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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:18 pm

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 28 7/3/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Just Out-
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
(2012) An excellent, must have for every turtle owner. Covers everything from general information to major supportive care together with supporting photographs. It is obvious the author took great time and care to provide such marvelous information to all turtle owners or turtle enthusiasts. Full-color photographs. 393 pp. Softcover
Author: Amanda Ebenhack

List Price $39.95 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
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Table of Contents:

1. Download copies of “Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida”

1. Looking for Associate Editors. Opportunity presents itself for CNAH to adopt the orphaned journal, Contemporary Herpetology (founded 1997).

3) EU ban on non-native pets would "boost black market"

1. A Giant Tortoise’s Death Gives Extinction a Face (Lonesome George)
5) Feds Likely To Face Legal Battle Over Burmese Python Ban from USARK
6) Introducing Alternatives to Sea Turtle Fishing in Cuba- June 21, 2012 in Eco-Tourism, Marine, Rivers and Watersheds, Species Preservation
7) How Sticky Toepads Evolved in Geckos and What That Means for Adhesive Technologies
8) Tiny turtles take a big step (Map and Spiny Softshell Turtles in Lake Champlain)
9) Tropical Storm Debby's pounding waves wiped out turtle nests as well as beaches
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1. Download copies of “Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida” (Krysko et al. 2011).

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/reptiles.htm

On this website you can find 3 open access versions of this 527 pp. publication: an online magazine, a high res PDF, and a low res PDF.

Cheers,

Lou

****************************************************
Louis A. Somma, Research Associate
Florida State Collection of Arthropods
Division of Plant Industry - Entomology Sect.
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
PO Box 147100, 1911 SW 34th St.
Gainesville, FL 32614-7100 USA
Ph: 352-372-3505
email: Louis.Somma@freshfromflorida.com
****************************************************
Curatorial Assistant
McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
and Volunteer in Herpetology
Florida Museum of Natural History
email: somma@ufl.edu
email: SommaSkink@yahoo.com
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1. Looking for Associate Editors. Opportunity presents itself for CNAH to adopt the orphaned journal, Contemporary Herpetology (founded 1997).

In keeping with the mission of that journal, articles would remain free and online. In keeping with the mission of CNAH, the journal would be North American, north of Mexico, in taxonomic scope and would be complete in topical coverage. Tentatively, issues would be produced twice each calendar year. PDF papers would consist of research articles only and would have audio and visual capabilities in keeping with our desire to promote a stronger understanding of North American Herpetology.

Is the herpetological community interested in such a venue?

Are you interested in and committed to associate editorship of potential headings listed below? You may find that your expertise falls under more than one category, such as both anuran ecology and salamander ecology. If you are, please respond to both Walter E. Meshaka, Jr. (toadwally@gmail.com) and Daniel Fogell (prairieherper@yahoo.com) under the subject heading of “JNAH AE”.

Genetics (apart from Taxonomy & Systematics)-
Morphology-
Taxonomy & Systematics-
Ecology (major or exclusive focus)
amphisbaenians-
crocodilians-
exotic species-
frogs and toads-
lizards-
salamanders-
turtles-
inventory and monitor-
reproductive ecology-

Based upon the interest level over the next few months we will be able to make a decision regarding the likelihood of success of this potential opportunity. We look forward to your input.

If you no longer wish to receive CNAH e-mail announcements please reply to this e-mail with 'UNSUBSCRIBE' in the e-mail subject. The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH) is a 503(c) non-profit foundation established to benefit the North American Herpetofauna and the scientists that study them.
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3) EU ban on non-native pets would "boost black market"
Hereford Times 6/28/12 by Paul Broome
A poposal to ban non-native pets from the UK would lead to a surge in black market animal trading, the owner of Herefordshire’s largest exotic reptile collection has warned.
The European Union is considering a law restricting UK residents to pets originating from this country.
But Tom Wheeler of Ross-on-Wye’s Rainforest Exotics believes the idea would create chaos.
“What about dogs such as huskies and pets like dwarf rabbits?” he said.
“I don’t think you’d ever stop the sale of animals. They would just go onto the black market.
“At the moment we have to have a certificate to own crocodiles and venomous animals. But if they banned exotic animals they would change hands without any checks.”
The Ross shop currently stocks non-native animals including the Indian cobra snake and caiman crocodile.
The EU says the ruling would affect non-native pets which pose a “serious threat to native plants and animals in Europe”.
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4) A Giant Tortoise’s Death Gives Extinction a Face (Lonesome George)
By CARL HULSE
PUERTO AYORA, Galápagos Islands — Lonesome George is gone, and there will never be another like him.
George, the last giant tortoise of his subspecies in this archipelago, was found dead in his corral at the Charles Darwin Research Station here the morning of June 24 — to the shock of his devoted caretakers, who had hoped he would survive for decades to continue his line.
The cause was natural, according to a necropsy, with the liver showing definite signs of aging. Giant tortoises can live well into their second century; George, who was brought here in 1972 from the northern island of Pinta, was thought to be around 100.
The Galápagos is home to other types of giant tortoises, though their numbers remain low and their populations vulnerable. But in recent years, it was George who came to symbolize endangered species around the world, and he was enmeshed in the soul of the Galápagos — enshrined in stamps, logos and countless T-shirts.
His loss has left the islands’ human inhabitants a bit bereft.
“It is a very sad story for all of us,” said Christian Saa, a national park ranger, guide and naturalist who had never been at the research center when George was not on hand.
“We were expecting to have George another 50 years,” he said as he stood before the pen, which houses a heart-shaped pool in which the tortoise’s caretakers had hoped to entice him to produce an heir with two biologically close female tortoises who remain. “It feels kind of empty.”
George’s death was a singular moment, representing the extinction of a creature right before human eyes — not dinosaurs wiped out eons ago or animals consigned to oblivion by hunters who assumed there would always be more. That thought was expressed at the shops and restaurants that are the research center’s neighbors on Charles Darwin Avenue.
“We have witnessed extinction,” said a blackboard in front of one business. “Hopefully we will learn from it.”
It especially struck home with Fausto Llerena, the 72-year-old ranger who cared for George for many of the tortoise’s 40 years at the center. Mr. Llerena was part of the original expedition that found George on Pinta Island in 1972, when all the tortoises there were thought to be gone, and brought him here to Santa Cruz Island. Through the years, he said, George had come to recognize him.
“He came toward me and he stopped and stretched his neck out, opened his mouth like a greeting, welcoming me,” said Mr. Llerena, interviewed while he was weighing and measuring young tortoises that the center hopes to eventually return to the wild. “That was his behavior with me and my companions at work.”
On June 24, Mr. Llerena noticed that George was not in his usual morning spot. On closer inspection, he found the tortoise dead. Several days later, he said it was still hard to fathom.
“He was like a member of the family to me,” he added. “To me, he was everything.”
Over the decades, notables from many countries had visited George to ooh and ahh, and his death has drawn worldwide attention. But here on these isolated islands, the loss is much more personal.
Washington Tapia, a senior official at Ecuador’s park service, said he cried when he heard the news; for him, it was like losing his grandparents. The plan now, he said, is to prepare George for display in a new tortoise museum.
The Pinta subspecies of giant tortoises was hardly the first Galápagos animal to disappear, Mr. Tapia said. Over the centuries, whalers, sailors, explorers and pirates gathered tens of thousands of tortoises for food and introduced nonnative species that crowded out indigenous ones.
“Sadly, it is not the first species that has become extinct,” he said. “But because of the reputation that he had, the reaction to it is more unusual.”
After George arrived here in 1972, researchers at the center used numerous strategies to get him to reproduce, introducing him to female tortoises and even trying artificial insemination. A $10,000 reward was offered for identifying a Pinta Island female. Hopes were raised when tortoise eggs were found in the enclosure, but they turned out to be unfertilized.
Lonesome George, who was thought to have been named for the clueless character popularized by the 1950s comedian George Gobel, was not universally popular in the islands. In 1995 sea-cucumber fishermen blockaded the research center to protest proposed environmental restrictions, shouting “Death to Lonesome George!” The standoff ended without harm to George, and the Galápagos have embraced eco-tourism as a way to balance conservation and economic need.
Park officials say they hope George’s death drives home the lesson that humanity must take greater care in interacting with other species. And though George was a powerful emblem of the Galápagos, they see his loss as a beginning as much as an end.
“George is very important, but the Galápagos is more than just George,” Mr. Tapia said. “The Galápagos is one of the last places in the world where we can see those things, nature in its purest state.”
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5) Feds Likely To Face Legal Battle Over Burmese Python Ban from USARK
By Chris Sweeney Jun. 21 2012 Broward/Palm Beach New Times
Most of us rejoiced earlier this year when Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced a new set of restrictions on the much loathed, much feared, much hyped Burmese python.

But six months after the feds announced a ban on the importation and interstate sale of Burmese pythons and three other snake species, the reptile industry is starting to mount a resistance that could very well culminate in a costly lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This week the United States Association of Reptile Keepers said that it is taking up funds to prepare for a judicial joust over the right to breed and sell these beastly snakes to whomever is willing to pay top dollar.

"There are a few legal avenues we are exploring first that may bring satisfaction without the need for a lawsuit," says Andrew Wyatt, president of the industry group. "The remedy of last resort is to file a federal lawsuit."

Under the current ban, reptile farmers are free to raise and sell Burmese pythons, so long as the snakes don't make their way over state lines. Wyatt says this is troublesome because reptiles are a multi-million-dollar industry, and breeders sell their snakes to zoos, research facilities and pet shops around the world.

For example, if a breeder in North Carolina gets an order from a lab in France, it might not be possible to complete the sale because there's a good chance the snake would pass through a FedEx facility outside of North Carolina, say in Georgia for example. If that were to happen, the seller would then be in violation of federal law and could be hit with stiff fines and potential jail time.

Florida already had a set of rules governing the snakes, and the reptile industry isn't pleased that the feds are pushing in on a problem that affects only a few counties in Florida. Down here, Burmese can't be acquired as pets, and only registered, licensed dealers, researchers and exhibitors are allowed to own the reptiles.

Wyatt makes no attempt to conceal that USARK is an industry group putting its financial interests first.

"We are an industry group trying to keep our businesses going," he says. "There's nothing wrong with farming livestock for profit. We produce high quality, captive-bred reptiles."

Burmese pythons have captured headlines in recent years for allegedly terrorizing the Everglades. One study suggested the snakes decimated mammal populations in the Everglades, but critics said the data were flawed and the study should have never been published.

It remains unclear exactly how many of the snakes remain in Florida; estimates range from a few thousand to more than 100,000.

In the recent past, Scott Hardin of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it's not likely that Burmese pythons pose any significant threat, and that wild hogs are the most problematic invasive species in the Sunshine State.

Wyatt alleges that "a small cabal of scientists has sensationalized the threat Burmese pythons pose to South Florida and exaggerated it to secure federal funding for research." He also expresses concern that a ban on shipping these snakes across state lines does absolutely nothing to address the remnant population of pythons in the Everglades.

USARK asserts that Fish and Wildlife has "exceeded its Lacey Act authority in terms of the breadth of the restrictions" it placed on the four snake species. It's now taking up donations to challenge the law.

Wyatt says the group plans to file a lawsuit by the end of the year if the issue is not resolved through other means.


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6) Introducing Alternatives to Sea Turtle Fishing in Cuba
June 21, 2012 in Eco-Tourism, Marine, Rivers and Watersheds, Species Preservation
BY FERNANDO BRETOS (2011 Kinship Fellow)
By engaging fishing towns at the community level, Fernando and his colleagues are replacing short-term payoffs with more permanent social and economic benefits.
In a recent PBS/Nature documentary, Cuba was coined an “accidental Eden.” Its large size relative to low population, isolation, and a series of progressive environmental legislation passed by the Cuban government in the 1990s has spared many of its coastal resources the same ecological fate as in neighboring Caribbean countries. I have worked in Cuba since 1998, from where my parents departed in 1961. The island country has been close to my heart and the basis for much of my work in conservation. Collaborating with the University of Havana, I have studied and worked to protect Cuba’s sea turtle populations.
Cuba’s 3,000km of coastline provides ample habitat for many species of sea turtles, particularly green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles. Sea turtles are enigmatic creatures. Migratory, shy and confined to an oceanic habitat for most of their lives, it is difficult to estimate their true conservation status. Based on historical accounts, including Christopher Columbus’ 15th century voyages to the Americas, hundreds of millions of turtles once nested on Caribbean beaches. Turtle populations have dropped precipitously in the Caribbean as a result of direct poaching of eggs and meat, bycatch, and habitat loss. Cuba’s hawksbill turtles, until recently were the target of government mandated fisheries at two different fishing villages, Cocodrilo on Cuba’s isolated Isle of Youth and Nuevitas on Cuba’s north central coast. Over five hundred animals a year were harvested at these towns since the 1960s, for meat and shell products.
After relenting to constant pressure from the international conservation community, the Cuban government agreed to a full moratorium on this hawksbill harvest in 2008. By shifting from viewing turtles as a marine resource to be exploited for meat and shell alone to one that can serve longer term economic needs such as tourism, the future of sea turtles in the region is bright.
While successful in increasing local hawksbill populations, the elimination of the fishery at Cocodrilo left many Cocodrilo fishermen facing an uncertain future. Founded in 1904, Cocodrilo is an isolated fishing community of 311 residents. Until recently it was known as Jacksonville, in honor of its founder William Hawkins Jackson, a turtle fishermen from the Cayman Islands. Since its founding, generations of English speaking Cocodrilo fishermen made their living hunting sea turtles with the backing of the Cuban government who paid them for their catch. The moratorium on the sea turtle harvest left many fishermen without a livelihood and facing a turning point. How do they preserve their culture and continue their livelihoods while protecting these animals?
In 2009, I reached out to Grupo Tortuguero (GT), a community activism group in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula that developed a successful model to engage similar fishermen. Mexico shares a similar relationship with sea turtles. Until the Mexican government banned the fishing and poaching of sea turtles in 1990, many fishing villages in Baja depended on sea turtles for protein. As with Cocodrilo, these fishermen faced the difficult dilemma of how to feed their families once the Mexican ban was implemented. A group of conservationists, biologists, and fishermen formed GT as a community model to engage fishermen in alternatives to turtle fishing such as eco-tourism, research, and conservation. GT’s flagship outreach programs are festivals during which fishing towns that once targeted sea turtles hold their own community-wide celebrations to honor their relationship to these sentinel creatures.
My Mexican colleagues and I convened the first-ever Cuba-US-Mexico fisherman’s exchange on the Isle of Youth in April 2009 which provided a unique forum for Mexican and Cuban fishermen to discuss ways to reduce sea turtle mortality through their fishing activity. The successful sea turtle exchange and workshop created considerable momentum within Cuba to provide alternatives for fishermen.
One of the proposed measures announced during the 2009 workshop was to provide continued outreach that engages all facets of the community, including fishermen, women, and children in understanding the ecological and financial benefits of protecting turtles. This would take the form of a sea turtle festival in Crocodrilo featuring music, lectures, workshops, and children’s activities that revolve around the conservation of natural resources. Fishermen would learn how eco-tourism based on turtle encounters, such as when they nest on beaches, could provide an attractive alternative to hunting these charismatic creatures.
The first festival took place from November 18-19, 2011 in Cocodrilo. The event featured educational workshops for adults and children, a forum for local fishermen to express their inherent points of view about harvesting sea turtle, and music and poetry about marine conservation by local artists. The entire community of Cocodrilo, led by its mayor, Evelio Lavadie Montpelier have taken full ownership in hosting subsequent events. The Ocean Foundation and GT recently completed the Second Annual Cocodrilo Sea Turtle festival from May 18-21, 2012. One of the concepts discussed at this festival was the need to encourage sustainable tourism to this rustic fishing community. This new type of tourism would provide alternative income to the community, particularly those who do not rely on fishing for their income such as women and elders. Ideas include trips to the nearby reef at Punta Frances aboard artisanal fishing boats, the establishment of bed and breakfasts and visits to a nearby loggerhead turtle nesting beach called El Guanal.
By engaging fishing towns at the community level, my colleagues and I in Mexico and Cuba are creating permanent social and economic alternatives to those with a short term payoff.
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7) How Sticky Toepads Evolved in Geckos and What That Means for Adhesive Technologies
ScienceDaily (June 28, 2012) — Geckos are known for sticky toes that allow them to climb up walls and even hang upside down on ceilings. A new study shows that geckos have gained and lost these unique adhesive structures multiple times over the course of their long evolutionary history in response to habitat changes.
"Scientists have long thought that adhesive toepads originated just once in geckos, twice at the most," says University of Minnesota postdoctoral researcher Tony Gamble, a coauthor of the study. "To discover that geckos evolved sticky toepads again and again is amazing."
The findings are published in the most recent edition of PLoS ONE. Gamble is a researcher in the College of Biological Sciences' Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development. Aaron Bauer, a professor at Villanova University, is the study's senior author. The research is part of a long-standing collaboration on gecko evolution among biologists at the University of Minnesota, Villanova University and the University of Calgary.
Geckos, a type of lizard, are found in tropical and semitropical regions around the world. About 60 percent of the approximately 1,400 gecko species have adhesive toepads. Remaining species lack the pads and are unable to climb smooth surfaces. Geckos with these toepads are able to exploit vertical habitats on rocks and boulders that many other kinds of lizards can't easily get to. This advantage gives them access to food in these environments, such as moths and spiders. Climbing also helps geckos avoid predators.
The researchers found that sticky toes evolved independently in about 11 different gecko groups. In addition, they were lost in at least nine different gecko groups. The gain and subsequent loss of adhesive toepads seems associated with habitat changes; e.g., living on boulders and in trees versus living on the ground, often in sand dunes, where the feature could be a hindrance rather than an advantage. "The loss of adhesive pads in dune-dwelling species is an excellent example of natural selection in action," Bauer says.
Repeated evolution is a key phenomenon in the study of evolutionary biology. A classic example is the independent evolution of wings in birds, bats and pterosaurs. It represents a shared solution that organisms arrived at separately to overcome common problems.
In order to understand how the toepads evolved, the research team produced the most complete gecko family tree ever constructed, including representatives of more than 100 genera (closely related groups of species) from around the world. This family tree can serve as the basis for answering many other questions, such as how and when did live birth, temperature-dependent sex determination, and night color vision evolve in geckos? The family tree will also allow the authors to revise gecko taxonomy to best reflect the group's evolutionary history.
Gecko toepads adhere through a combination of weak intermolecular forces, called van der Waals forces, and frictional adhesion. Hundreds to hundreds of thousands of hair-like bristles, called setae, line the underside of a gecko's toes. The large surface area created by this multitude of bristles generates enough weak intermolecular forces to support the whole animal.
The amazing clinging ability of Gecko toes has inspired engineers to develop biomimetic technologies ranging from dry adhesive bandages to climbing robots. "Gaining a better understanding of the complex evolutionary history of gecko toepads allows bio-inspired engineers to learn from these natural designs and develop new applications," says co-author Anthony Russell, of the University of Calgary.
While scientists have a good understanding of how geckos stick at the microscopic level, they are just beginning to understand how geckos use their adhesive toepads to move around complex environments in the wild. Learning how gecko toepads have evolved to move in nature is an important step in developing robotic technologies that can do similar things. "It's one thing to stick and unstick a piece of 'gecko tape' to a smooth surface in a lab, but something else altogether to get a robotic gecko to move across a complicated landscape in the real world and stick to all the different shapes and textures it will encounter," says Gamble. Examining the repeated evolution of gecko toepads will let scientists find common ways natural selection solved these problems and focus on the characteristics shared across different gecko species.
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8) Tiny turtles take a big step (Map and Spiny Softshell Turtles in Lake Champlain)
Jun 29, 2012 By Cat Viglienzoni- WCAX.com

LAKE CHAMPLAIN - It's a big day for some tiny turtles on Lake Champlain-- they're taking their first strokes out into the water. But when you're a snack-sized turtle, Lake Champlain is a dangerous place.

"And it's kind of like an arms race with the predators," Vt. Fish and Wildlife Biologist Steve Parren said.
It's a race Parren runs in the fall. He has to get to the nests before something else does. Turtle eggs are a treat for foraging raccoons and skunks, and once the turtles hatch, they're vulnerable to other predators.
"And when the predators beat me the ground is littered with shells. I mean they can literally take out every nest on the beach," Parren said.
Vermont is the only New England state with a native spiny softshell turtle population, but the species is threatened. This site, where about 100 or so nest, is one of only two where the turtles breed. Biologists say there used to be more, until development encroached on the shoreline.
"We used to have a population on the Winooski River. That one doesn't exist anymore," Parren said.
An estimated 98 percent of hatchlings never make it to breeding age and many are picked off while they're small and vulnerable. And so Parren and ECHO Lake Aquarium staff are aiming to give these map turtle and softshell babies a head start by collecting them in the fall after they hatch, and then allowing them to grow indoors through the winter instead of hibernating.
"They are the same age. This one was kind of in suspension for about five-six months. So this guy got an extra, well, he's got an extra six months of growth, but it was six months of pampered growth," Parren said.
When these hatchlings were collected in September, they were about the size of a quarter. They don't look much bigger now, but every bit counts as they take their first steps into the lake.
A group of turtle enthusiasts gathered for the big send-off Wednesday, ready to release the youngsters into the waiting waters.
"I love turtles and plus I can't wait for them to be free!" said Logan Martin of Northfield.
Biologists don't know how many will ultimately survive, but they hope their efforts will give these tiny turtles a fighting chance.
"We just know they've won the first round," Parren said.
ECHO staff and biologists requested that we not tell you where the turtles were released, that way they are less likely to be disturbed or accidentally trampled by humans.
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9) Tropical Storm Debby's pounding waves wiped out turtle nests as well as beaches
By Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Saturday, June 30, 2012

Advertisement countdown
Tropical Storm Debby did more than just wipe some of Pinellas County's beaches off the map. The storm's pounding waves also destroyed scores of sea turtle nests, potentially ruining what had been a record-breaking nesting season.
"Obviously there's a lot of devastation," said David Yates of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which coordinates sea turtle nesting surveys on most of Pinellas' beaches. "We were having the best year in 15 years, and now we've had a substantial washing away."
Sea turtle guardians still are compiling the numbers to chart the losses, but early estimates are that they will be large. Fort De Soto Park supervisor Jim Wilson figures about one-third of the nests there were wiped out.
David Godfrey of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the world's oldest sea turtle research and conservation group, said that along the gulf coast up to the Panhandle, "so far we're hearing that as many as half or more were lost."
However, state sea turtle biologist Anne Meylan said those estimates may be based on the loss of nest markers, not the nests.
"Losing your stakes isn't the same thing as losing the nests," noted Meylan, who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. As a result, she said, "It's premature to have any estimate of an impact."
She also pointed out that several months still remain in turtle nesting season, so, "We still have time to make up any losses."
From May until September, thousands of female sea turtles — loggerheads and other species — crawl up on Florida beaches, dig a hole and drop in a clutch of eggs, then cover it back up and swim away.
The turtles that lay the eggs are returning to the beaches where they themselves hatched out some 30 years before.
Until this week, volunteers roving along the state's beaches were reporting record high nest numbers, Godfrey said. And the nesting had begun earlier than usual, too, he said.
But then Debby arrived, producing record rainfall and pounding waves that washed away beaches, as well as the nests beneath them.
"Up to that point, we were way ahead of last year," Meylan said.
South of the Tampa Bay area, researchers from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota checking on the 1,367 nests they had marked before the storm between Longboat Key and Venice found markers remained for only 244 nests. That means as many as 82 percent of local nests lost the yellow stakes placed for identification — although it does not necessarily mean the nests are gone.
State biologists have been charting sea turtle nesting for more than 20 years. During that time, the nesting of loggerheads — the most common sea turtle species, but still rare enough to be classified as "threatened" — has been going downhill. The decline has been steepest since a high of 59,918 nests were counted in 1998.
Last year, however, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission documented a record-high nest count for green turtles. Leatherback turtles also had a high number of nests. Loggerhead nesting was close to its five-year average.
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HERP BOOKS ON SALE-ALL PROCEEDS GO TO HERPDIGEST
The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 3 copies left)
Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems [Hardcover]
by Michael Lannoo, University of California Press, 288 Pages
List Price $65.00 Sale Price $30.00
Plus $6.00 for S&H (Only 1 copy left)
The widespread appearance of frogs with deformed bodies has generated much press coverage over the past decade. Frogs with extra limbs or digits, missing limbs or digits, or misaligned appendages raise an alarming question: "Are deformed humans next?" Taking a fresh look at this disturbing environmental problem, this reference provides a balanced overview of the science behind the malformed frog phenomenon. Bringing together data from ecology, parasitology, and other disciplines, Michael Lannoo considers the possible causes of these deformities, tells which frogs have been affected, and addresses questions about what these malformations might mean to human populations. Featuring high-quality radiographic images, Malformed Frogs suggests that our focus should be on finding practical solutions, a key component of which will be controlling chemical, nutrient, and pesticide runoff into wetlands.

