "The 'Preferred' Alternative was developed from the public comments we received and incorporates elements of the other alternatives mentioned since the public scoping for the plan began. The park management team and I are especially interested in the public's reaction to the 'Preferred' Alternative, since it represents a balance among the wide range of interests people have in Ozark National Scenic Riverways," said Black.
The Draft Plan may be reviewed online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/ozar beginning November 8.Comments may also be submitted at this website.After November 12, reference copies of the Draft Plan will be made available at the public libraries in several local communities, including: Van Buren, Eminence, Winona, Birch Tree, Mountain View, Summersville, Salem, Ellington, and Ellsinore.CD copies will also be available to participants attending the public open house meetings or upon request to the park.
Superintendent Black states, "With the publication of the Draft Plan, we have moved into the last phase of public input in the planning process.The draft document is a detailed look at the Alternatives and their impacts, and a thorough public review is essential in finalizing the plan.Our goal remains to develop a final plan that will provide a variety of recreational opportunities while continuing to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of Ozark National Scenic Riverways for future generations."
Superintendent Black invites all interested individuals to attend and provide comments during two public meetings on December 10 and 11. Each meeting will consist of an Open House session for distributing information and receiving comments related to the Draft GMP, followed by a formal Wilderness Hearing to allow individuals to voice their opinions about the proposed wilderness designation.The public meetings are scheduled for:
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Van Buren Youth & Community Center
Intersection of Business Highway 60 and D Highway, Van Buren, MO63965
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Open House
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wilderness Hearing
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center
11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Open House
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wilderness Hearing
The public comment period for the Draft Plan will be open until January 8, 2014; comments received by then will be most helpful in developing the final plan.The public is encouraged to provide comments online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/ozar.Comments will also be accepted at the public meetings, or through the mail to:
Superintendent
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
P. O. Box 490
Van Buren, Missouri63965
As always, we look forward to hearing from the public and encourage all to visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/ozar or our Facebook page for further updates. For more information, please contact Dena Matteson at (573) 323-8028 or e-mail us.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.
For more information:
Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-8028
Contact: Faye Walmsley, 573-323-4844
____________________________________________________
3) Two bills in Pennsylvania's House and Senate could further damage state's endangered plants and animals

September 15, 2013, Poconorecord.com

"Mankind has the honor of quite possibly being the most destructive force to ever hit mother nature. Whether by overhunting or overpopulation, driving a species to extinction is nothing to be proud of, and it's certainly not slowing down." Those are the words of Jamie Frater on his Internet list of the 10 most recently extinct species.
I was saddened as I read through the list and glanced at the obituary photos of recently extinct animals, such as the Pyrenean ibex, Baiji River dolphin, Tecopa pupfish and golden toad.
Sorrowfully, many of these calamities happened within my lifetime. Regrettably, humans had a lot of practice to achieve such an awful track record of destruction.
Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states: "Biologists estimate that since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, more than 500 species, subspecies, and varieties of our Nation's plants and animals have become extinct."
It further states: "In short, there is nothing natural about today's rate of extinction."
That rate averages about 78 extinct species per century. To speed things up and bring notice closer to home, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lists 73 existing state-designated threatened or endangered species.
How would we feel if these species become extirpated or even extinct from Pennsylvania's resident flora and fauna?
This may become an ugly reality, based upon a manifestation of ignorance, apathy and greed all concocted into two bills: House Bill 1576 (sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong/Indiana counties); and Senate Bill 1047 (sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County), now pending in the House and Senate.
If passed, these bills would essentially modify the way threatened and endangered species are protected in Pennsylvania. Current endangered or threatened species would have to be re-evaluated and put through a new implementation process, using new species listing criteria.
According to the "PA Environment Digest," the bill applies to the state Game Commission, Fish and Boat Commissions and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which now have the statutory authority to list threatened or endangered species. In addition, the bill would immediately eliminate hundreds of species of special concern entirely from environmental permit review. These species were found by the agencies to be rare in Pennsylvania and are tracked for conservation purposes, in order to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered.

Game Commission
In a letter to the House Game and Fisheries Committee, on Aug. 14, Carl Roe, executive director of the Game Commission, stated the legislation attempts to fix a problem that does not exist and threatens millions of dollars in federal funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The bill would require all threatened and endangered species designations made by the Game and Fish and Boat commissions to go through the regulation adoption process and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Listings by DCNR already go through the regulatory process.
The bill also makes a fundamental change in the way agencies evaluate species to be listed as threatened or endangered. Instead of looking at a species range or habitat within Pennsylvania for which the agencies are responsible, it requires them to look at the entire range of habitat for a species, even if it occurs across several states or in large regional areas across the United States.
In a simplified example, if there are 10 of the species in New York and only 2 in Pennsylvania, the bill would seem to direct the agencies to not protect the species in Pennsylvania because more exist outside the state.
In addition, the bill requires all species now listed to be re-listed through the regulatory process within two years of enactment of the bill. This means the commissions would have to re-evaluate and send 73 state-designated threatened and endangered species through the two-year window to protect their existing status.
The commissions would also have to evaluate the existing listed species under the new, expanded range of habitat criteria created in the bill, draft a regulation and move it through the regulatory process in two years — an all but impossible task with the limited resources the commissions now have.
Effectively, this means the protection of 73 existing threatened and endangered species are put at risk by this bill because of the process outlined in the bill.
Roe points out the bill may also have an effect opposite to the one intended by the sponsors of the bill. The lack of state action to protect species may prompt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list more species as federally threatened or endangered.
Over the past 10 years, only three species have been added to the threatened or endangered species list by the Game Commission.

Fish & Boat Commission
Talking points circulated by the Fish and Boat Commission take a similar position, opposing the bills as unnecessary and harmful to existing protections offered to threatened or endangered species in Pennsylvania.
"Because these bills appear to provide protection only to federally listed T&E species, species that are rare within Pennsylvania, but not globally rare, will not be protected. Effectively conserving species at the state level prevents regional and range-wide declines that require federal listings," stated the commission.
The Fish and Boat Commission points out there is already a definition of "acceptable data" used by the commission to consider listing of species by scientifically valid and defensible data.
The commission also said the bill requires a new database to be created when there is already a database. The Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory, which is used for environmental reviews, is considered "one of the most advanced, and arguably the best, environmental review systems in the country," according to the commission.
The commission is also critical of the bills for opening access to specific location information for rare, threatened or endangered species. This could allow anyone to pinpoint their location, facilitating the potential for harm to those species.
In the last five years, the Fish and Boat Commission has added 13 species and de-listed 11 species from the state threatened, endangered and candidate species list.

History repeats
If these bills are passed, it would require all threatened and endangered species designations made by the Game and Fish and Boat commissions to go through the regulation adoption process and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
Joe Kosak of the Pennsylvania Game Commission wrote about the reasons that caused the extinction of the passenger pigeon by 1914. Kosak said, "Passenger pigeon numbers began to slip in some areas during the mid-1800s. There was little concern about the birds, though, because they were so numerous. But the bird protection movement sweeping the country during this period apparently compelled some Ohioans, in 1857, to petition state legislators to introduce a bill protecting wild pigeons. A select committee of the state's senate found problems with the idea. The panel's report recommended: "The passenger pigeon needs no protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced."
It looks like history might repeat itself as if we didn't learn from our past mistakes. Sound familiar? Can we trust the scientific judgment of the selected Independent Regulatory Review Commission?

Why now?
It's apparent that certain members of the House and Senate want to change the current methodology of species listings and demand a new implementation process. But for what reasons? Does House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047 demonstrate concern about species protection?
Capitol reporter Mary Wilson reports in the State House Sound Bites:
"We've had questions as to their science, and there's been a lot of objection to there not being an appeal process, and it's come from a hell of a lot of sectors," said Pyle. "The underlying premise of the bills is that there should be more oversight of the endangered species designation process, since the label often affects permits for industries like timber, gas, homebuilders and coal."
Rep. Pyle serves as chair of the Environmental Resources & Energy Subcommittee on Mining.
Unless I've been living on another planet, Pennsylvania has recently transformed the landscape with a hell of a lot of gas pads, wind turbines, gas lines and power lines.
I have no objection to progress, as long as we drive the industrial speed limit and not detour environmental review. It appears the bills want to remove the endangered species designation and rubber-stamp development permits. The current system works to minimize environmental impacts on threatened and endangered species and their habitat.
On behalf of the imperiled 73, they question your logic? If you have concerns about House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047, please contact your state representative and state senator.
Contact Rick Koval at pocononaturalist@yahoo.com or write to him at PO Box 454, Dallas, PA 18612.
__________________________________________________________________
4) Reptile romance a field of conflict
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 Dani Cooper
ABC

Mating for one male North American snake is not so much about romancing the reptile but rather a case of hold tight and hang on, a new study reveals.
The study, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows the idea that males and females have to co-operate during mating does not apply to some species.
Instead mating can be characterised as a form of sexual conflict, says first author Dr Christopher Friesen, of the University of Sydney's School of Biological Sciences.
His study reveals male and female red-sided garter snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis, have conflicting views about the ideal length of copulation.
Females tend to favour shorter copulations, says Friesen, as it increases their ability to choose other mates to father offspring and reduces the risk of predation.
"For males however, longer copulations can serve not only to transfer more sperm, but also to 'mate-guard' the female," he and his US colleagues write.
This evolutionary conflict has led the snakes to develop gender-specific behaviours and anatomy to help them gain the upper hand during mating, says Friesen.
To test this theory, Friesen and his colleagues manipulated genital traits in wild male and female red-sided garter snakes that were key to their control of copulation.
The team removed a small hook-like spine from the male garter snake's hemipene (snake's penis) that Friesen theorised helped stop the female from evicting him during mating.
In a second experiment, the researchers anaesthetised the females' vaginal pouch to stop them using powerful muscles to terminate copulation.
Friesen says when the male's "hook" was removed, copulation time was significantly shortened and the male's ability to deposit a copulatory plug that stops sperm leakage, among other things, was limited.
The mating was mostly terminated by the female rolling off the male, he says.
Inversely anaethetisation of the females' vaginal pouch increased copulation time as the females' ability to eject the male was reduced.
Natural phenomena
The experiments were conducted as the snakes emerged from winter hibernation in Manitoba, central Canada. The event is a tourist attraction and natural phenomena.
Friesen says some snake dens can contain up to 10,000 snakes in an area the size of a living room with the ratio strongly male biased.
In larger dens between 20 to 50 males can congregate around a newly emerged female, forming 'mating balls' in which they compete to copulate.
He says the females are cold and hungry when they emerge and cannot move quickly. In this environment mating is effectively random and the female is unable to choose larger, fitter males.
Friesen says the results show how sexual conflict plays a role in evolution.
"The evolution of the basal spine (the hook) allows males to gain more control over copulation duration, forcing females to evolve some counter trait to regain some control," he writes.
Friesen says it is in the females' interest to limit copulation duration as a shorter mating time results in a smaller copulatory plug, which also stops the female from mating with another male and acts as a spermatophore from which sperm are released.
These plugs dissolve over a couple of days, so the smaller the plug the shorter the time before the female can mate again, he says.
This becomes important in terms of mate choice, Friesen says, as the female red-garter snake moves away from the den after about three days.
"As the female moves away from the den, the plug from her first mating dissolves and she may mate again in the ... small aspen groves surrounding the den where larger males are more prevalent and successful," he says.
__________________________________________________
5) Royal Thai Customs intercept three attempts to smuggle tortoise and freshwater turtle in less than a week

Traffic Newsletter, Bangkok, Thailand, (8 November, 2013) – Thailand continues to be a major hub for the illegal trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles – but Royal Thai Customs are taking action. This week alone, three smuggling attempts have been thwarted, all arriving at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
At 7:00am this morning, Thai Royal Customs arrested a Pakistani national on a flight from Lahore, with four suitcases containing 470 Black Pond Turtles Geoclemys hamiltonii, a species completely protected in its native Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal. The turtles, varied in size from 6cm to 25cm long, are increasingly at risk from the pet trade in Southeast and East Asia. They are becoming increasingly rare in the wild.
The species is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which therefore makes any international commercial trade illegal.
In an earlier seizure on Monday (November 3rd), Royal Thai Customs officials at the same airport recovered 72 Black Pond Turtles and eight other turtles, including six Crowned River Turtles Hardella thurjii, one Three-keeled Land Tortoise Melanochelys tricarinata and one Indian Eyed Turtle Morenia petersi, from two bags that were emitting a rotting smell. The bags had also arrived on a flight from Bangladesh.
Just two days later, Royal Thai Customs officials discovered another load of tortoises and freshwater turtles, in two uncollected suitcases at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, including the heavily trafficked Indian Star Tortoise Geochelone elegans.
The two bags on a flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Bangkok, aroused the suspicion of officers because they were far heavier than normal. Officials waited several hours for the bags to be collected before deciding to confiscate and scan them. X-rays and subsequent checks revealed 423 Indian Star Tortoises and 52 Black Pond Turtles. The animals have been placed in the care of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The Bangkok airport is no stranger to smugglers carrying tortoises and turtles in their luggage from South Asia. More than 2,700 Indian Star Tortoises have been seized since June 2010; the most recent, prior to this week’s seizures, took place a day after the closure of the CITES 16th Conference of the Parties, held in Bangkok in March this year, when Customs officials found 300 Indian Star Tortoises and 10 Black Pond Turtles in an unclaimed bag at the airport.
In the last four years alone, Thai authorities have seized more than 5,000 tortoises and freshwater turtles, around half of which were Indian Star Tortoises. Authorities in India have also intercepted numerous smuggling attempts of Indian Star Tortoises to Thailand, further illustrating the importance of significant Thailand’s role in the trade.
The Indian Star Tortoise is heavily traded as an exotic pet despite being legally protected in range countries—India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. All three countries have banned commercial export of the species under national legislation, making shipments from these countries illegal anywhere in the world.
All the animals seized in these three events have been placed in the care of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
“The Royal Thai Customs are to be congratulated for intercepting these shipments of tortoises and freshwater turtles.” said Dr Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“Given the volumes involved, the frequency of these illegal shipments, and the open availability of such species in Bangkok’s markets, it is clear that Thailand remains a globally significant trade hub for these animals. While intercepting shipments and arresting couriers is a must, TRAFFIC strongly encourages the authorities in Thailand to investigate further and to go after the kingpins behind the trade. Putting these key players behind bars is essential to shutting down the illegal trade in Thailand.”
__________________________________________________________________
6) U.S. Offers Reward in Wildlife-Trade Fight
November 13, 2013, NY Times by Thomas Fuller
BANGKOK — Taking a page from the battle against international drug cartels, the United States announced on Wednesday a $1 million reward for information to help dismantle one of Asia’s largest wildlife-trafficking syndicates.

In what officials said was the first time such a reward had been offered, the State Department said it was targeting a syndicate based in Laos, the impoverished and authoritarian Southeast Asian country whose government, investigators say, has been uncooperative in stopping a thriving trade of African ivory, rhino horns, tiger bones and endangered animals harvested by the thousands from Asian jungles.
In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said the syndicate, the Xaysavang Network, “facilitates the killing of endangered elephants, rhinos and other species for products such as ivory.” The network, he said, spans South Africa, Mozambique, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China.
Investigators say the syndicate is headed by a Laotian businessman, Vixay Keosavang, who was the subject of an article in The New York Times in March.
Reached on his cellphone on Wednesday, Mr. Vixay said he was being framed. “There are people slandering me,” he said. “If you want to know the truth, you should ask Lao officials.”
Asked about rhino horns sent from South Africa and addressed to him personally — evidence that was presented in a trial that concluded last year in South Africa — Mr. Vixay acknowledged that he had received them.
“I admit that I accepted them in good faith,” he said, adding that Laotian officials were aware of the shipments. But, he said, “I never ordered them.”
Bouaxam Inthalangsi, an official at the Laotian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said Wednesday that American officials gave him documents last week related to Mr. Vixay and the Xaysavang Network. But he said it was not enough evidence to arrest Mr. Vixay, who is based in Bolikhamxai Province outside the capital, Vientiane.
“According to what we know right now, he can walk free in Bolikhamxai because he is not guilty,” Mr. Bouaxam said. “We must act strictly in accordance with the law.”
Laos, run by an opaque Communist Party, ranks 160th out of 176 countries and territories in the corruption index published by Transparency International, a monitoring group. The authorities in neighboring countries say Laos has increasingly been used as a transit point for trafficked wildlife that is sent to consumers in East Asia, especially China and Vietnam.
Investigators believe that Mr. Vixay has enjoyed a great degree of protection from the Laotian authorities, and they point to voluminous evidence of Mr. Vixay’s wildlife-trafficking operations. A shipment of ivory and rhino horns intercepted by the Kenyan authorities in 2009 was addressed directly to Mr. Vixay’s company, Xaysavang Trading, in Laos.
The largest trove of evidence against Mr. Vixay, investigators say, came during the trial in South Africa of Chumlong Lemtongthai, a Thai national who South African prosecutors say was Mr. Vixay’s deputy.
In the trial, prosecutors laid bare a system in which Mr. Chumlong used Thai prostitutes to pose as rhino hunters, illegally using a loophole in South African law that allows hunters to bring back one horn as a trophy. Prosecutors called this “one of the biggest swindles in environmental crime history.” Mr. Chumlong was sentenced to 40 years in prison, which was reduced to 30 years on appeal.
Invoices presented as evidence in the trial showed that the rhino horns were in Mr. Vixay’s name and sent to his address in Laos. Mr. Vixay said in an interview that he had quit “a long time ago” what he described as his import-export business.
Yet Mr. Vixay’s wildlife-trading business is well known in the village along the Mekong River where his large walled compound is. During a visit by this reporter in February, a security guard who answered the door said the compound contained tigers, bears and other endangered animals whose trade is restricted or banned by a United Nations treaty. Villagers reported seeing regular truckloads of pangolins, an animal that resembles an anteater. Trading in pangolins is illegal under the United Nations treaty.
The United States government has been increasingly aggressive in combating wildlife trafficking, partly out of concern over the slaughter of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns. More than 800 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa this year, far more than in any previous year.
In July, the Obama administration issued an executive order calling wildlife trafficking an “international crisis” and instructing law enforcement agencies to “promote and encourage” actions against trafficking in other countries.
Brooke Darby, the deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, said the trafficking reward program, which in the future could also be used for trafficking in arms, people and counterfeit currency, was modeled on a narcotics reward system that began in 1986 and has given out more than $87 million to informants.
“We want to go after everyone in this process,” she said. “The people who ordered that the poaching be done, the people who accept bribes along the way, the people who forge customs documents, the people who receive the products.”
Ms. Darby would not comment on the specifics of how the United States would try to dismantle the trafficking network in Laos, where security agencies are secretive and where cooperation with foreign governments has been highly circumscribed in other matters. One example of the limited cooperation is what appeared to be the abduction of an American-trained agronomist last December who was last seen at a police checkpoint. Despite numerous requests for information by foreign diplomats in Laos, the police have never fully explained his disappearance.
News of the award came as a surprise both to Mr. Bouaxam, the Laotian official, and to Mr. Vixay.
Steven Galster, the executive director of Freeland, a countertrafficking organization based in Bangkok that has been instrumental in tracking Mr. Vixay, described the reward as a “great development.” “In the world of wildlife trafficking and corruption, you gotta fight money with money,” he said in an email.
__________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.
________________________________________________________________
STILL AVAILABLE- By David M. Caroll

Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) $25.00 exc. condition. (only 3 copies available) Includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrate with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turtles.

And on Ebay, all the money from the following items go to HerpDigest
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... CA:US:1123 &
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tagua-Nut-Torto ... CA:US:1123
________________________________________________________________
TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:30 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 61 12/10/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
_________________________________________________________________
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
Interested in any of the 3 publications below go to
http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.

THE NEW --The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman (All copies already ordered and ordered by End of year will be signed by author.)
AND BACK IN STOCK
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 1 --
(Available only if you also buy issue number 2)

The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) Hold the date!! - 21st Annual ARAV Conference
13th Annual AEMV Conference-46th Annual AAZV Conference- October 18 - 24, 2014, -
Walt Disney World- Orlando, Florida, USA

2)Inmates work with Ohio zoo restore eastern hellbender salamander

3) Eastern Hellbenders being raised, released into Ohio streams.

4) Fresh Talk--The Timber Rattlesnake
5) Undiagnosed Die-off, Turtles-Canada (Ontario), Request for Information
6) Feeding by Tourists Compromises Health of Already-Endangered Iguanas, Study Finds
7) The Herpetologists’ League-Graduate Research Award-Call for Applications
8) Fragile Springs- Life in the springs requires a delicate balance (With Turtles)
9) With blog carnival, Utah State snake buff hopes to repair reptiles’ rep--#SnakesAtYourService » Eight bloggers from around the world explain why snakes make the world a better place.
10 Python Surprise: What's Inside the Deadly Snakes Could Treat a Major Disease (Diabetes)
11) TEN HERP BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Limited Number Available---Order Now
(Shipping and Handling Included in Price Only in U.S.)
ALL MONEY EARNED FROM SALE OF THESE BOOKS GO TO HERPDIGEST.
(Overseas-contact us before ordering.)


_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps, Birds, Mammals, Invertebrates, Sea Creatures and... Are Back
But we are running out of them, 18 different kinds are already sold out. half were herps.
Go to the url below to see what is left. Act Now. Don’t wait until the last minute when there is nothing left. Don’t wait until Black Friday or Cyber Tuesday. Great Hanukah & Christmas gifts.
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
or
The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included only in the US. Contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for correct overseas shipping costs.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
Don’t see what you want? A very specific species? A bird? A mammal? We’ve done dogs, cats even cars. Did we say custom diplomas. Just send us a good set of photos (hi-res jpg preferred), what photos you prefer, an email saying you have the rights to those photos and are turning them over to us for use in this or any other form. No additional cost.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you, family and friends. Animal or Herp lover.
___________________________________________________
1) Hold the date!! - 21st Annual ARAV Conference
13th Annual AEMV Conference-46th Annual AAZV Conference
October 18 - 24, 2014,
Walt Disney World- Orlando, Florida, USA

The ARAV and the AEMV will be holding their annual conference in conjunction with the annual AAZV conference in Orlando, Florida.
This promises to be a “must attend” conference with concurrent sessions providing current information on timely topics and instructive practical laboratories.

Proposals on all aspects of reptilian, amphibian, and exotic mammal medicine are welcome. These include results of original research, case reports, clinical studies, and review papers. Clinicians are particularly invited to submit papers for an “In My Experience” session.

Watch for the Call for Titles and check the website (www.arav.org) frequently for updated conference information.

For questions please contact:
David Hannon, the ARAV Scientific Program Coordinator at hannondvm@msn.com or
Joerg Mayer, the AEMV Scientific Program Coordinator at mayerj@uga.edu
___________________________________________________
2) Inmates work with Ohio zoo restore eastern hellbender salamander
Nov 30, 2013, TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A group of prison inmates in Ohio is helping a zoo restore populations of a salamander that is endangered in the state.
Officials at the Toledo Zoo say inmates at Marion Correctional Institution are caring for about a dozen young eastern hellbender salamanders.
Biologists will later release the salamanders at select habitat sites.
The zoo says the care the inmates are providing will give the salamanders a better chance of surviving in the wild.
Biologists already have released about 20 salamanders into two streams in eastern Ohio.
State wildlife officials have found that the eastern hellbender population in Ohio has declined by 82 percent since the mid-1980s.
Researchers say dams, pollution, disease and people have all contributed to the decline.
________________________________________________________________
3) Eastern Hellbenders being raised, released into Ohio streams.
MCT REGIONAL NEWS, DEC 2, 2013, The state of Ohio and its partners are working to re-establish the endangered eastern hellbender in streams it once occupied in eastern Ohio.

The hellbender is the largest amphibian in Ohio and one of the largest salamanders in the world. It can reach 27 inches in length and weighs nearly 3 pounds.
More than 20 hellbenders have been released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources into two streams over the past three years.

Officials will not say where, to protect the young hellbenders.

The plan is to release hundreds of hellbenders into multiple streams over 10 to 15 years, said John Navarro of ODNR’s Division of Wildlife. The state has been releasing 3-year-old hellbenders that are at least 12 inches in length, he said.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Toledo Zoo and The Wilds in Muskingum County have been raising hellbenders from eggs collected from streams in eastern Ohio.

Starting in late September, the state’s Marion Correctional Institution started a program to increase rearing space and boost the program. Twelve juvenile hellbenders were transferred to the state facility from the Toledo Zoo.

“The transfer of the hellbenders to MCI is a significant first step in increasing the numbers of hellbenders available for release,” said R. Andrew Odum, curator of herpetology and assistant director of animal programs at the Toledo Zoo.
“The preservation of Ohio’s native wildlife is a principal priority for all the partners in this project,” he said in a statement.

The new initiative marks an important step in the Division of Wildlife’s conservation plan to reverse the precipitous decline of the hellbender by expanding their range into previously occupied streams to establish multiple self-sustaining populations in Ohio.

The hellbenders, with their tiny eyes and wrinkled body, live under large rocks in streams. They feed on crayfish, snails, minnows, insects and worms and take in oxygen through highly vascularized skin.

The salamander is considered an important part of Ohio’s natural heritage, and the presence of hellbenders is evidence of clean water and a healthy habitat.
Hellbenders were returned to two streams that had been severely impacted by water pollution but have recovered. Today they are among the highest quality waterways in Ohio.

Biologists surgically implanted the hellbenders with radio transmitters to track movement. Data from the project will be used to develop future hellbender reintroductions in Ohio.

A state survey in 2006-2008 determined that the population had dropped 82 percent since stream surveys conducted in the mid-1980s. Causes of the decline include excessive siltation, pollution, disease, persecution, collection and dams.
Where hellbenders remain in Ohio, the populations are largely only old, large individuals and do not appear to be self-sustaining, Navarro said.

Without intervention, the hellbender is likely to disappear from Ohio waterways, he said.

Hellbenders range from New York to Georgia and west to Missouri. They were once found throughout the Ohio River drainage area.

Researchers found similar population declines throughout the hellbender’s range, and the species is considered threatened or endangered in most states. In Ohio, it is listed as endangered.

Funding for the project came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a state wildlife grant, plus donations to the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Diversity Program, the Columbus Zoo and

___________________________________________________
4) Fresh Talk--The Timber Rattlesnake

December 03, 2013, by William Conway,The Hartford Courant

The timber rattlesnake, which is extinct in Rhode Island and Maine, is one of Connecticut's endangered species and is reportedly is losing the battle with humans, a trend that should be reversed.
Timber rattlesnakes find welcoming habitat in central Connecticut's rocky, wooded hills. From April to October, rattlesnakes leave their dens in search of food, which can lead them through people's yards and into woodpiles or stone walls. This past rattlesnake season, 45 sightings of the snake were reported to officials in and around Glastonbury, where there is a major concentration of the state's remaining rattlers.
Unfortunately, officials investigating the 45 reports of rattlesnake sightings found nine of these snakes to be dead. It is paramount that Glastonbury residents, and all co-inhabitants of timber rattlesnake territory statewide, are aware that, under the Connecticut Endangered Species Act of 1989 and the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, the killing of the rattlers is prohibited.
If the threat of legal punishment for the killing of the timber rattlesnake is not enough, perhaps a recent study concerning the ecosystem benefits of the reptiles can convince citizens to spare the snakes' lives.
Humans have vilified the rattlesnake throughout human history. In many cultures, rattlesnakes are symbols of pure evil. A recent study by a team of University of Maryland biologists, however, proves that the timber rattlesnake provides indirect health benefits to humans.
Timber rattlers feed primarily on mice. After studying the snake's eating habits in eastern forests, the University of Maryland biologists found that each timber rattlesnake also consumes 2,500 to 4,500 blacklegged ticks living on the mice it eats each year. If there are any critters more hated than snakes, it just might be ticks.
But this is not a case of choosing between the lesser of two evils. Protecting the rattlesnake is about questioning our assumptions and beliefs about the vipers and understanding that the loss of one organism can alter entire ecosystems.
Blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) carry Lyme disease. Cases of Lyme disease are on the rise in recent times, causing scientists to ask why this disease is gaining strength. Previous studies have proved that a decline in mammals that feed on mice, such as foxes, can be linked to the recent increase in Lyme disease among humans. The University of Maryland study showed that timber rattlesnakes, though not mammals, provide the same tick removal service.
Although media, literature and certain cultural beliefs construct a sinister picture of rattlesnakes, perhaps hard science can help to overturn the vilification of this endangered species.
In early October, Doug Fraser, a Siena College biology professor, who has studied timber rattlers for 30 years, gave an educational talk at the Connecticut Audubon Center at Glastonbury. Fraser enumerated habitat loss, roadkills and poaching as the three greatest threats to the timber rattlesnake. Fraser also discussed the three-year reproduction cycle of rattlesnake females as a major challenge to successful recovery of the snake. In addition, Fraser pointed out that Glastonbury, The Nature Conservancy and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have been successful in conserving 7 square miles of prime timber rattlesnake foraging grounds in Glastonbury.
Land conservation programs stem the loss of timber rattlesnake habitat, but we must protect these snakes when they show up in our backyards. According to University of Maryland biologist Karen Lips, timber rattlesnakes are "non-aggressive and rarely attack humans." With this in mind, residents who come across one of the endangered timber rattlesnakes should not kill it — just let it go its own way, eating mice and helping to reduce the blacklegged tick population.
__________________________________________________________________
5) UNDIAGNOSED DIE-OFF, TURTLE - CANADA: (ONTARIO) REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
***************************************************************************
A ProMED-mail post
<http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
<http://www.isid.org>

Date: Mon 18 Nov 2013
Source: CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) News [edited]
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/manitoulin-island-turtle-deaths-worry-researchers-1.2428585>


Researchers at Laurentian University in Sudbury say they are stumped in the case of more than 50 dead turtles found on Manitoulin Island
[Ontario].

The turtles were found by a Ministry of Natural Resources scientist earlier this year [2013]and, so far, the cause of death is unknown.

A Laurentian herpetologist -- a researcher who studies amphibians and reptiles -- is working on the investigation.

"At least in Canada, as far as I know, nobody has ever seen such a large number of turtles killed without an obvious reason," Jacqueline
Litzgus said.

She said 2 full boxes of carcasses have been catalogued and the remains are in plastic bags. The only thing left of the turtles are
their shells.

An ecology graduate student who visited the site said so many dead adult turtles is bad news for the species.

"If you imagine a baby turtle, its shell is still soft. Anything can eat it. It's the chicken McNugget of the wild," James Baxter-Gilbert
said.

"Once one actually reaches an adult size, they need to live that long to put out so many babies every year."

Litzgus said the mysterious cause of the turtles' demise could be there are new predators or a rare type of disease.

Whatever the cause, Litzgus said she's worried. "When you find a couple of dead turtles, it's really disturbing," she explained. "But
when you find this many dead ones, it becomes hard to comprehend."

The shells will be studied at Laurentian over the coming months.

Researchers say they hope to have some answers before the end of the current turtle hibernation season.

(Editor, I’ve been told these are wood turtles, Blandings or snapping turtles. They were originally posted on Pro-Med as sea turtles.)
________________________________________________________________
6) Feeding by Tourists Compromises Health of Already-Endangered Iguanas, Study Finds
Dec. 5, 2013 — Science Daily- Feeding wildlife is an increasingly common tourist activity, but a new study published online today by the journal Conservation Physiology shows that already-imperilled iguanas are suffering further physiological problems as a result of being fed by tourists.
Charles Knapp, PhD, of the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and colleagues compared the differences in physiological values and endoparasitic infection rates between northern Bahamian rock iguanas inhabiting tourist-visited islands and those living on non-tourist-visited islands. They took blood and faecal samples from both male and female iguanas over two research trips in 2010 and 2012. The Bahamian rock iguana is among the world's most endangered lizards due to habitat loss, introduced mammals, illegal hunting, threats related to increased tourism, and smuggling for the illicit pet trade. They are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
While the two groups of iguanas did not differ in body condition, indicators for dietary nutrition differed. Both male and female iguanas from the islands frequently visited by tourists showed notably different levels of glucose, potassium, and uric acid. Male iguanas from the tourist areas differed in levels of calcium, cholesterol, cobalt, copper, magnesium, packed cell volume, selenium, and triglycide concentrations. Meanwhile, female iguanas from tourist areas differed significantly in ionized calcium. Among both males and females from tourist areas there was a 100% endoparasitic infection rate. Tourist-fed iguanas also displayed atypical loose faeces.
Dr Knapp says, "Both sexes on visited islands consume food distributed by tourists, although male iguanas are more aggressive when feeding and eat more provisioned food. Consequently, they may be more impacted by provisioning with unnatural foods, which could explain the greater suite of significant physiological differences in males between populations."
Iguanas on visited islands predominantly eat grapes that are provided by tour operators on a daily basis. The higher concentrations of glucose found in tourist-fed iguanas may be a result of being fed too many sugary fruits, such as grapes. An overabundance of grapes in those iguanas' diets could also explain the excessive diarrhea observed during the study. Grapes are also inherently low in potassium, possessing 3-10 times less potassium than the most common plants occurring on the islands. Both male and female iguanas from the tourist areas showed notably lower levels of potassium than the non-visited iguanas.
The male tourist-fed iguanas have raised cholesterol concentrations, which may indicate the introduction of meat to their diet. Similarly, the higher uric acid levels in male and female iguanas could be the result of animal protein, such as ground beef, being fed to iguanas by tourists. Furthermore, food provisioning by tourists on beaches has encouraged the iguanas to spend disproportionate amounts of time foraging in the area, rather than further in the island, resulting in higher levels of marine life being ingested.
Dr Knapp says, "The biological effects of altered biochemical concentrations may not be manifested over a short time period, but could have deleterious effects on long-term fitness and population stability."
While the researchers acknowledge that increased population density as a result of tourist-feeding can be beneficial for endangered species, they warn that unnaturally high densities and excessive reliance on tourists for food may prove problematic if food supplementation is discontinued for any reason. Further, plant community dynamics can be disrupted by changed feeding patterns in the iguanas.
Dr Knapp says, "The complete restriction of feeding by tourists may not be a realistic option. Instead, wildlife managers could approach manufacturers of pelleted iguana foods and request specially-formulated food to mitigate the impact of unhealthy food. Tour operators could offer or sell such pellets to their clients, which would provide a more nutritionally balanced diet and reduce non-selective ingestion of sand on wet fruit.
"We also endorse a broad education campaign and discourage references to feeding iguanas on advertisements. We urge serious discussions among wildlife managers and stakeholders to identify tactics that mitigate the impacts of current tourism practices without compromising an important economic activity."
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
1. Charles R. Knapp, Kirsten N. Hines, Trevor T. Zachariah, Caro Perez-Heydrich, John B. Iverson, Sandra D. Buckner, Shelley C. Halach, Christine R. Lattin, and L. Michael Romero. Physiological effects of tourism and associated food provisioning in an endangered iguana. Conservation Physiology, 2013 DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cot032
________________________________________________________________
7) THE HERPETOLOGISTS' LEAGUE-GRADUATE RESEARCH AWARD-CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Herpetologists' League is pleased to announce the 2014 competition for The Herpetologists' League Graduate Research Awards, If you are an M.S. or Ph.D. student with research results, then you may be eligible to apply for an award. Note that the application no longer requires an extended abstract. To participate, you must
(1) be a member of The Herpetologists' League
(2) be a current graduate student or have completed your graduate degree within 14 months of your presentation, which is described below
(3) submit an abstract (for which you must be the first author and have done the majority of the work) for the 2014 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists indicating your desire to compete for the Herpetologists' League Graduate Research Award
(4) give the oral presentation at the meeting. Presenters will receive evaluations from the judges after the meeting. Presenters of the second- through fifth-ranked presentations will receive $250 each. The presenter of the top-ranked presentation will receive $750, ten years of back issues of Herpetologica, and an invitation to submit a manuscript based on the work presented to either Herpetologica or Herpetological Monographs. The Herpetologists' League will commit to publishing this manuscript, following a successful peer-review process, as the lead paper in an issue and will identify the first author as the winner of the Herpetologists' League Graduate Research Award.
For further information or questions concerning The Herpetologists' League Graduate Research Award, contact Robert E. Espinoza, Department of Biology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California 91330-8303, USA.
Originally posted in ZenScientist Blog
_______________________________________________________
8) Fragile Springs- Life in the springs requires a delicate balance (With Turtles)
By Kristine Crane, Halifax Media Services,

December 3, 2013---One Sunday morning in early September, a bale of turtles swam and sunned themselves on the banks of the Santa Fe River near Blue Springs in High Springs.