Editorial Reviews

"The 1995 discovery of malformed frogs in a Minnesota wetland is one of a few singular events in the history of environmental awareness that has forever changed our views regarding the plight of global biodiversity. Lannoo's book offers a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the malformed frog phenomenon and its likely causes, as well as its possible relation to environmentally mediated malformations in humans. It immediately ranks as a definitive source for information regarding malformed frogs in the larger context of global amphibian declines."--James Hanken, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Curator in Herpetology, and Director, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

"Lannoo's book is unequivocally the definitive work on frog malformations, with broad relevance to the global decline of amphibians, the degradation of natural wetlands, and our own environmental legacy. This scholarly presentation by a top-rate scientist focuses on an irrefutable phenomenon in which frogs are serving as sentinels to which all of society should be listening."--J. Whitfield Gibbons, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia
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Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
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McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

From Booklist
Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
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Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
Sale Price $25.00 Plus $12.00 for S&H
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This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.
Each species listing has a "factfile" of essential data: scientific order and population; distribution (with a color-coded map) and habitat; size and color; reproduction and life cycle; longevity and conservation status.
All status descriptions have been updated in this revised edition, which also includes:
Descriptions of all new families of amphibians and reptiles
Updated range maps for all families
Revised family relationship diagrams in light of current taxonomic understanding
New species and genus totals for all groups.
Authoritative, comprehensive and beautiful.
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition

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[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )
The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )
In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:09 am

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 29 7/8/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Just Out-
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
(2012) An excellent, must have for every turtle owner. Covers everything from general information to major supportive care together with supporting photographs. It is obvious the author took great time and care to provide such marvelous information to all turtle owners or turtle enthusiasts. Full-color photographs. 393 pp. Softcover
Author: Amanda Ebenhack

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Table of Contents:

1) Landscape-level influences of terrestrial snake occupancy within the southeastern United States

2) From Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation- The Federal Issue of our newsletter, The Year of the Lizard News, is packed with information about lizards from across the U.S. and abroad, featuring conservation efforts, as well as several ways for our readers to get involved in the Year of the Lizard

3) Climate change threatens largest sea turtles

4)Want the Monsoon? Marry Frogs and Pray
5) “The Symbol” – Photographing the Ibiza Wall Lizard- Lizard Expedition in Ibiza and Formentera: Update 1
6) Lack of rainfall hinders frog reproduction, MU researcher say
7) New species of frog named after Prince Charles
8) Scientists researching effect of Gulf oil spill on endangered turtles
9) PFCs showing up at near-toxic levels in sea turtles-Careful study shows near-toxic levels of PFCs building up in five endangered sea turtle species. Photo courtesy NOAA-Nasty, persistent pollutants are becoming more pervasive in the marine food chain
10) Locals help save Alabama’s turtles
11) Desert Scape: Turtle's journey spans 10,000 years (Western Pond Turtle, Mojave Desert)
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1) Landscape-level influences of terrestrial snake occupancy within
the southeastern United States

DAVID A. STEEN,1,2,10 CHRISTOPHER J. W. MCCLURE,2 JEAN C. BROCK,1 D. CRAIG RUDOLPH,3 JOSH B. PIERCE,3
JAMES R. LEE,4 W. JEFFREY HUMPHRIES,5 BEAU B. GREGORY,6 WILLIAM B. SUTTON,7 LORA L. SMITH,1
DANNA L. BAXLEY,8 DIRK J. STEVENSON,9
AND CRAIG GUYER
2
1Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, 3988 Jones Center Drive, Newton, Georgia 39870 USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849 USA
3U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965 USA
4The Nature Conservancy, CSJFTC-ENV Building 622, Camp Shelby, Mississippi 39407 USA
5North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516 USA
6Coastal and Nongame Resources Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808 USA
7Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 USA
8Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 USA
9The Orianne Society, Indigo Snake Initiative, Clayton, Georgia 30525 USA

Abstract.

Habitat loss and degradation are thought to be the primary drivers of species
extirpations, but for many species we have little information regarding specific habitats that influence occupancy. Snakes are of conservation concern throughout North America, but effective management and conservation are hindered by a lack of basic natural history
information and the small number of large-scale studies designed to assess general population trends. To address this information gap, we compiled detection/nondetection data for 13 large terrestrial species from 449 traps located across the southeastern United States, and we characterized the land cover surrounding each trap at multiple spatial scales (250-, 500-, and 1000-m buffers). We used occupancy modeling, while accounting for heterogeneity in detection probability, to identify habitat variables that were influential in determining the presence of a particular species. We evaluated 12 competing models for each species, representing various hypotheses pertaining to important habitat features for terrestrial snakes. Overall, considerable interspecific variation existed in important habitat variables and relevant spatial scales. For example, kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula) were negatively associated with evergreen forests, whereas Louisiana pinesnake (Pituophis ruthveni) occupancy increased with
increasing coverage of this forest type. Some species were positively associated with grassland and scrub/shrub (e.g., Slowinski’s cornsnake, Elaphe slowinskii ) whereas others, (e.g., copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix, and eastern diamond-backed rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus) were positively associated with forested habitats. Although the species that we studied may persist in varied landscapes other than those we identified as important, our data were collected in relatively undeveloped areas. Thus, our findings may be relevant when generating conservation plans or restoration goals. Maintaining or restoring landscapes that are most consistent with the ancestral habitat preferences of terrestrial snake assemblages will require a diverse habitat matrix over large spatial scales.

For copies of the paper contact David Steen - davidasteen@gmail.com
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2) From Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation- The Federal Issue of our newsletter, The Year of the Lizard News, is packed with information about lizards from across the U.S. and abroad, featuring conservation efforts, as well as several ways for our readers to get involved in the Year of the Lizard.

View or download the July Year of the Lizard Newsletter! In this issue, we feature lizard conservation efforts from U.S. Federal agencies across the country and abroad. We sit down with the Fish and Wildlife Service's Debra Hill for an interview about her interests in lizard research, conservation and her role as the lead for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard in southeastern New Mexico. In the "Species Spotlight", we learn about the obstacles of monitoring the cryptic Flat-tailed Horned Lizard. We also introduce the next two of our "Featured Lizard Families" and provide opportunities for YOU to participate in the Year of the Lizard - through article contributions, poetry and artwork submissions, educational material development, and other methods.

Leaves? No, it's a lizard! Striking natural camouflage is the feature on July's Online Photo Contest Calendar! Congratulations to Caio A. Figueiredo, who photographed a cryptic Stenocercus dumerilii and Bill Parker who won with his "he can walk on water" Plumed Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) in June. Caio and Bill's photos were selected as the winning entries for the Year of the Lizard monthly online calendar photo contest. You, too, can submit photographs for the Year of the Lizard Calendar Photo Contest! All submitted photos will be considered for future calendar months, as well as for use (with photo credit) in other Year of the Lizard products and related documents. More information about our ongoing photo contest is available at http://www.parcplace.org/images/stories ... ontest.pdf. Give us your best shot!

Visit www.yearofthelizard.org to find the "State of the Lizard" informational report, and be sure to bookmark this address and check back often. Throughout the year, we will continue to raise awareness of the issues surrounding lizards through the newsletter, as well as our calendar photo contest, press releases, educational talks and information, and other related events. Contact us at yearofthelizard@gmail.com with any questions, or to partner with us in these important efforts.

Spread the word--2012 is Year of the Lizard!
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3) Climate change threatens largest sea turtles
By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – Mon 2 Jul, 2012

Washington, July 2 (IANS) Climate change could nearly wipe out the leatherback turtles, the largest on earth, which grow up to a length of seven feet and weigh 900 kg, says a study.
Deaths of turtle eggs and hatchlings in nests buried at hotter, drier beaches are the leading projected cause of the potential climate-related decline, according to a new study by Drexel and Princeton Universities, other institutions and official agencies.
Leatherbacks are among the most critically endangered due to a combination of historical and ongoing threats including egg poaching at nesting beaches and juvenile and adult turtles being caught in fishing operations, the journal Nature Climate Change reports.
The new research on climate dynamics suggests that climate change could impede this creature's ability to recover. If actual climate patterns follow projections in the study, the eastern Pacific leatherback turtles will decline by 75 percent in numbers by the year 2100, said a university statement.
"We used three models of this leatherback population to construct a climate-forced population dynamics model," said the study's lead author Vincent Saba, a research fishery biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service's Northeast Fisheries Science Centre, visiting research collaborator at Princeton University, and a Drexel University alumnus.
"Two parts were based on the population's observed sensitivity to the nesting beach climate and one part was based on its sensitivity to the ocean climate," added Saba.
Leatherback turtle births naturally ebb and flow from year to year in response to climate variations, with more hatchlings, and rare pulses of male hatchlings, entering the eastern Pacific Ocean in cooler, rainier years.
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4)Want the Monsoon? Marry Frogs and Pray
By Joanna Sugden,7/5/12, Wall Street Journal
Tracking the movement of the monsoon is a national pastime during the dying weeks of the dry season, and asking for divine intervention in the weather pattern is an annual ritual for many. This year, particularly so, given that rains still haven’t reached parts of India.
In Berhampur, a city in the eastern state of Orissa, farmers have turned to amphibian matrimony this week in the hope of appeasing the ruler of the clouds.
Frog nuptials are an ancient Hindu ritual believed in some parts of India to prompt the onset of the rains.

The practice involves a marriage ceremony conducted by a priest. The two frogs are given red cloaks and, as in human Hindu weddings, the female’s head is marked with a streak of vermillion powder. The newlywed frogs are then released into a river.
The rite is said to have its origins in the perceived ability of frogs to detect imminent rainfall.
Sathyabhama Das Biju, associate professor at the Department of Environmental Studies at Delhi University, said it was difficult to give a conclusive scientific explanation for the origin of the ritual. But the amphibian biologist, who is an expert in the behavior of frogs, said his anecdotal evidence suggests that frogs croak when rain is coming.
“During summer showers, I have witnessed that some species of frog (mostly early breeders) start calling just three or four hours before rain,” Mr. Das told India Real Time, adding that he hasn’t heard frogs calling in the dry summer season.
“If you find an exposed frog in summer, usually it will not be calling. But if you create a situation with water, sometimes toads may call twice or thrice,” he said.
Even government officials are hoping for divine intervention. The commissioner of the Municipal Corporation in Bangalore, for example, last month asked the public to offer pujas to the rain god Lord Indra amid water shortages caused by the delayed monsoon.
Did it work?
Shivasharanappa Khandre, public relations officer at the Bangalore Municipal Corporation ,told India Real Time: “Last week the monsoon started in the coastal areas. So far it has not rained heavily in Bangalore, still we are praying the rain God to rain heavily.”
“But the commissioner didn’t say we would organize prayers as has been reported,” he added.
The state government in Bangalore had planned to experiment with cloud seeding – releasing chemicals into clouds to induce rainfall – but Mr. Khande said the idea has been shelved since the rains arrived on the coast.
He added that Bangalore depends heavily on hydroelectricity for its power supply. “Without water we are having to borrow power from neighboring states, it is a serious problem.”
In Ahmedabad, in the northwestern state of Gujarat, Brahmin priests performed Parjanya Varuna Yajna on Sunday to invoke the rain deity. The practice involves chanting prayers while sitting in large cooking vessels filled with water and flower petals.
India’s weather department said rains arrived in the state this week. The Brahmin priests probably shouldn’t take much credit for that.
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5) “The Symbol” – Photographing the Ibiza Wall Lizard- Lizard Expedition in Ibiza and Formentera: Update 1
National Geographic-NewsWatch-7.6.12
Dr. Nate Dappen, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Miami, has spent the past three summers on Ibiza and Formentera studying the beautiful Ibiza Wall Lizard (Podarcis pityusensis), a colorful lizard species that can only be found here. This spring, Nate and I raised money through Kickstarter (check out our campaign here) to create a book about the lizards and the islands they inhabit. This trip would be my first visit to the islands, and after hearing Nate’s stories for the last three years, I couldn’t wait to experience them for myself. As a biologist, I love surprises. And after the first week of our month-long photographic expedition to the Mediterranean islands of Ibiza and Formentera, it seems like there are biological surprises around every corner.
The first surprise for me has been how spectacularly colorful the lizards are. I had seen Nate’s photos, but the lizards are even more spectacular in person (and much more colorful than the lizards I study!). On the large island of Formentera, Ibiza Wall Lizards come in every shade of blue, green, and brown, and among the smaller offshore islands, they are even more variable. Despite all this diversity, all of the island populations are currently considered members of a single species. Some researchers are skeptical of this classification, and DNA evidence will likely help us reach a more complete understanding of the Ibiza Wall Lizard’s diversity and evolutionary history.
Whether they belong to one species or several, however, Ibiza Wall Lizards make their home on islands that are bustling with tourists, and their intimate relationship with people has been another surprise. Ibiza and Formentera are among the best-known vacation destinations in the Mediterranean, but the lizards don’t avoid the crowds. On the contrary, they often live around human dwellings and frequent the most popular beaches, where they will skitter out on the sand to investigate beachgoers and search their beach bags for food!
Lizards on small islands generally have few natural predators. As a result, they are often very tame. This Ibiza Wall Lizard was so curious about us that it climbed right onto my camera! Isla des Porcs, Pityuses Archipelago.
We spent the first week of our expedition documenting the color diversity of lizards on Formentera and a few of the surrounding islands. We had some great adventures wading and swimming out to some small islands, and we made a short video about our first few days in Formentera, which you can watch above. You can also see a gallery of some of our favorite photos from the first week of our trip here.
Another welcome surprise, though not a biological one, has been the reception we’ve received from locals on the islands. The Ibiza Wall Lizard (or in the local Catalan language, sargantana) is so ubiquitous on Formentera that it has become the de facto symbol of the islands, and images of the lizards appear everywhere – in the logos of local businesses, on t-shirts and beach towels, and even in people’s jewelry and tattoos. As a result, Nate has become a minor celebrity on the islands – he’s known as the “Sargantana Man” – and the local media have taken an interest in our project. We’ve already been filmed by two local television crews, and Nate has been interviewed by a local newspaper and radio station too. You can read more about the local response to our work on our blog here.
We have a busy few weeks ahead of us, but we’ll be posting plenty of video and photographic updates as we go. To stay up-to-date with all of our project updates, subscribe to our blog at Day’s Edge Productions, “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.
National Geographic Young Explorer Dr. Neil Losin (UCLA) and his colleague Dr. Nate Dappen (University of Miami) are biologists, photographers, and filmmakers. You can see more of their work at Day’s Edge Productions.
3 1/2 minute video at http://vimeo.com/45080206
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6) Lack of rainfall hinders frog reproduction, MU researcher says
Wednesday, July 4, 2012, The Missourian, BY Jaime Henry-White

COLUMBIA — Slowly and meticulously they approach the water as their headlights create tunnels of light in the darkness. They have spent all night searching. Pairs of black eyes begin to flicker in the light’s shine. In one bare-handed swoop, the frogs are stuffed into a box.
“We ice the pairs over night, and the next morning whoever is testing will warm them up a bit and run experiments for days with that group,” said Jessica Merricks, an MU biological sciences doctoral student.
Merricks is one of seven active lab researchers this summer under the direction of Carl Gerhardt, a curators' professor of biological sciences who studies American frog species. Merricks researches aspects of sexual selection in Missouri’s local frog population, specifically those of gray tree frogs. Her experiments, like others' in the lab, require her to collect pairs of mating frogs at night at a pond in Baskett Wildlife Area in Ashland and bring them back to the lab for further testing.
But on dry summer nights, pairs of frogs are nowhere to be found at the pond. Merricks said the behavior of most Missouri frogs depends heavily on the weather, specifically thunderstorms during spring and summer.
“Without the rain, we are just sitting and waiting,” Merricks said. “There is not a whole lot we can do when the frogs are not out. And so we are just at a standstill.”
Mating season for gray tree frogs typically begins in April and ends in early July. This year's breeding season started earlier than usual, with high numbers of reproductive pairs, but quickly dropped off as the drought developed. During a normal season, researchers can collect an average of 20 to 30 pairs of frogs per night. The lab has not seen any pairs at the pond since the third week of May.
Sarah Humfeld, a postdoctoral fellow in the division of biological sciences, has studied gray tree frogs for the past 10 years. Humfeld said this is the driest and most abnormal year she has seen.
“We may be at a point where ponds that are permanent may be drying up, and that would be affecting next year’s populations,” Humfeld said.
Gray tree frogs live in forested areas but require water to reproduce. During breeding season, male frogs typically stay near water and produce mating calls to attract females from the forest.
However, this year's dryness is interrupting the process. The amphibians risk losing essential moisture through too much movement on dry ground, which could be deadly. Therefore, the females are staying put.
“We have several people in the lab doing different things, but most of us are dependent on collecting females,” Merricks said. “With it being this dry, the choruses are very weak and the males are not coming out so the females are not coming out either."
The lack of female frogs has led some researchers to gather frogs from other states. After hearing about the tropical storm in Florida last Thursday, Merricks and senior biological sciences major Adam Hasik packed the car and left the same day for Apalachicola, Fla., to collect frogs.
“One of the awesome things about this type of fieldwork is it is unpredictable,” Merricks said. “I am going to be down here as long as my frogs are calling because I am pretty desperate.”
Merricks has collected 14 pairs since her arrival.
“We have to test enough females so that individual variation is not skewing our data," she said.
Hasik received the Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunity Fellowship to study the local species of gray tree frogs in Gerhardt's lab this summer. However, the dry conditions have made locating specimens difficult. With no luck at the Baskett pond, a colleague was able to collect six pairs of frogs in Rolla for Hasik's work this summer. Hasik needed at least 15 frogs to develop his research, though.
“It’s frustrating, but I know this is the way research works,” Hasik said. “It’s hit or miss. There is nothing you can control because this is nature we are dealing with.”
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7) New species of frog named after Prince Charles
July 6 2012 -AFP, IoL SciTech
Amphibian Ark, a group which works for the survival of endangered frogs, newts and salamanders, decided to name a new species of stream frog Hyloscirtus princecharlesi, in recognition of British heir Prince Charles' conservation efforts.
Legend has it that only a kiss from a princess can transform a frog into a prince, but a rare Ecuadorian amphibian has taken on a noble title thanks to conservation scientists.
Amphibian Ark, a group which works for the survival of endangered frogs, newts and salamanders, decided to name a new species of stream frog Hyloscirtus princecharlesi, in recognition of British heir Prince Charles' conservation efforts.
“It is endangered and needs to be protected in the wild. Its rainforest habitat is under threat due to the impact of farming,” said a spokesman for the conservation group.
“It's fairly unusual to name a new species after someone but this is seen as something special in honour of the Prince,” he added.
Charles said he was “very touched” by the gesture, and vowed to redouble his efforts to help defend the world's rainforests.
He was presented with a glass replica of the brown and orange frog by Luis Coloma, the Ecuadorian scientist who discovered the amphibian four years ago.
“That's wonderful, I will treasure that,” he said of the gift. “I shall battle even harder now.”
Coloma said Charles had been “a very active campaigner to save tropical rainforests”.
“The frogs live inside the forests and he has been using frogs as symbols for his campaign, so he's like a leader in this fight,” he added. - AFP
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8) Scientists researching effect of Gulf oil spill on endangered turtles
By Harvey Rice, Friday, June 29, 2012, Chrom.com Houston and Texas
NORTH PADRE ISLAND - Ninety-four tiny members of the world's most endangered sea turtle species struggled across the beach to reach the Gulf of Mexico Thursday as park rangers waved away seagulls looking for a quick meal.
Only a handful of the 3-inch Kemp's ridley turtles will avoid predators and other dangers to become adults. Another threat to the species' long climb back from near extinction over the last three decades, however, may be less obvious than predators.
Scientists in labs at the Padre Island National Seashore and Texas A&M University at Galveston are doing research to determine if the species was harmed by the 2010 BP oil spill caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform.
The research is part of a damage assessment being done on other species - including oysters, marine mammals and birds - but no other species is so linked to Texas.
The ridleys' largest nesting grounds are in Mexico, but Texas is their main U.S. nesting ground. Most nests are found on Padre Island, although an increasing number is showing up in the Galveston area. Kemp's ridleys are the only sea turtles whose primary population is found solely in the Gulf of Mexico.
The possible danger from the oil spill is masked by the record number of nests, 205, found so far this year on the Texas Coast. The number surpasses last year's record of 199 nests, said Donna Shaver, chief of the National Parks Service sea turtle science and recovery division. More nests might be found before nesting season ends, usually about July 15.
The Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded April 20, 2010, just as the nesting season got under way. Oil fouled the area near Louisiana where female turtles normally go to forage for food after nesting.
Shaver said maps showing the movements of turtles tagged with satellite transmitters will be superimposed on maps of the oil spill.
Looking for oil
At North Padre island laboratories, blood samples are being taken along with tissue samples from turtles that died soon after hatching and from eggs that never hatched. These samples are being analyzed for evidence of oil.
At laboratories in Galveston, samples of the carapace, or shell, from live turtles are being examined, said Kimberly Reich, Director of the Trophic Ecology and Sea Turtle Biology Lab at Texas A&M Galveston.
"It's kind of like a tree ring, it gives us history," Reich said about the shell. Scientists can map where the turtle has been and what it's eaten by examining the layers of shell laid down over time, she said.
Scientists in 2010 found scores of dead Kemp's ridley juveniles floating in oil scum in the deep sea among clumps of seaweed. Kemp's ridley turtles spend the first year of their lives floating at sea in islands of sargassum seaweed.
Jim Haas, chief of National Park Service resource protection, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is trying to determine how many juvenile turtles died and how the deaths will affect the species.
Assessing information
He said scientists are expected to begin assessing the information from three years of samples in the fall. Until the data are analyzed, the scientists are unwilling to hazard a guess as to whether the oil spill damaged the Kemp's ridley's chances of a comeback.
"We know 500 turtles were found alive and dead" in the oil, said Tom Shearer, wildlife biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
If damage is found, the government agencies will estimate the cost of projects needed to repair the damage and ask BP to pay for it, Haas said.
The movements of sea turtles being tracked with satellite transmitters can be followed at www.seaturtle.org/tracking.
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9) PFCs showing up at near-toxic levels in sea turtles-Careful study shows near-toxic levels of PFCs building up in five endangered sea turtle species. Photo courtesy NOAA-Nasty, persistent pollutants are becoming more pervasive in the marine food chain
June 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn, Summit Voice, South Carolina SUMMIT COUNTY — Persistent and toxic pollutants are building up the marine food web to the point that they are measurable in sea turtles near levels known to be harmful to other animals.
Researchers at the Hollings Marine Laboratory and four partner organizations for the first time measured concentrations of 13 perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in five endangered species of sea turtles.
PFCs are man-made compounds used for stain-resistant coatings and fire-fighting foams and plastics manufacturing. As persistent and widespread pollutants, they are detectable in human and wildlife samples worldwide.
The chemicals infiltrate food chains and are toxic to the liver, the thyroid, neurobehavioral function and the immune system of animals tested in labs, including rats, mice and fish.
“In our experiment, we wanted to accomplish two goals,” said National Institute of Standards research biologist and study lead Jennifer Keller. “We wanted to get the first accurate measurements of the plasma blood concentrations of PFCs in five sea turtle species across different trophic [food chain] levels, and then compare those concentrations to ones known to cause toxic effects in laboratory animals. That way, we could estimate the potential health risks from PFC exposure for all five turtles.”
The five sea turtle species studied were the green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley. Their preferred diets range up the food chain from the green’s sea grasses and algae to the crabs favored by the Kemp’s ridley. The researchers expected that the PFC concentrations would be higher in species that fed farther up the food chain, since their prey’s tissues would probably concentrate the pollutants.
This was generally the case. Plant-eating green turtles had the lowest plasma concentrations for the majority of PFCs examined, especially PFOS. As expected, leatherbacks, loggerheads and Kemp’s ridleys had progressively higher PFOS concentrations.
Surprisingly, however, hawksbills — who browse low on the food chain, primarily on sponges — recorded the second-highest average concentration of PFOS and were the only species to have a detectable PFOA level. The researchers surmise that this may relate to the locations where the hawksbills forage, or it may suggest that sponges have unusually high concentrations of PFOS and PFOA.
In the second part of the study, Keller and her colleagues compared the plasma concentrations of PFOS that they found in the five sea turtle species with previously reported concentrations that were shown to have adverse health effects in laboratory animals.
The results showed that hawksbills, loggerheads and Kemp’s ridleys had PFOS concentrations approaching those linked to liver and neurobehavioral toxicity in other animals; levels in loggerheads and Kemp’s ridleys approached those linked to thyroid disruption in other animals; and all five species had levels that approached those linked to suppressed immunity in other animals.
“Better understanding the threat of PFCs, especially PFOS, to sea turtles can help wildlife managers and others develop strategies to deal with potential health problems,” Keller says. “Our study provides the first baseline data in this area but more research is needed—especially for hawksbills after seeing their unexpectedly high PFC exposure.”
Located in Charleston, S.C., the Hollings Marine Laboratory is a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Researchers from the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center also contributed to the study.
______________________________________________________________________
10) Locals help save Alabama’s turtles
by Stephanie Nelson, Andalusiastarnews.com, July 5, 2012

For years, turtles harmlessly sunning themselves on logs in Covington County’s waters have had target signs – and dollar signs – painted on their backs.
Depleted turtle populations in Asian countries – primarily China – which use the reptiles for food and medicine, have made them hot commodities on the black market.
But with the help of two local retired LBW Community College instructors, significant changes have now been made to keep the critters where they belong – in Alabama’s waterways.
Alabama has passed one of the toughest commercial harvesting bans on wild turtles and their eggs on both public and private lands. The law, which went into effect in April, cancelled all turtle harvesting permits in the state.
The ban does not extend to turtle farmers, who either raise hatchlings for the pet market or for food. Private landowners can control their turtle populations but they cannot sell them.
Dr. Fred Winkler, along with fellow retired history instructor Tom Steele, was among a group who made a presentation asking for a change to the state in Alabama. The men said they love to spend their time outdoors, and for many years, have noticed the decline in the state’s turtle population.
“One day, we were out looking for fossils in the Conecuh (National Forest) and observed three fellows in kayaks,” said Winkler, who taught biology for 27 years. “They had on waders and were using nets to apprehend the turtles.”
Being the curious sort, Winkler said, the men asked, “Why?”
“They volunteered to tell me they were here from Florida and had a permit to collect turtles,” he said. “They would capture them; box them up and send them – alive – overseas to China, where the market is huge for turtles. Those in China have eaten all their turtles, and now, they want to eat ours.”
Asia has depleted its own turtle species and has been turning to the United States for its supply, said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate, Center for Biological Diversity.
The demand for turtle meat for food and medicine is voraciously consuming more than 2 million wild-caught freshwater turtles a year, Miller said.
Turtle hunters have been moving from state to state as regulations are passed to curtail turtle hunting. Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Oklahoma have stepped up regulations to protect turtle species, while Kentucky has started monitoring its populations, he said.
And like Winkler explained, with surrounding states closing the door, Alabama has seen a surge in turtle harvesting, said Mark Sasser, non-game wildlife coordinator, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
Those in the most demand are striped-neck musk turtles, river cooters, common snapping turtles and all soft-shelled turtles. The reptiles are used for meat, medicine and the pet trade. Turtles fetch hefty prices on the commercial market, either as food or exotic pets. Food turtles can bring $65 apiece, and exotic black knob sawback turtles could sell for as much as $150 for pet collectors.
In Alabama, there are 25 native species of turtles – two of which are federally protected and seven of which are state-protected. The total represents more than half of all the North American species. Wild turtles are slow to reproduce and cannot sustain commercial harvesting, Winkler said.
After observing the men on the river, Winkler said he contacted the state conservation department. He, along with a group of Auburn University officials, was invited to speak to a department of conservation advisory board about the dangers of over-harvesting.
Poachers caught selling turtles in Alabama face a maximum $500 fine and up to a year in jail.
Winkler said he knows people will continue the practice with the amount of profit at stake.
“Someone can make a lot of money doing this,” he said of harvesting the reptiles. “So people will continue to do it, even though it’s illegal. If you see someone on the water collecting these turtles, call the game warden. Before we know it, all these turtles could be gone.”
To report someone illegally harvesting turtles, call the state department of conservation at 1-800-272-GAME.
________________________________________________________________________
11) Desert Scape: Turtle's journey spans 10,000 years (Western Pond Turtle, Mojave Desert)
Written by James Cornett, The Desert Sun, 6/30/12
This column is about a turtle, not a tortoise. Tortoises live on land. Turtles usually live in water.
Nature enthusiasts residing in the Coachella Valley, and elsewhere in the California deserts, expect to see a tortoise. They do not expect to see a water-loving turtle.
That is why I was surprised, in truth startled, to learn that a turtle lived in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Specifically, I am referring to the western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata) that lives where no turtle should.
Let me set the stage.
The central Mojave Desert, like most of the Coachella Valley, is hyperarid — really dry. The term is used to describe a location that receives less than 5 inches of precipitation per year, on average.
The western pond turtle is fully aquatic, never coming out of the water except to bask in the sun or, for females, to lay eggs.
The Mojave and the turtle meet in Afton Canyon, located just south of Interstate 15 between the towns of Barstow and Baker. There is water in the canyon, in fact a small stream that meanders through the desert for approximately 3 miles. Here and there the stream is impounded creating a few small ponds. There is not a great deal of water but what there is is permanent. Even in the driest of years the stream, ponds and water are present.
There is no mystery as to why the water is there. The stream is part of the Mojave River that flows from the backside of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains into the Mojave Desert. Long ago, during the last ice age, the river had surface flows year-round. Today, most of the flow is underground, the water traveling slowly downhill through mile after mile of sand and gravel. In Afton Canyon, an earth fault dams the water causing it to rise to the surface. Here it travels on top of the desert for a time before sinking back into the sand at the eastern end of the canyon.
How did the western pond turtle reach this isolated oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert? The secret lies in the past. As mentioned earlier, the Mojave River once flowed year-round due to much rain and snowmelt in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains. The river ran throughout most of the Pleistocene epoch that began about 2 million years ago and ended 10,000 years before present.
Headwaters of the Mojave River started just a few miles from other streams that drained the western and southern slopes of the Transverse Ranges. These latter streams eventually discharged into the Pacific Ocean. The natural range of the western pond turtle incorporates all the Pacific discharge streams and rivers from Baja California to Washington.
At some point during the Pleistocene, one or more turtles walked the few miles from the headwaters of the Pacific-discharging streams to the headwaters of the Mojave River. At that time and in that area, the route would have been relatively cool and moist, not hot and dry desert.
Fossil evidence indicates that the western pond turtle populated and eventually thrived all along the Mojave River until the end of the Pleistocene. Ten thousand years ago, as conditions warmed and dried throughout the western U.S., the Mojave River dried up except for the stretch in Afton Canyon. The turtles in the canyon are the last remaining population of this species along the entire route of the Mojave River.
James Cornett is a desert ecologist living in Palm Springs.
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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
____________________________________________________________________

Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
(Only 2 copies left)
McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

From Booklist
Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
__________________________________________________________________
Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
Sale Price $25.00 Plus $12.00 for S&H
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This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.
Each species listing has a "factfile" of essential data: scientific order and population; distribution (with a color-coded map) and habitat; size and color; reproduction and life cycle; longevity and conservation status.
All status descriptions have been updated in this revised edition, which also includes:
Descriptions of all new families of amphibians and reptiles
Updated range maps for all families
Revised family relationship diagrams in light of current taxonomic understanding
New species and genus totals for all groups.
Authoritative, comprehensive and beautiful.
___________________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:25 am

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on the Latest News on Herpetological Conservation, Husbandry and Science
Volume # 12 Issue # 30 7/12/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Just Out-
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
(2012) An excellent, must have for every turtle owner. Covers everything from general information to major supportive care together with supporting photographs. It is obvious the author took great time and care to provide such marvelous information to all turtle owners or turtle enthusiasts. Full-color photographs. 393 pp. Softcover
Author: Amanda Ebenhack

List Price $39.95 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)

_________________________________________________________________

Table of Contents:

1. Student Contractor Needed USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Amphibians)

1. Eco-tourism one day symposium- The Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation-Department of Environmental Studies
Annual Symposium-Call for abstracts:
Ecotourism:Can tourism, biodiversity conservation and sustainable community
development be merged?
Saturday, November 3th, 2012

1. Turtle tragedy...Thousands of Leatherback Sea Turtle Hatchlings Crushed to Death
4) Shelling out- Rare turtles in Beijing now face the threat of life as a pet.
1. Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Rarest U.S. Frogs, Turtles and Salamanders- Largest Petition Ever Filed Targeting Amphibians and Reptiles Aims to Save 53 Species in 45 States
6) Thwarting Invaders: Predicting Risks from Invasive Species Before It Happens
7) Nearly 2000 Non-Native Species Established in Great Britain
8) Biologists Beaming After Finding Baby Bog Turtles in Gaston
1. Some Papers You Might Have Missed-Not in Usual Journals Herpetologists Read (URL to see abstracts right below. Cut and paste if it doesn’t work like a link.)
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BOOKS ON SALE - FOR HOW TO ORDER AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE BOOKS SEE BELOW

The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)_______
____________________________________________________________________

Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
(Only 2 copies left)
__________________________________________________________________
Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
Sale Price $25.00 Plus $12.00 for S&H
(Only 3 copies left)
___________________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
_______________________________________________________________________
Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel-University Press of New England
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.


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1) Student Contractor Needed USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Amphibians)

The U.S. Geological Survey & Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative Northeast program will be hiring 1 student contractors/field technician in 2012/13. Student will conduct amphibian surveys at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia (e.g. C&O Canal National Historic Park, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince William Forest Park, Rock Creek Park, and Shenandoah National Park). Field work involves identifying, catching, measuring, and marking amphibians, and collecting water quality and environmental data. The student will be required to conduct field surveys using techniques including visual encounter surveys, dip netting, stream transect searches, temporary removal sampling, and conducting a mark-recapture study using visual implant elastomer. All fieldwork will be conducted as part of teams of 2-3 people, so a demonstrated ability and desire to work effectively with a group is imperative.

The position requires completion of academic coursework related to wildlife biology. Previous field experience with amphibians common in the Northeast US is highly recommended. The position requires the use of GPS units, digital cameras, and computer software for data entry and presentation (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Access). Students may also be asked to mark amphibians with injectable florescent elastomer. All of the work is outdoors, sometimes under harsh or hot conditions or in rain. The student needs to be in good physical condition, as the job requires long hours in the field (including some night-time surveys) and hiking with up to 25 pounds of equipment. The student must be willing to go on overnight field trips, which may involve camping in remote conditions to regional National Parks, which will typically last 4-12 days at a time.

Student must be able to work at least 40 hours per week. Student is responsible for all costs of transportation to and from Patuxent. Government vehicles are available for all field work initiated from Patuxent. Housing costs are not included, but some housing may be available on center. Every attempt will be made to assist students in finding affordable housing in the area. Compensation is commensurate with the level of education and experience, master’s degree preferred ($12-14/hr).

Principal Duty Station:

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, Maryland 20708-4038

To apply, send the following to Evan Grant via email (abrand@usgs.gov; subject: Amphibian Contractor Position) by 10 July 2013:

Letter of intent

Resume, including previous field experience, list of classes taken, contact information, and two or three reference contacts

One piece of evidence of current or recent (within past 12 months) enrollment in degree program (e.g., transcript, letter from University admissions, a current registration card)
_______________________________________________________________
2) Eco-tourism one day symposium- The Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation-Department of Environmental Studies
Annual Symposium-Call for abstracts: Ecotourism: Can tourism, biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development be merged?
Saturday, November 3th, 2012, Antioch University New England
Keene, New Hampshire USA

Ecotourism, as defined by its proponents, aims to promote both
environmental conservation and the stability and resilience of the
surrounding communities. Inspired by environmentally and culturally
degrading effects of the mainstream tourism industry, ecotourism appeals to
the more responsible traveler who wants to help promote conservation and
immerse in local culture. Despite these good intentions, closer
examination reveals that ecotourism, in many cases, has contributed to
social and environmental degradation. Rapid economic growth inspired by
ecotourism brings forth power dynamics, often resulting in the alienation
of local communities in the conservation of their own lands, as well as
increased visitation rates to fragile environments. Critically needed
capacity building, policies, education, and appropriate infrastructure for
such growth to enable local participation and stability are often ignored.
There are, however, successful ecotourism enterprises that have been able
to merge community development and sustainable growth with conservation.
The purpose of this symposium is to bring together professionals, scholars
and practitioners with differing backgrounds in economics, politics,
anthropology, natural sciences, business and management, as well as
students and educators, to explore how ecotourism can be a successful tool
in biodiversity conservation. We will examine the social complexities and
ethics of cultural and social impacts of ecotourism. This will allow for
participants to learn from the merging of different themes, such as
sustainable development, local empowerment, social equality, business
ethics and biodiversity conservation, all highlighting the intricate
dynamics of this growing industry.

Call for Abstracts:

The Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) at Antioch
University is currently accepting proposals for oral presentations and
posters that address the following goals:

To give symposium attendees the opportunity to critically explore what
ecotourism means and the role of ecotourism in biodiversity and cultural
conservation.

To explore how ecotourism can break free from the framework of the
mainstream tourism industry to truly work towards conservation of
biodiversity through support for sustainable growth of local economies and
culture

To address how, in the complex web of stakeholders, the needs of local
communities can be protected and met, especially in areas of low employment
and/or poverty

To explore the role of non-profit organizations as a bridge between
local community needs and the interests of other stakeholders

To provide examples of successful ecotourism enterprises that work to
sustain biodiversity conservation and cultural integrity through the
inclusion and empowerment of local community.

To create a framework for understanding and evaluating ecotourism in an
effort to help society make responsible travel choices

Submission Guidelines:
For each submission (multiple submissions considered) please include:
1. The symposium goal(s) your abstract addresses
2. A 300 word or less abstract of your presentation
3. Indicate your preference for a presentation or a poster
4. Name, affiliation(s), address, phone number, and email
5. Submit two to three potential discussion questions related to your
submission. These may be used in the discussion to follow presentations

About CTEC:
The Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation
(CTEC)<http://www.centerfortropicalecology.org/>
,in the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch
<http://www.antiochne.edu/>University New England promotes the sustainable and just use of tropical ecosystems by training conservation leaders, conducting conservation research with partner organizations, and serving as an educational resource for the New England region.

All submissions should be sent electronically to the symposium coordinator
Emily Dark- edark@antioch.edu
Subject: Submission 2012 Symposium
Deadline: August 31, 2012 (until spaces are full)

Beth A. Kaplin, Ph.D.
Program Director, Doctoral Program in Environmental Studies
Co-Director, Center for Tropical Ecology & Conservation
Antioch University New England
Keene, New Hampshire, USA
Office phone: 603-283-2328
Mobile in USA: 802-376-3800

Skype address: bethkaplin

http://www.antiochne.edu/directory/empl ... 7160065291

http://www.CenterForTropicalEcology.org/

Technical Advisor, Conservation Biology Education Project
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
National University of Rwanda
Mobile in Rwanda: (250) 078 8664551

Address in Rwanda:
BP 512
Butare

___________________________________________________________
3) Turtle tragedy...Thousands of Leatherback Sea Turtle Hatchlings Crushed to Death
By Kim Boodram
Jul 8, 2012 Trinidad Express Newspapers- Thousands of leatherback hatchlings were crushed to death at the weekend as the Ministry of Works used excavators to redirect the Grande Riviere River, at the north east coast.
The Ministry had been called in when the river, running west, eroded most of the beach front, threatening the stability of several homes and hotels.
The community was horrified, though, when excavation work began Saturday without their knowledge on what is the most nest-intensive part of the beach.
Among those buildings under threat was the Mt Plaisir Estate Restaurant and Hotel, the most popular tourist accommodation during turtle nesting season.
The Ministry was called in two weeks ago by hotel owner Piero Guerrini.
The massacre that took place over the past two days was not the help that was expected.
"It is so unfortunate and there are so many mixed feelings," Guerrini said.
"This is a shock. On the one hand the erosion needed to be stopped but what has happened here is not right," he said.
Marc deVerteuil, of Papa Bois Conservation said the debacle could have been avoided with proper land zoning and co-ordination between relevant agencies.
Sherwin Reyz, a member of the Grand Riviere Environmental Organisation, spent yesterday salvaging those hatchlings that were still alive – and clearing the beach of hundreds of dead ones.
Brought to tears several times, Reyz contended that the river mouth could have been opened without that part of the beach being torn up.
"You think they had to do this?" Reyz said.
"This is the worst set of destruction I have ever seen by humans on turtles."
Reyz was among those in the community who began a rescue mission early yesterday and by evening had saved abut 500 hatchlings.
The babies were kept in a cool dugout area behind Mt Plaisir hotel, to be released last night.
Among them could be seen those who had been too badly injured and would clearly not make it.
On the beach, hundreds of eggs could be seen, some crushed and some rolling in the surf. Here and there, hatchlings could be seen fighting for life, some still partially in the shell.
Excavation work went on all day in what is classed by conservationists as zone four of Grande Riviere, which is just over a kilometre long and is the third most prolific sea turtle nesting site in the world.
Len Peters, head of Turtle Village Trust, said while yesterday's toll was unfortunate, much of the nesting area had already been lost to the river.
Peters said there was also sometimes a compromise to be made when animals and people share the same space. In this case, the welfare of the community had to be considered.
Peters said the weekend's tragedy should not have happened in the first place, since the river had started to swing west since December last year.
Repeated attempts to have the course redirected since then were futile, he said, and the Ministry waited too late to act.
"This intervention was necessary," Peters said.
"We would have lost more nesting space eventually. We didn't lose a lot of eggs, although this is an engineering disaster. At the very least, the EMA (Environmental Management Authority) should have been present to direct this operation."
_____________________________________________________________________
4) Shelling out- Rare turtles in Beijing now face the threat of life as a pet.

Global Times 6/12/12, By Matthew Jukes-While BMWs, Gucci handbags and Bordeaux wines remain the foremost status symbols of China's nouveau riche, conspicuous consumption doesn't end there for young people in the capital. Exotic pets have become one of the latest fads to strike the nation, drawing the ire of animal rights campaigners.