Jerry Johnston, a turtle expert and biology professor at Santa Fe College, was at the springs that morning with a small group of volunteers for his annual “turtle dive” to collect as many turtles as possible to track where they congregate. The volunteers — a mix of students, biologists and interested residents — scooped up turtles one by one, hugging them against their chests before carrying the turtles to the shore for marking.
This year, the turtle count was a record high: 497. Last year, the divers caught about 30 turtles.
“It is something that has never been seen before,” Johnston said. “It’s a combination of things happening in the river and things happening in Blue Springs.”
The main reason the turtles are there is because they had to look elsewhere for food after the river darkened due to the influx of water from Tropical Storm Debby.
In Blue Springs, they found abundant food in the form of hydrilla, a native grass that grows when water has high levels of nitrates, Johnston explained. The nitrate level of Blue Springs is 2.2 parts per milliliter, which is nearly seven times the healthy standard of 0.35 for waters in the Florida Outstanding Waterway set by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Too much nitrate can set off an explosion of algea growth that robs the water of oxygen as it decays ¬— resulting in a dead zone.
The turtles are telling part of an ecological story that spreads far beyond the waters of Blue Springs. High nitrate levels permeate most of the springs in north Central Florida, and hydrilla, like algae, is just one sign of it. “If you don’t have hydrilla, the high nitrates will trigger massive rates of algae, which is what we see in a lot of our springs,” Johnston explained.
Most of the turtles that were caught at the springs are Suwannee Cooters, a rare species but one that dominates in north Central Florida. The turtles are good for the springs because they eat the hydrilla, which crowds out other native plants and is on the federal noxious weeds list.
“That’s why the people at Blue love the turtles. (The turtles are) helping them manage the springs,” Johnston said.
Johnston considers preserving turtle diversity also something of an evolutionary duty.
“When you look at an individual turtle on a log, I like to look at it as a lottery winner. It’s a success story,” Johnston said. “He probably had about 1,000 brothers and sisters die at the egg stage or during the first two years of life. They have no defense: When they are eggs, raccoons and crows dig up the nest and eat them. As hatchlings, fish, birds and snapping turtles eat them.”
So making it as a turtle in life is no small feat — but without the springs, Johnston fears their demise.
“The turtles are the ambassadors of the river and springs.”
The turtles are on the surface of a deeper problem that starts in cities such as Jacksonville, where utilities have over-pumped the water supply, and includes farms surrounding the springs and individuals who excessively water their lawns. All are using water from the Floridan aquifer, a mother vessel 100,000 square miles long that “is being tapped by miles and miles of wells, small and large,” as Bob Knight describes it.
Knight is the founding director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and a lifelong advocate of springs conservation. As a 5-year-old visiting his grandparents in Florida, Knight recalls being entranced by the springs in clear-bottomed boats. He returned as an adult to study the area’s springs, naming his institute after Odum, his mentor and the man who wrote the first monograph of Silver Springs in 1956.
Knight wrote a 50-year retrospective of the springs and is dedicating his time now to saving the springs.
“I’m focused on trying to stop the damage,” he said. “The springs are going down at an unbelievable pace.”
Todd Kincaid, the founding director of “GeoHydros,” a geological modeling company, said, “There is less water in the aquifer than people thought. As a consequence, we are running out. You really have to know your water budget. It’s like a bank account.” Being in “water debt” eventually catches up to you, and that’s part of the problem.
Another related issue is that there have been faulty modeling systems for measuring water flow, Kincaid continued.
The models presumed geology based on sand instead of karst limestone.
“The caves dominate the groundwater exchange path … the old models assumed that the rock was sand, and no caves,” he said.
Conduits in the karst geology mean that pockets of water escape to the springs more quickly than previously thought, and are able to contaminate them more rapidly. And the Santa Fe River, in particular, has a uniquely rocky bottom. Kincaid is at the forefront of working on models that take this geology into account.
Meanwhile, Knight and other activists are pushing water districts to curtail permits, mainly to farmers who are contributing to the problem of over-usage of water, and putting nitrates into the springs through fertilizers and other chemicals.
The nitrates are largely what’s believed to be causing the degradation of plant life and some wildlife such as fish and snails in the springs.
Knight has a single-minded devotion to saving the springs “because I love the springs,” he said. “I think it’s a very important part of our lives. They are degrading right before our eyes.”
There’s an economic argument for saving the springs, too, he said, calling the springs “a renewable recreational resource.”
“Florida’s economy is based on its natural environment,” Knight continued.
“If you’re killing the environment, you’re killing the golden goose that makes the economy grow.”
_______________________________________________________
9) With blog carnival, Utah State snake buff hopes to repair reptiles’ rep--#SnakesAtYourService » Eight bloggers from around the world explain why snakes make the world a better place.

By Mathew Piper, Salt Lake Tribune, Dec 09 2013

While they coil up in dark winter lairs, barely alive by most measures, Andrew Durso works to ensure snakes get a fair shake.

The Utah State University graduate student and seven other herpetology buffs are teaming up Monday for a daylong "blog carnival," #SnakesAtYourService, to give the reviled reptiles a much-needed infusion of good pub. They aim to show that snakes provide a bunch of essential services for Earth’s ecosystems, and unlike the snakes in government, they do it for free.
Durso has felt serpent sympathy since he volunteered at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in middle school, drawn by their beauty and ability to do all the life-supporting activities that most breathing things need limbs for.
"I realized how frightened people were of them and how baseless some of those fears are," he says. "Like with anything, the more knowledge you have about it, the less reason you have to be afraid of it."
He’s since devoted his life to furthering our understanding of snakes, including putting radios in them to find out what they do all day (conclusion: a whole lot of sitting around, waiting for prey) and analyzing chemical signatures to find out what’s on their menu (surprisingly tricky, since some females dine just a few times every other year.)
He was doing field work in Florida last year when he was struck by the way a former high school teacher was using social media to engage with layfolk back home. Remarkably, he thought, they actually seemed to care. At the ex-teacher’s urging, he started his own blog, "Life is Short but Snakes are Long," to share daily observations.
It really took off when he wrote about trying to identify a shed snake skin/snake shed in Florida. Turns out, lots of people on Google wanted to know how to do that. So Durso followed the post up with a broader how-to on identifying snake sheds throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Grand total, he says he can conservatively estimate 50,000 visitors to his blog. A woman in Virginia asked him for help identifying a shed skin that turned out to be from somebody’s pet anaconda. A Canadian woman sought Durso’s help vetting a murder mystery novel in which a snake was the murder weapon. And a Spanish doctor working in Ghana offered to translate his posts to Spanish at no cost, just to practice his English with material he enjoyed.
Now, inspired by Partner in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s Year of the Snake, Durso is putting the PR back in reptile. Five #SnakesatYourService bloggers live in America, one in Germany, one in Australia and one in Madagascar. All eight will link to each others’ posts, so if you’re interested, simply check out Durso’s blog.
_______________________________________________________
10) Python Surprise: What's Inside the Deadly Snakes Could Treat a Major Disease
By Richard Conniff | Takepart.com, December 6, 2013

Let’s say you’ve just been swallowed headfirst by a 15-foot-long Burmese python. The good news: Your worries are over. They’ve been over ever since those awkward getting-acquainted minutes when the snake was hanging on to you with its backward-raked fangs while squeezing the teeny-weeniest last bit of life from your lungs. Now you’re just a very large piece of meat, somewhat tenderized.

The snake, on the other hand, is revving up like a mothballed factory suddenly called back into full production. Over the next few hours, its heart will race up to 50 or 55 beats a minute, from 15 beats a minute during the sluggish month or so it has been lying around waiting for dinner to turn up. The amount of blood pushed out by each beat will increase fivefold. Heart, liver, kidneys, and small intestine will double, or more, in size to tackle the work at hand.
The 40-fold surge in the python’s metabolism is essential to digesting the huge lump in its gut over the next five or six days, and it can’t stop until it’s done, says Stephen Secor, coauthor of a study, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, about how the python’s extraordinary digestive powers work. The study could have far-reaching implications for our understanding of how organs work and for the treatment of diseases such as diabetes and heart failure.
But back to the original scenario, in which you become lunch. You probably saw the photograph that recently went viral of the python that had supposedly gobbled down a sleeping drunk beside a liquor store in India? A hoax, says Secor, who is a snake physiologist at the University of Alabama. The species in the photo lives in Indonesia, not India, and that mass of food swelling its gut was a deer, not a person. The truth is that even very big snakes almost never eat adult humans, says Secor. Though a child may occasionally make this unfortunate trip, the span of adult shoulders is generally just a little more than even the largest snakes can swallow.
The python’s ability to perform digestive magic is nonetheless real. “They mostly eat smaller mammals and birds," says Secor. “But porcupines, pangolins—things you think, ‘That’s a really tough meal,’—they still eat ’em.” The Burmese pythons that have invaded the Everglades will even take on alligators, he says, “and they can digest them as easily as they digest a rat.”
Among the new study’s other results, Secor and his coauthors found that the arrival of a meal in the gut elicits a “rapid and massive” response from the snake’s digestive tract. Thousands of genes light up and go to work. One of Secor’s previous studies showed that even the number and variety of bacterial species in the gut seems to double from what’s present in a resting gut.
The new python paper, and another study published at the same time about the king cobra’s astoundingly toxic venom, are the first ever to sequence a complete snake genome. The authors of the two studies collaborated, lining up parts of both snakes' genomes against each other and against the genomes of other vertebrates, to figure out how each snake acquired its extreme abilities.
The basic shift away from other vertebrates, and particularly from lizards, to “what makes a snake a snake, especially a snake that eats big things,” probably took place 100 to 150 million years ago, according to Todd Castoe, lead author on the python study and a biologist at the University of Texas at Arlington. Then, beginning 100 million years ago, a dramatic series of adaptations involving more than 500 genes rapidly changed python and cobra into their distinct forms.
Current thinking says big differences like this generally develop as a product of gene expression. That is, changes in when particular genes get turned on or off can produce major differences in form and function. But the snake studies call that idea into question. Both studies found far more extensive changes, involving not just the timing of gene expression but the structure of the genome itself and also the proteins it produces. It was a major and swift evolutionary reorganization.
Does that mean snakes will have the evolutionary nimbleness to adapt to rapid changes in the modern world? Not necessarily, Harvard evolutionary biologist Scott Edwards commented this week in New Scientist magazine. Even the changes described in the two studies accumulated over millions of years. Whether snakes are “labile enough to resist all the challenges of habitat loss and climate change is unclear. It's a different timescale."
Secor believes, however, that the python study will help medical researchers understand the biochemistry of how organs function. That could lead to treatments, he says, for heart disease, ulcers, intestinal malabsorption, Crohn's disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
Experiments have shown, for instance, that blood plasma from a fasting python has no effect on organ function in mammal species. But substitute blood plasma from a python that is revved up to digest its prey, and you can get human pancreas cells to increase insulin output by more than 20-fold.
With diabetes now afflicting about 285 million people worldwide—a number fast rising—the python could turn out, against all odds, to be a lifesaver.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

11) TEN HERP BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Limited Number Available---Order Now
(Shipping and Handling Included in Price Only in U.S.)
ALL MONEY EARNED FROM SALE OF THESE BOOKS GO TO HERPDIGEST.
(Overseas contact us before ordering.)
________________________________________________________________
1) The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, Carl Lang ($24.95)----344 Pages, Multiple Full Color Photos of the 101 species found in North America and a 70 minute CD of nearly every call for all they make.

2) Frogs: Inside Their Remarkable World by Ellin Beltz ($24.95) (Oversiz 11” x 14”)
125 stunning color photographs... unveils a remarkable amphibian world... [This book] will convince you that frogs are amazing. -- Whit Gibbons "Aiken Standard

3) Snakes of the United States and Canada By Carl H. Ernst and Evelyn M. Ernst ($70.00)
Much more than simply a field guide, this monumental reference begins with an introduction to snake biology and evolution, which is followed by an identification guide and key to the North American species. The heart of the book is the species accounts which, accompanied by color photographs, provide detailed information on identifying features, geographic variation, known fossils, current distribution, habitat type, behavior, reproduction, growth, diet, and predators. Completing the book is a glossary of terms and a comprehensive reference section. No other book provides as thorough or as reliable coverage.

4) The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology by Frederick R. Davis $35.00) --
"In this book, you will come to know, as I did during the exciting years when I was his student and friend, a unique and inspiring scientist. Frederick Davis has beautifully captured the intertwined personal, public, and scientific lives of the extraordinary person who -- if anyone deserves the title -- really was the man who saved sea turtles." --David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology at Rutgers University and founding editor of Conservation Biology

5) Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith ($25.00)
“Vile, venomous and best kept under lock and key - and that's just the people in this gripping book. Jennie Erin Smith spent a decade investigating the strange world of reptile collectors and dealers who specialise in rare species. I couldn't put this book down, partly because it's a ripping yarn of wildlife cops versus reptile robbers, but also because I was mesmerised by the horror of it all.”
—New Scientist

6) The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy ($25.00)
"THE LIZARD KING is a wild, woolly, finny, feathery and scaly account of animal smuggling on a grand scale, in a weird world so expansive that a few hundred stray snakes and turtles amount to peanuts.. . . Mr. Christy's entertaining book is about the crooks, swashbucklers and drug kingpins who constitute the underbelly of the reptile-dealing world . . . [The Lizard King] has a tangle of smugglers, agents, breeders and highly colorful minor players (like the tiger-purchasing Miami gangster who sounds like the prototype for "Scarface") with stories to tell . . . By the time THE LIZARD KING has escalated to describing the bear-gallbladder trade, it is rich with memorable moments." (New York Times Janet Maslin 2008-01-00)

7) The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians ($26.95) by Mary Taylor Young (Author) , Lauren J. Livo (Photographer) , Steve Wilcox (Photographer)
$26.95- 176 Pages, Full color photos.
"The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians is a full-color identification guide to the snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, toads, and salamanders of the Colorado region. Excellent photography of each species along with easy-to-use field ID guidelines, and notes on the habitat and distribution of various species...A handful of fascinating general facts, such as the origin of the light-sensitive vestigial “third eye” on the back of various lizards’ heads, round out this excellent, user-friendly field guide.” —James A, Cox, Midwest Book Review

8) National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Reptiles and Amphibians ($10.95) by National Audubon Society
192 pages Paperback (Fits in your back pocket) $10.95

This easy-to-use guide is divided into three parts: introductory essays; color plates and species accounts; and appendices - all in a convenient size!

9) Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) by David M. Carroll $25.00 Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrated with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
10) Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turtles.
______________________________________________
HOW TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal
_______________________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:13 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 13 Issue # 62 12/19/13
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
_________________________________________________________
HerpDigest is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence:
Please make a donation on top of your order.
_________________________________________________________________
Check with your Human Resources Department-Do they have a Matching Gifts program?
_______________________________________________________________
THE NEW --The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation, by Peter V. Lindeman (All copies already ordered and ordered by End of year will be signed by author.)
AND BACK IN STOCK
The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 1 --
(Available only if you also buy issue number 2)

The Tortoise- Volume 1 Number 2 (Brand New)

Each issue of “The Tortoise” contains 160 pages and over 160 color photos on turtles and tortoises from all over the world. This is not a how to care magazine, but how to conserve, and why its so hard, often told by the herpetologists involved.

Overseas please email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for exact shipping costs.