Last year, a coal baron bought a rare Tibetan Mastiff for around 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), and breeders revealed a boom in sales around the country. But the trend for fauna as status symbols didn't just stop with millionaires. Other exotic creatures, including spiders and reptiles, some imported from abroad, have become fair game when decorating the decadent apartments of Beijing. Among them the endangered Chinese box turtle, a former restaurant delicacy which is now being kept as a pet.
"From both the perspective of animal rights and environmental protection, I would say that it's absolutely wrong to keep an exotic animal as a pet, let alone an endangered one," said Qin Xiaona, director of the Capital Animal Welfare Association. "I understand that some people may buy them in pursuit of some kind of rare excitement, or maybe they are just curious about a new animal. But there are plenty of domesticated animals that are far more suitable to keep as pets, such as dogs, cats and fish, why not stick with those?"
The Chinese box turtle has always been in high demand in China. The shells were prized for their use in fortune telling and traditional medicine, while restaurants valued the flesh as a hotpot delicacy. The latest incarnation for the creatures as pets has only served to increase demand and prices.
Get it on eBay
"The turtles are so expensive because of their rarity," said Liu Xiaoxu, a licensed seller of the turtles online. "The female box turtle only lays eggs twice a year and only about two eggs each time. Also, unlike many other species, box turtles are amphibian, which makes them stand out as pets."
Liu is selling the turtles for around 1,000 yuan each, and claims to have sold four or five in just the last two weeks. He says that his breeds, imported from the south of China, are actually cheaper. Other species, raised in Anhui Province, can sell for double the amount.
"There's an old saying that Yellow-margined box turtles have the ability to cure cancer. That's not to mention how widely used their rare, compact, domed shells were in fortune telling. Even today they are seen as a symbol of longevity that can ward off evil," added Liu. "But there are people that just treat box turtles as pets. They are usually better-off than most, as the prices are much higher than the red-eared sliders and other species that you can find on the street."
Last week, the Beijing police announced they were going to crack down on vendors selling exotic pets by post. Despite this, the former foodstuff remains listed on online marketplaces, such as Taobao. Other sellers contacted by the Global Times admitted that they could sell up to 1,000 Chinese box turtles each year, mostly to businessmen, and insisted that customers were strictly instructed in how to look after them beforehand.
A young office worker, who gave his name only as Huang, bought one earlier in the year, and is now keeping it in a basin-like terrarium in the middle of his apartment. While the purchase of a box turtle had seemed like a good idea at the time, his pet care routine is proving to be more work than anticipated.
"I got him from a tiny boutique. He's almost worth the same in weight as gold," said Huang. "But you have to be careful and wash your hands every time you go near them, as they can spread salmonella. Not to mention the fact that you have to keep giving them fresh foods to keep their health up, and provide them with a lot of space. It's really a lot to think about."
Huang is not alone in his desire to look out for his shelled companion, and a brief search on Chinese microblogging portal Sina Weibo, turns up hundreds of results for turtle fan clubs, care groups and individual pet pages. Behind the vacuous images, close ups and emoticons however, there is a more pressing issue.
Endangered and 'at risk'
The rarity of the Chinese box turtle has not just been noticed by sellers and pet lovers. It is thought that half of the some 328 species of turtles and tortoises still extant in the world are now endangered or nearing extinction. Most species of the Asian box turtle genus have been listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red list as "at risk." In China, a license is required to sell them, to prove that they have not been sourced from the wild.
Creatures taken out of their own natural habitats, or kept in unfamiliar conditions can suffer, while owners who are unaware of the hidden risks can receive injuries or illness, suggests Qin. She added that keeping exotic pets can be dangerous both for the animals and their owners and high demand for such pets can have knock-on effects on the market.
On 24 May this year, Taiwanese media reported that a shipment containing 811 endangered turtles, including box turtles, had been stopped from taking its payload over to the Chinese mainland. The turtles were thought to be heading for the pet markets of Guangdong Province, as well as local restaurants.
"China's market is so huge that any demand here can bring about the killing and capture of animals in other parts of the world," added Qin. "The number of creatures captured may increase out of a motivation for profit, just as has happened over the last six years with rhino horns and ivory. All animals have their position in nature, including turtles. So I am 100 percent sure that keeping exotic turtles will break this delicate balance."
Qin wanted to remind our readers that it is illegal to keep wild animals at home or at any organization that is not licensed by the Forestry Bureau, and urged people not to buy endangered or exotic pets. If they have already done so, they should keep them in the best possible fashion after seeking professional advice.
Jiang Jie contributed to this story
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5) Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Rarest U.S. Frogs, Turtles and Salamanders- Largest Petition Ever Filed Targeting Amphibians and Reptiles Aims to Save 53 Species in 45 States
Press Release from Center for Biological Diversity-July 11, 2012-
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, including E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy, filed a formal www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/a ... 9-2012.pdf today seeking Endangered Species Act protection for 53 of the nation’s most threatened species of amphibians and reptiles. The petition — the largest ever filed focusing only on amphibians and reptiles — asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect six turtles, seven snakes, two toads, four frogs, 10 lizards and 24 salamanders under the Act.
“Many of America’s frogs, turtles and salamanders are living on the knife edge of extinction. We can only save them if they’re protected by the Endangered Species Act,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist and lawyer devoted to herpetofauna. “Amphibians and reptiles face a profound, human-driven extinction crisis unlike any other. If we don’t act now, we’ll lose some of our natural world’s most important and fascinating citizens.”
Through extensive consultation with wildlife experts, scientists at the Center conducted a coast-to-coast investigation of the country’s most vulnerable but least protected frogs, toads, salamanders, lizards, turtles and snakes. Backed by hundreds of scientific articles, the 450-page petition details the status of, and threats to, 53 amphibian and reptile species in 45 states, demonstrating the urgent need for their federal protection. Habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species and climate change are among the chief threats they face. Some species have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat.
Among the covered species are the alligator snapping turtle in the Southeast, the wood turtle in the Northeast, Florida’s key ringneck snake, the Illinois chorus frog, the Pacific Northwest’s cascade torrent salamander and California’s western spadefoot toad.
“We will get serious — scientists and general public alike — about preserving the diversity of life on Earth only when we have precise knowledge of individual species like those in this petition,” said Edward O. Wilson, a distinguished Harvard biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. “Future generations will think badly of us if, through ignorance and inaction, we let die this part of their natural heritage.”
Scientists estimate that about 25 percent of the nation’s amphibians and reptiles are at risk of extinction, yet only 58 of the approximately 1,400 U.S. species protected under the Endangered Species Act are amphibians and reptiles. The animals in today’s petition will reap lifesaving benefits from the Act, which has a 99 percent success rate at staving off extinction for species under its care.
“So many imperiled species lack the protections of the Endangered Species Act that they need to survive and recover. Mass listing is an excellent way to address biodiversity challenges at scale,” said Thomas Lovejoy, a professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University credited with introducing the term “biological diversity” to the scientific community. He co-authored a recent www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/a ... l_2012.pdf finding that 82 percent of U.S. amphibians that need help are not protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“Frogs, lizards, turtles and toads are integral parts of the wild where they live, whether it’s a remote mountain stream or a suburban wetland,” said Adkins Giese. “Losing them will impoverish those places and our own connection with the natural world.”
Learn more about the reptile extinction crisis http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/camp ... index.html.
View an interactive state-by-state http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/camp ... n/map.html showing where the petitioned species live.
Species Highlights
Alligator Snapping Turtles (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas): With their heavily armored shells, bear-like claws and powerful beaked jaws it’s not surprising that these prehistoric-looking turtles have no natural enemies and once thrived throughout the southeastern United States. Early in the 20th century, they were abundant 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 demonstrate the turtles are now likely extirpated in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, with declines up to 95 percent over much their historic range from overharvest and unchecked habitat degradation. These slow-moving, largely sedentary behemoths spend so much of their time sitting on river bottoms waiting for food — they use a wormlike process on their tongue to lure prey — that algae grows thick on their shells. They’re easy prey for hunters who still look to feed thriving world markets for the exhibition and consumption of the turtles.

Wood Turtles (Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin): Coveted across much of the world for the colorful red to yellow markings on its neck and legs and the striking geometric growth-line etchings on each of the dark plates that make up its top shell, the wood turtle is considered by many to be the perfect pet. That popularity, from the United States and Europe to Asia, coupled with habitat loss and degradation, has left the wood turtle in serious decline across every state within its range in the northeastern part of the United States. Increasingly hurt by channelization of rivers and streams, careless timber-harvesting practices along waterways, and urbanization and agricultural practices including pesticide use, the turtles’ remaining populations tend to be isolated, greatly reducing the chances of their natural recovery in areas where their numbers have plummeted. Traditionally low survival rates among juvenile wood turtles have been made worse by the prevalence of turtle predators, such as raccoons and skunks, which thrive in urbanized areas. Wood turtles have an unusual feeding behavior: They stomp their front feet to cause earthworms to come to the surface.

Key Ringneck Snakes (Florida): These 6-inch-long, nonvenomous residents of the Florida keys, including Key West and Big Pine Key, could hardly be less of a threat. But the slate-gray snakes with muted neck rings face an ongoing barrage of unmitigated threats to the seaside limestone outcroppings and rockland areas they call home. Largely due to ongoing residential development, the snakes’ rockland hammock habitat has been reduced by 98 percent, leaving highly fragmented population pockets. Hurt not only by ongoing development but also by malicious killing by humans and predation by invasive species like fire ants, key ringneck snakes face rapid loss across their range. They also face catastrophic threats from climate change, with a sea rise of as little as three feet endangering much of their remaining population. They are listed as threatened in the state of Florida, a status that makes killing and collection illegal but provides no protection from ongoing habitat destruction, the snakes’ greatest threat.

Western Spadefoot Toads (California): These 2-inch-long, stout-looking little toads are known for their purr-like trill, their spade-like adaptation for digging on each hind foot, and for their unusual ability to accelerate metamorphosis when shallow breeding pools start to dry up. But even with those remarkable adaptations, the western spadefoot has been no match for the march of development and habitat reduction. Since the 1950s the animals have lost more than 80 percent of their preferred grassland and alluvial fan habitats. The toads, which are completely terrestrial except when breeding, depend on the existence of vernal rain pools and slow-moving streams, both of which have declined across their range due to urban development and agricultural practices. Historically known to occur in the lowlands of Southern California, from south of the San Francisco Bay area to northern Baja California, they are now listed as a “species of special concern” in California, a status that recognizes their dramatic decline but fails to afford them any legal protection. Already, they are thought to be extirpated throughout much of their lowland Southern California range.

Illinois Chorus Frogs (Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri): Throughout American history, these inch-and-a-half-long, dark-spotted frogs have been known for their distinctive, high-pitched, bird-like whistles that can be heard from great distances. Often mistaken for toads because of their stout bodies, they have thick forearms used for digging burrows. Tiny frogs that spend most of their time below ground, they were once common along the wide, sandy soiled grasslands and floodplains of the Mississippi and Illinois river basins. But as a result of unbridled housing development that has eliminated lowland habitat, and agricultural practices that now level fields instead of leaving the water-holding troughs the frogs used for breeding, most of their already small populations are in serious decline. They are now listed as threatened in Illinois, but this status does not protect their habitat.

Yuman Desert Fringe-Toed Lizards (Arizona): These striking little camouflaged lizards, known only to desert sites in southwestern Arizona, have long made their homes in sparsely vegetated areas of windblown sand. Less than 5 inches long, with their tails making up half their length, these extremely rare lizards are highly adapted to the harsh desert environment. The fringe of scales on the sides of their toes helps them run across loose sand without sinking; tightly overlapping eyelids, earflaps and valve-like nostrils protect them from the constantly blowing sand. Their fragile habitat is under ongoing threat from development and off-road vehicles. The lizard is a Bureau of Land Management sensitive species in Arizona and a state sensitive species — designations that reflect the lizards’ rarity but offer no legal protection for them or their habitat. Despite their declining population, lizards may still be taken for personal collections.

Kern Canyon Slender Salamanders (California): These 5-inch-long, brown salamanders with black sides and striking bronze and red patches on their backs live only in California’s lower Kern River Canyon. Their restricted range, coupled with ongoing threats of habitat destruction and degradation, leaves them extremely vulnerable to extinction. Known to be uncommon across their range and limited to small, isolated populations, these rare salamanders favor north-facing slopes and small, wooded tributary canyons. Those habitats provide periods of moisture and high humidity that allow the salamanders to emerge from their underground hideouts to forage among leaf debris, bark and loose rocks for a range of food that includes spiders, mites, earthworms and snails. Although nearly all their known populations occur on public lands administered by the Sequoia National Forest, they continue to be threatened by habitat destruction and degradation caused by cattle grazing, logging, mining, highway construction, hydroelectric development and firewood collecting.

Cascade Caverns Salamanders (Texas): Perfectly adapted to their wholly aquatic life, these pale, ghost-like salamanders with external gills and recessed eyes spend their entire lives in the darkened worlds of Texas cave springs. Because they breathe through external gills and their skin, these highly unique amphibians require clean, clear-flowing water with a high content of dissolved oxygen. Their health offers an important barometer on water quality. As the human population in Texas continues to soar, the salamanders are at risk from a wide range of environmental hazards. Increased groundwater withdrawals decrease flows into cave springs, resulting in greater temperature fluctuations. More and more pollutants, from pesticides and herbicides to fertilizers and household solvents, are showing up in surface and storm-water runoff that eventually finds its way into the underground springs where these salamanders have long thrived. The salamander is listed as threatened by the state of Texas, a status that prohibits collection but does nothing to prevent water loss and pollution, the biggest threats to the salamander.

Peaks of Otter Salamanders (Virginia): Known only to a 12-mile stretch of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Peaks of Otter salamanders have one of the most restricted ranges of any salamander in the United States. These darkly pigmented, 5-inch-long salamanders with brassy metallic spots occur only in mature oak and maple forests at high elevations, a trait that makes them particularly vulnerable to climate change. Because Peaks of Otter salamanders are confined to a single ridge top, they are unable to shift their range upslope as the climate warms. While the habitat of these salamanders is offered some protection in the Jefferson National Forest and on the Blue Ridge Parkway, activities like logging continue to threaten their viability.

Cascade Torrent Salamanders (Oregon, Washington): These yellowish-brown, 4-inch salamanders with bulbous eyes and bright yellow bellies inhabit coniferous forests on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains, from southern Washington to central Oregon. They prefer cold, slow-moving streams and can be found in saturated, moss-covered talus or under rocks in waterfall splash zones. Due in part to their extremely reduced lungs, even among salamanders they are considered very intolerant of dry conditions and, as a result, they occur primarily in older forest sites better able to maintain high moisture levels. Not surprisingly, timber harvest hurts torrent salamanders more than many other amphibians, and the ongoing loss of their habitat through logging is well documented.


Full Disclosure - HerpDigest, along with
I. Kenneth Dodd, Jr., University of Florida; FWS - Office of Endangered Species Staff Herpetologist 1976-1984,
Kenney Krysko, Senior Biological Scientist, Division of Herpetology, Florida Museum of Natural History
Michael J. Lannoo, Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine
Thomas Lovejoy Biodiversity Chair, H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and Environment
and
Edward O. Wilson, Professor, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
are the other petitioners besides CBD. The case made for these herps by CBD in the petition is overwhelming and long overdue. The link for it is www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/a ... 9-2012.pdf Besides the extensive description of the natural histories and current status of each species, it is worth downloading just for each species bibliographies.
And yes it is 454 pages long. A big adobe file.

Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
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6) Thwarting Invaders: Predicting Risks from Invasive Species Before It Happens
ScienceDaily (July 11, 2012) — When American scientists broke the news in early 2012 that the Burmese python, a non-native species in the Florida Everglades, had eradicated up to 90 per cent of the raccoons, white-tailed deer and possums in parts of the Everglades National Park, the outcry was immediate and intense. The US Fish and Wildlife Service immediately made importing the snakes illegal, and in March 2012, it will be illegal to transport them across state lines.

Critics, however, argue that mammal declines show the damage is mostly done – but what if you could figure out how dangerous an introduced species will be in its new environment before the damage takes place? That ability to foresee the future has mostly eluded biologists and land managers – until now.

A coalition of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and staff from the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre have created a unique quantitative method that enables researchers and others to assess the environmental risks posed by non-native species. While the method is tailored to the Norwegian environment, it can easily be adapted to other countries, and fills a vital need internationally for a quantifiable, uniform approach to classifying and assessing alien species, the developers say.

“This provides an objective classification of these species’ potential impact on the Norwegian environment. We relied on much of the same principles as are used in the preparation of the ‘Red List’ of endangered and threatened species,” says Professor Bernt-Erik Sæther at NTNU’s Centre for Conservation Biology (CCB), who has spearheaded the development of the new methodology with the help of a coalition of other Norwegian scientists and Biodiversity Information Centre staff.

The method classifies species according to their reproductive ability, growth rate, individual densities, population densi¬ties, prevalence and their effect. This information allows the researchers to plot the risks posed by each species on two axes, one of which shows the likelihood of the species’ dispersal and ability to establish itself in the environment (along with its rate of establishment, if applicable) while the other shows the degree to which the alien species will affect native species and habitats.

Based on the combined values of the two axes, the species can be placed in one of five risk categories, from very high risk, to species with no known risk factors. While the classification scheme is now only in Norwegian, plans calls for translating it into English, with the hopes that it can provide a useful international approach to assessing risks from alien species.
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7) Nearly 2000 Non-Native Species Established in Great Britain
ScienceDaily (July 11, 2012) — A major new report has found that there has been a dramatic increase over time in the number of non-native species arriving in Britain.
In the six decades from 1950 over 600 non-native species have arrived in Britain. Invasive non-native species are considered to be one of the five major threats to biodiversity, and have been estimated to cost the UK economy £1.7 billion per annum.
The findings are contained within a new report, "Non-Native Species in Great Britain: establishment, detection and reporting to inform effective decision making," which is published July 11.
Although the majority of non-native species are not considered invasive those that are can cause major ecological or socio-economic impacts, and generally become permanent burdens if they establish themselves in the natural environment. Overall about 15% of the species established in Britain are considered to have a negative impact.
The review arises from the GB Non-Native Species Information Portal project funded by Defra and coordinated by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology and the Marine Biological Association. Additional experts nominated by the Biological Records Centre (within CEH) volunteer schemes and societies, provided further information on many of the species. Of particular note was the involvement of the Botanical Society of the British Isles who provided information for all the plant species (the largest group of established non-native species).
The research team looked at how we can enhance the ability to detect and report non-native species in Great Britain, creating a new database of nearly 4000 species within the GB Non-Native Species Information Portal (GB-NNSIP). Nearly 2000 of the species on the database are considered to be established (breeding) in Britain. Data on all of the species can be accessed through the portal's website at: www.nonnativespecies.org
An integral part of the GB-NNSIP is a rapid-reporting system whereby particularly important new arrivals can be immediately notified to the relevant bodies. One such species, the Asian Hornet, is not yet present in Great Britain but scientists believe could arrive soon, potentially having a serious impact on honey bees and other pollinators on which it preys. Anyone that suspects they have seen this species is encouraged to send in a photograph through the GB-NNSIP's online recording website 'Recording Invasive Species Counts', which can also be used to report sightings of 19 other key species including Water Primrose, American Bullfrog, Carpet Sea-squirt, Tree of heaven, and American skunk-cabbage.
Dr Helen Roy from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology led the research for the report. She announced the publication of the report at the Organisational Workshop for the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (9-10 July 2012), convened by the Convention on Biological Diversity, at which she was selected as an expert to represent the United Kingdom. Dr Helen Roy said, "The portal is an excellent example of how collaboration amongst different organisations is vital in addressing potential threats to biodiversity. By sharing information the data compiled give us a comprehensive understanding of non-native species, allowing us to respond rapidly to the arrival of new species. The portal also provides us with a great tool to link with wider European and global initiatives to tackle emerging threats from invasive non-native species."
The review found:
• There has been an increase over time in the number of non-native species arriving in Britain and those becoming established. 528 species arrived during 1950-1999 compared to 417 species during 1900-1949 and 250 species during 1850-1899. There have been at least a further 125 new arrivals since 2000.
• Most of the non-native species that are established within Britain originate from Europe. However, in recent decades the rate of new arrivals originating from Europe is slowing and temperate Asia and North America are both becoming major contributors to the non-native fauna and flora of Great Britain.
• There are 1875 established non-native species in Great Britain in total. The majority are higher plants (1377 species) with Insects as the next most numerous group (278 species).
• Most (1684 species) of the documented established non-native species are found within the terrestrial environment.
Dr Niall Moore from the Non-native Species Secretariat said, "The Non-native Species Information Portal is a key outcome of Governments' long-term commitment to tackle the serious problems posed by invasive non-native species. It provides us with the basic information we need on which to base objective and sound policy: we need information on trends to see where to put our effort in future years and we need greater public involvement -- provided through RISC. We also need to be alert to new species turning up so we can respond rapidly and hopefully keep them out -- the Asian hornet is a good example."
Dr Gay Marris from the Food and Environment Research Agency said, "By alerting the public and professionals to the highly invasive non-native Asian hornet we can (hopefully) prevent its establishment and therefore reduce the threat to our honey bees, other beneficial insects and even to human health."
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8) Biologists Beaming After Finding Baby Bog Turtles in Gaston
gastongazette.com, by Michael Barrett, 7/7/12-It sure hasn’t been easy being a bog turtle lately in North Carolina, much less Gaston County.

Agricultural and urban development have sent the second smallest turtle in the world scrambling. Its waning ecosystem here has made the species harder to spot than Waldo.
But during a recent intensive, two-day search on a nature preserve in Gaston County, a team of biologists came across a total of 10 bog turtles. And with successful reproduction being an all-important component of a species bouncing back, the fact that two of the turtles were juveniles was cause for celebration, said Jacquelyn Guzy, a biologist at nearby Davidson College.
“Seeing evidence of successful reproduction is certainly exciting and noteworthy news,” she said in a news release.
Bog turtles were first observed in 1991 at the Gaston County preserve, which is owned by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. The preserve’s location is not being disclosed to the public, to ensure the turtles’ safety and protection.
Bog turtles have become popular pets, though as a federally protected species, they are forbidden from being traded, sold or kept. The problem is that while they are protected, their habitats are not.
Davidson College herpetology researchers and students have been studying the turtle’s population on the preserve since 2006, with the help of grant funding from Williams-Transco. The population on the local preserve is one of only a few in the North Carolina Piedmont, Guzy said.
Bog turtles are hard to find because they are so small. They have a penchant for wallowing in the mud on specialized wetlands, such as what’s known as bogs and fens. Only a few between the ages of 20 and 35 have been found here in the last six years.
The discovery of 10 turtles and two juveniles by Guzy’s team in late June was significant.
Dr. Michael Dorcas said each turtle is marked, so researchers will know their history in the future. They plan to continue their efforts, using large sticks to probe the mud and vegetative clumps, and using harmless traps with shade covers.
“It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack, but we’ll keep looking throughout the summer,” he said. “We know this group has successfully reproduced twice in the past three years, which is incredibly exciting.”
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9) Some Papers You Might Have Missed-Not in Usual Journals Herpetologists Read (URL to see abstracts right below. Cut and paste if it doesn’t work like a link.)

RM Brown, CD Siler, L Lee Grismer, I Das, and JA McGuire
Phylogeny and cryptic diversification in Southeast Asian flying
geckos.
Mol Phylogenet Evol 26 Jun 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22750115

DJ Harris, JP Maia, and A Perera
Molecular survey of apicomplexa in podarcis wall lizards detects
hepatozoon , sarcocystis , and eimeria species.
J Parasitol 1 Jun 2012 98(3): p. 592.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22746392

EW Campbell 3rd, AA Adams, SJ Converse, TH Fritts, and GH Rodda
Do predators control prey species abundance? An experimental test with
brown treesnakes on Guam.
Ecology 1 May 2012 93(5): p. 1194.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22764505

M Smargiassi, G Daghfous, B Leroy, P Legreneur, G Toubeau, V Bels, and R
Wattiez
Chemical basis of prey recognition in thamnophiine snakes: the
unexpected new roles of parvalbumins.
PLoS One 1 Jan 2012 7(6): p. e39560.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22761824

K He, Q Ye, H Chen, XL Wang, QH Wan, and SG Fang
A bacterial artificial chromosome library for the Chinese alligator
(Alligator sinensis).
Gene 30 Jun 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22759519

S Buthelezi, C Southway, U Govinden, J Bodenstein, and K du Toit
An investigation of the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities
of crocodile oil.
J Ethnopharmacol 30 Jun 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22759702

M Hermes-Lima, C Carreiro, DC Moreira, C Polcheira, DP Machado, and EG
Campos
Glutathione status and antioxidant enzymes in a crocodilian species
from the swamps of the Brazilian Pantanal.
Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 26 Jun 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22750313

B Bonati, D Csermely, and VA Sovrano
Looking at a predator with the left or right eye: Asymmetry of
response in lizards.
Laterality 2 Jul 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22746190

SE Hernandez, C Sernia, and AJ Bradley
The effect of three anaesthetic protocols on the stress response in
cane toads (Rhinella marina).
Vet Anaesth Analg 6 Jul 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22765650

J Yang, YY Sun, TB Fu, DD Xu, and X Ji
Selection for increased maternal body volume does not differ between
two Scincella lizards with different reproductive modes.
Zoology (Jena) 29 Jun 2012.
http://highwire.stanford.edu/cgi/medline/pmid;22749616

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HERP BOOKS ON SALE-ALL PROCEEDS GO TO HERPDIGEST
The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
(Only 2 copies left)
McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

From Booklist
Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
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Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
Sale Price $25.00 Plus $12.00 for S&H
(Only 3 copies left)
This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.
Each species listing has a "factfile" of essential data: scientific order and population; distribution (with a color-coded map) and habitat; size and color; reproduction and life cycle; longevity and conservation status.
All status descriptions have been updated in this revised edition, which also includes:
Descriptions of all new families of amphibians and reptiles
Updated range maps for all families
Revised family relationship diagrams in light of current taxonomic understanding
New species and genus totals for all groups.
Authoritative, comprehensive and beautiful.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011,
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.

The first book-length investigation of a fascinating reptile
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:00 am

Volume # 12 Issue # 35 8/4/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Just Out-
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT REMEMBER ALL PROFITS HERE GO TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
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Table of Contents
1. Which Species Will Live, Which Will Die? [Slide Show]
2) Care2 Success! Leatherback Turtles Protected In Puerto Rico
3) If you would like a good scholarly read, go to http://www.sbherpetologia.org.br/HB/HB2012.02-P.pdf this is the new Brazilian Herp Society online journal. It has many things in English and nice pictures.. But go to p 65 and read the wonderful article by Esteban Lavilla - “Skepticism and Gullibility in Linnaeus”
4) NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced today that it will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a global status review of green turtles, which have been listed under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1978.
5) Man fined for selling turtles on black market-Is last of 32 convicted in state, federal probe (Operation Shellschock) New York State
6) Glass Frogs Reveal Surprising Survival Mechanisms
7) 3000 new species of amphibians discovered in 25 years
8) Saving endangered amphibian starts with counting them - Northern leopard frogs considered a threatened species in Alberta-Endangered species population ecologist Lea Randall says, “If you can’t detect frogs then you can’t protect them.”

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FOR COMPLETE LIST OF OTHER BOOKS ON SALE SEE BELOW

And remember, when you buy any books think of doubling the price quoted as a donation to HerpDigest.
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1) Which Species Will Live, Which Will Die? [Slide Show]
Conservation groups can no longer afford to try to protect all animals and plants, forcing heartbreaking choices
By Mark Fischetti | July 23, 2012 | 6
View the slide show Image: Wikimedia Commons/Joe Mabel
Conservationists are reluctantly experimenting with three forms of triage to help them decide which species to try to save or not save. Each method has different priorities: "Function first" favors species that perform a unique job in nature. "Evolution first" seeks to preserve genetic diversity. "Hot spots" prefers ecosystems rich in species.

So which animals and plants would flourish or perish in each of the schemes?
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2) Care2 Success! Leatherback Turtles Protected In Puerto Rico
by Judy Molland, July 11, 2012

A beautiful stretch of Puerto Rico’s north coast that developers have long coveted is now a nature reserve.
The new reserve makes up 66 percent of what is known as the Northeast Ecological Corridor, located just north of El Yunque rainforest, a popular tourist attraction, and is also considered one of the prime nesting sites for the endangered leatherback turtle.
Over 18,400 of you signed our petition, sponsored by the Sierra Club, asking that this land be designated as federal critical habitat for leatherback sea turtles. Now these creatures get to keep their nesting grounds.
Under pressure from environmental activists, Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuno last week changed his mind and signed a law protecting these 1,950 acres of state-owned land from large-scale development. This reverses his decision of several years ago when he revoked the land’s protected status to attract developers and boost the island’s sluggish economy. It’s great to hear that the governor has now made the right eco-decision.
Things are looking up for leatherback turtles: last January, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated nearly 42,000 square miles of ocean along the West Coast of the U.S. as critical habitat for the Pacific leatherback turtle.
Leatherbacks are the largest sea turtles, and the largest living reptiles, in the world, sometimes measuring 9 feet long and weighing as much as three refrigerators, or more than 1,200 pounds. Their life span is not fully known, but they are believed to live at least 40 years and possibly as long as 100 years.
The worldwide population has declined by 95 percent since the 1980s because of commercial fishing, egg poaching, destruction of nesting habitat, degradation of foraging habitat and changing ocean conditions. Listed as endangered since 1970 under the Endangered Species Act, there are believed to be only 2,000 to 5,700 nesting females left in the world.
The leatherback is the only sea turtle that lacks a hard, bony shell. A leatherback’s top shell (carapace) is approximately 1.5 inches thick and consists of leathery, oil-saturated connective tissue overlaying loosely interlocking dermal bones.
Female leatherbacks lay clutches of approximately 100 eggs on sandy, tropical beaches. Females nest several times during a nesting season, typically at 8-12 day intervals. After 60-65 days, leatherback hatchlings emerge from the nest with white striping along the ridges of their backs and on the margins of the flippers.
And now they will be able to do this in peace on the north coast of Puerto Rico! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who signed our petition.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/care2-succe ... z22Ey8Ru15

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3) If you would like a good scholarly read, go to http://www.sbherpetologia.org.br/HB/HB2012.02-P.pdf this is the new Brazilian Herp Society online journal. It has many things in English and nice pictures.. But go to p 65 and read the wonderful article by Esteban Lavilla

Skepticism and Gullibility in Linnaeus’
Herpetological Contributions
Esteban O. Lavilla*
* Instituto de Herpetología, Fundación Miguel Lillo – CONICET. Miguel Lillo 251, 4000 San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. E mail: eolavilla@gmail.com

Abstract

The herpetological contributions of Carolus Linnaeus show (1) an explicit abomination for amphibians and reptiles, probably due to his strong religiosity, (2) enlightened criticisms of some ancient beliefs, especially those that referred to the existence of dragons, hydras, sirens and other improbable beings, and (3) an almost
scholastic, blind respect for the authority of the Classics, taking as true some legendary behaviors attributed to frogs and toads (e.g., insects are attracted to the toad mouth by enchantments, the penis of anurans is located in the callosities of the thumbs), salamanders (e.g., skin secretions have depilatory properties), turtles (e.g., turtles sleep on their backs while swimming, the shell was used to make shields and bows, a beheaded
turtle can live for two weeks, intercourse can last a month), crocodiles (e.g., male and female eat the young that fall into the water), lizards (e.g., geckos exude poison from their feet or urine, skink meat is aphrodisiac, iguana meat, although tasteful, is dangerous for syphylitics) and snakes (e.g., rattlesnakes charm their prey).

This, together with the acceptance of some myths from rural XVIII Century Sweden, show the convictions and contradictions of Carolus Linnaeus, an academic in a century of changes who never lost his peasant roots.
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4) NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced today that it will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a global status review of green turtles, which have been listed under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1978.

As part of this review, NOAA and FWS will also assess whether Hawaii’s green turtles should be listed as a distinct population segment (DPS), and if so, whether they should be removed from the list of species protected under the ESA.

This decision was prompted by a recent petition from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and is consistent with recommendations from NOAA’s most recent 5-year review of the species, completed in 2007. That 5-year review recommended a global status review of the species within ten years, and indicated that Hawaii’s green turtle population had steadily increased at a rate of 5.7 percent per year over the last three decades.
The association petitioned NOAA’s Fisheries Service and the FWS on Feb. 16, requesting that the agencies identify green turtles in Hawaii as a distinct population segment and subsequently remove them from the list of species protected under the ESA.
NOAA believes the petition presents substantial scientific information, and the requested action may be warranted. However, a positive finding at this initial stage does not prejudge the outcome of the full review.

To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species and potential critical habitat from any interested party. Scientific and commercial information pertinent to the petitioned action and the global DPS review must be received by October 1, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit information or data, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2012–0154,’’ by any either of the following methods:

• Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic information via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. To submit information via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ‘‘submit a comment’’ icon, then enter ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2012–0154’’ in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to provide information on from the resulting list and click on the ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ icon to the right of that line.
• Mail or hand-delivery:
Office of Protected Resources, NMFS
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The full 90-day finding and status review announcment, with detailed instructions, can be found at:
https://www.federalregister.gov/article ... -in-hawaii
Best regards,
Jonathan Shannon
NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
http://nmfs.noaa.gov/pr
Outreach Specialist
301.427.8431
jonathan.shannon@noaa.gov
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5) Man fined for selling turtles on black market-Is last of 32 convicted in state, federal probe (Operation Shellschock) New York State
By Phil Fairbanks, News Staff Reporter, July 27, 2012,
Michael V. Johnson didn't know it at the time, but the two men who sold him live snapping turtles were undercover officers investigating the international black market for New York wildlife.
Johnson, a retired turtle meat distributor from Maryland, was sentenced in Buffalo federal court Thursday, the last of 32 people convicted as part of a state and federal investigation known as Operation Shellshock.
"There is an illegal market," said Lt. Richard D. Thomas, senior investigator in the Johnson case. "There are people globally who will pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for a specific species from the United States."
The sale of common snapping turtles may seem trivial to some, but only because people don't understand their role as "indicator species," Thomas said.
"They tell us when things are wrong with the environment," said Thomas, a state Department of Environmental Conservation investigator. "They're directly related to public health and safety because they're indicators of the health of the planet."
And it's not just common snapping turtles that are part of this lucrative black market in protected wildlife.
Investigators also found timber rattlesnakes and wood turtles being shipped out of state to collectors.
In one case, they arrested a Canadian smuggler in a Niagara Falls parking lot and inside his van found 33 Massasauga rattlesnakes, an endangered species, hidden in secret compartments.
Overall, Operation Shellshock resulted in criminal cases involving 2,400 turtles, snakes and salamanders. The investigation, which DEC officials kept quiet for years, resulted in 32 people being charged and convicted, and Johnson's sentencing represents an official end to those prosecutions.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy spared Johnson prison time and instead fined him $40,000 following his guilty plea to a single misdemeanor charge of attempted trafficking in prohibited wildlife.
McCarthy ordered the money deposited in the Lacey Act Reward Account, which is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to, among other things, reward people who provide information about wildlife-related crimes.
"I apologize," Johnson told McCarthy Thursday. "I should have been more proactive in keeping up with the laws in other states."
Johnson, as part of a plea agreement, admitted buying more than 1,500 pounds of live snapping turtles from undercover agents in 2007 and 2008 while operating Turtles Deluxe, a turtle meat processing business in Maryland.
He also acknowledged selling the turtle meat, which is used in turtle soup and is popular in cities such as New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York City, for about $8,400.
Johnson, who sold his business last year, also shipped turtles to California for export to China, where they were used for breeding at turtle farms.
"I think this has been a very difficult and painful lesson for him," James Harrington, Johnson's defense lawyer, told McCarthy. "I don't think you'll see him before you again."
Even before Johnson pleaded guilty in January, he donated a total of $20,000 to three wildlife preservation groups, including the Buffalo Zoo and Tifft Nature Preserve.
While Johnson's sentencing officially closes Operation Shellshock, it doesn't end what Thomas calls the booming black market for protected wildlife here and across the country.
He thinks the state investigation was successful in removing several key players involved in international and domestic smuggling and in educating the public about the importance of common snapping turtles and other wildlife.
"These animals are critical parts of our ecosystems," he said. "I think Shellshock was successful in raising public awareness, but we also know the illegal market for a lot of wildlife continues to thrive and be strong."
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6) Glass Frogs Reveal Surprising Survival Mechanisms
by John Finn, July 30, 2012 -Ohio.com
WOOSTER, Ohio — On the island of Tobago, scientists from The College of Wooster have identified some surprising survival mechanisms among a species of glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium orientale) — adorable tiny green amphibians whose transparent underside provides a fascinating window to its organs, including a beating heart.
Richard Lehtinen, associate professor of biology at Wooster, and Andrew Georgiadis, a recent Wooster graduate (2011) and now a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, made noteworthy observations about male frogs protecting their offspring and the unique ability of their tadpoles to escape danger. The findings are published in the current issue of the Phyllomedusa Journal of Herpetology.
It appears as though male frogs are more involved in the early development of their offspring than the females. “What we discovered is that the males stay near their larvae and rub their arms and legs over them or cover clutches (groups) of them entirely on the underside of the plants where they breed (some 12-15 feet above the freshwater streams of the forest),” said Lehtinen. “We don’t know why they do this, but we believe that they may be secreting a protective substance that kills aquatic fungi and other forms of mold that are often fatal to the larvae.”
Lehtinen will return to Tobago this week (with rising senior Jessica Pringle) to test his hypothesis by taking skin swabs of the frogs in the field to see if males do, in fact, secret a substance that inhibits fungal growth. “Most species of frogs don’t exhibit parental care,” he said. “Most lay eggs and then get out of there. This species is different, and we’d like to know more about its behavior.”
While in Tobago, Lehtinen made another interesting discovery when he came across a leaf that had apparently fallen to the ground with the developing embryos were still attached. Out of curiosity, he poked and prodded the clutch with a dissecting instrument when suddenly one of the embryos literally shot out of the egg. He continued prodding and the other tadpoles started launching forward in a manner that Lehtinen described as purposeful.
“I decided to start measuring the distance, and I found that they were traveling some 36 times their body length,” said Lehtinen. “That would be like a 6-foot human jumping 216 feet.”
Lehtinen believes that the action enables the tadpole to escape a potential predator, even though it might encounter greater danger in the water below. “It’s a very effective way to escape a threat,” he said. “We will be watching (the tadpoles) even more closely on our next visit.”
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7) 3000 new species of amphibians discovered in 25 years
mongabay.com, July 31, 2012

The number of amphibians described by scientists now exceeds 7,000, or roughly 3,000 more than were known just 25 years ago, report researchers in Berkeley.

David Wake, an emeritus biology professor at the University of California, this week announced the 7,000th amphibian cataloged on AmphibiaWeb, a project which since 2000 has sought to document every one of Earth's living frogs, salamanders, newts, and caecilians. The 3,000 'new' species means that scientists have described a previously unknown amphibian every two-and-a-half days since 1987. And the rate of new species descriptions may be accelerating: 100 species have been described so far in 2012.

The 7000th amphibian added to AmphibiaWeb was Centrolene sabini, a glass frog from Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by Alessandro Catenazzi, the researcher who was the lead author of the paper that described the species.
But the discoveries mask bad news: global amphibian populations are in sharp decline due to the effects of climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species, overharvesting as food and for the pet trade, and the spread of chytridiomycosis, a deadly fungal disease. The IUCN Red List estimates that more than 40 percent of amphibians are at risk, while more than 150 species are known to have gone extinct since the early 1980s.

AmphibiaWeb documents the known status of each and every species. Beyond photos, maps, and information, the site also collects audio clips of frog calls. Wake said AmphibiaWeb had become the global authority for amphibian information.

“We are the place for accurate, vetted information on amphibians,” he said in a statement, noting the site is queried 15,000 and 20,000 times per day.


CITATION: Catenazzi, A., Von May, R., Lehr, E., Gagliardi-Urrutia, G., Guayasamin, J.M. (2012). ''A new, high-elevation glassfrog (Anura: Centrolenidae) from Manu National Park, southern Peru.'' Zootaxa, 3388, 56-68.


Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0731-7000 ... z22ZZ1Zkop
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8) Saving endangered amphibian starts with counting them - Northern leopard frogs considered a threatened species in Alberta-Endangered species population ecologist Lea Randall says, “If you can’t detect frogs then you can’t protect them.”
By Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald July 30, 2012

CALGARY — Sporting breathable chest waders and armed with a GPS device, endangered species population ecologist Lea Randall will spend the next six weeks crawling in and out of bogs, ponds and marshes across southern Alberta.
Her mission: to count every frog she can find.
The ecologist will carry tools including a stopwatch and oxygen meter as she seeks frog habitats, collects water samples and records the abundance of northern leopard frogs across a 90,000-square-kilometre area south of Drumheller.
Randall recently embarked on six weeks of summer field research as part of a study launched in 2009 by the Calgary Zoo’s Centre for Conservation Research.
Through intensive fieldwork and mathematical modelling, the six-year project aims to gain a better understanding of northern leopard frog population dynamics.
The handsome and charismatic spotted amphibian, which can grow to the size of a human fist, is considered a threatened species in Alberta and an endangered species in B.C., said Randall.
The study and accompanying field research comes at a time when frog and toad populations in Alberta and around the globe are decreasing.
“It’s a worldwide phenomenon . . . the decline of amphibians has been noted on all continents on which amphibians occur,” said Anthony Russell, a professor of zoology at the University of Calgary.
Over the past two decades in Alberta, the number of leopard frogs and Canadian toads have diminished drastically, he said. “It’s very, very noticeable”
While there are still three years left in the extensive northern leopard study, early research shows neither a decrease nor increase in the population of the species.
“So far our preliminary data suggests that the populations have at least stabilized,” said Randall. “So, we don’t see evidence of decline, but we also don’t really see any strong evidence that there’s been species recovery during the period of our study.”
Leopard frogs can be difficult to detect in some habitats. In addition to examining population dynamics, the study aims to improve monitoring techniques.
“If you can’t detect frogs then you can’t protect them,” Randall said.
She said researching the frogs is important because Alberta has so few amphibians. “If even one species goes extinct, we will have lost basically a 10th of our diversity in Alberta.”
Amphibians are a good indicator of ecosystem health, and as frogs and toad numbers decrease, fish and insect species may also be affected.
“People have advocated that amphibians act a bit like the canary in the coal mine. Whatever is affecting them now, as those changes become more drastic and abundant, they will affect other things,” Russell said.
Kris Kendell, a senior biologist with the Alberta Conservation Association, is the co-ordinator of the Alberta Volunteer Amphibian Monitoring Program, which encourages “an army of citizen scientists” to submit their observations.
Kendell said while some frog species in Alberta are stable, others appear sensitive to human impact.
“The decline for the species that have suffered losses in numbers and populations is mostly due to habitat — habitat loss and habitat degradation,” Kendell said.
As the population and development in the province increases, there will be increasing pressure on a species that is part of Alberta’s heritage, Kendell said.
“On the most intrinsic level, amphibians are a part of Alberta’s natural heritage,” Kendell said. “A lot of people’s first experiences with nature and wildlife involve catching frogs or toads at their local slough or wetland (and) hearing their voices in the springtime singing. They enrich our lives in ways that are difficult to measure.”
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Just a Reminder- Please when you buy any of these books think of doubling the price quoted as a donation to HerpDigest.

Care books From Barrons

Ball Pythons, 2nd Edition.....................................................$8.00
46 page full color, Patricia and Richard Bartlett

Bearded Dragon Mini Encyclopedia ...................................$15.00
208 pages, full color, includes all color phases, Chris Matison

Bearded Dragon Care..........................................................$8.00
46 page, full color, Patricia and Richard Bartlett

Chameleon Handbook 3rd Edition.......................................$13.00
156 pages, full color, Francois Le Berre

Corn Snakes, 2nd Edition.....................................................$8.00
48 pages full color, Patricia and Richard Bartlett

Iguana Mini Encyclopedia.....................................................$13.00
152 pages, full color, by Chris Matison

Leopard Geckos, 2nd Edition.................................................$8.00
46 pages full color, Patricia and Richard Bartlett

Turtles & Tortoises Manual, 2nd Edition...................................$9.00
112 pages full color, Patricia and Richard Bartlett
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And 1 of each left, All are 46 pages in full color and only $8.00 each
S&H included

Anoles, Basilisks and Water Dragons.
Rainbow Boas and Neotropical Tree Boas
White’s & White Lipped Tree Frog
Day Geckos
Red-Eyed Treefrogs and other Leaf Frogs
_____________________________________________________
All S&H included. 1 left of each

Anoles, Basilisks and Water Dragons.................................$9.00
96 pages, full color

Newts and Salamanders.......................................................$10.00
128 pages, full color

The 25 Best Reptile and Amphibian Pets.........................$10.00
156 pages full color

Kingsnakes & Milksnakes.................................................$9.00
96 pages full color

Terrarium and Cage Construction and Care
218 pages, Over 100 full color pages...............................$13.00
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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
Sale Price $8.00 Plus $6.00 S&H
(Only 2 copies left)
McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

From Booklist
Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011, (Only 5 copies left)
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H. (Only 1 copy left)

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:57 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 36 8/13/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT REMEMBER ALL PROFITS HERE GO TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
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Table of Contents
1) A Source of Box Turtle Replicas
2) Turtles outlawed as pets in Tennessee because of harmful bacteria (All Sizes & Species)
3) "Delisting Honu is Difficult Call- Our View- Endangered Species Act" Editorial Honolulu Star-Advertiser
4) Herpetological Conservation and Biology www.herpconbio.org/ New Issue Announcement Volume 7, Issue 1 May 2012
5) CALL FOR ABSTRACTS-2012 SWPARC Meeting in Las Vegas, NV 10/24-25/12
6) Reptiles Repatriated to Philippines
7) Shrimpers Battling Over Turtle Rules (Louisiana)
8) Florida State Record 87 Eggs in Largest Python from Everglades
9) Some Journal Articles You Might Have Missed on Herps, or Things About Other Animals I Thought You Might Need To Know
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NEW BOOKS -I call the following three books “Everything you ever wanted to know about these turtles that is so far known books.” This includes: Natural History, Systematics, Fossil Records, Diet, Behavior, Reproduction, Diseases and Parasites Extensive Husbandry and Care Information, Conservation, Distribution Maps, and more... If you have these turtles and tortoises or are studying them you must have these books.
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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THE EUROPEAN POND TURTLE
The 'Emys orbicularis' is ranked among the most intensively researched reptiles in all countries where it occurs. This book covers systematics, descriptions, distribution, proven methods of captive breeding and much, much more. 167 full-color and b/w photos and figures, 2 maps of Europe, tables. 270 pp. Hardcover, by Manfred Rogner, $65.00
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And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H

FOR ALL BOOKS ABOVE THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT REMEMBER ALL PROFITS HERE GO TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
For books new and on sale see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
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BOOKS ON SALE
The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left_________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator (Only 5 copies left) Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel, University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
Was $15.00 Now $10.00 plus $6.00 S&H.(Only 1 copy Left)
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1) For those looking for box turtle replicas (those who feel dragging around a real box turtle to every turtle lecture of presentation is stressful for the turtle) Here's one that costs $44.55, but you have to paint it yourself. It does come with a detailed paint chart: http://www.taxidermy.com/cat/14/MRRturtle.html

From Harriet Forrester
Turtle Rescue of New Jersey
New Jersey State Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator
908-362-7747
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2) Turtles outlawed as pets in Tennessee because of harmful bacteria (All Sizes & Species)
Written by, Cindy Watts, Gannett Tennessee
Turtles might be cute to look at, but they also can harbor deadly bacteria, including salmonella.
For that reason, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will not issue permits for pet stores to sell turtles or for people to own turtles. That means it’s illegal to keep them as pets in the state — regardless of whether people find them in their front yard or bring them back as souvenirs from vacation.
Walter Cook, captive wildlife coordinator for the TWRA, says: “It’s common sense.”
“It’s a public health concern and we have to be responsible,” he says. “Being able to pull the skin and legs back into a shell creates a moist environment that aids bacteria growth. And you can’t remove animals from the wild alive because they have a purpose and provide a necessary component to the ecosystem. We don’t know what the population of these animals is or how many could be removed before jeopardizing the population.”
For people who already keep turtles as pets, Cook says the association isn’t interested in prosecuting anyone. He just hopes people will donate them to one of Tennessee’s several wildlife education facilities, where the reptiles will be kept in a closed habitat to reduce the risk of spreading the deadly bacteria.
“We just don’t want anybody to get sick,” he says.
The TWRA can be reached at 615-781-6500 or visit them online at www.tn.gov/twra.
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3) "Delisting Honu is Difficult Call- Our View- Endangered Species Act" Editorial Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Saturday 8/4/12,.
"Few of Hawaii's aquatic creatures hold the allure of the green sea turtle. For locals and visitors alike, there's an elemental thrill at the sight of gentle honu popping their heads above the water or nibbling seaweed on nearshore reefs. Along Kamehameha Highway, they cause traffic jams as drivers pull over to see them feed near Laniakea Beach on the North Shore. They've even become an icon of sorts, appearing on everything from placemats to earrings.