Go to http://herpdigest.org/books.html
for further information on them and info on how to order.
_______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. The Herpetological Association of Africa 2014 conference will be held at the Gobabeb Research & Training Centre in the Namib Desert from 19-23 November 2014.
2) Sequence-based molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the American box turtles (Terrapene spp.) with support from DNA barcoding
3) Seven Distinct African Crocodile Species, Not Just Three, Biologists Show
4) Ancestor of Snakes, Lizards Likely Gave Birth to Live Young
5) Jeremiah Was a Political Liability: Frogs' Legs Are the Next Sharks' Fins
6) Red-legged frogs may hop again soon in the Santa Monica Mountains
7) No matter the continent, the world's frogs have a lot in common, biologist finds
8) Tracking key to unravelling mystery of Indian Ocean turtles
9) Disease, Not Climate Change, Fueling Frog Declines in the Andes
10) Puerto Rico warns about dwindling numbers of frogs
11) TEN HERP BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Limited Number Available---Order Now
(Shipping and Handling Included in Price Only in U.S.)
ALL MONEY EARNED FROM SALE OF THESE BOOKS GO TO HERPDIGEST. Go to http://herpdigest.org/books.html for further information on the individual books and how to order.
(Overseas-contact us before ordering.)
_________________________________________________
The Magnets of Herps, Birds, Mammals, Invertebrates, Sea Creatures and... Are Back
But we are running out of them, 18 different kinds are already sold out. half were herps.
Go to the url below to see what is left. Act Now. Don’t wait until the last minute when there is nothing left. Don’t wait until Black Friday or Cyber Tuesday. Great Hanukah & Christmas gifts.
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with 4 magnets of your choice. (For each additional magnet add $6.00.) Please include three alternatives. S&H is included. See order form below.
All magnets are 2.5" x 3.5" Mylar UV protected on a flat magnetic back.
To see the extensive collection and information on how to order go to http://herpdigest.org/donate.html
or
The University & College Herp Diplomas
For a $25.00 donation we will thank you with a personalized diploma of your choice (add $20 for each additional personalized diploma). S&H is included only in the US. Contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for correct overseas shipping costs.
Give as gifts to others or yourself and help HerpDigest stay alive.
Diplomas available Turtle University (Sea) Turtle University, Frog University, Snake University, Gecko, Salamander State, Bearded Dragon and Chameleon Universities.
Don’t see what you want? A very specific species? A bird? A mammal? We’ve done dogs, cats even cars. Did we say custom diplomas. Just send us a good set of photos (hi-res jpg preferred), what photos you prefer, an email saying you have the rights to those photos and are turning them over to us for use in this or any other form. No additional cost.
For information on how to order. Go to http://herpdigest.org/diplomas.html
Both great gifts for you, family and friends. Animal or Herp lover.
___________________________________________________
1) The Herpetological Association of Africa 2014 conference will be held at the Gobabeb Research & Training Centre in the Namib Desert from 19-23 November 2014.
This is certainly going to be a unique meeting. Further details will be provided on the HAA website early in 2014.
The HAA also announced the newly elected HAA Committee:

Chairman: P. le Fras N. Mouton

Treasurer: Johan Marais

Journal Editor: John Measey

Newsletter Editor: Warren R. Schmidt

Additional Members: Graham Alexander
Michael F. Bates
Andrew Turner
Aaron Bauer
SECRETARY: Buyi Makhubo
Special thanks to the outgoing members, Jeanne Tarrant, Abeda Dawood, Bryan Maritz and Bill Branch, for their service to the HAA.
Courtesy ZenScientist Blog
___________________________________________________________
2) Sequence-based molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the American box turtles (Terrapene spp.) with support from DNA barcoding
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume 68, Issue 1, July 2013, Pages 119–134

• Bradley T. Martina, , , ,
• Neil P. Bernsteinb,
• Roger D. Birkheadc,
• Jim F. Koukla,
• Steven M. Mussmannd,
• John S. Placyk Jr.a
• a Department of Biology, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX 75799, USA
• b Deptartment of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, USA
• c Alabama Science in Motion, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
• d Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
Highlights

Terrapene ornata ornata and T. o. luteola lack distinction phylogenetically.

T. carolina triunguis, T. c. yucatana, T. c. mexicana elevated to T. mexicana spp.

T. carolina bauri, T. c. major, and T. coahuila remain unresolved.

DNA barcoding analyses support our recommended classification revisions.

Molecular clock analysis provides divergence estimates for Terrapene.
Abstract
The classification of the American box turtles (Terrapene spp.) has remained enigmatic to systematists. Previous comprehensive phylogenetic studies focused primarily on morphology. The goal of this study was to re-assess the classification of Terrapene spp. by obtaining DNA sequence data from a broad geographic range and from all four recognized species and 11 subspecies within the genus. Tissue samples were obtained for all taxa except for Terrapene nelsoni klauberi. DNA was extracted, and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b (Cytb) and nuclear DNA (nucDNA) glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate-dehydrogenase (GAPD) genes were amplified via polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. In addition, the mtDNA gene commonly used for DNA barcoding (cytochrome oxidase c subunit I; COI) was amplified and sequenced to calculate pairwise percent DNA sequence divergence comparisons for each Terrapene taxon. The sequence data were analyzed using maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic inference, a molecular clock, AMOVAs, SAMOVAs, haplotype networks, and pairwise percent sequence divergence comparisons. Terrapene carolina mexicana and T. c. yucatana formed a monophyletic clade with T. c. triunguis, and this clade was paraphyletic to the rest of T. carolina. Terrapene ornata ornata and T. o. luteola lacked distinction phylogenetically, and Terrapene nelsoni was confirmed to be the sister taxon of T. ornata. Terrapene c. major, T. c. bauri, and Terrapene coahuila were not well resolved for some of the analyses. The DNA barcoding results indicated that all taxa were different species (>2% sequence divergence) except for T. c. triunguis – T. c. mexicana and T. o. ornata – T. o. luteola. The results suggest that T. c. triunguis should be elevated to species status (Terrapene mexicana), and mexicana and yucatana should be included in this group as subspecies. In addition, T. o. ornata and T. o. luteola should not be considered separate subspecies. The DNA barcoding data support these recommended taxonomic revisions. Because conservation efforts are typically species-based, these results will be important for facilitating successful conservation management strategies.
____________________________________________________________________
3) Seven Distinct African Crocodile Species, Not Just Three, Biologists Show
Dec. 18, 2013 — African crocodiles, long thought of as just three known species, are among the most iconic creatures on that continent. But recent University of Florida research now finds that there are at least seven distinct African crocodile species.
The UF team's latest discovery, led by then-doctoral candidate Matthew H. Shirley, is that what had been believed to be a single species of slender-snouted crocodile, is actually two.
The findings, which have major implications for policy-makers and conservationists, are outlined in a paper published online last week by Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The results emphasize how little is known about crocodile biogeography, or how species are distributed geographically over time, in Western and Central Africa, said Jim Austin, a co-author on the paper and Shirley's doctoral adviser at UF.
In the paper, Shirley and his team describe that West African populations of the slender-snouted crocodile do not share the same genetic or specific physical features as those populations in Central Africa -- and they estimate the two populations have been separated from each other geographically for at least 7 million years.
Biologists and conservation agencies need to know the precise taxonomy of animals and plants to avoid allocating precious conservation funding and effort working to protect species that may be more plentiful than believed, or -- as in this case -- ensuring that those resources can be directed toward species whose numbers are lower than believed.
Now that researchers know the West African slender-snouted crocodile is not the same species as its Central African cousin, Shirley said, that changes its standing.
"The West African slender-snouted crocodile is actually among the three or four most endangered crocodiles in the world," Shirley wrote in an email last week. "By finally recognizing that it is a unique species, we are in a much better position to advance its conservation and ensure its future."
Shirley likened the plight of the West African slender-snouted croc to the American alligator, which was on the cusp of extinction in the 1960s, but because it was protected, can now be easily observed in nature, be legally harvested at times, and helps drive Florida's tourism economy.
In Africa, crocodiles are traded and consumed as bush meat, making them a significant protein source for residents. They also play a major role at the top of the food pyramid, with significant influence on fish and crustraceans, much as lions control antelope populations.
"If we remove them from the ecosystem, then there may be profound effects on fisheries resources in the future," he wrote.
Crocodile species are often difficult to identify by physical characteristics alone. Most non-scientists can barely tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, in fact. So to bolster their genetic sleuthing, the UF team also looked at skull characteristics of slender-snouted crocodiles from museum collections and were able to find consistent differences between the species, Austin said.
Austin is a faculty member in UF's Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The other team members were Kent Vliet, laboratories coordinator with UF's biology department, and Amanda Carr, an undergraduate in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
Austin said the team's work is leading to helpful information for American zoos and aquariums by decoding the correct identification and taxonomy of African crocodiles housed in these facilities. Without the correct species identification, zookeepers could interbreed these hard-to-distinguish species, rendering them ineffective as founder animals for conservation purposes. And captive breeding efforts may be wasted when individuals of different species simply won't breed.
"We're doing the work to see which species they actually have," Austin said.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Mickie Anderson.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
1. M. H. Shirley, K. A. Vliet, A. N. Carr, J. D. Austin. Rigorous approaches to species delimitation have significant implications for African crocodilian systematics and conservation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 281 (1776): 20132483 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2483
________________________________________________________________________
4) Ancestor of Snakes, Lizards Likely Gave Birth to Live Young
Dec. 17, 2013 — The ancestor of snakes and lizards likely gave birth to live young, rather than laid eggs, and over time species have switched back and forth in their preferred reproductive mode, according to research published in print in Ecology Letters Dec. 17.
"This is a very unusual and controversial finding, and a major overturn of an accepted school of thought," said Alex Pyron, Robert F. Griggs Assistant Professor of Biology in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at the George Washington University. "Before, researchers long assumed that the ancestor of snakes and lizards laid eggs, and that if a species switched to live birth, it never reverted back. We found this wasn't the case."
The findings push researchers' understanding of the evolution of live birth a lot further back in time to 175 million years ago, showing that live birth has a much more ancient past as a strategy than previously believed. The findings are backed by several recent plesiosaur and mosasaur fossil discoveries and the fossil record of a few lizards from the Cretaceous Period, which had embryos in the mother and had live birth.
Dr. Pyron analyzed an evolutionary tree containing all groups of squamates -- the group that comprises lizards and snakes -- which he and a team of researchers published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology earlier this year. The tree, which uses DNA sequencing technology to group thousands of lizards and snakes, includes all families and subfamilies and most genus and species groups.
In total, about 115 groups of lizards and snakes, or about 2,000 species, have live birth. The other 8,000 species lay eggs -- at least right now.
Dr. Pyron is working next to analyze all tetrapods -- a group composed of animals with four legs, such as amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and turtles -- to see if there are any new surprises about the evolution of their reproductive modes. He also wants to test the genetics at work behind the evolutionary switching of reproductive mode.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by George Washington University, via Newswise.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
1. R. Alexander Pyron, Frank T. Burbrink. Early origin of viviparity and multiple reversions to oviparity in squamate reptiles. Ecology Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12168
____________________________________________________________________________

5) Jeremiah Was a Political Liability: Frogs' Legs Are the Next Sharks' Fins
by Rachel Swan, SF Weekly.com, 12/18/13

On a single block of Stockton Street in San Francisco's Chinatown, no fewer than three markets sell bullfrogs. Continue wandering through the alleyways and you'll find scads more, piled in plastic tubs or hidden beneath goldfish aquariums. Signs in the windows say that all animals have to be killed on site, and a store clerk demonstrates how it's done: Smiling, he pantomimes an executioner's ax with his hand. "We cut the heads!" he says.
From there, the frogs go to restaurant platters and dinner plates throughout the city — breaded, stewed, or thrown in soups, and occasionally fried. A staple of Asian cuisine, frogs simmer on many stoves in San Francisco, where Asian-Americans comprise roughly a third of the city's polyglot culture.
They also constitute a huge threat to the local environment, according to Michael Starkey, a staunch Oakland-based conservationist and adviser to the amphibian advocacy group, Save the Frogs! "These guys are ambush predators," Starkey says, noting that the breed commonly found in Chinatown eateries — the American bullfrog — will eat everything from bats to house sparrows to 33-inch garter snakes. Though native to the East Coast, it's more commonly shipped from factory farms in Brazil or Taiwan, sometimes carrying a virulent, water-born fungus that coats its entire skin.
"With globalization," Starkey says, "people have transported this fungus all over the world." While innocuous to humans, the disease spreads rapidly among amphibians, and could drive many local species to extinction.
For two-and-a-half years, Starkey and other ecologists have campaigned for an embargo in California, hoping American bullfrogs will go the way of shark fins and foie gras. They've spoken in classrooms, delivered newsletters, and confronted politicians who see the frogs as an important cultural totem in San Francisco. When the California Department of Fish and Wildlife enacted a similar ban in 2010, it faced opposition from Assemblyman Paul Fong and Sen. Leland Yee, among others. Many of their constituents live in the neighborhoods where frogs are sold and consumed.
"It was narrowly imposed on live-food markets, and it unfairly targeted the Asian-American community," a spokeswoman from Fong's office says, acknowledging that Fish and Wildlife repealed the rule after just a few months. She's unsure how Fong would react if a similar rule were introduced next year, but "it would have to be closely examined."
Undeterred, Starkey is circulating an online petition for yet another bullfrog fatwah. He hopes it will quietly plow through the Legislature and wind up on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, where it has a good chance of getting signed — especially in light of this year's shark-fin ban. Frogs might be the next political battle in San Francisco, Starkey says. One if by land, two if by sea.
___________________________________________________________________________
6) Red-legged frogs may hop again soon in the Santa Monica Mountains
By Louis Sahagun, LA Times, December 17, 2013,

You’ll know it’s springtime in the Santa Monica Mountains when wildlife biologists start alerting curious visitors to keep their distance from the first red-legged frog reintroduction effort ever attempted in Southern California.
Biologists are gearing up to transfer fragile batches of California red-legged frog eggs from a tiny, isolated population in the nearby Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve to separate streams in the Santa Monicas where the species has not been seen in nearly half a century.
“Our plan to bring them back to the Santa Monicas depends on the strength of this small remnant population in Upper Las Virgenes Canyon,” said Katy Delaney, a wildlife ecologist for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service. “Those frogs only exist in a few hundred yards of a stream, and one catastrophic event could wipe them out.”
For hundreds of thousands of years, the largest native frog in the western United States thrived in deep year-round pools of water throughout Southern California and much of the state. The species scientists know as Rana draytonii has crimson undersides and can grow to 5 inches in length.
Since the 1960s, red-legged frogs have been decimated by fires, mudslides, pesticides, fungal infections and loss of habitat, as well as the appetites of carnivorous mammals and nonnative fish, bullfrogs and crayfish.
The federally listed threatened species has disappeared from 24 of the 46 California counties within its original range.
The rocky pools edged with mule fat and shaded by sycamores and oaks in the Santa Monica Mountains’ Ramirez and Solstice canyons are prime real estate for the relocation of the egg masses.
“Neither stream has nonnative fish, snails or crayfish, which can tear tadpoles apart,” she said. “So we’re cautiously optimistic about bringing back a population of breeding adult frogs in a portion of their historic range.”
In late February, a team of biologists from California State Parks, the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center will begin transferring the eggs to the streams.
To protect the eggs and tadpoles from voracious mammals and insects, they will be placed in porous bags and boxes anchored near the surface of the water. The tadpoles will be released sometime in the summer.
“I’d love it if in a few years we had red-legged frogs galore,” Delaney said.
___________________________________________________________
7) No matter the continent, the world's frogs have a lot in common, biologist finds
December 16th, 2013, (Phys.org) —A University of Arizona biologist researching frog evolution has discovered striking similarity in frog species on different continents and proposes two very different ways that this similarity comes about.
In a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology professor John Wiens and collaborators suggest that the similarity in frog species across continents has two explanations. In some cases, different groups of frogs evolved similar characteristics in parallel on different continents, while in other cases the same group of frogs maintained similar characteristics over huge distances and vast periods of time as they moved between continents.
Wiens worked with collaborators Dan Moen and Duncan Irschick in studying frogs from three different sites on three continents, in China, Colombia and Australia. They quantified how well different frog species performed the same tasks, including jumping, swimming, and clinging to a slick surface. They also measured anatomical traits related to these tasks, like leg length and muscle mass.
"All around the world, any given location is likely to have frogs that either climb trees, burrow, live on the ground or live in water," Wiens says. "One of the things we've found is that frogs that use the same microhabitat tend to be very similar, both in their morphology and in their performance. For example, all around the world, frogs that live in trees usually have expanded pads at the tips of their fingers and toes that help them cling to smooth surfaces. Similarly, frogs that live in water have thick leg muscles and heavily webbed feet that help them swim faster."