Perhaps their popularity comes from their increasing numbers: Recent studies have documented a healthy growth in the Hawaiian population of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), with one study showing an annual increase of 5.7 percent since the 1970's. This is not the case everywhere. The breeding populations in Florida and the Pacific Coast of Mexico are considered endangered. And in the rest of the species range, including the Hawaiian Islands, the turtle is considered threatened.

As a threatened species the green turtle in Hawaiian waters has enjoyed the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act. But as its population grows, the turtle's threatened species status is becoming, well, threatened.

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, citing the population studies, has petitioned the federal government to remove that status in two stages: first, by classifying the Hawaiian turtle population as a "discrete population segment," distinguishing it from other green turtle populations; and second, by delisting the Hawaiian turtles.

The association's petition was drafted and edited by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery management Council, an agency that has often clashed with environment groups over conservation rules, including restrictions on longline fishing to protect leatherback and loggerhead turtles. But commercial interests don't appear to be at issue here. There is little evidence that the green turtles' protected status has done harm to recreational and commercial fishing.

Rather, the association says a delisting would return responsibility for the honu to the state and its citizens, including Native Hawaiians and cultural practitioners. Such a change in management would raise some new possibilities and difficult questions: Should Native Hawaiians, however they are defined, be allowed to resume the traditional harvesting of honu? Should rules against the incidental hooking or netting of honu be relaxed, or should the population be protected as closely as it is now?

The National Marine Fisheries Service will consider whether the scientific evidence justifies a delisting, a process that could take more than a year. Regardless of the outcome, however, it's hard to justify a situation that would leave the green sea turtle with the same status as most other aquatic life in Hawaiian waters--open to indiscriminate harvesting. The association doesn't want that, and neither should anyone else. It has taken years for the turtle population to recover. As an aumakua, it has cultural and historical significance. And it is certainly far more valuable as a living creature, enjoyed by countless ocean visitors, than as a source of meat."
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4) Herpetological Conservation and Biology www.herpconbio.org/
New Issue Announcement
Volume 7, Issue 1 May 2012

Monograph
A history of herpetologists and herpetology in the U.S. Department of the Interior: Herpetological Conservation and Biology, Monograph 2, pp. 1-46.
Lovich, J.E., N.J. Scott, R.B. Bury, C.K. Dodd, and R.W. McDiarmid
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5) CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
2012 SWPARC Meeting in Las Vegas, NV
We invite members of Southwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (SWPARC), and other interested parties to submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations. The meeting will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, October 24th -25th, 2012. Presentation topics are open to any reptile and/or amphibian conservation work in the Southwest United States and Northern Mexico, but we are particularly interested in presentations related to our 2012 meeting themes:
(1) Mexico Herpetofauna Conservation
(2) Year of the Lizard, Southwest Style
(3) Energy Development and Herpetofauna Conservation
The SWPARC annual meeting is quickly establishing a reputation not only for its camaraderie, but also for the high quality of its program and presentations. http://www.swparc.org/meetings.html
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSION
• Presentations must be based on original work. Abstracts must contain sufficient information to convey the main theme, objectives, results, and conclusions of the work.
• Abstracts (maximum 200 words) will be evaluated on relevance to the subject of herpetological conservation, originality, quality of writing, and adherence to required guidelines.
• Oral presentations are limited. The planning committee will determine which abstracts are selected for oral or poster presentations.
• Abstracts must be submitted in both English and Spanish (part of our international outreach). There will be a poster social when presenters will attend their posters.
• Before submitting an abstract, authors should be confident that they will attend the meeting. At least one of the authors on the abstract should register for the meeting. Registration is open at http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/D ... ID=1124500
• Please conform to the submission instructions. Failure to do so will result in your abstract being returned and possibly rejected.
Submission Procedure:
All abstracts must be submitted electronically to Alison Cockrum (Alison.cockrum@gmail.com) by August 31, 2012.
Use the following format for your abstract, and refer to the example below:
• Use Microsoft Word or equivalent to save a DOC file, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, single-spaced, left justified
• Use UPPERCASE for authors and indicate presenter.
• Include affiliation and address after names; email address (remove hyperlink) and phone number
• Leave a single space between address block and abstract
• Use Bold Title Case for title
• Abstract has a maximum of 200 words
• Limit abstract to one paragraph
• On your email subject line, use LASTNAME: SW PARC Poster Abstract

Example
AUTHOR(S): DOE, JOHN Z. (presenter), and DE LA CRUZ, MARÍA J.
AFFILIATION: (JZD) School of Environmental Squamatology, University of the Dunes, Lost Wages, NV 87654, USA; (MJC) Colegio Nacional de Herpetología, Facultad de Lagartijas, Casilla 550, San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina;
EMAIL: jdoe@udunes.edu, maria.cruz@lagartijas.edu.ar
PHONE: (800) 555-7777
The title of the abstract should be in bold. The abstract content should not exceed 200 words and should describe the goals of the study, major findings, and conclusions and/or management implications.
El título del resumen debería ir en negrilla. El contenido del resumen no debería sobrepasar 200 palabras y debería describir los objetivos de la investigación, sus hallazgos y conclusiones y/o consecuencias para el manejo.
After you submit the abstract by email, you should receive acknowledgment via a reply to email. Be sure to check the website after the deadline to make sure your name, title, and affiliation have been entered correctly.
PRESENTATION FORMAT

Oral: Oral presentations are limited. The planning committee will determine which abstracts are selected for oral or poster presentations. If not selected for an oral presentation, authors may be asked present a poster. Oral presentations are 20 minutes long, including time for introductions and questions.

Posters: Posters are an excellent medium for detailed and extended discussion of your research and allow for complex charts, graphs, tables, or photographs that are difficult to present in an oral presentation. Best dimensions for posters are approximately 3’ x 4’ (1m x 1.5m), either horizontal or vertical. We cannot guarantee space for posters longer than 6’ (2m) in either direction.
Please take advantage of the several excellent guides available on the web or library for preparing effective posters, such as Gosling’s “Scientist's Guide to Poster Presentations” (Springer Publishing, 1999, New York).

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6) Reptiles Repatriated to Philippines
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - TRAFFIC article

A Reticulated python was among more than 100 reptiles repatriated to the Philippines after they were seized in Hong Kong. Click image to enlarge © Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1st August 2012 - Over a hundred endangered reptiles confiscated in Hong Kong were flown home to the Philippines today, while the second-time offender who smuggled them, has been slapped with a six-week jail sentence.
The reptiles were discovered in June, in the luggage of a 22-year-old man, and included 43 Philippine Forest Turtles, 46 Southeast Asian Box Turtles, 19 Mindanao Water Monitor Lizards and one Reticulated Python.
The Philippine Forest Turtle Siebenrockiella leytensis is considered a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
He was intercepted at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong international airport on June 14 and was prosecuted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.
Under the law, he could have been sentenced to a maximum penalty of HKD 5 million and two years imprisonment.
Alfred Wong, Endangered Species Protection Officer of the AFCD told TRAFFIC that the same man was intercepted for a similar offence in February this year.
In the earlier case, he was caught with 60 reptiles from the Philippines including 20 Philippine Forest Turtles, and was fined HK$8,000 (USD1,030).
“While the authorities are to be congratulated for nabbing this smuggler, it is unfortunate that the penalties given were not higher, much higher, so as to be a more significant deterrent,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
“Criminals such as these are committing crimes that in many cases cannot be undone. Species such as the Philippine Forest Turtle are nearing extinction in the wild, and therefore every effort needs to be made to ensure the poaching, smuggling and illegal buying comes to an end.”
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) assisted the AFCD with the temporary holding, and care of the reptiles on both occasions.
All the animals are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Philippine Forest Turtles and the Mindanao Water Monitor Lizards are endemic species, found only in the Philippines.
After leaving Hong Kong, most of the reptiles will be held at the rescue centre of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines before being released back into the wild. The 39 surviving Philippine Forest Turtles, endemic to the Province of Palawan, will be turned over to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan who will subsequently turnover to the Katala Foundation Incorporated for quarantine. The cost of repatriation is being borne by the Philippine Government.
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7) Shrimpers Battling Over Turtle Rules
By Cain Buedeau, AP, Wed Aug 1, Lafayette, La. — Efforts to protect endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico have prompted strenuous complaints from the dwindling fleet of shrimpers blamed for drowning them in their nets, who say their own livelihoods are threatened.
By next March the federal government wants about 2,435 shrimp boats — most run by mom-and-pop operations — to install turtle-saving gear in their nets to protect the Kemp's ridley turtle, whose survival has gained renewed concern after BP's catastrophic 2010 Gulf oil spill. The spill prompted closer study of turtle deaths, though scientists have concluded that most were due to drowning, most likely in nets, and not effects of the oil spill.
Fishermen say the gear will cause them to lose shrimp, cut into their paltry profits and drive their waning industry into an even deeper hole. The fishermen also insist the new gear is unnecessary because they hardly ever catch turtles.
The gear is already required for trawlers in federal waters. The new rule would apply to nets used in state waters, closer to shore, where many shrimpers operate.
"These people are trying to put us out of work and put us on the food stamp line," said Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association.
Fishermen feel like they can't catch a break. Imports of cheap farm-raised shrimp, hurricanes, high fuel prices and the BP oil spill have driven about 4,000 boats off the water in Louisiana over the past decade. The number of commercial shrimpers is declining elsewhere, too.
The new measures are meant to protect turtles — and especially the endangered Kemp's ridley turtle. Measuring 100 pounds and 2 feet in length as adults, they're considered the world's smallest marine turtles.
Since the 1980s Mexico and the United States have partnered to bring the species back from the brink of extinction. After the BP oil spill began, scientists along the Gulf Coast rushed to collect Kemp's ridley and loggerhead turtle eggs from beach nests for incubation in Florida with the intent of releasing hatchlings in the safer waters of the Atlantic. Mexico also has taken measures to protect beach nesting areas and hatchlings.
Earlier this year the National Marine Fisheries Service — under pressure by environmental lawsuits — said it would develop rules to make nearly every commercial shrimper along the Gulf and South Atlantic install in nets the grill-like apparatus called a "turtle excluder device" to propel ensnared turtles to freedom. The grills are known as TEDs.
The agency says it hopes the rules will be completed and in effect by March 2013. Shrimpers, meanwhile, are sour and angry at the prospect.
That was the mood at Robert Boudreaux's net shop in Lafitte on Barataria Bay on a recent morning where a handful of the only shrimpers left in this town drank coffee as they watched the lightning-fast fingers of net makers knit nylon webbing.
"The net is like a giant funnel and as it funnels down; right when it gets to the point like that of a bottle you install the TED," Boudreaux, the net maker, explained.
But he said TEDs present many problems for small boats.
"You're not dragging in a swimming pool where everything's clean," he said. "You're dragging in water with trash and debris. Debris comes in there, jams in the TED, and then shoots out your shrimp!"
The TED has a contentious history.
In the 1980s, regulators first proposed Gulf fishermen use them, sparking what fishermen still refer to as the "the TED wars."
During the summer of 1989, an armada of shrimp boats, some flying skull and bones flags, formed blockades into the ports of Lake Charles, Houston and Corpus Christi to protest TED rules. Things got ugly with gunshots reported; a Coast Guard cutter's window was broken; boaters tried to run the blockades and protesters were sprayed with water cannons.
TEDs became the law anyway for trawlers in offshore federal waters. In response, many shrimpers stopped going far offshore.
Now, regulators want to close that loophole by requiring fishermen in state waters use TEDs. Regulators estimate about 5,515 turtles would be saved each year.
"It's clear that the skimmer fleet is taking a massive toll on sea turtles," said Teri Shore, program director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Network, a California-based group that's filed lawsuits to protect sea turtles.
A spike in dead turtles along the northern Gulf since early 2010 has added urgency. Since then, 1,519 sea turtles have been found stranded or dead. About 85 percent are Kemp's ridley turtles, National Marine Fisheries Service data shows. Federal scientists say most of the turtles died due to drowning, most likely in nets, and not from BP's oil spill.
Environmentalists say increased monitoring of the Gulf since the spill shows the shrimp fleet is killing turtles.
"What the oil spill did was shine a great big spotlight on dead turtles and they weren't covered in oil," said Carole Allen, founder of Help Endangered Animals-Ridley Turtles, a Texas group that's pushed for more regulations on the shrimp fleet since the 1980s.
Environmentalists also say the price for TEDs is small. Federal scientists say about 5 percent of a fisherman's catch is expected to be lost due to the gear, which costs up to $400 a net to install.
Yet shrimpers insist that's not the case.
"I've caught three turtles in my whole career," said Pete Gerica, 59.
Matthew Moreau, a 37-year-old shrimper, said he's caught a few turtles but when he does he returns them to the water. "Why would we keep them?"
To prove how many turtles are caught, this year the National Marine Fisheries Service is spending $2 million to send contractors out on shrimp boats to catalogue the catch. So far, 24 Kemp's ridley turtles have been caught while observers were onboard, NMFS said.
Shrimpers are hardly happy about observers on their cramped boats.
"Me and him didn't see eye to eye," said Henry Hess, a 53-yer-old fisherman about the observer he had on his boat. "I don't like people trying to get rid of my job. I wanted to throw him off my boat."
Requests by The Associated Press to interview the observers, hired by Florida-based IAP World Services Inc., were denied.
Fishermen aren't the only ones questioning the need for TEDs.
"Without doubt, uncategorically, it's the shrimper (who's more endangered)," said Jerald Horst, a retired Louisiana State University fisheries specialist.
In the late 1980s, there were roughly 16,500 shrimp net licenses issued in Louisiana. The number dropped to about 5,240 in 2007, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Meanwhile, the number of Kemp's ridley turtles is on the rebound. In 2009, more than 20,000 nests were counted on the same Mexican beaches where only 702 were found in the 1980s.
TEDs, though, may be the fishermen's best hope to survive, said Roy Crabtree, Southeast regional administrator at NMFS.
"Folks can say, `TEDs put us out of business,'" Crabtree said. "But the fact is TEDs saved the (offshore) shrimp fishery. It would have ended up being closed down under the Endangered Species Act. So, TEDs gave us a technological solution to a very serious problem."
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8) Florida State Record 87 Eggs in Largest Python from Everglades
ScienceDaily (Aug. 13, 2012) — University of Florida researchers curating a 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python, the largest found in Florida, discovered 87 eggs in the snake, also a state record.
Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus examined the internal anatomy of the 164.5-pound snake on August 10. The animal was brought to the Florida Museum from Everglades National Park as part of a long-term project with the U.S. Department of the Interior to research methods for managing the state's invasive Burmese python problem. Following scientific investigation, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the museum for about five years, and then returned for exhibition at Everglades National Park.
"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," said Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble."
Krysko said the snake was in excellent health and its stomach contained feathers that will be identified by museum ornithologists. Burmese pythons are known to prey on native birds, deer, bobcats, alligators and other large animals.
"A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants," Krysko said. "By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. It also highlights the actual problem, which is invasive species."
Native to Southeast Asia and first found in the Everglades in 1979, the Burmese python is one of the deadliest and most competitive predators in South Florida. With no known natural predator, population estimates for the python range from the thousands to hundreds of thousands. They were determined to be an established species in 2000 and are a significant concern, Krysko said.
"They were here 25 years ago, but in very low numbers and it was difficult to find one because of their cryptic behavior," Krysko said. "Now, you can go out to the Everglades nearly any day of the week and find a Burmese python. We've found 14 in a single day."
The rapid population growth led to recent state laws prohibiting people from owning Burmese pythons as pets or transporting the snakes across state lines without a federal permit. Florida residents also may hunt pythons in certain wildlife management areas during established seasons with a hunting license and required permits.
Everglades National Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are partnering with other agencies to address the increasing populations.
Skip Snow, a park wildlife biologist, said research of the snake's biology is important for understanding how to curtail the future spread of invasive species.
"I think one of the important facts about this animal is its reproductive capability," Snow said. "There are not many records of how many eggs a large female snake carries in the wild. This shows they're a really reproductive animal, which aids in their invasiveness."
Non-native species are considered invasive if they have a negative impact on native species or habitat, cause economic damage or pose a threat to human health and safety. Exotic snakes found in Florida are often the result of pet owners accidentally or intentionally releasing the animals. Citizens may dial 1-888-IVE-GOT1 to receive removal assistance by trained handlers.
Previous records for Burmese pythons captured in the wild were 16.8 feet long and 85 eggs.
"I'm really happy to be part of this team of researchers working on the Burmese python problem in Florida, and have been for a number of years," Krysko said. "But when I'm able to conduct this type of research here at the university, I'm able to teach new students and new researchers about python anatomy and discuss the problem with invasive species. We need all the help we can get, we really do."
Florida has the world's worst invasive reptile and amphibian problem. Krysko led a 20-year study published in September 2011 in Zootaxa showing 137 non-native species were introduced to Florida between 1863 and 2010. The study verified the pet trade as the No. 1 cause of the species' introductions and the Burmese python was one of 56 non-native species determined to be reproducing and established in the state.

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9) Some Journal Articles You Might Have Missed on Herps, or Things About Other Animals I Thought You Might Need To Know
Origin and control of the dominant time constant of salamander cone
photoreceptors
Jingjing Zang and Hugh R. Matthews
J. Gen. Physiol. 2012; 140(2): p. 219-233
http://jgp.rupress.org/cgi/content/abst ... /219?ct=ct

Comparison of various approaches to calculating the optimal hematocrit in
vertebrates
Heiko Stark and Stefan Schuster
J Appl Physiol. 2012; 113(3): p. 355-367
http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/a ... /355?ct=ct

Thermal acclimation of interactions: differential responses to temperature
change alter predator-prey relationship
Veronica S. Grigaltchik, Ashley J. W. Ward, and Frank Seebacher
Proc R Soc B. published 1 August 2012, 10.1098/rspb.2012.1277
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 77v1?ct=ct

Fast Molecular Evolution Associated with High Active Metabolic Rates in
Poison Frogs
Juan C. Santos
Mol. Biol. Evol. 2012; 29(8): p. 2001-2018
http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/conte ... 2001?ct=ct

Mothers adjust offspring sex to match the quality of the rearing
environment
Sarah R. Pryke and Lee A. Rollins
Proc R Soc B. published 1 August 2012, 10.1098/rspb.2012.1351
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 51v1?ct=ct
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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011, (Only 5 copies left)
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Diamonds in the Marsh - A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin
Barbara Brennessel
University Press of New England
2006 - 236 pp. 24 Color Illus. 35 B&W illus. 4 Tables. 6 x 9"
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:13 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 37 8/17/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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I’d like to thank the following for their donations: Judith Bachman, Nancy Blum, John S. Crickmer, Bill Belzer
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)

&
And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
Photos of covers of both books a move either atttached/and/or see below.
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Table of Contents
1) 2012 ARAV conference registration is open.
2) New Publication -Tortoise- published by The Turtle Conservancy
3)Sea Turtles don't adapt well to hotter beaches
4) Role of Familiarity and Preference in Reproductive Success in Ex Situ Breeding Programs
5) Frog population viability under present and future climate conditions: a Bayesian state-space approach
6) Evolutionary history of Scinax treefrogs on land-bridge islands in south-eastern Brazil
7) Protected areas facilitate species’ range expansions
8) Mysterious Snake Disease Decoded
9) Teen volunteers aid 20-year study on terrapins
10) Widespread Local 'Extinctions' in Tropical Forest ‘remnants’
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NEW BOOKS -I call the following three books “Everything you ever wanted to know about these turtles that is so far known books.” This includes: Natural History, Systematics, Fossil Records, Diet, Behavior, Reproduction, Diseases and Parasites Extensive Husbandry and Care Information, Conservation, Distribution Maps, and more... If you have these turtles and tortoises or are studying them you must have these books.
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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THE EUROPEAN POND TURTLE
The 'Emys orbicularis' is ranked among the most intensively researched reptiles in all countries where it occurs. This book covers systematics, descriptions, distribution, proven methods of captive breeding and much, much more. 167 full-color and b/w photos and figures, 2 maps of Europe, tables. 270 pp. Hardcover, by Manfred Rogner, $65.00
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FOR ALL BOOKS ABOVE AN BELOW TABLE OF CONTENTS ARE THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT HERE, ALL PROFITS GOES TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
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FOR MORE BOOKS NEW AND ON SALE see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
COMING SOON David M. Carroll’s autobiography, Archie Carr Bio, Turtle & Tortoise Care books “Malformed Frogs”, “Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians”, and turtle, sea turtle, frog and snake calendars and more.
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1) 2012 ARAV conference registration is open. You can register on-line by going to the ARAV website (www.arav.org) and follow the instructions under ARAV Conference (Register Now). Labs are filling, so don't be left out by delaying your registration.
Also, the ROOM BLOCK IS FILLING rapidly. Please make your hotel reservations now to be sure to be able to get the conference rate within the room block. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me

Wilbur B. Amand, VMD/Exec. Dir. / ARAV
721 Inverness Drive/West Chester, PA 19380
610-696-2347/fax 610-696-2348/ARAVETS@aol.com
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2) New Publication -Tortoise- published by The Turtle Conservancy, Publication is annual. To receive a copy, make a minimum donation of $25 (to cover printing and shipping costs) that can be made online here: turtleconservancy.org/support/
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3) Sea Turtles don't adapt well to hotter beaches
Science Daily, 7/2/12- For eastern Pacific populations of leatherback turtles, the 21st century could be the last. New research suggests that climate change could exacerbate existing threats and nearly wipe out the population. Deaths of turtle eggs and hatchlings in nests buried at hotter, drier beaches are the leading projected cause of the potential climate-related decline, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change by a research team from Drexel University, Princeton University, other institutions and government agencies.
Leatherbacks, the largest sea turtle species, are among the most critically endangered due to a combination of historical and ongoing threats including egg poaching at nesting beaches and juvenile and adult turtles being caught in fishing operations. The new research on climate dynamics suggests that climate change could impede this population's ability to recover. If actual climate patterns follow projections in the study, the eastern Pacific population of leatherback turtles will decline by 75 percent by the year 2100.
Leatherback turtle births naturally ebb and flow from year to year in response to climate variations, with more hatchlings, and rare pulses of male hatchlings, entering the eastern Pacific Ocean in cooler, rainier years. Female turtles are more likely to return to nesting beaches in Costa Rica to lay eggs in years when they have more jellyfish to eat, and jellyfish in the eastern Pacific are likely more abundant during cooler seasons. Turtle eggs and hatchlings are also more likely to survive in these cooler, rainier seasons associated with the La Niña climate phase, as this research team recently reported in the journal PLoS ONE. In addition, temperature inside the nest affects turtles' sex ratio, with most male hatchlings emerging during cooler, rainier seasons to join the predominantly-female turtle population.
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4) Role of Familiarity and Preference in Reproductive Success in Ex Situ Breeding Programs
Conservation Biology
Volume 26, Issue 4, pages 649–656, August 2012
1. MEGHAN S. MARTIN1,
2. DAVID J. SHEPHERDSON2
Article first published online: 19 JUL 2012
Author Information
1. 1 Conservation and Research Department, PDX Wildlife, PO Box 42604, Portland, OR 97202, U.S.A; email meghan@meghanmartin.com
2. 2 Conservation and Research Department, Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221, U.S.A.

Abstract:  Success of captive-breeding programs centers on consistent reproduction among captive animals. However, many individuals do not reproduce even when they are apparently healthy and presented with mates. Mate choice can affect multiple parameters of reproductive success, including mating success, offspring production, offspring survival, and offspring fecundity. We investigated the role of familiarity and preference on reproductive success of female Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) as measured by litter production, litter size, average number of young that emerged from the burrow, and average number of young that survived to 1 year. We conducted these studies on pygmy rabbits at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.) and Washington State University (Pullman, Washington, U.S.A.) from February to June 2006, 2007, and 2008. Before mating, we housed each female adjacent to 2 males (neighbors). Female preference for each potential mate was determined on the basis of behavioral interactions observed and measured between the rabbits. We compared reproductive success between females mated with neighbor and non-neighbor males and between females mated with preferred and nonpreferred males. Our findings suggest that mating with a neighbor compared with a non-neighbor and mating with a preferred neighbor compared with a nonpreferred neighbor increased reproductive success in female pygmy rabbits. Litter production, average number of young that emerged, and average number of young that survived to 1 year were higher in rabbits that were neighbors before mating than in animals who were not neighbors. Pairing rabbits with a preferred partner increased the probability of producing a litter and was significantly associated with increased litter size. In captive breeding programs, mates are traditionally selected on the basis of genetic parameters to minimize loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding coefficients. Our results suggest that integrating genetic information with social dynamics and behavioral measures of preference may increase the reproductive output of the pygmy rabbit captive-breeding program. Our findings are consistent with the idea that allowing mate choice and familiarity increase the reproductive success of captive-breeding programs for endangered species.
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5) Frog population viability under present and future climate conditions: a Bayesian state-space approach
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 81, Issue 5, pages 978–985, September 2012
1. R. McCaffery1,*,
2. A. Solonen2,3,
3. E. Crone1,†
Article first published online: 10 MAY 2012
Author Information
1. 1 Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA
2. 2 Department of Mathematics and Physics, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland
3. 3 Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
4. † Present address: Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, USA.
5.
* Correspondence author. amphibecs@gmail.com
Summary
1.  World-wide extinctions of amphibians are at the forefront of the biodiversity crisis, with climate change figuring prominently as a potential driver of continued amphibian decline. As in other taxa, changes in both the mean and variability of climate conditions may affect amphibian populations in complex, unpredictable ways. In western North America, climate models predict a reduced duration and extent of mountain snowpack and increased variability in precipitation, which may have consequences for amphibians inhabiting montane ecosystems.
2.  We used Bayesian capture–recapture methods to estimate survival and transition probabilities in a high-elevation population of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) over 10 years and related these rates to interannual variation in peak snowpack. Then, we forecasted frog population growth and viability under a range of scenarios with varying levels of change in mean and variance in snowpack.
3. Over a range of future scenarios, changes in mean snowpack had a greater effect on viability than changes in the variance of snowpack, with forecasts largely predicting an increase in population viability. Population models based on snowpack during our study period predicted a declining population.
4. Although mean conditions were more important for viability than variance, for a given mean snowpack depth, increases in variability could change a population from increasing to decreasing. Therefore, the influence of changing climate variability on populations should be accounted for in predictive models. The Bayesian modelling framework allows for the explicit characterization of uncertainty in parameter estimates and ecological forecasts, and thus provides a natural approach for examining relative contributions of mean and variability in climatic variables to population dynamics.
5. Longevity and heterogeneous habitat may contribute to the potential for this amphibian species to be resilient to increased climatic variation, and shorter-lived species inhabiting homogeneous ecosystems may be more susceptible to increased variability in climate conditions.

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6) Evolutionary history of Scinax treefrogs on land-bridge islands in south-eastern Brazil
Journal of Biogeography
Volume 39, Issue 9, pages 1733–1742, September 2012
1. Rayna C. Bell1,*,
2. Cinthia A. Brasileiro2,3,
3. Célio F. B. Haddad4,
4. Kelly R. Zamudio1
Article first published online: 17 APR 2012
Abstract
Aim  We investigated how Pleistocene refugia and recent (c. 12,000 years ago) sea level incursions shaped genetic differentiation in mainland and island populations of the Scinax perpusillus treefrog group.
Location  Brazilian Atlantic Forest, São Paulo state, south-eastern Brazil.
Methods  Using mitochondrial and microsatellite loci, we examined population structure and genetic diversity in three species from the S. perpusillus group, sampled from three land-bridge islands and five mainland populations, in order to understand the roles of Pleistocene forest fragmentation and sea level incursions on genetic differentiation. We calculated metrics of relatedness and genetic diversity to assess whether island populations exhibit signatures of genetic drift and isolation. Two of the three island populations in this study have previously been described as new species based on a combination of distinct morphological and behavioural characters, thus we used the molecular datasets to determine whether phenotypic change is consistent with genetic differentiation.
Results  Our analyses recovered three distinct lineages or demes composed of northern mainland São Paulo populations, southern mainland São Paulo populations, and one divergent island population. The two remaining island populations clustered with samples from adjacent mainland populations. Estimates of allelic richness were significantly lower, and estimates of relatedness were significantly higher, in island populations relative to their mainland counterparts.
Main conclusions  Fine-scale genetic structure across mainland populations indicates the possible existence of local refugia within São Paulo state, underscoring the small geographic scale at which populations diverge in this species-rich region of the Atlantic Coastal Forest. Variation in genetic signatures across the three islands indicates that the populations experienced different demographic processes after marine incursions fragmented the distribution of the S. perpusillus group. Genetic signatures of inbreeding and drift in some island populations indicate that small population sizes, coupled with strong ecological selection, may be important evolutionary forces driving speciation on land-bridge islands.
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7) Protected areas facilitate species’ range expansions
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the U.S. (PNAS) published online 8/14/12
1. Chris D. Thomasa,1,
2. Phillipa K. Gillinghama,2,
3. Richard B. Bradburyb,
4. David B. Royc,
5. Barbara J. Andersona,
6. John M. Baxterd,
7. Nigel A. D. Bourne,
8. Humphrey Q. P. Crickf,
9. Richard A. Findong,
10. Richard Foxe,
11. Jenny A. Hodgsona,
12. Alison R. Holth,
13. Mike D. Morecrofti,
14. Nina J. O’Hanlona,
15. Tom H. Oliverc,
16. James W. Pearce-Higginsj,
17. Deborah A. Procterk,
18. Jeremy A. Thomasl,
19. Kevin J. Walkerm,
20. Clive A. Walmsleyn,
21. Robert J. Wilsono, and
22. Jane K. Hilla
+ Author Affiliations
1. aDepartment of Biology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom;
2. bConservation Science Department, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Beds SG19 2DL, United Kingdom;
3. cNatural Environment Research Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, United Kingdom;
4. dPolicy and Advice Directorate, Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh EH12 7AT, United Kingdom;
5. eButterfly Conservation, Dorset BH20 5QP, United Kingdom;
6. fNatural England, Cambridge CB2 8DR, United Kingdom;
7. gDepartment of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, London SW1P 3JR, United Kingdom;
8. hDepartment of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom;
9. iNatural England, Cromwell House, Winchester SO23 7BT, United Kingdom;
10. jBritish Trust for Ornithology, Norfolk IP24 2PU, United Kingdom;
11. kJoint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough PE1 1JY, United Kingdom;
12. lDepartment of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom;
13. mBotanical Society of the British Isles, North Yorkshire HG1 5DG, United Kingdom;
14. nCountryside Council for Wales, Bangor LL57 2DW, United Kingdom; and
15. oCentre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn TR10 9EZ, United Kingdom
16. Edited by Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved July 25, 2012 (received for review June 15, 2012)
Abstract
The benefits of protected areas (PAs) for biodiversity have been questioned in the context of climate change because PAs are static, whereas the distributions of species are dynamic. Current PAs may, however, continue to be important if they provide suitable locations for species to colonize at their leading-edge range boundaries, thereby enabling spread into new regions. Here, we present an empirical assessment of the role of PAs as targets for colonization during recent range expansions. Records from intensive surveys revealed that seven bird and butterfly species have colonized PAs 4.2 (median) times more frequently than expected from the availability of PAs in the landscapes colonized. Records of an additional 256 invertebrate species with less-intensive surveys supported these findings and showed that 98% of species are disproportionately associated with PAs in newly colonized parts of their ranges. Although colonizing species favor PAs in general, species vary greatly in their reliance on PAs, reflecting differences in the dependence of individual species on particular habitats and other conditions that are available only in PAs. These findings highlight the importance of current PAs for facilitating range expansions and show that a small subset of the landscape receives a high proportion of colonizations by range-expanding species
• ↵1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: chris.thomas@york.ac.uk.
• ↵2Present address: School of Applied Sciences, Christchurch House, Bournemouth University, Poole BH12 5BB, United Kingdom.
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8) Mysterious Snake Disease Decoded
ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2012) — A novel virus has been identified as the possible cause of a common but mysterious disease that kills a significant number of pet snakes all over the world, thanks to research led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) -- and three snakes named Juliet, Balthazar and Larry.
The virus, previously not thought to infect snakes at all, appears to cause "inclusion body disease." Long the bane of zoo officials and exotic pet owners, the deadly illness spreads among boas and pythons in captivity, causing micro clumps of clustered proteins to form inside the snake, leading to bacterial infections, neurological problems, anorexia and withering, leading to death.
The new work, described this week in the American Society for Microbiology's new open-access journal mBio, paves the way toward developing diagnostics and treatments, which may make it possible to eradicate the disease from snake collections worldwide.
"It's a devastating disease when it gets into a collection, zoo or aquarium because it's essentially fatal every time," said Joe DeRisi, PhD, the senior author of the study, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator (HHMI) and vice chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF.
Surprisingly, he said, the cause of the illness appears to be a completely new set of viruses of a type known as an arenavirus. The discovery came as a complete a shock to the team of scientists because, while arenaviruses are common in rodents and cause extremely nasty infections in other mammals, nobody knew they could infect reptiles.
"Now we have found that they infect snakes, as well," said Mark Stenglein, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF who is the first author on the paper.
Stenglein, DeRisi and their colleagues isolated at least two strains of the arenaviruses from half a dozen snakes afflicted with inclusion body disease. They could find no traces of the same viruses in snakes that were free from disease.
Arenaviruses infect mostly rodents but occasionally people, and can cause fatal hemorrhagic diseases like Lassa fever, which kills thousands of people every year in Africa. There is no evidence, however, that a snake has ever transmitted an arenavirus infection to a person despite the fact that snake owners and veterinarians handle infected snakes all the time, said DeRisi.
For years, many experts have hypothesized that a virus or some other infectious pathogen might cause inclusion body disease because of evidence that it spreads easily from snake to snake. No definitive cause has been identified until now, and the discovery may never have occurred if not for a random sequence of events, including cases of inclusion body disease in an aquarium collection, a friendly DNA sequencing competition among scientists, a postdoctoral researcher who was looking for a project, and a snake owner worried about her favorite pet.
The story began with a snake named Larry, and his owner, Taryn Hook of San Jose, California. Before Larry, Hook had lost two snakes to inclusion body disease, and, in early 2009, she became convinced Larry had it as well. He was developing bacterial infections similar to what Hook had seen with her two other snakes. Knowing there was no treatment or cure, she was desperate to find anyone who might save her snake.
Hook took Larry to see the exotic pet veterinarian Chris Sanders, DVM, owner of the nearby Wildwood Veterinary Hospital. Sanders had just attended a conference at which he had heard DeRisi talking about his Virochip DNA microarray technology and its ability to identify viruses, fungi and other pathogens -- including at least one exotic pet disease, a mysterious parrot virus -- when no other gene probing technology could. The parrot virus was discovered by DeRisi and Don Ganem, MD, at the time an HHMI investigator and professor of microbiology and medicine at UCSF, in 2008.
Could DeRisi help save Larry the snake as well? Sanders suggested to Hook she had nothing to lose by asking.
DeRisi was in his office one morning in early 2009 when he spied a hand-written letter in his stack of daily mail. Inside was a plea from Hook describing Larry's illness. She had heard he had found the cause of a mysterious parrot disease. Would he do for snakes what he did for parrots? She enclosed a picture of herself with Larry.
Having never heard of the disease, DeRisi set the letter aside and it was lost under a pile of paper. Only months later, while cleaning his office, did he stumbled across it again. He was about to toss it away, but in scanning the letter again he noticed Hook mentioned the local exotic pet veterinarian Sanders. So he called, they spoke, and DeRisi decided to take on the project.
"It satisfied all the criteria as an interesting disease," DeRisi said. But first he had to find samples to test from infected snakes.
Around the same time, inclusion body disease was diagnosed in a snake at the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Also discovered were snake mites, which are believed to be a possible vector for passing the disease from snake to snake.
Academy veterinarian Freeland Dunker decided to test all of the boas exposed to the infected snake for the disease -- a complicated procedure requiring a surgical biopsy of the liver. He discovered a few more were infected, and all of them had to be euthanized to prevent any spread of the disease. Dunker asked his pathologist, Drury Reavill DVM if she knew of any current research being done on inclusion body disease for which tissues from the euthanized snakes could be used. As it turned out, Reavill had already been in touch with DeRisi's group and knew they were looking for samples.
The effort to find the virus went into overdrive after Stenglein joined the DeRisi laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and took on the project. But before he and DeRisi could find traces of the virus they needed to know the sequence of the boa constrictor genome so they could distinguish snake DNA sequences from viral sequences in the diseased animals. The problem was that there were no snake genomes available.
Thus, their first step was to sequence the entire boa constrictor genome, and they had to start with a snake that they were sure was free of inclusion body disease. At the Academy, Dunker helped in this effort by collecting blood from a boa constrictor named Balthazar, an education animal which was housed separately, had no contact with the rest of the boa snake collection and tested negative for the inclusion body disease.
Substantial help in the sequencing effort came from scientists participating in a friendly competition called the Assemblathon 2, which was sponsored by UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis. Balthazar's DNA was sequenced and a number of groups around the country competed to build (assemble) the most complete genome sequence possible using the raw data.
Characterizing Balthazar's genome paved the way for finding the arenavirus in the midst of millions of other sequences of the snakes' DNA. This "needle in the haystack" problem was solved using custom software written in the DeRisi lab, and made available for free on his website.
The team found two arenavirus strains in the snakes -- a surprise in itself; but in addition, they observed that theviruses did not look like your ordinary arenaviruses. They looked like distant relatives of other arenaviruses but had protein coats that were more similar to those of Ebola viruses. Like arenaviruses, Ebola virus can cause fatal hemorrhagic fever when transmitted to humans. Neither of those viruses has ever been known to infect reptiles, and although it had been postulated that they share a common ancestor, no such virus linking them had ever been discovered.
Once the virus was computationally identified, the team had to find a way to grow the virus so that it could be studied further. Because the virus infects boa constrictors, the ideal way to grow it, the team reasoned, would be to infect boa constrictor cells, but no such cell line existed. So DeRisi and Stenglein turned to a third snake, named Juliet.
Juliet was a red tailed boa owned by Chris Sanders, who'd had her since his days as a young veterinary student. She was about 20 years old when Balthazar's genome was being assembled and was dying of lymphoma. When she ultimately succumbed to the cancer, Sanders harvested her kidneys and the DeRisi laboratory was able to use them to make a boa constrictor cell line.
The scientists took virus from diseased snakes, added it to Juliet's kidney cells growing in petri dishes and showed that the snakes accumulated exactly the same "clumps" of proteins as had been observed in the sick snakes from the Academy. Antibodies raised against the virus showed that these clumps were formed from arenavirus protein, further strengthening the association of this new virus and the deadly disease.
In solving this longstanding veterinary mystery and setting the stage for treatments, vaccines, and perhaps even eradication of this disease, the scientists also discovered an unexpected new branch of virus biology: The viruses they found appear to be a combination of arena viruses and filoviruses, neither of which has been known to infect reptiles.
In addition to the authors from UCSF, authors of this study are affiliated with Wildwood Veterinary Hospitals in Portola Valley, CA; Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Zoo/Exotic Pathology Services in Sacramento, CA; and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
This work was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health through grant # 5T32HL007185-34, and PSWRCE, NIH grant U54 AI065359.
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), via Newswise.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
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9) Teen volunteers aid 20-year study on terrapins
http://www.app.com/article/20120731/NJN ... ck_check=1 for video produced by writer on his smartphone. The video stars some of the volunteers and their projects.

Waretown, New Jersey, APP.com 7/31/12— England native Sarah Walker donned her waiters for a boat trip Friday on the Barnegat Bay. She said she doesn’t mind missing the Olympics in her home country because she’s too busy learning about turtles on the Jersey Shore.

“I am going to study biology at a university in the fall so I thought this would give me a good look at how scientists work. It has been great fun,’’ she said.

Walker, 17, is among eight members of the EarthWatch Institute’s Teen Team program that arrived in the United States a week ago. The team has been staying at the Lighthouse Environmental Resource Center in Ocean Township and has been assisting a 20-year terrapin study by Drexel University.

The team’s coordinator, Kim Coyne said EarthWatch draws volunteers on a nine-day rotation from around the world. She said that this summer volunteers came from Japan, Canada and England.

“Their duties include checking the turtle traps, helping out on the boat and assisting in the work stations at the center,’’ Coyne said. “The teen program involves 15 to 18 years old. A lot of them are considering science as a career. For some, the appeal is the destination. For others, it is the type of field work they will be involved with.’’

Walker said she became familiar with EarthWatch when her father was part of an EarthWatch adult expedition to Mongolia.

Fellow EarthWatch volunteer Brett Connolly, 16, of West Newbury, Mass. said: “I’ve always been interested in animals especially reptiles and I want to go into biology.’’

Drexel University Professor Hal Avery leads the terrapin project, which began in 2006 and involves undergraduate and graduate students conducting research within the sedge islands of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge off Barnegat Bay.

The project’s focus is to study terrapin mortality within the Barnegat Bay, including their population, the predators they face and their mating habits.

Drexel University graduate student Abigail Dominy has been with the project for three years.

“We made a cool discovery this summer about nesting turtles. We found one female who had swam from Carvel Island to Conklin Island. They are 5 kilometers apart. We didn’t expect to see the same females nesting at both islands,’’ she said.

Dominy said this revealed the turtles were “getting around quite a bit.’’ Dominy also is looking at terrapin vision.

“Terrapins can see more colors in the ultraviolet spectrum than humans can. Certain females might breed with males of a specific color,’’ she said.

Dominy said members of the research team often find injured terrapins in the water or on the road and bring them back to the center to nurse them back to health.

Anika Vittands, another of Avery’s students, said: “We set up cameras in June on several sedge islands, which revealed that muskrats, red fox and crows were disturbing nesting areas.’’

Avery said this was a surprise to the researchers. “We were not aware that muskrats were a predator to them.‘’
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10) Widespread Local 'Extinctions' in Tropical Forest ‘remnants’
ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2012) — The small fragments of tropical forests left behind after deforestation are suffering extensive species 'extinction', according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Publishing August 14 in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers carried out a comprehensive assessment to estimate the long-term impact of forest fragmentation and hunting on tropical biodiversity in Brazil.
They studied the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil, including the region's largest and least disturbed old-growth forest remnants, and found that remaining habitat fragments had been virtually emptied of their forest wildlife.
White-lipped peccaries were completely wiped out, while jaguars, lowland tapirs, woolly spider-monkeys and giant anteaters were virtually 'extinct'. Defaunation even extended to forest remnants with relatively intact canopy structures.
Widespread agricultural expansion has transformed the world's tropical forests, leaving few remaining blocks of primary forests unaltered by humans. There have been scattered reports of large mammal extinctions throughout Brazil, but the conservation value of a rapidly growing number of small forest remnants in highly-fragmented tropical forest landscapes has been hotly debated.
Senior author Prof Carlos Peres, of UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, said: "You might expect forest fragments with a relatively intact canopy structure to still support high levels of biodiversity. Our study demonstrates that this is rarely the case, unless these fragments are strictly protected from hunting pressure.
"There is no substitute for strict protection of remaining forest fragments in biodiversity hotspots like the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Protection of forest cover alone is not enough to sustain tropical forest species, as overhunting compounds the detrimental effects of small habitat area and isolation."
Drawing on information from wildlife surveys and local interviews conducted at 196 forest fragments spanning a vast region covering 252.670 km2, Dr Peres worked in partnership with Dr Gustavo Canale of the State University of Mato Grosso (UNEMAT). They investigated the effects of anthropogenic landscape alteration and other impacts, such as hunting, on the survival of large vertebrate species.
The researchers travelled more than 205,000km by treacherous dirt roads to uncover the largest and least disturbed forest fragments left in this vast region of the Atlantic Forest.
"We uncovered a staggering process of local extinctions of mid-sized and large mammals," said Dr Canale.
Around 90 per cent of the original Atlantic Forest cover (about 1.5 million km2) has been converted to agriculture, pasture and urban areas, and most of the remaining forest patches are smaller than a football pitch. On average, forest patches retained only four of 18 mammal species surveyed.
This study -- the first to document the loss of five large tropical forest mammals from one of the world's most endangered tropical biodiversity hotspots -- highlights the critical importance of the few legally protected areas established in the Atlantic Forest.
"We found that the protected areas retained the most species-rich forest fragments in the region," said Dr Canale. "We therefore recommend the implementation of new strictly protected areas, such as National Parks and Biological Reserves, including forest fragments containing populations of endangered, rare and endemic species, particularly those facing imminent extinctions."
However, many of the existing protected areas are far from secure.
Prof Peres said: "A growing number of reserves are being degraded, downsized, if not entirely degazetted, so holding on to the last remaining large tracts of primary forests will be a crucial part of the conservation mission this century."
With the global population projected to surpass nine billion by 2050, tropical forests will face increasing threats posed by anthropogenic land-use change and overexploitation.
"Human populations are exploding and very few areas remain untouched by the expanding cornucopia of human impacts," said Prof Peres. "It is therefore essential to enforce protection in areas that are nominally protected 'on paper'. The future of tropical forest wildlife depends on it."
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of East Anglia.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

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Volume # 12 Issue # 38 8/22/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Thank you Rebecca E. Choquette, Dave Lee, Global Wildlife Trust, Wes Papineau for your Donations.
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)