John Wiens and his collaborators studied frogs on three continents.
Wiens says that in some cases, this similarity in species across continents is explained by groups of species staying the same over time but moving over huge distances.
"In one interesting case, there are species in a group called the narrow-mouthed frogs that are very similar in both South America and China, and this is because they've changed very little over 65 million years and as they've spread around the world," he says. "Another example is a group of tree frogs that originated in South America and have spread to both China and Australia."
This pattern of evolutionary conservatism over time coupled with long-distance dispersal can explain similarity in many different organisms from all around the world, Wiens says. However, the pattern remains relatively poorly studied.
Other groups of frogs have followed a very different path. Instead of staying the same over time and moving, they have evolved to use different microhabitats while staying in the same place.
"The really cool thing we found is what happened in Australia. There all the different habitat types have all evolved from tree frogs. After the tree frogs went from South America to Australia, some stayed in the trees, but others became burrowing, aquatic and terrestrial frogs," Wiens says. "The species of tree frogs that evolved to use these new microhabitats show no trace of their tree frog ancestry, and are basically indistinguishable from unrelated burrowing, terrestrial and aquatic species on other continents."
Provided by University of Arizona
______________________________________________________________
8) Tracking key to unravelling mystery of Indian Ocean turtles
By Liam Ducey, December 19, 2013, WAtoday.com.au
A loggerhead turtle hatched in Oman, beached in Hobart, rehabilitated in Melbourne and released in Exmouth may give scientists an insight into the behaviour of the species in the Indian Ocean.
Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife marine science program principal scientist Scott Whiting released the juvenile loggerhead, along with another rehabilitated juveniles, in the waters off Exmouth on Tuesday.
While the Oman turtle had been rehabilitated in Melbourne before spending a few days at the Aquarium of Western Australia, the other has spent the past three years in rehabilitation.
Mr Whiting said the turtle’s release at Exmouth would give it the best chance of survival in the wild.
"Exmouth gives us an area along the coast where it's warm enough and the ocean temperature is warm enough and there's not that much shelf there, so we can drive them out in the boat and get them out into the open ocean and give them a better chance than say releasing them in Broome on the continental shelf," he said.
Each turtle is fitted with a satellite tracking device attached to the shell.
Dr Whiting said he was hopeful the tracking devices would help scientists better understand turtle behaviour in the Indian Ocean.
While scientists know that turtles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans would span the whole ocean within their life-cycle, Mr Whiting said the behaviour of loggerheads in the Indian Ocean was largely unknown.
"In the Indian Ocean, we don't really know what's going on with our turtles," he said.
"We don't know if the currents are the same and they're using the whole ocean basin, or parts of it, or if they're up in Pakistan or India or where they're going so the tracking is part of trying to understand that.
"We have a very important stock of turtles that are in the Shark Bay, Dirk Hartog, Ningaloo area and we don't really know where they go as juveniles.
"We know they get washed ashore in Bunbury and Busselton in big storms but we don't really know the extent of their travels for the next sort of decade when they leave the beach."
Mr Whiting said the two turtles were almost polar opposites in terms of their reactions upon their release into the wild.
"The turtle from Oman was released 15 kilometres offshore in 60 metres of water and it made a beeline straight into the coast and it's now sitting on Ningaloo Reef.
"The other turtle went in the opposite direction and it's now 30 kilometres further out to sea in 1200 metres of water and that's more what you'd expect from these little turtles. "
Members of the public can follow the Oman turtle's long swim at www.seaturtle.org.au
___________________________________________________________________________
9) Disease, Not Climate Change, Fueling Frog Declines in the Andes
Dec. 13, 2013, Science Daily,— A deadly fungus, and not climate change as is widely believed, is the primary culprit behind the rapid decline of frog populations in the Andes mountains, according to a new study published today in the journal Conservation Biology.
Frogs living at higher elevations can tolerate increasing temperatures, researchers found, but their habitats fall within the optimal temperature range for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, a harmful pathogen they have only encountered relatively recently. The disease caused by Bd, chytridiomycosis, has led to the recent decline or extinction of 200 frog species worldwide.
The results have implications both for researchers trying to understand the rapid decline in frog populations across the globe and for conservationists looking to save the animals, said Vance Vredenburg, associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University and co-author of the study.
"Our research shows that we can't just automatically point our finger at climate change," he said. "We need to look carefully at what is causing these outbreaks."
The research was conducted at Wayqecha Biological Station on the eastern slopes of the Andes, located near Manu National Park in southern Peru. To measure frogs' tolerance to the changing climate, researchers placed them in water baths of varying temperatures, then flipped them on their backs. If a frog quickly flipped itself back over, that meant it was able to tolerate the warmer water. If not, researchers knew the frog had become overwhelmed and unable to deal with the change.
Researchers also measured the temperatures at which conditions are optimal for the growth and spread of Bd and found that the highland frogs' habitats lay right within that range.
"This really suggests that the fungus is driving a lot of the declines in this place," said Alessandro Catenazzi, assistant professor of zoology at Southern Illinois University and the lead author of the study. He was recently a post-doctoral fellow at SF State when much of the research took place.
Climate change, however, isn't let completely off the hook. Although Bd poses less of a threat to frogs in the lowlands, this study suggests that species at lower elevations are more susceptible to climate changes, putting them at risk if they are unable to adapt or move to higher altitudes.
"It's terrible news," Vredenburg said. "The frogs at the top of the mountain are in trouble because they are experiencing a novel pathogen. The guys at the lower elevations are not in trouble from the fungus, but they're really susceptible to changes in climate."
Vredenburg said Bd was likely introduced into this area of the Andes by human activity, and the results of the study indicate research and conservation efforts should focus on understanding and stopping the spread of the disease. Methods of doing so could include stopping the transport of live amphibians across borders, he said. But understanding the disease also has important implications for human health.
"This pathogen is like no other in the history of the world. Bd outbreaks make bubonic plague look like a slight cough," he said. "We need to understand the basic biology that's driving this terrible pathogen because it's the same biology that drives diseases that affect humans."
Vredenburg has studied the impact of Bd for more than a decade. His research has tracked the spread of the disease through the Sierra Nevada and beyond and shown that some species of frogs are relatively immune to its effects while others are highly susceptible. Future research will focus on those species to learn how they are able to escape Bd's harmful effects and see how that knowledge can be used to save other amphibians.
"Thermal Phsyiology, Disease and Amphibian Declines on the Eastern Slopes of the Andes" was published online in Conservation Biology on Dec. 13. Vredenburg co-authored the study with Catenazzi and Illinois Wesleyan University Assistant Professor of Biology Edgar Lehr. The research was funded by the Amazon Conservation Association, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation and a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Vance T. Vredenburg is an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University. He is also a Research Associate at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley and California Academy of Sciences.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by San Francisco State University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
1. Alessandro Catenazzi, Edgar Lehr, Vance T. Vredenburg. Thermal Physiology, Disease, and Amphibian Declines on the Eastern Slopes of the Andes. Conservation Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12194
_________________________________________________________

10) Puerto Rico warns about dwindling numbers of frogs
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico 12/1/313 (AP) Three species of frogs native to the mountains of Puerto Rico have apparently disappeared from several critical habitats, a sign that a long decline in amphibians on the island shows no signs of letting up.
Scientists on Thursday blamed the decline on climate change, habitat destruction and a fungus known as "bd" or Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has killed dozens of amphibian species worldwide.
The species most at risk in Puerto Rico is the mountain coqui, which is now found only in portions of El Yunque forest and another forest in the island's southern region, said Rafael Joglar, a herpetologist at the University of Puerto Rico.
"This species has basically retreated to the highest and coldest mountains of Puerto Rico," he said. "The problem is that it has nowhere higher to go."
It is one of the island's 17 endemic coqui species, which have long been a popular symbol of the U.S. territory.
The mountain coqui once lived in the western part of the island and across its central mountain range, but numbers there have since dwindled, and in some cases disappeared, said Jan Zegarra, a Puerto Rico-based biologist for the U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service.
"People love the coquis of Puerto Rico, but they don't realize what's going on," Joglar said. "We don't need more investigations to protect this species. There is enough evidence to warrant protection."
While the coqui is originally from Puerto Rico, it has been found in Costa Rica and has formed large colonies in Hawaii, where it has no natural predators.
Joglar previously rejected the idea of breeding frogs in captivity to ensure their survival in Puerto Rico, noting they have died when introduced into the wild as adults, but he said that may be the only alternative now.
Scientists are using breeding programs in an attempt to save another one of the island's endangered species, the Puerto Rican crested toad. The Nashville Zoo in Tennessee has sent more than 5,000 tadpoles to the U.S. territory, while the Buffalo Zoo in New York has sent hundreds of tadpoles in an effort to rebuild the wild population.
_______________________________________________

11) TEN HERP BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Limited Number Available---Order Now
(Shipping and Handling Included in Price Only in U.S.)
ALL MONEY EARNED FROM SALE OF THESE BOOKS GO TO HERPDIGEST. Go to http://herpdigest.org/books.html for further information on the individual books and how to order.
(Overseas-contact us before ordering.)
________________________________________________________________
1) The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, Carl Lang ($24.95)----344 Pages, Multiple Full Color Photos of the 101 species found in North America and a 70 minute CD of nearly every call for all they make.

2) Frogs: Inside Their Remarkable World by Ellin Beltz ($24.95) (Oversiz 11” x 14”)
125 stunning color photographs... unveils a remarkable amphibian world... [This book] will convince you that frogs are amazing. -- Whit Gibbons "Aiken Standard

3) Snakes of the United States and Canada By Carl H. Ernst and Evelyn M. Ernst ($70.00)
Much more than simply a field guide, this monumental reference begins with an introduction to snake biology and evolution, which is followed by an identification guide and key to the North American species. The heart of the book is the species accounts which, accompanied by color photographs, provide detailed information on identifying features, geographic variation, known fossils, current distribution, habitat type, behavior, reproduction, growth, diet, and predators. Completing the book is a glossary of terms and a comprehensive reference section. No other book provides as thorough or as reliable coverage.

4) The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology by Frederick R. Davis $35.00) --
"In this book, you will come to know, as I did during the exciting years when I was his student and friend, a unique and inspiring scientist. Frederick Davis has beautifully captured the intertwined personal, public, and scientific lives of the extraordinary person who -- if anyone deserves the title -- really was the man who saved sea turtles." --David Ehrenfeld, Professor of Biology at Rutgers University and founding editor of Conservation Biology

5) Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers and Skulduggery by Jennie Erin Smith ($25.00)
“Vile, venomous and best kept under lock and key - and that's just the people in this gripping book. Jennie Erin Smith spent a decade investigating the strange world of reptile collectors and dealers who specialise in rare species. I couldn't put this book down, partly because it's a ripping yarn of wildlife cops versus reptile robbers, but also because I was mesmerised by the horror of it all.”
—New Scientist

6) The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers by Bryan Christy ($25.00)
"THE LIZARD KING is a wild, woolly, finny, feathery and scaly account of animal smuggling on a grand scale, in a weird world so expansive that a few hundred stray snakes and turtles amount to peanuts.. . . Mr. Christy's entertaining book is about the crooks, swashbucklers and drug kingpins who constitute the underbelly of the reptile-dealing world . . . [The Lizard King] has a tangle of smugglers, agents, breeders and highly colorful minor players (like the tiger-purchasing Miami gangster who sounds like the prototype for "Scarface") with stories to tell . . . By the time THE LIZARD KING has escalated to describing the bear-gallbladder trade, it is rich with memorable moments." (New York Times Janet Maslin 2008-01-00)

7) The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians ($26.95) by Mary Taylor Young (Author) , Lauren J. Livo (Photographer) , Steve Wilcox (Photographer)
$26.95- 176 Pages, Full color photos.
"The Guide to Colorado Reptiles and Amphibians is a full-color identification guide to the snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, toads, and salamanders of the Colorado region. Excellent photography of each species along with easy-to-use field ID guidelines, and notes on the habitat and distribution of various species...A handful of fascinating general facts, such as the origin of the light-sensitive vestigial “third eye” on the back of various lizards’ heads, round out this excellent, user-friendly field guide.” —James A, Cox, Midwest Book Review

8) National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Reptiles and Amphibians ($10.95) by National Audubon Society
192 pages Paperback (Fits in your back pocket) $10.95

This easy-to-use guide is divided into three parts: introductory essays; color plates and species accounts; and appendices - all in a convenient size!

9) Following the Water:A Hydromancer’s Notebook (National Book Award Finalist) by David M. Carroll $25.00 Hardcover. The intensely observed chronicle of Carroll’s annual March-to NovemberWetland’s immersion -From the joy of the first turtle sighting, to the ancient sense of love and lost Carroll experiences each Autumn. Illustrated with the author’s fine pen and ink drawing.
10) Self-Portrait With Turtles: A Memoir $15 (One copy available) Paperback includes S&H. (Overseas contact us before ordering.) Here David Carroll reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities and his life long love of turtles.
______________________________________________
HOW TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal
_______________________________________________________________
You are receiving HerpDigest because through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest just follow the instructions below and your subscription will be terminated immediately
__________________________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
__________________________________________
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.

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:43 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 16 Issue # 21 4/14/16
____________________________________________________
HerpDigest.org is a 501 (c) 3 based in NYS non-profit organization, that is totally dependent on your generosity for its continued existence. All profits from sales, or donations, goes to keep HerpDigest alive.
_________________________________________________
Gekko, The Journal of the Global Gecko Association
Now Available---But Only From HerpDigest
HerpDigest has acquired all the existing past issues of GEKKO, the Journal of the former Global Gecko Association. The organization dissolved the fall of 2014. These are collector’s items, no other copies are available anywhere elsewhere.
Available is All of Volume 2 to Volume 6 (Sorry Volume 1 is sold out)
Each copy is $10 including S&H within the United States. Orders outside the U.S., including Canada: Before placing your order, please email asalzberg@herpdigest.org to determine the additional shipping cost. (Shipping costs vary by country and number of issues you order.)
Go to http://herpdigest.org/gekko.html
to see covers and contents of each issue and how to order. _________________________________________________
Table of Contents:
1. 1) Toxicokinetics of selenium in the slider turtle, Trachemys scripta
2. 2) Piggybacking tadpoles are epic food beggars-In mimic poison frogs, answering frantic pleas for food is a family affair
3. 3) The pool frog adapts its growth to Sweden's cold temperatures
4. 4) Mediterranean loggerhead turtles dying in waters off the Middle East, North Africa
5. 5) Smuggler caught with 51 turtles in his pants sent up the river
6. 6) Raising a racket: invasive species compete acoustically with native treefrogs
____________________________________________
Tortoise Magazine
Each 160 glossy pages long and over 160 color photos. S&H included-Go to www.herpdigest.org/books.html for more information and to order.

Volume 1, Number 1-$35.00 each (out of print - last issues available-Two Left)
Volume 1, Number 2-$25.00 each - Two Left
Volume 1, Number 3-25.00 each-Out of Stock
Volume 1, Number 4-25.00 each -One Left
“The Tortoise Magazine, [is] ostensibly Us Weekly for people
who follow reptiles instead of Brad Pitt and ‘The Bachelor’”
—The Wall Street Journal
_____________________________________________________________
1) Toxicokinetics of selenium in the slider turtle, Trachemys scripta
Ecotoxicology
May 2016, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 727-744
First online: 03 March 2016
• Christelle Dyc
• , Johann Far
• , Frédéric Gandar
• , Anastassios Poulipoulis
• , Anais Greco
• , Gauthier Eppe
• , Krishna Das contact krishna.das@ulg.ac.be


Abstract
Selenium (Se) is an essential element that can be harmful for wildlife. However, its toxicity in poikilothermic amniotes, including turtles, remains poorly investigated. The present study aims at identifying selenium toxicokinetics and toxicity in juvenile slider turtles (age: 7 months), Trachemys scripta, dietary exposed to selenium, as selenomethionine SeMet, for eight weeks. Non-destructive tissues (i.e. carapace, scutes, skin and blood) were further tested for their suitability to predict selenium levels in target tissues (i.e. kidney, liver and muscle) for conservation perspective. 130 juvenile yellow-bellied slider turtles were assigned in three groups of 42 individuals each (i.e. control, SeMet1 and SeMet2). These groups were subjected to a feeding trial including an eight-week supplementation period SP 8 and a following 4-week elimination period EP 4 . During the SP8, turtles fed on diet containing 1.1 ± 0.04, 22.1 ± 1.0 and 45.0 ± 2.0 µg g−1 of selenium (control, SeMet1 and SeMet2, respectively). During the EP4, turtles fed on non-supplemented diet. At different time during the trial, six individuals per group were sacrificed and tissues collected (i.e. carapace, scutes, skin, blood, liver, kidney, muscle) for analyses. During the SP8 (Fig. 1), both SeMet1 and SeMet2 turtles efficiently accumulated selenium from a SeMet dietary source. The more selenium was concentrated in the food, the more it was in the turtle body but the less it was removed from their tissues. Moreover, SeMet was found to be the more abundant selenium species in turtles’ tissues. Body condition (i.e. growth in mass and size, feeding behaviour and activity) and survival of the SeMet1 and SeMet2 turtles seemed to be unaffected by the selenium exposure. There were clear evidences that reptilian species are differently affected by and sensitive to selenium exposure but the lack of any adverse effects was quite unexpected.

______________________________________
2) Piggybacking tadpoles are epic food beggars-In mimic poison frogs, answering frantic pleas for food is a family affair
By Susan Milius, April 7, 2016, Science News Website

Magazine issue: Vol. 189, No. 8, April 16, 2016, p. 4
View the video--https://www.sciencenews.org/article/piggybacking-tadpoles-are-epic-food-beggars?tgt=nr
Tadpoles don’t cry to get their way. But some of them sure can beg.
Each bout of hungry-baby drama among mimic poison frogs (Ranitomeya imitator) occupies both parents for hours. The tadpoles get so crazy-frantic that researchers wanted to know whether the begging is an honest call for help or a histrionic scam.
Frogs can lay globs of eggs by the thousands and leave them to fend for themselves. But the two-to three-egg clutches of mimic poison frogs (the only known monogamous frogs) get coddled, says Kyle Summers of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Dad repeatedly checks in, sitting on the eggs and shedding some paternal pee if they’re drying out.
When the eggs hatch, dad gives each tadpole a piggyback ride to its own private pool. To find a little rainfall cupped between a leaf and stem, he’ll haul youngsters four meters or so. “A bit of a hike,” Summers says, since dad is only about a centimeter or two long himself.
These baby pools are pretty empty: home to only some algae, maybe some small insects. “The good news is that your offspring are not likely to get eaten; the bad side is that they don’t have anything to eat,” Summers says.
This is where the begging comes in. Frogs can’t make milk like mammals or regurgitate bugs like birds. But this species is one of the rare frogs whose moms, after considerable persuading, will lay an unfertilized egg for the tadpoles’ breakfast.
When parents show up on their weekly visit, a youngster stops regular swimming, noses up to a parent and goes into a frenzy of vibrating its tail. “The parent cannot miss a hungry tadpole,” Summers says.
Bouts of persuasion go on for several hours as the tadpole begs, stops, begs more and then more. Mom often makes several false starts, entering the pool but leaving it without any egg action. During all this, “dad will be the cheerleader,” calling in trills and stroking her, Summers says.
Analyzing tadpole frenzies in the lab, Summers’ then-student Miho Yoshioka found that tadpoles on short rations begged more as hungry weeks dragged on. Parents fed these hungrier tadpoles more reliably than the babies that researchers slipped treats to, Yoshioka, Summers and Casey Meeks report in the March Animal Behaviour. Overall, the researchers conclude, the relentless frenzy shows honest need, not tadpole greed.
_________________________________________________________________
3) The pool frog adapts its growth to Sweden's cold temperatures
Date: April 7, 2016
Source: Plataforma SINC

Pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) tadpoles have the amazing ability to grow at different rates depending on changes in temperature. A new study has revealed that this species, which requires relatively warm environments for breeding, speeds up its capacity for growth in Sweden during the warmest time of the year in order to take full advantage of short periods of high temperatures. This trait may be the key to this frog's survival in cold climates.
Two scientists from Uppsala University (Sweden) have studied the impact of temperature on the growth and development of the pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae), a species that needs relatively warm environments for reproduction and so that its larvae, or tadpoles, can properly develop.
The study published in the journal 'Evolutionary Applications' explains how tadpoles from all of the regions studied in Sweden, Latvia and Poland grow at the same rate under low-temperature conditions. However, under improved conditions -i.e. higher temperatures- the tadpoles from frogs that inhabit Sweden are able to grow more quickly than those found in Central Europe (Poland and Latvia).
"Since Sweden has briefer periods of high temperatures than Poland and Latvia do, this increased growth capacity under warm conditions allows this frog to take full advantage of the short periods of high temperatures. As a result, it is able to complete its life cycle -which relies heavily on warm temperatures- at high latitudes such as in Scandinavia," Germán Orizaola, a Spanish scientist, co-author of the study and a researcher for the Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University, said.
In Sweden, this species does not begin breeding until pond water temperatures reach about 16 ºC -- hardly ever before mid to late May. In contrast, other species of frogs such as Rana temporaria and Rana arvalis begin reproduction much earlier (up to two months earlier), as soon as ponds start to melt.
"Considering that pond temperatures drop once autumn arrives to levels that prevent further tadpole development, the period of time that these frog larvae have for development at northern latitudes is very limited," asserts the researcher.
In order to conduct the study, researchers visited the area inhabited by pool frog populations around the Baltic Sea in May 2006 -the breeding period for this species- and began collecting samples in Poland. In each region, samples of frog spawn were collected from ten different females so that the population's genetic variability would be well-represented.
"Once all of the samples of frog spawn had been collected, we then returned to our laboratory at Uppsala University where the experiments were conducted. The samples of frog spawn taken from the three Swedish regions were collected in early June -- the time when the species in this region begins reproduction," points out Orizaola.
Once the frog spawn samples had been taken to the laboratory, researchers carried out the experiment in two temperature-controlled rooms: one set to 19 ºC (a low temperature for this species) and the other set to 26 ºC (a high temperature). In both of these rooms the researchers then bred tadpoles from the different samples of frog spawn collected in each region.
The degree of plasticity corresponding to each characteristic studied was determined for each frog spawn sample by comparing these characteristics among siblings that were bred at the two different temperatures. A greater difference in growth and development values among tadpoles bred at different temperatures indicates greater plasticity.
Plasticity is their safeguard
The two aspects that play crucial roles in the development of amphibian larvae are duration of the larval stage and size of the juvenile frogs when metamorphosis occurs. Ideally, the most advantageous scenario is to complete metamorphosis as quickly as possible and weighing as much as possible.
The expert adds that "the fact that tadpoles bred in Sweden can maximise their growth during the brief periods of high temperatures that characterise these latitudes is indicative of the Swedish pool frog's increased plasticity."
This ability that organisms have to develop different critical strategies (different phenotypes) in response to different environmental conditions -without needing to alter their genetic makeup- is what allows these frog larvae to survive.
This may be one of the key traits that accounts for the survival of these populations in climates that are initially unfavourable, as a species so heavily dependent on heat can hardly maintain populations at such northern latitudes such as central Sweden.
"The increased plasticity of the tadpoles from Swedish regions is demonstrated by the fact that, whereas there are no differences in growth rates at low temperatures among the three geographical areas, the Swedish larvae have the ability to grow at a much faster rate than those from Polish or Latvian regions when exposed to high temperatures," concludes the researcher.
Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Journal Reference:
1. Germán Orizaola, Anssi Laurila. Developmental plasticity increases at the northern range margin in a warm-dependent amphibian. Evolutionary Applications, 2016; 9 (3): 471 DOI: 10.1111/eva.12349

Cite This Page:
• MLA
• APA
• Chicago
Plataforma SINC. "The pool frog adapts its growth to Sweden's cold temperatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160407093247.htm>.


________________________________________________________________
4) Mediterranean loggerhead turtles dying in waters off the Middle East, North Africa
Thousands of loggerhead turtles are killed annually in areas of Syria, Libya and Egypt and Tunisia where they travel to find food
Date: April 6, 2016
Source: University of Exeter

Thousands of loggerhead turtles are killed annually in areas of Syria, Libya and Egypt and Tunisia where they travel to find food, a new study led by researchers at the University of Exeter has highlighted.
Robin Snape, a postgraduate research student with the Marine Turtle Research Group at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Penryn Campus and a team of fellow conservation biologists found that many adult loggerhead turtles are migrating to areas of the Mediterranean where they are dying, trapped in fishing nets used by small scale fishing operations in Cyprus, the Middle East and North Africa.
The researchers tracked female turtles by satellite from Cyprus and provided new evidence that the turtles, rather than returning to the place of their birth to lay their eggs, will sometimes nest in a number of countries. Following breeding, females travel to foraging sites over an area covering the continental shelf of Cyprus, the Levant and North Africa sometimes up to 2,100km from their nesting sites.
Three of the 27 adult female loggerhead turtles that were tracked by using satellite devices over a ten year period from north Cyprus nesting beaches died within a year of being followed. The study, published in the journal Diversity and Distributions, shows researchers believe the turtles died as bycatch, a result of being caught accidentally in fishing nets.
This suggests an 11 per cent mortality rate per year, which is a higher rate than expected in a species that is thought to be very long lived. Turtles need to live longer so that they can produce enough offspring to keep the species going.
Robin Snape, who is based in northern Cyprus, said: "The mortality rate and level of bycatch in these countries is very concerning. There is poor understanding of the need for conservation and of the impacts that fishing practices can cause. This is particularly difficult to manage when local people are dependent on fish for their food and livelihood. Wider studies are needed into fishing practices, the exact methods being used and into how we can mitigate bycatch. Although this is difficult at the moment when countries are at war or politically unstable, Cyprus as an EU member state is well situated to address its significant sea turtle bycatch."
Project leader, Professor Brendan Godley added: "Whilst the Mediterranean loggerhead turtle population is dependent on the continuation of decades of intense conservation work at core nesting sites in Greece, Cyprus and in Turkey, we now need to move into the water to secure the future of the species mitigating threats from fisheries and oil and gas related seismic activity. Encouragingly, we have been involved in some recent work elsewhere that has shown that the simple and inexpensive measure of putting LED lights on nets can reduce turtle bycatch significantly. Our knowledge of the impacts of seismic activity is embryonic."

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Journal Reference:
1. Robin T. E. Snape, Annette C. Broderick, Burak A. Çiçek, Wayne J. Fuller, Fiona Glen, Kimberley Stokes, Brendan J. Godley. Shelf life: neritic habitat use of a turtle population highly threatened by fisheries. Diversity and Distributions, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12440

Cite This Page:
• MLA
• APA
• Chicago
University of Exeter. "Mediterranean loggerhead turtles dying in waters off the Middle East, North Africa: Thousands of loggerhead turtles are killed annually in areas of Syria, Libya and Egypt and Tunisia where they travel to find food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160406123946.htm>.

__________________________________________________________________
5) Smuggler caught with 51 turtles in his pants sent up the river

April 13, 2016, Treehugger.com Melissa Breyer

The 27-year-old Canadian college student was caught shipping 1000s of turtles smuggled from Michigan to China; sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison.

Some people pay for college by crafting lattes, others by waiting on tables or working at bookstores. But Kai Xu found a novel way to help pay for his education – turtle smuggling. And now the Canadian has been sentenced to just under five years in prison for his “shell game.”
According to Global News, Xu regularly visited Michigan to buy and ship thousands of turtles to China – his crime was discovered when he was caught at the Canadian border with dozens of the creatures strapped to his legs. While it is legal to buy turtles in the U.S., it is illegal to ship wildlife overseas without a federal permit. Apparently Xu shipped the turtles from both the States and Canada, or paid mules to fly East with the turtles in their luggage. The turtles included North American varieties such as eastern box turtles, red-eared sliders and diamondback terrapins — some of which sell for $800 each.

In China, the turtles make desirable pets.

While Xu expressed remorse, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward described his smuggling scheme as one of the largest in recent years. Her request was for five years in prison – which is near the lower end of the sentencing spectrum. U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara could have settled for even less, but went with a sentence of 57 months.
In a letter to O’Meara, Xu wrote that he sold the turtles to make money for college and that he was a semester shy of an engineering degree. His defense attorney said that Xu was not a “sophisticated international dealer.” Yet prosecutors argued that the turtle trading was worth more than $1 million.

An appeal is in the works, with Xu’s attorney saying that the sentence is severe. But hello, illegal wildlife trade? What may seem like a silly incidence of turtles in the pants is actually a very serious issue. As noted on the Fish & Wildlife Service site, thousands of wildlife species are threatened by illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade – it’s often unsustainable, harms populations of animals and plants and pushes endangered species toward extinction. And honestly, it's just mean. Hopefully a few turtles can breathe a little easier now ... pants and suitcases are stifling.

_________________________________________________________________
6) Raising a racket: invasive species compete acoustically with native treefrogs
Animal Behaviour
Volume 114, April 2016, Pages 53–61
• Jennifer B. Tennessena, , ,
• Susan E. Parksb, 1,
• Travis P. Tennessenc, 2,
• Tracy Langkildea, 3

Highlights
• Sounds produced by invasive species can limit communication space.
• Invasive treefrogs compete acoustically with native treefrogs with similar calls.
• These native treefrogs modify call behaviour but those with different calls do not.
• These findings extend the scope of effects of noise pollution to include invaders.
• Fitness-relevant consequences of acoustic competition may shape native communities.

Environmental noise is increasing worldwide, limiting the space available for species to send and receive important acoustic information. Many invasive species produce acoustic signals that alter the spectrotemporal characteristics of available signalling space. This provides an opportunity to test ideas about competitive exclusion by quantifying whether species with shared requirements for acoustic resources will become excluded or partition resource use to permit coexistence. We conducted a field playback experiment to test whether native treefrogs (green treefrogs, Hyla cinerea; pine woods treefrogs, Hyla femoralis) modify their acoustic behaviour to minimize acoustic competition from chorus noise of the invasive Cuban treefrog, Osteopilus septentrionalis. We demonstrate that noise from an invasive species differentially affects the vocal behaviour of native species. Those with similar calls (H. cinerea) shortened calls, called louder and persisted calling in response to masking stimuli while those with different calls (H. femoralis) did not modify behaviour. This evidence suggests that acoustic competition by invasive O. septentrionalis has altered the acoustic community structure, identifying acoustic competition as a mechanism by which invasive species can impact communities. Furthermore, these results broaden the concept of noise pollution, demonstrating fitness-relevant consequences of noise produced by invasive species.

Correspondence: J. B. Tennessen, Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, 208 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, U.S.A.
1
E-mail address: sparks@syr.edu (S. E. Parks).
2
T. P. Tennessen is now at the Center for Service-Learning, Western Washington University, Wilson Library 481, Mail Stop 9125, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-9125, U.S.A. E-mail address: travis.tennessen@gmail.com (T. P. Tennessen).
3
E-mail address: tll30@psu.edu (T. Langkilde).
_____________________________________________________________________________
HOW TO ORDER OR MAKE A DONATION:

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

1) Send a check to Herpdigest/Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. Make the check out to Herpdigest.

2) By Paypal - our account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org( If you are not a member of Paypal you can still use it with your credit card. Email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org that you have placed an order at Paypal.

We no longer accept credit or debit cards. But you can still use them on Paypal
____________________________________________________
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON HERPDIGEST

You are receiving HerpDigest through your own request, which was confirmed by HerpDigest by email. If you wish to stop receiving HerpDigest, change your mailing address, or subscribe to HerpDigest (if for example this is a copy that has been emailed to you,) just email us your request to asalzberg@herpdigest.org
____________________________________________________
If you have any questions or complaints please send them directly to asalzberg@herpdigest.org
____________________________________________________
How to Subscribe, Unsubscribe or change your email address, contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org.
____________________________________________________

MORE BOOKS FROM HERPDIGEST- GO TO
www.herpdigest.org/books.html

Tracks & Sign of Reptiles and Amphibians: A Guide to North American Species
By Filip A. Tkaczyk

Herpetology, Fourth Edition Textbook
By F. Harvey Pough, Robin M. Andrews, Martha L. Crump, Alan H. Savitzky, Kentwood D. Wells, Matthew C. Brandley

The Leatherback Turtle: Biology and Conservation
Edited by James R. Spotila and Pilar Santidrián Tomillo

Turtles of the United States and Canada (Second Edition)
By by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich

Frogs of the United States and Canada (2-vol. set)
by C. Kenneth Dodd

Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada,
and Northern Mexico (2-volume set)
By Carl H. & Evelyn M. Ernst

Volume I — Heloderma, Micruroides, Micrurus,
Pelamis, Agkistrodon, Sistrurus
Volume 2 — Crotalus

Biology of Amphibians
By William E. Duellman and Linda Trueb

Turtles of the World
By Carl H. Ernst and Roger W. Barbour

In Search of Lost Frogs: The quest to find a beautifully rich and personal exploration of the plight of amphibians and the people working to save them.
By Robin Moore

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri May 13, 2016 2:09 pm

HERPDIGEST - VOLUME 18 ISSUE # 4 May 13, 2016 --FREE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER COVERING THE LATEST NEWS ON REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS -
______________________________________________
HERPDIGEST IS A NON-PROFIT 501 C 3 CORPORATION- Supported by donations and sales of books and other herp related material.
______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) Cast Your Nominations for the Reptile and Amphibian Veterinary Excellence (RAVE) Award

2) The 2016 recipient of the Alison Haskell Award is Linda Weir!

3) The effects of large beach debris on nesting sea turtles

4) Molecular analyses confirming the introduction of Nile Crocodiles, in Southern Florida, with an assessment of current potential spread and impacts

5) Human skin turned into beating heart cells in breakthrough that could lead to Salamander-style regeneration-Mice skin was also turned into the three main types of brain cells using a revolutionary new technique

6) FWC announces May start of sea turtle nesting season on many Florida beaches
___________________________________________________
1) Cast Your Nominations for the Reptile and Amphibian Veterinary Excellence (RAVE) Award

Zoo Med Laboratories and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) are pleased to announce the Reptile and Amphibian Veterinary Excellence award. This annual honor is awarded to a veterinarian for excellence in advancing the care of reptile and amphibian medicine and conservation. Selected by a committee of ARAV members, the recipient will receive a cash prize of $1,000.00, travel expenses to attend the ARAV annual conference (up to $1,000.00) and a prized trophy.

Nominees must be active veterinary members of ARAV in good standing. Nominators need to submit a letter of recommendation along with the nominee’s CV/resumé by June 1, 2016. Submissions can be sent to Louisa Asseo, committee chair at lmasseo@yahoo.com.

CRITERIA UTILIZED FOR SELECTION
ACTIVE involvement in ARAV
COMMUNITY OUTREACH including reptile shows, rescue work, community education
CONSERVATION such as zoos, local rehabilitation and habitat programs, events aiding in the preservation of reptile and amphibian species worldwide
EDUCATION including mentoring, lecturing, student training programs
RESEARCH contributing to the advancement of reptile and amphibian medicine and conservation
EXCELLENCE in clinical medicine
__________________________________________________________________
2) The 2016 recipient of the Alison Haskell Award is Linda Weir!

The Alison Haskell Award for Excellence in Herpetofaunal Conservation is presented annually by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), in memory of Alison Haskell (1956 – 2006). This award is intended to recognize an individual from North America who exemplifies extraordinary commitment to herpetofaunal conservation, has thus far been an unsung hero, and has shown exemplary commitment to building or strengthening partnerships. Alison was one such person.

Linda is currently a Research Manager for the U.S. Geological Survey at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Additionally, Linda has directly contributed to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians through her service as a USGS Coordinator for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program and involvement within PARC. She previously served as a national co-chair for PARC, and continues to work with the committee as an ex-officio member. Her commitment and dedication to herpetofaunal conservation is widely recognized among her peers. Congratulations, Linda!
__________________________________________________________________

3) The effects of large beach debris on nesting sea turtles
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
By: Ikuko Fujisaki ikuko@ufl.edu — Corresponding author at: University of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, 3205 College Ave, Davie 33314, FL, United States.
Margaret M. Lamont - b U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research
Center, Gainesville 32653, FL, USA
Volume 482, September 2016, Pages 33–37

Highlights


Effects of large beach debris on nesting activities of sea turtles have not been well understood.

Number of nests and false crawls in pre- and post- debris removal years were compared.

Number of sea turtle nests and false crawls substantially increased only in a section where large beach debris was removed.

Removal of large beach debris could be an effective beach restoration activity to improve sea turtle nesting.

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted to understand the effects of large beach debris on sea turtle nesting behavior as well as the effectiveness of large debris removal for habitat restoration. Large natural and anthropogenic debris were removed from one of three sections of a sea turtle nesting beach and distributions of nests and false crawls (non-nesting crawls) in pre- (2011–2012) and post- (2013–2014) removal years in the three sections were compared. The number of nests increased 200% and the number of false crawls increased 55% in the experimental section, whereas a corresponding increase in number of nests and false crawls was not observed in the other two sections where debris removal was not conducted. The proportion of nest and false crawl abundance in all three beach sections was significantly different between pre- and post-removal years. The nesting success, the percent of successful nests in total nesting attempts (number of nests + false crawls), also increased from 24% to 38%; however the magnitude of the increase was comparably small because both the number of nests and false crawls increased, and thus the proportion of the nesting success in the experimental beach in pre- and post-removal years was not significantly different. The substantial increase in sea turtle nesting activities after the removal of large debris indicates that large debris may have an adverse impact on sea turtle nesting behavior. Removal of large debris could be an effective restoration strategy to improve sea turtle nesting.

____________________________________________________
4) Molecular analyses confirming the introduction of Nile Crocodiles, in Southern Florida, with an assessment of current potential spread and impacts

Herpetological Conservation and Biology 11(1):80–89.
Submitted: 22 October 2015; Accepted: 16 March 2016; Published: 30 April 2016.

MICHAEL R. ROCHFORD1,5, KENNETH L. KRYSKO2, FRANK J. MAZZOTTI1, MATTHEW H. SHIRLEY3, MARK W. PARRY4, JOSEPH A. WASILEWSKI1, JEFFREY S. BEAUCHAMP1, CHRISTOPHER R. GILLETTE1, EDWARD F. METZGER III1, MICHIKO A. SQUIRES1, AND LOUIS A. SOMMA2
1Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 3205 College Avenue,
Fort Lauderdale,Florida 33314-7719, USA
2Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA 3Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611, USA 4Everglades National Park, 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, Florida, 33034, USA 5Corresponding author, e-mail: miker@ufl.edu
Abstract.—The state of Florida, USA, has more introduced herpetofauna than any other governmental region on Earth. Four species of nonnative crocodilians have been introduced to Florida (all since 1960), one of which is established. Between 2000–2014 we field-collected three nonnative crocodilians in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and one in Hendry County, Florida. We used DNA barcoding and molecular phylogenetics to determine species identification and native range origin. Also, we described diet, movement, and growth for one crocodile. Our molecular analyses illustrated that two of the crocodiles we collected are most closely related to Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) from South Africa, suggesting this region as a source population. We, thus, documented the first known introduction of C. niloticus in Florida. Two, and possibly three of the introduced crocodiles shared the same haplotype, suggesting they are likely from the same introduction pathway or source. One animal was captured, measured, marked, and released, then recaptured 2 y later allowing us to calculate growth rate (40.5 cm/y) and movement. The most likely route of travel by waterway (i.e., canal) illustrates that this animal traveled at least 29 km from its original capture site. One crocodile escaped from a facility in Hendry County, Florida, and survived in 1,012 ha of semi-wild habitat for three to four years, confirming that this species can survive in southern Florida.
_________________________________________________________________
5) Human skin turned into beating heart cells in breakthrough that could lead to Salamander-style regeneration-Mice skin was also turned into the three main types of brain cells using a revolutionary new technique

The Independent, Ian Johnston, Science Correspondent, 4/29/16

Scientists have turned skin into brain and beating heart cells, using a technique similar to the astonishing powers of regeneration of animals like salamanders.

They said their revolutionary new method was a significant step towards the day when coronary and Alzheimer’s patients can be treated with their own reprogrammed tissue.

Human skin cells were turned into stem cells – which can form any kind of tissue in the body – using a cocktail of chemicals. Another mix of chemicals was then used to transform them into heart cells, according to a study reported in the journal “Science.”

More than 97 per cent of the cells start beating and when they were transplanted into a mouse’s heart, they developed into healthy-looking heart tissue.
In a separate study, reported in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the scientists turned mouse skin into brain stem cells using a similar technique.

Dr Sheng Ding, of the San Francisco-based Gladstone Institutes research centre, who led the study, said: “This method brings us closer to being able to generate new cells at the site of injury in patients.

“Our hope is to one day treat diseases like heart failure or Parkinson's disease with drugs that help the heart and brain regenerate damaged areas from their own existing tissue cells.

“This process is much closer to the natural regeneration that happens in animals like newts and salamanders, which has long fascinated us.”
Previously, scientists had managed to reprogram cells but only by adding external genes to the cells.
Genetic engineering of human cells remains controversial and the Gladstone researchers believe their method is a more efficient and reliable method of creating new cells to replace damaged tissue.
“The ultimate goal in treating heart failure is a robust, reliable way for the heart to create new muscle cells,” said Dr Deepak Srivastava, a co- author of the Science paper.

“Reprogramming a patient's own cells could provide the safest and most efficient way to regenerate dying or diseased heart muscle.”

In the brain cell study, neural stem cells made from mouse skin transformed into the three main types of brain cell, neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, when transplanted into mice.

Dr Yadong Huang, another of the researchers, said: “With their improved safety, these neural stem cells could one day be used for cell replacement therapy in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

“In the future, we could even imagine treating patients with a drug cocktail that acts on the brain or spinal cord, rejuvenating cells in the brain in real time.”
_________________________________________________________________
6) FWC announces May start of sea turtle nesting season on many Florida beaches
News Release
Friday, April 29, 2016
Media contact: : Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291, Diane.Hirth@MyFWC.com; Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459, Carli.Segelson@MyFWCcom

Sea turtle nesting season begins in May on many Florida beaches, including the sandy beaches of northwest Florida. The season lasts through the end of October and is the critical time when people can help keep sea turtles and hatchlings safe.

Loggerhead turtles that nest on beaches in Franklin, Gulf, Bay, Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties are part of a distinct subpopulation that scientists were concerned was in decline. However nest numbers for this species were up in 2015, when 1,499 loggerhead turtle nests were documented in these seven Gulf Coast counties. Green and leatherback turtles also nest on northwest Florida beaches, although in much lower numbers.

“In order to keep sea turtles and our beaches and oceans healthy, it’s important for all of us to be good neighbors and do our part,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who leads the sea turtle management program at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The FWC recommends residents and visitors in northwest Florida and all coastal communities follow a few simple guidelines in order to help conserve sea turtles and their hatchlings. Beach residents and visitors are encouraged to follow these tips:

▪ Do Not Disturb. During nesting season from May through October, it’s important to keep your distance from nesting sea turtles, their nests, whether eggs are visible or not, and their hatchlings. In northwest Florida, nests are usually marked with distinctive yellow signs and tape, but not always. Please don’t shine lights on sea turtles or hatchlings or take photos of them – including cell phone photos.
▪ Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night. Turn off or adjust lighting along the beach in order to prevent nesting females or hatchlings from getting confused and going toward lights on land instead of the salt water, where they belong. Use turtle-friendly lighting on outside lights on homes and other buildings along the beach. Replace incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity bulbs with FWC-certified low-wattage, long wavelength options available in red or amber colors. Turn out outdoor lights at night when not needed. Remember with beach lighting to:

1 Keep It Long – Long wavelength lights are better for turtles. Look for the red and amber lights that have been certified as turtle-friendly by FWC.

2 Keep It Low – Illuminate walkways by installing lights close to the ground.

3 Keep It Shielded – Focus lights down, not up or outward, to avoid confusing nesting turtles and hatchlings.

4 Shut Curtains and Blinds – Close curtains and draw blinds at night on beachfront windows and doors.
▪ Clear the Way at the End of the Day. Nesting mothers and hatchling sea turtles can get trapped or confused by beach furniture left on the beach at night. Beach furniture also can cover sea turtle nesting areas. Please bring furniture (such as beach chairs, umbrellas, buckets and tents) back to your house, condo or hotel at the end of the day and fill in holes or level piles of sand before nightfall. Also please avoid burying umbrella poles in the sand; use pole-holders or sleeves instead. Properly dispose of any trash, food or other litter in covered trash cans to avoid attracting predators to the nests.

The FWC works to conserve Florida sea turtles, including coordinating nesting beach survey programs around the state. Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text tip@MyFWC.com.

For more on Florida’s sea turtles, visit MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle, and click on “Sea Turtles and Lights” or “Wildlife Friendly Lighting” for more information on keeping beaches dark and safe for sea turtles.

___________________________________________________
To subscribe, unsubscribe or change email addresses contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org

Advertising opportunities is available (Only exception no live animals)
Contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org.

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:46 pm

HERPDIGEST - VOLUME 18 ISSUE # 22 9/8/16
FREE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER COVERING THE LATEST NEWS ON REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
______________________________________________
HERPDIGEST IS A NON-PROFIT 501 C 3 CORPORATION- Supported by mostly by your donations and sales of herpetology books (see below for two excellent and very useful books) and other herp related material. Send all donations by 1) Check made out to HerpDigest and mailed to Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. 2) Or by PayPal, Herpdigest’s account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org
_____________________________________________
Advertising opportunities are available
Contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org.
______________________________________________
For More Information and how to order
The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, and Calls (CD included)
as well as past issues of
The Tortoise and
“GEKKO”
Go to www.herpdigest.org/books
______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1)Alligator Snapping Turtle One Step Closer to Endangered Species Protection

2) 4th International Symposium on Ranaviruses

3) Origin of the long body of snakes

4) Snake eats lizard eats beetle: Fossil food chain from the Messel Pit examined

___________________________________________________
1)Alligator Snapping Turtle One Step Closer to Endangered Species Protection

Largest Freshwater Turtle in North America Threatened by
Ongoing Habitat Destruction Across Midwest, Southeast
Press Release from Center for Biological Diversity, August 30, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity today reached a settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to determine by 2020 whether the alligator snapping turtle will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. A prehistoric-looking freshwater turtle known for its spiked shell, large claws and strong, beaked jaws, the alligator snapper has declined up to 95 percent across its historic range. In response to a 2012 petition from the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined last year that the alligator snapping turtle may warrant federal protection.

“Alligator snapping turtles are disappearing from many of the areas they historically lived,” said Elise Bennett, a Center attorney whose work is dedicated to protecting rare reptiles and amphibians. “The evidence is strong these freshwater giants need Endangered Species Act protection to survive.”

Habitat degradation and over harvest have caused significant population declines for the once-abundant turtle. Early in the 20th century alligator snapping turtles were plentiful in U.S. river systems draining into the Gulf of Mexico, from the waterways and lakes of the upper Midwest to the swamps and bayous of Florida, Louisiana and Texas. But recent population surveys show the turtles are now likely extirpated in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. A 2014 study revealed that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species and therefore even more critically endangered than previously thought.

“This settlement is a welcome first step,” said Bennett. “Now the Service needs to evaluate and act according to the best science we have, which shows that these three species deserve full Endangered Species Act protection.”

Contact: Elise Bennett, (727) 755-6950; ebennett@biologicaldiversity.org
_________________________________________________
2) 4th International Symposium on Ranaviruses

Planning is currently underway for the 4th International Symposium on Ranaviruses which will take place from June 7th to June 10th, 2017 in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary. The venue of the meeting is the historical campus of the University of Veterinary Science, in the heart of the city of Pest. The meeting will include a joint day with the 10th International Symposium on Viruses of Lower Vertebrates (ISVLV), which will take place from June 4th to 7th. Field trips are planned at the end of the meeting, with excursions to nearby local nature reserve areas.

Check out the conference website at http://www.rana-2017.com/

If you have any questions or want to help, please contact Rachel Marschang
(marschang@laboklin.com<mailto:marschang@laboklin.com>)

All the best,
Dr. Amanda L. J. Duffus, BSc.H. (SSP, Biology), MSc., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Secretary/Treasurer of the Global Ranavirus Consortium
Undergraduate Research Symposium - Chair
Department of Biology and Physical Sciences
Gordon State College
University System of Georgia
419 College Drive
Barnesville, GA 30204
USA

Tel: (678) 359 - 5464/Fax: (678) 359 - 5878
Email: aduffus@gordonstate.edu<mailto:aduffus@gordonstate.edu>
Office: Instructional Complex (IC) 227

Web Page: http://www.gordonstate.edu/Faculty/aduffus/
___________________________________________________________
3) Origin of the long body of snakes
Date: August 8, 2016
Source: Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia

Summary:
A research team has discovered the key factor that regulates trunk development in vertebrates and explains why snakes have such a strikingly different body. These findings may open new avenues to the study of spinal cord regeneration.

FULL STORY

For many years, researchers have been trying to understand the origin of the exceptionally long trunks that characterize the body of snakes. This is a mystery in terms of animal development that can shed light on the mechanisms controlling the tissues that form the trunk, including the skeleton and the spinal cord. A research team led by Moisés Mallo from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Portugal) now discovered the key factor that regulates trunk development in vertebrates and explains why snakes have such a strikingly different body. These findings, published in the latest edition of Developmental Cell and highlighted in its cover, may open new avenues to the study of spinal cord regeneration.

Despite obvious differences in size and shapes observed among different vertebrate animals, they all have bodies with a head and neck, a trunk and a tail. It is the relative size of each of these body sections what makes a large part of the body differences among these animals. Still, all vertebrates develop by consecutive phases, forming each region of the body in a specific order, from head to tail. The development is guided by genetic instructions that inform the beginning and the end of each body region's formation. Moisés Mallo's laboratory has been trying to crack the genetic code that controls trunk and tail development in vertebrates. In order to achieve it, they studied mice that had particularly long or especially short trunks. "We thought that the analysis of these animals could give us the key to unveil the code of trunk formation," says Moisés Mallo.

Their experiments led to the surprising finding that the key controller of trunk development was the Oct4 gene, one of the essential regulators of stem cells. Since many other vertebrates also have Oct4, this gene could play similar roles in other animals and might even be responsible for the exceptionally long trunks of snakes. Rita Aires, first author of this study, explains: "We had found that Oct4 is the switch that leads to trunk formation, still we couldn't explain the different trunk length observed in vertebrates, particularly in snakes. Therefore, we tested if this switch was being turned on or off during different periods of embryonic development in snakes compared to mice."

The researchers discovered that the Oct4 gene was indeed kept active during a longer period of time in snakes when compared to other animals. They also showed that this resulted from changes in the snake genome that happened during reptile evolution, which placed the Oct4 gene next to a DNA region that keeps this gene in an "ON" state during long periods of embryonic development.

"The formation of different body regions works as a strong-arm contest of genes. Genes involved in trunk formation need to start ceasing activity so that the genes involved in tail formation can start working. In the case of snakes, we observed that the Oct4 gene is kept active during a longer period of embryonic development, which explains why snakes have such a long trunk and a very short tail," says Rita Aires.

Moisés Mallo further explains: "We identified a key factor that allows essentially unlimited growth of trunk structures, as long as it remains active. Now we will investigate if we can use the Oct4 gene and the DNA region that maintains its activity to expand the cells that make the spinal cord, trying to regenerate it in case of injury."

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
______________________________________________________________

4) Snake eats lizard eats beetle: Fossil food chain from the Messel Pit examined
Date: September 7, 2016
Source: Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum
Summary: Scientists have examined a spectacular discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage site Messel Pit: A fossil snake in whose stomach a lizard can be seen, which in turn had consumed a beetle. The discovery of the approximately 48-million-year-old tripartite fossil food chain is unique for Messel; worldwide, only one single comparable piece exists.
FULL STORY

In cooperation with CONICET in Argentina, Senckenberg scientists examined a spectacular discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage site Messel Pit: A fossil snake in whose stomach a lizard can be seen, which in turn had consumed a beetle. The discovery of the approximately 48-million-year-old tripartite fossil food chain is unique for Messel; worldwide, only one single comparable piece exists. The study was recently published in Senckenberg's scientific journal Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments.

It is no secret that the Messel Pit is home to a plethora of fantastic fossils -- but some of the findings are so sensational that they even awe veteran Messel researchers. "In the year 2009, we were able to recover a plate from the pit that shows an almost fully preserved snake," says Dr. Krister Smith of the Department for Messel Research at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, and he continues, "And as if this was not enough, we discovered a fossilized lizard inside the snake, which in turn contained a fossilized beetle in its innards!"

Fossil food chains are extremely rarely preserved; due to the excellent level of preservation at the fossil site, leaves and grapes from the stomach of a prehistoric horse, pollen grains in a bird's intestinal tract and remains of insects in fossilized fish excrements had previously been discovered at Messel. "However, until now, we had never found a tripartite food chain -- this is a first for Messel!" exclaims Smith elatedly. To this day, only one other example of such fossil preservation has been found worldwide -- in a 280-million-year-old shark.

Using a high-resolution computer tomograph, Smith and his colleague Agustín Scanferla from Argentina were able to identify both the snake and the lizard to the species level. Smith comments, "The fossil snake is a member of Palaeophython fischeri; the lizard belongs to Geiseltaliellus maarius, which has only been found at Messel to date."

The snake measures 103 centimeters in length and is thus significantly smaller than other specimens of this species, which can reach two meters or more. Smith therefore assumes that the fossil represents a juvenile of this relative of the modern-day boas.

The lizard measures approximately 20 centimeters from the head to the tip of its tail -- and some of the snake's ribs, which overlap the arboreal reptile, clearly indicate that the lizard is located inside the snake. Geiseltaliellus maarius was presumably equipped with a small sagittal crest. It had the ability to shed its tail in case of danger, but did not lose it when it fell prey to the snake. "Unfortunately, we were unable to unambiguously identify the beetle -- it was not well enough preserved to do so," adds the Messel researcher from Frankfurt.

Nonetheless, the small crawler offers insights into the previously barely known feeding behavior of these lizards from Messel: The stomachs of previously discovered reptiles only contained the remains of plants; the fact that the lizards also fed on insects indicates an omnivorous diet.

The unique discovery came from a layer dating to the Middle Eocene with an approximate age of 48 million years. "Since the stomach contents are digested relatively fast and the lizard shows an excellent level of preservation, we assume that the snake died no more than one to two days after consuming its prey and then sank to the bottom of the Messel Lake, where it was preserved," explains Smith. Too bad for the snake -- but a stroke of luck for science!

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Krister T. Smith, Agustín Scanferla. Fossil snake preserving three trophic levels and evidence for an ontogenetic dietary shift. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s12549-016-0244-1
Cite This Page:
MLA
APA
Chicago
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. "Snake eats lizard eats beetle: Fossil food chain from the Messel Pit examined." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160907082052.htm>.
________________________________________________________________

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:36 pm

HERPDIGEST - VOLUME 18 ISSUE # 26 10/13/16
FREE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER COVERING THE LATEST NEWS ON REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
______________________________________________
HERPDIGEST IS A NON-PROFIT 501 C 3 CORPORATION- Supported by mostly by your donations and sales of herpetology books (see below for two excellent and very useful books) and other herp related material. Send all donations by 1) Check made out to HerpDigest and mailed to Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. 2) Or by PayPal, Herpdigest’s account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org
_____________________________________________
Advertising opportunities are available
Contact asalzberg@herpdigest.org.
______________________________________________
For More Information and how to order
The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, and Calls (CD included)
as well as past issues of
The Tortoise and
“GEKKO”
Go to www.herpdigest.org/books
______________________________________________

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What can we learn about salinity from venomous sea snakes?
2) Hurricane Matthew destroys hundreds of turtle nests
3) Temporary extinction reprieve for some frogs
4) Texas neighbors seek to protect local alligator Thor from authorities

____________________________________________
1) What can we learn about salinity from venomous sea snakes?

A new study shows how these adaptable snakes can respond to fluctuating ocean temperatures.
By Zhai Yun Tan, Staff OCTOBER 12, 2016


As scientists are detecting rising sea levels and salinity in coastal waters, some wonder: Will sea animals be able to adapt to the changing conditions?