&
And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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Table of Contents
1) New Study: Citizens Play Crucial Role in Identifying Species That Need Endangered Species Act Protection
2) Democracy Works for Endangered Species Act, Study Finds; Citizen Involvement Key in Protecting and Saving Threatened Species
3) The Paper above two articles are based on---Citizen Involvement in the U.S. Endangered Species Act
4) 2013 Year of the Snake Logo Contest
5) Lucy Cooke and the war on cute wildlife
6) Galapagos' new star tortoise a prolific dad
7) Tortoise Matters -Improving standards for captive chelonian in the UK
8) Even Turtles Need a Nice Place to Call Home
9) Flexible Snake Armor Could Inspire Abrasion-Resistant Materials
10) Puerto Rican Anoles Are Chilling In Florida – New Research By Jason Kolbe And Colleagues
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NEW BOOKS -I call the following three books “Everything you ever wanted to know about these turtles that is so far known books.” This includes: Natural History, Systematics, Fossil Records, Diet, Behavior, Reproduction, Diseases and Parasites Extensive Husbandry and Care Information, Conservation, Distribution Maps, and more... If you have these turtles and tortoises or are studying them you must have these books.
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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THE EUROPEAN POND TURTLE
The 'Emys orbicularis' is ranked among the most intensively researched reptiles in all countries where it occurs. This book covers systematics, descriptions, distribution, proven methods of captive breeding and much, much more. 167 full-color and b/w photos and figures, 2 maps of Europe, tables. 270 pp. Hardcover, by Manfred Rogner, $65.00
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COMING SOON Archie Carr Bio, Turtle & Tortoise Care books, “Malformed Frogs”, and turtle, sea turtle, frog and snake calendars and more.
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1) New Study: Citizens Play Crucial Role in Identifying Species That Need Endangered Species Act Protection
PORTLAND, Ore.— A new study published today in the journal Science finds that citizen petitions and litigation “play a valuable role in identifying at-risk species” for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The study compares the degree of imperilment of species that were listed at the sole initiation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with those protected after a petition or litigation by citizens. The researchers determined that “citizen-initiated species are significantly more threatened than FWS-initiated species.”
“This study shows that citizens, independent scientists and groups like ours are often at the forefront of determining which plants and animals need help the most,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has helped secure protections for more than 500 species including polar bears, Mexican spotted owls, jaguars and Puget Sound killer whales. “Limiting citizens’ access to that process would leave many, many species without the protection they need to avoid extinction.”
The results of the study are important because citizen action to protect species under the Endangered Species Act has recently been criticized by Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who argue that petitions and litigation are preventing the Fish and Wildlife Service from prioritizing its work to protect species. The agency recently sought, and was granted, a cap on how much money it can spend responding to citizen petitions to protect species.
“This study clearly documents that, contrary to criticisms from Congressman Hastings and his ilk, citizen petitions and litigation are directing the Fish and Wildlife Service’s resources toward the most imperiled species,” said Greenwald.
The study further determined that citizen-initiated species were more likely to be in conflict with development than species listed solely by the agency, suggesting that citizens are moving protection for species that are more likely to be controversial. Indeed, the study concludes: “Calls to streamline the ESA and to rely exclusively on FWS to identify and list species might mean that a significant number of species that deserve legal protection — especially those that are politically unpopular because of the potential to obstruct development projects — would be left out in the cold. “
For Immediate Release, August 16, 2012
Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495
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2) Democracy Works for Endangered Species Act, Study Finds; Citizen Involvement Key in Protecting and Saving Threatened Species
ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2012) — When it comes to protecting endangered species, the power of the people is key, an analysis of listings under the U.S. Endangered Species Act finds.
The journal Science is publishing the analysis comparing listings of "endangered" and "threatened" species initiated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that administers the Endangered Species Act, to those initiated by citizen petition.
"We found that citizens, on average, do a better job of picking species that are threatened than does the Fish and Wildlife Service. That's a really interesting and surprising finding," says co-author Berry Brosi, a biologist and professor of environmental studies at Emory University.
Brosi conducted the analysis with Eric Biber, a University of California, Berkeley School of Law professor who specializes in environmental law.
Controversy has surrounded the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since it became law nearly 40 years ago. A particular flashpoint is the provision that allows citizens to petition the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list any unprotected species, and use litigation to challenge any FWS listing decision. Critics of this provision say the FWS wastes time and resources processing the stream of citizen requests. Another argument is that many citizen-initiated listings are driven less by concern for a species than by political motives, such as blocking a development project.
The study authors counter that their findings bolster the need to keep the public highly involved.
"There are some 100,000 species of plants and animals in North America, and asking one federal agency to stay on top of that is tough," Biber says. "If there were restrictions on the number of citizen-initiated petitions being reviewed, the government would lose a whole universe of people providing high-quality information about species at risk, and it is likely that many species would be left unprotected."
The researchers built a database of the 913 domestic and freshwater species listed as "threatened" or "endangered" under the ESA from 1986 on. They examined whether citizens or the FWS initiated the petition, whether it was litigated, and whether it conflicted with an economic development project. They also looked at the level of biological threat to each of the species, using FWS threat scores in reports the agency regularly makes to Congress.
The results showed that listings resulting from citizen-initiated petitions are more likely to pose conflicts with development, but those species are also significantly more threatened, on average, than the species in FWS-initiated petitions.
"The overriding message is that citizen involvement really does work in combination with the oversight of the FWS," Brosi says. "It's a two-step system of checks and balances that is important to maintain."
The public brings diffuse and specialized expertise to the table, from devoted nature enthusiasts to scientists who have spent their whole careers studying one particular animal, insect or plant. Public involvement can also help counter the political pressure inherent in large development projects. The FWS, however, is unlikely to approve the listing of a species that is not truly threatened or endangered, so some petitions are filtered out.
"You could compare it to the trend of crowdsourcing that the Internet has spawned," Brosi says. "It's sort of like crowdsourcing what species need to be protected."
Many people associate the success of the ESA with iconic species like the bald eagle and the whooping crane.
"To me," Brosi says, "the greater accomplishment of the act is its protection of organisms that don't get the same amount of attention as a beautiful bird or mammal."
For example, the FWS turned down a petition to list the Mojave Desert population of the Desert Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, but that decision was reversed. The Desert Tortoise is now in the ESA highest threat category, and populations of the entire species are thought to have declined by more than 90 percent during the past 20 years.
"One of the biggest threats it faces is urban and suburban expansion, which could have made it politically challenging for the FWS," Brosi notes. "And yet, the Desert Tortoise is a keystone species that helps support dozens of other species by creating habitats in its burrows and dispersing seeds."
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3) The Paper above two articles are based on---Citizen Involvement in the U.S. Endangered Species Act
Science 8/17/12
1. Berry J. Brosi1,*,
2._ Eric G. N. Biber2
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
2. 2School of Law, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
1. ↵*Author for correspondence. E-mail: bbrosi@emory.edu

The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been controversial since it became law nearly 40 years ago. One of its most-debated provisions is citizen involvement in selecting species that become formally protected under the law (“listing”). Citizens can petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list any unprotected species and can independently use litigation to challenge any FWS listing decision (1, 2). Some contend that these provisions interfere with the ability of FWS to prioritize scarce resources for species that most need protection (e.g., 3, 4).
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4) 2013 Year of the Snake Logo Contest

In 2013, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) will launch its Year of the Snake campaign to raise awareness about the conservation status of snakes and their conservation needs. We are now seeking submissions for the logo for the 2013 Year of the Snake campaign!

The logo selected will be high profile; being used in various places, including the State of the Snake document, newsletters, website, posters, and may be used on Year of the Snake merchandise.

Logo Requirements: we ask that submitted logos bear the text “2013 Year of the Snake” and that the text be legible when reduced to a 1” height. Also, the chosen logo will need to work equally in color as in black and white formats. All logos submitted for this contest will become the property of PARC.

Submission: please send your proposed logos to parcyearofthesnake@gmail.com with the subject line “YOS LOGO”. Although we will eventually require a high resolution file of the winning logo, please send only lower resolution JPG, GIF, or TIF files for the initial submission.

Deadline: The deadline for logo submissions is October 1st, 2012. The winning logo will be announced mid-October. The winning logo designer will be featured in the 2013 State of the Snake document that will go out to all PARC members and on the PARC website.

We know there is a great deal of artistic talent within the PARC family and can’t wait to see what you create!
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5) Lucy Cooke and the war on cute wildlife
The Guardian, UK, 8/14/12---Forget fluffy pandas and doe-eyed forest creatures. This TV presenter is all about the ugly, the freakish, the unloved
Bulbous nose, Donald Trump hair … that'll be the proboscis monkey, then. Photograph: Alamy
Zoologist, film-maker and explorer Lucy Cooke is leading a one-woman war on the tyranny of cute. Not for her the heart-squeezingly charismatic mega fauna of pandas, penguins and baby polar bears, not when there are natural wonders such as flying snakes and bats that use a carnivorous pitcher plant for a toilet. Indeed, while most people visit Borneo to respectfully stroke an orangutan, Cooke prefers that country's proboscis monkey with its giant bulbous nose, soft pot belly, Donald Trump hair and permanent erection that looks like the world's least appealing chilli pepper.
"I'm trying to bring a bit of positive PR to the ugly, the unloved, the freaks," she says. To that end, Cooke has a show called Freaks and Creeps airing on National Geographic Wild this summer. Her journey began when she spent six months travelling around South America and writing her widely read Amphibian Avenger blog. Later Cooke tried – and failed – to get a film commissioned about the desperate plight of the planet's amphibians; a third of which are threatened with extinction, a situation she likens to the wiping out of the dinosaurs.
While in China researching a panda documentary she discovered the huge amounts of donated money to support panda-breeding factories that simply pump out bumper crops of doe-eyed babies every year while doing little to protect the animal's environment. Meanwhile, the giant Chinese salamander - the world's largest amphibian - is critically endangered, but struggles to get any conservation funding at all.
"You know why that is," Cooke asks? "Because it looks like a 6ft penis with feet. But nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse."
When National Geographic asked Cooke if she'd like to film her own show she said yes, as long as she could focus on the odd, the ugly and the unloved. "If the show has a message," Cooke insists, "it's that it's not just the cute guys that need saving. So, stuff the panda, save the salamander!"

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6) Galapagos' new star tortoise a prolific dad
By Gonzalo Solano, nzherald.co.nz
Thursday August 16, 2012
Lonesome George's inability to reproduce made him a global symbol of efforts to halt the disappearance of species. And while his kind died with him, that doesn't mean the famed giant tortoise leaves no heir apparent.
The Galapagos Islands have another centenarian who fills a shell pretty well. He's Diego, a prolific, bossy, macho reptile.
Unlike Lonesome George, who died on June 24, Diego symbolises not a dying breed but one resurrected.
Having sired hundreds of offspring, Diego has been central to bringing the Espanola Island type of tortoise back from near extinction, rangers at Galapagos National Park say.
Diego was plucked from Espanola by expeditioners sometime between 1900 and 1930 and wound up in the San Diego Zoo in California, said the head of the park's conservation programme, Washington Tapia.
When the US zoo returned him to the Galapagos in 1975, the only other known living members of his species were two males and 12 females.

Chelonoidis hoodensis - some consider it a species, some a subspecies - had been all but destroyed, mostly by domestic animals introduced by humans that ate their eggs.
So Diego and the others were placed in a corral at the park's breeding centre on Santa Cruz, the main island in the isolated archipelago whose unique flora and fauna helped inspire Charles Darwin's work on evolution.
Diego was so dominant and aggressive, bullying other males with bites and shoves, that he had to be moved eight years later to his own pen, with five of the females. The reptiles are not monogamous.
"Diego is very territorial, including with humans," said his keeper, Fausto Llerena.
"He once bit me, and two weeks ago he tried (again) to bite me. When you enter his pen, Diego comes near and his intentions aren't friendly."
A US-based herpetologist for the Galapagos Conservancy, Linda Cayot, says Diego is the most sexually active of the bunch because he's the biggest and the oldest of the males.
"In tortoises, the biggest dominates. It's not that the others aren't active. It's just that he's dominant," she says.
Tapia says it is impossible to know Diego's age, but he is well over 100. He estimates Diego is the father of 40 to 45 per cent of the 1781 tortoises born in the breeding programme and placed on Espanola island.
At least 14 species of giant tortoise originally inhabited the islands 1000 kilometres off Ecuador's Pacific coast and 10 survive, their features developing in sync with their environment, as Darwin observed.
Espanola, which encompasses 130 square kilometres, is arid, and in order to reach vegetation high off the ground, the tortoises there developed the longest legs and necks of any tortoise species in the archipelago.
Diego is nearly 90 centimetres long, weighs 80 kilograms and has a black saddleback shell.
Llerena says tourists take to him automatically, if from a safe distance.
"I think he's going to be the successor to Lonesome George, the new favourite."
A visit to Lonesome George became de rigueur for celebrities and common folk alike among the 180,000 people who annually visit the Galapagos. Among his last visitors were Richard Gere, Prince Charles of England and Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and family.
Before humans arrived in the Galapagos, the six islands were home to tens of thousands of giant tortoises. Numbers were down to about 3000 in 1974, but the recovery programme run by the national park and the Charles Darwin Foundation has succeeded in increasing the overall population to 20,000.
The offspring of Diego and his male rivals in the corrals of Santa Cruz have themselves been reproducing in the wild on Espanola Island since 1990.
"We can now say that the reproduction of this species is guaranteed," said Tapia.
Cayot was asked whether having so many children of the same few parents interbreeding on Espanola could hurt the breed's long-term prospects.
"It could be a problem," she said.
"But it is more important to save the species."
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7) Tortoise Welfare UK -In association with Norfolk Tortoise Club-
Welfare Conference------Tortoise Matters -Improving standards for captive chelonian in the UK

Kindly supported by Colchester Zoo
Saturday, 17th November
10.00am till 4.30pm (6 CPD hours)
Location: Colchester Zoo, Maldon Rd, Stanway, Colchester CO30SL
Stuart McArthur B Vet Med MRCVS
Stuart McArthur is one of the UK’s leading authorities on chelonian medicine and author of a number of veterinary books and journals. Stuart will be talking about the medical treatment of tortoises and turtles, illustrating his talk with case studies drawn from his veterinary experience.

Eleanor Tirtasana & Dillon Prest: Eleanor and Dillon organise and run Norfolk Tortoise Club, which has a thriving membership, and are active in working for, and promoting better care of captive tortoises in the UK. They will be introducing Tortoise Welfare UK, and discussing how the living standards of tortoises and turtles can be improved.
Frances Baines MA VetMB MRCVS: Frances is a retired vet and specialist in UVB Light. Frances will be talking about her research into the specific UV light needs of different exotic reptile species.
Henk Zwartepoorte: Henk is the curator of reptiles and amphibians at Rotterdam Zoo and is well known for his work with the Turtle Survival Alliance Europe (TSA Europe) and European Studbook Foundation. Henk will be talking about the importance of maintaining genetic diversity in reptiles, which could be achieved by developing a partnership between zoos and private enthusiasts, thus allowing healthy breeding colonies to be established.
Jane Williams MA BSc MSc: Jane organises and runs Tortoise South East and has been involved in chelonian welfare for over 30 years. Jane will be talking about her experiences in dealing with tortoises and the results of her research into keeping tortoises in Britain.
PC Andrew Long: Andrew is a local Wildlife crime officer, (Zoo Liaison) and has a keen interest in reptiles. Andrew will be giving a presentation on exotic animal crime.
£35 per person
Pre-book only inclusive of refreshments and lunch
For more details or to reserve your place please email:
tortoisewelfareuk@gmail.com or telephone: 01692 402687
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8) Even Turtles Need a Nice Place to Call Home
By Julie Lasky, NYTimes, Published: August 15, 2012
Two years ago, the children’s-book author and illustrator Jan Brett and her husband, Joseph Hearne, a bassist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, installed a turtle pond on the grounds of their two-acre home in Norwell, Mass. It was inspired by her plan to write a book about an Eastern box turtle with wildflowers and ferns sprouting from its shell. In “Mossy,” due out next month (G. P. Putnam’s Sons; $17.99), the turtle spends some unhappy months on display at a natural-history museum until a penitent biologist restores it to its habitat.
Ms. Brett, 62, waited and waited for a turtle to move into her pond. Now, mere weeks before the book’s publication, one is said to be living there. A suspicious reporter had questions, which Ms. Brett answered good-naturedly by phone.
You’ve done books about hedgehogs. You’ve done books about chickens. You’ve even done books about gingerbread babies. How did you get started on turtles?
We were at our summer place dangling our heels into the lake at the end of our dock, when I looked down and saw what looked like waterweeds in the shape of a turtle. It rose out of the water. It was a snapper turtle growing all these waterweeds on its back. So I got the idea: what about a book about a turtle that grows a garden on its back? But then I thought it needed a terrestrial turtle. The turtle in my pond is an Eastern painted turtle, which is aquatic.
Before we talk about your turtle, can we discuss the pond?
We had it made specifically for turtles and for the book. We made it quite deep, so they could hibernate there, below the frost line. We had basking rocks made that are a little above the pond surface.
Basking rocks?
Even though aquatic turtles live in water, they need to haul out — that’s the expression used — and dry their shells.
Then what happened?
We knew we were on the right track when we got a giant bullfrog. That was last year. This year, we have tadpoles.
So when did this alleged turtle show up?
In June. We have wetlands beyond the house. I was afraid turtles wouldn’t come because they were enamored of those ponds. Finally, one moved in. I think the sound of the bullfrogs did it. In the Northeast, so many ponds form in the spring, but then they dry up in the summer. When the pond dries up, tadpoles aren’t able to survive.
Are you saying that turtles are reassured by the sound of bullfrogs because they know they’ll find a pond deep enough to remain in year-round?
That’s my theory. A herpetologist following an Eastern box turtle noticed that, in very dry weather, it would tap its foot on the ground, and then earthworms, which are its food, would rise to the surface thinking it was raindrops. When I read that, I was incredulous, but if you’re a turtle or any kind of animal on the ground, it’s your survival. Nature is complex.
You’re sure you didn’t just pick up a turtle at a pet store?
I thought about it. But, no, there was no pet-shop intervention. You don’t know what kind of disease might appear. I also thought of buying one from the Internet, but if you take a turtle and put it in a pond, it will crawl off and go where it wants to go.
Is it possible that an Eastern box turtle like Mossy will find its way to the pond?
I had been hoping, and it still might happen. Eastern box turtles are constantly on the move in ponds and rivers, where their food source is. They browse. So I planted strawberries and lingonberries and different flowers around the pond to attract them. There’s lobelia, joe-pye weeds, cattails, waterlilies, tons of ferns. I even planted squash.
You’ve owned some of the animals that served as models for the characters in your books. Hedgehogs and chickens spring to mind. And now you have a turtle. Have you considered more traditional pets for inspiration?
I’ve done a lot of bear books, and that’s because it’s easy to put the features of a human being on a bear: bears can stand up, and they have eyes in the front of their head. It’s the reason I don’t do many reptiles in my books. I’m doing a chicken Cinderella at the moment. Chickens have very expressive body language.
Would you recommend other people install turtle ponds?
I would. And my biggest recommendation is to have two big rocks where you can invite someone over and sit. We have breakfast at the pond every morning, with fresh eggs from the chickens. I cook them up, and I make my own bread. The turtle doesn’t usually come out at that time. She comes up at about 9. I say “she,” but I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl.
What do you look at from your perch?
So many different kinds of dragonflies and damselflies. I’ve identified three different kinds, but don’t ask me what they are. The cardinal flowers are my favorite because hummingbirds come to them. We have black-eyed daisies and, in fall, New England asters, which reseed themselves. The pond turns purple around the edges. There are tons of birds, and they bring some of the seeds, I assume. Maybe a bird book will come of it.
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9) Flexible Snake Armor Could Inspire Abrasion-Resistant Materials
ScienceDaily (Aug. 15, 2012) — Snakes are highly specialized legless animals, which evolved around 150 million years ago. Although without extremities, their body is exposed to constant friction forces. The PhD-student Marie-Christin Klein and Professor Stanislav Gorb of Kiel University found out how snake skin is adapted to legless locomotion. The skin is stiff and hard on the outside and becomes soft and flexible towards the inside, independent of habitat. Biology could inspire systems in engineering with minimized abrasion.
Klein and Gorb are publishing their current results in the August 15 of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Sakes inhabit all large ecosystems apart from the Polar Regions. They are able to climb trees and burrow underground. The skin, exposed to a good deal of friction, has to last until molding takes place, which is every two to three months. "The skin of snakes therefore has to be optimized against abrasion wear," assumed Marie-Christin Klein at the beginning of her research.
With Stanislav Gorb she examined the skin of four snake species: sand boa (Gongylophis colubrinus), the king snake (Lampropeltis getula californiae), the rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria) and the green tree python (Morelia viridis), which inhabit different environments, from the desert to tropical trees. "With the help of these four species we found out that the skin architecture differs depending on habitat. However, all show a gradient in material properties. This means that the skin of all species has a stiff and hard outside and becomes more flexible and soft towards the inside, even though the skin differs in thickness and structure depending on species," explains Klein her findings, which confirm her assumption that the skin of snakes is optimized against abrasion wear. The four snake species achieve this mechanical effect by developing for instance different cell types. One species has a relatively thick skin with round cells, while the other has a relatively thin skin with elongated cells. "This speaks for a functional adaptation to legless locomotion, which has developed for snakes in both moist and dry habitats," says Klein.
"This research area is extremely new," Klein reports. "The general composition of snake skin is known, however, but no one has by now examined the impact of this on the mechanical material properties. A material that has a transition from a stiff outside to a flexible inside can distribute an impacting force over a larger area, therefore decreasing the force on one single point. Materials like this are like a flexible amour." Possible application areas can be found in the medical engineering sector, in which friction could for instance be optimized for artificial implants. Furthermore, the propulsion and conveyer technique market could profit from the abrasion minimization findings, since lubrication would have to be implicated less often. The friction system of snake skin is an important model in the bionics research at Kiel University (Group: Zoological Institute, Professor Stanislav N. Gorb) for the development of new and the optimization of already existing materials.
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10) Puerto Rican Anoles Are Chilling In Florida – New Research By Jason Kolbe And Colleagues
Posted on August 16, 2012 by Martha Munoz

A male Anolis cristatellus dewlaps on a tree in Miami, Florida. Picture reproduced with permission from Kolbe et al. (2012).
Anoles are remarkably adaptable creatures. You can find anoles in hostile environments, such as the tops of mountains in the Dominican Republic, in near-desert environments, and in places with over-winter freezing. Anoles are also a model system for rapid evolution; in response to strong selective pressure, an equally strong evolutionary response occurs within a few generations. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that anoles are also one of the most invasive reptiles in the World. Although they are endemic to the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, today anoles can also be found in such remote places as Guam, Hawaii, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
One of the major questions surrounding anole invasions is how the organisms will respond to the challenges of a new environment. When anoles invade new environments they inevitably encounter new thermal and hydric conditions – how do these anoles adapt to a different environment? Jason Kolbe has spent many years exploring the ecology and genetics of Anolis invasions, and has focused especially on invasions in Florida (1, 2, 3). The Puerto Rican trunk-ground, A. cristatellus, has been found in Key Biscayne and South Miami since the mid-1970s. Ambient temperature is important for A. cristatellus and other anoles have been documented to acclimate to low temperatures. In this study Jason Kolbe and colleagues addressed two questions: (1) To what extent does the thermal environment change from Puerto Rico to Florida? and (2) Is there a phenotypic response in tolerance to cold?
To address the first question the authors used species distribution modeling (SDM) to model the thermal niche shift from Puerto Rico to Florida experienced by A. cristatellus. They gathered locality data for this species from museum databases and extracted relevant temperature variables (mean annual temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, seasonality, etc.) from the WORLDCLIM data set. They then generated niche models using Maxent