A new study by several researchers from Iran and France may help future researchers study how a rare, venomous sea snake might have evolved to live in saltier waters, as biologists and conservationists wonder how other species will fare in similar conditions around the world.

When they stumbled upon this discovery, they were collaborating on a project to update the checklist of sea snakes present in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Other than the nine known species of sea snakes residing in the gulf, they found a 10th species – the Günther’s sea snake – more than 250 miles away from the westernmost boundary of its previously known range.

The presence of the small-headed sea snake so far away from its original habitat is significant because the Persian Gulf, according to the study, has high salinity and sea surface temperatures year round. It was the first time the species has been found in the region.

“Biota living in the Gulf must adapt to high temperatures and a hypersaline environment,” the study authors wrote. “The Persian Gulf can be considered as an excellent natural laboratory to study the adaptive responses of the rapidly evolving sea snakes to high salinities and fluctuating temperatures.

The Günther’s sea snake has only been found in waters off the Malay Peninsula to Pakistan since its discovery by German-born British zoologist Albert Günther in 1864.

Scientists studying the effects of climate change are curious about animal adaptation to salinity because rising sea levels and temperatures can increase the salinity of groundwater, push salt water further upstream, and harm aquatic plants and animals, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Previous studies have found that warmer temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean lead to increased evaporation and reduced rainfall from Africa to the Caribbean. As reported by The Guardian, north Atlantic waters had decreasing salt levels, while the Atlantic waters further south, toward the tropics, has been getting saltier since the 1960s.

Rising sea levels and salinization of groundwater and soil is already affecting some areas of the world, from the Everglades National Park in Florida to Bangladesh.

“These coastal communities are home to many rare and endangered plants such as tropical orchids and herbs, some of which are found only in south Florida.... It is unclear whether or not these species can tolerate the increased salinity that will come as sea level continues to rise due to climate change,” according to a National Park Service report on Everglades National Park.
Rising salinity is not the only condition animals have to adapt to. As The Christian Science Monitor previously reported, increasing acidification of the ocean has caused spiny damselfish to adapt their circadian rhythms, while phytoplankton may have to rely on faster ocean currents to find waters with the perfect temperature, salinity, and nutrient concentration.

But even if animals can successfully adapt to the changing conditions, it doesn’t guarantee survival.

"Biological systems are very complex," Lars Tomanek, director of the Environmental Proteomics Laboratory and professor of biological sciences at California Polytechnic State University, told the Monitor in August, after the release of the damselfish study. "We are in for many more surprises and discoveries, but from what we see already, we know it’s going to be a tough time for most organisms.... There are going to be a few winners, but there are going to be quite a few losers."

____________________________________________________
2) Hurricane Matthew destroys hundreds of turtle nests
Oct 12, 2016, Dan Billow, BREVARD COUNTY, Fla.

Hurricane Matthew washed out nests holding hundreds of unhatched sea turtle eggs, a researcher said Wednesday.

When the hurricane cut into the beach and dune areas of south Brevard County, it carried away more than just sand. Sea turtles make nests and lay eggs at the base of the dunes. In places, as much as half the dune was swept away, along with ready-to-hatch turtle eggs.

About 70 to 80 percent of green sea turtle eggs located in a federal refuge had already hatched this season, said Dr. Llewellyn Ehrhart, one of the world’s foremost sea turtle nesting experts. But that left around a quarter of this year’s green turtle nests vulnerable to the hurricane. Green sea turtles are an endangered species.

“So far, we’ve found two nests that survived. But the great majority of that 20 to 30 percent that were still incubating were washed out,” Ehrhart said Wednesday.
On the other hand, a more plentiful turtle species, loggerheads, have almost all hatched, and were able to scuttle toward the waves long before the hurricane hit. Both green and loggerhead populations have made spectacular comebacks in the last three decades.

“It’s one of the great stories in the history of wildlife conservation in North America,” Ehrhart said.

The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in south Brevard County is one of the most important nesting beaches in the Northern Hemisphere. Ehrhart believes the loss of the green turtle nests is not a disaster, but a blow from which the species can recover and continue to grow.

____________________________________________________
3) Temporary extinction reprieve for some frogs
Date: October 12, 2016
Source: University of Adelaide

Australian scientists have good news for frog conservation: there may be longer than expected time to intervene before climate change causes extinction of some species.

The scientists used new methods for modelling the threat of climate change on frogs in tropical north-eastern Australia and showed that, at least for some species, there is likely to be more time than earlier thought before expected climate shifts and associated habitat loss drive them to extinction.

The study, published today in the scientific journal Biology Letters, shows that as many as four species of frogs in the protected Wet Tropics of Queensland UNESCO World Heritage Area face extinction by 2080 due to human-induced climate change. However, the research also shows that for at least three species, there might be sufficient time for conservation managers to intervene successfully.
The researchers, from the University of Adelaide, the University of Tasmania and James Cook University, used the latest biodiversity modelling techniques to show that extinctions from climate change can occur after substantial time lags.

Lead author Dr Damien Fordham, ARC Future Fellow with the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, says: "This is a rare example of good news for conservation because it means that for some frog species there is likely to be more time than expected for on-ground management intervention.

"For example, our research shows that the window of time between impact and extinction might be adequate for successful translocation programs to be established.”

Co-author Professor Barry Brook, Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania, says this may also mean good news for other flora and fauna.

"By showing that extinction delays can exceed decades for short-lived animals such as frogs, it follows that the time lags for extinction might be even larger for long-lived species, such as large vertebrates and trees," Professor Brook says.
This study also has important implications for 'triage'-based conservation prioritisation, which is the idea that conservation managers should actively decide on which species have a reasonable prospect of being saved, and then direct precious conservation resources accordingly.

"If long time scales for extinction lags exist for some species, the likelihood that these extinctions can be averted through active on-ground management increases," says Dr Fordham. "Furthermore, it means that other species in more immediate need could be targeted for early conservation intervention."

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1 Damien A. Fordham, Barry W. Brook, Conrad J. Hoskin, Robert L. Pressey, Jeremy VanDerWal, Stephen E. Williams. Extinction debt from climate change for frogs in the wet tropics. Biology Letters, 2016; 12 (10): 20160236 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0236

Cite This Page:
MLA
APA
Chicago
University of Adelaide. "Temporary extinction reprieve for some frogs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161012102700.htm>.

__________________________________________________
4) Texas neighbors seek to protect local alligator Thor from authorities

By Ben Hooper KATY, Texas, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Residents of a Texas neighborhood are engaged in a dispute with authorities about efforts to capture an alligator living in a retention pond.

Fort Bend Municipal Utilities District 151 said plans were made to capture and relocate the alligator, dubbed Thor by locals, after landscaping crews reported being stalked by the reptile while working around the pond, located behind the Firethorne community near Katy in Fort Bend County.

Local resident Mason Weiler said he found the alligator hooked to a trap Saturday morning.

"I pulled on [the line] and sure enough the alligator started freaking out," Weiler told KTRK-TV.

"We decided that cutting it loose would be the right thing to do. We didn't know if it was a professional job," Weiler said. "Nobody in the neighborhood was aware he was gonna be removed, so I set him free. I thought that was the right thing to do."
Efforts to capture the gator have been suspended while officials consider requests from homeowners to leave Thor in the pond.

"No one has ever seen the gator anywhere, but in a few feet of the pond," homeowner DeLila Cooprider said.

Local resident MaryBeth Whitt started a GoFundMe page to raise awareness of Thor's plight and raise funds for an alligator rescue center.

“Someone put in a request to remove a 'nuisance alligator,' yet there have been no reports of Thor actually causing problems," Whitt wrote. "Earlier this week someone had placed traps around the lake to capture Thor, and due to the nature of the traps it does not look like like they were going to be used to relocate the alligator.”

"I have made this page in hope to raise awareness of what is going on, and also to raise money that will be donated to a nearby alligator rescue center," she wrote.

Kim Byrne Whitt, MaryBeth's mother, said in a Facebook post the GoFundMe money might also go toward medical help for Thor, who residents fear could suffer consequences from still being attached to the hook from the trap.

___________________________________________________


____________________________________________________

User avatar
Philsuma
Site Owner
Posts: 10494
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:10 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Contact:

Re: HerpDigest.org Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:45 pm

_________________________________________________
HERPDIGEST - VOLUME 18 ISSUE # 33 11/25/16
FREE ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER COVERING THE LATEST NEWS ON REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
_______________________________________________________
HERPDIGEST IS A NON-PROFIT 501 C 3 CORPORATION- Supported by your donations and sales of herpetology books & magazines
_______________________________________________________________
TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1) The Following Petition-Compel NY State to protect the ENDANGERED Bog Turtle in Orange County-is being circulated by the NY Natural History Council on change.org at the following Url:
https://www.change.org/p/andrew-cuomo-p ... ne-forever
If you have any questions about the petition, want more information contact NYNHC at biocouncil@yahoo.com, they also have a Facebook page.

2) Thai police nab Japanese woman with rare reptiles at airport (including Malayan snail-eating turtles and monitor lizards)

3) 25 stranded sea turtles rescued from cold waters of Cape Cod-Mass Audubon says it has rescued 54 cold-stunned turtles this season. Lat Year Mass Audubon Rescued 600

4) Tainted water can skew population toward males, study reveals
_________________________________________
1) The Following Petition -Compel NY State to protect the ENDANGERED Bog”Turtle in Orange County-is being circulated by the NY Natural History Council on change.org a the following Url:
https://www.change.org/p/andrew-cuomo-p ... ne-forever
If you have any questions about the petition, want more information contact NYNHC at biocouncil@yahoo.com, they also have a Facebook page.

Compel NY State to protect the ENDANGERED Bog Turtle in Orange County

In Southeastern NY State, the NYS-Listed "Endangered" Bog Turtle is disappearing due to habitat loss.

NY State has specific protections in place to protect this species, however, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation ( NYSDEC) has repeatedly refused to protect confirmed Bog Turtle habitat and has repeatedly allowed such habitat to be destroyed without explanation.

During this past Summer, alone, an entire population was drained and paved over despite the NYSDEC having collected Bog Turtles at the site as recently as 2013
State officials refuse to respond to queries and complaints regarding this and other similar dereliction of duty.

The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation's region 3 offices need to be directed to restore confirmed Bog Turtle habitat recently destroyed in Chester, NY.
Further

The regional DEC staffers who have repeatedly ignored their duties to protect this habitat need to be appropriately counseled and/or removed from their positions before we lose all of our state's Bog Turtle populations.
This petition will be delivered to:
Governor
Andrew Cuomo

____________________________________________
2) Thai police nab Japanese woman with rare reptiles at airport (including Malayan snail-eating turtles and monitor lizards)
By Tokyo Reporter Staff on November 25, 2016

THAILAND (TR) – Local police have arrested a Japanese woman who was found to be in possession of dozens of rare reptiles without authorization, reports NHK (Nov. 23).

On Tuesday, the woman, a 44-year-old resident of Fukushima Prefecture, was found by an airline employee to be in possession of a suitcase containing 55 reptiles, including Malayan snail-eating turtles and monitor lizards, at Bangkok International Airport.

The woman, charged with violating wildlife conservation laws, was scheduled to depart on a flight for Narita International Airport.

“At the entrance of the airport I was asked by an unknown Asian [to carry the reptiles],” the suspect was quoted. “I received the suitcase and a commission of 100,000 yen. I did it like a part-time job”

At the time of her arrest, the woman was accompanied by a six-month-old boy.

“I do not know what kind of money these animals will fetch on the market in Japan,” said the arresting officer, “but I was surprised that even a woman with a child was involved in smuggling.”
Rare turtles and monitor lizards are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora of 1973.
____________________________________________
3) 25 stranded sea turtles rescued from cold waters of Cape Cod-Mass Audubon says it has rescued 54 cold-stunned turtles this season. Lat Year Mass Audubon Rescued 600


WELLFLEET, Mass. (AP) — 11/23/16 — Twenty-five stranded sea turtles have been rescued from the chilly waters of Cape Cod.

The Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary says on its Facebook page rescuers found 10 sea turtles on Eastham and Wellfleet beaches Monday night and 15 more Tuesday morning.

Spokeswoman Jenette Kerr tells the Boston Globe younger turtles struggle when the water temperatures drop and slowly go into hypothermia. She says strong winds and high tides have helped rescuers by pushing the endangered turtles closer to shore, where they can be captured and sent for treatment at a New England Aquarium facility.

The turtles are eventually transported and released in warmer waters in the south by other organizations.

Mass Audubon says it has rescued 54 cold-stunned turtles this season. It rescued 600 last year.
___________________________________________________
4) Tainted water can skew population toward males, study reveals
By Brian Nearing Thursday, November 24, 2016, Albany Times-Uniion

Salted frog may sound like a gourmet restaurant dish, but it actually could mean real trouble for coming generations of the amphibians.

New research done by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Yale University has found that road salt finding its way to pools where frogs breed tilts the balance of offspring, resulting in more males and fewer females that emerge as tadpoles.

"How the salt is doing this, frankly, we don't yet know," said Rick Relyea, a RPI biologist and co-author of the study that was published this month in a Canadian aquatic science journal. "How many females you have in a population determines how many offspring you have. We are not in a position to make any conclusions about potential population decline, but what we do not need is more males.”

Normally, the ratio of male to female tadpoles is roughly equal, said Relyea, who runs the RPI Aquatic Laboratory in North Greenbush, where he conducted the frog study over the last year using massive 500-liter water tanks.

Some tanks contained leaves from oak and maple trees, which are common around
the forest pools where frogs and other amphibians lay their eggs.

Other tanks contained road salt, which is routinely applied to highways in the winter.

Some salt can get washed into drainage systems and potentially reach other bodies of water. For example, Lake George salt levels have been rising steadily.

During the last three decades, the lake's salt levels have tripled, making it now about 30 times saltier than an undeveloped Adirondack lake.

The problem is happening throughout the Adirondacks wherever there are roads, according to Dan Kelting, executive director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College. He spoke at a regional summit last year aimed at addressing the growing threat of road salt.

In the salted water tanks at the RPI lab, there were 60 male tadpoles for every 40 females — a shift of 10 percent. The effect is called masculinizing. Also, female tadpoles exposed to salt were smaller than normal.

"The continual masculinization of frog populations for many generations in habitats contaminated with high concentrations of road salt ... could potentially affect the abundance of frogs in these habitats," said Relyea, who is also director of RPI's Darrin Fresh Water Institute.

"The research raises the possibility that many other aquatic species could be affected by road salts in sub-lethal ways, not only in terms of altered sex ratios, but potentially in many other traits.”

His experiments were conducted as part of the Jefferson Project at Lake George, a research collaboration among RPI, IBM and The Fund for Lake George, a not-for-profit advocacy group. The project is currently installing a series of water- and land-based sensors around the lake to study its water quality and ecosystem.
Part of that ecosystem includes what are called vernal pools, which are temporary pools of water that routinely form by snow melt in the spring, and where frogs and other amphibians lay eggs. "The vast majority of our amphibians come from vernal pools, not lakes," said Relyea. There are likely hundreds of such pools surrounding the lake, where road salt is applied every winter.

"When it comes to road salt, frogs are like canaries in a coal mine warning us of the need to dramatically cut back salt use," said Eric Siy, executive director of The Fund for Lake George. "An estimated 30,000 metric tons of road salt is applied annually in the Lake George basin — enough to fill 300 rail cars or a train 3 miles long every year.”

Across the U.S. each winter, more than 22 million metric tons of salt is applied on roadways, according to estimates by RPI.
Siy's group just held its second annual "salt summit" at the lake, where local officials and conservationists learn about potential methods to reduce use of road salt during the winter.

Previous studies have found effects on amphibian gender ratios caused by exposure to pharmaceuticals and pesticides, but the road salt study is the first of its kind.

"The health and abundance of females is obviously critical for the sustainability of any population because they're the ones that make the babies. So if you have a population that is becoming male-biased, the population might be at risk," said Max Lambert, lead author of the research study and a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Other researchers included Aaron Stoler, a postdoctoral researcher at RPI, and Yale researchers David Skelly and Meredith Smylie.

Lambert said previous research suggests that such outcomes could be caused by a phenomenon in which simple elements — such as sodium — can bind to a receptor in cells, mimicking the actions of testosterone or estrogen.

This, in turn, can trigger masculinizing or feminizing functions.
"So there is a very small testosterone-like effect with one salt molecule," he said. "But if you're dumping lots and lots of pounds of salt on the roads every winter that washes into these ponds, it can have a large effect.”
________________________________________
_________________________________________
All donations or payment for items must be made in advance. You can pay by 1) Check made out to HerpDigest and mailed to Allen Salzberg/67-87 Booth Street -5B/Forest Hills, NY 11375. 2) Or by PayPal, Herpdigest’s account is asalzberg@herpdigest.org

If you wish to delete your name from this mailing list or switch emails just send the instructions to asalzberg@herpdigest.org
___________________________________________________
List of available out-of-print back issues of
The Tortoise (Issues 1-4)
www.herpdigest.org/books.html
“GEKKO” Vol ( 2 -6)
Go to
http://www.herpdigest.org/gekko.html.


Return to “Science, Conservation and News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests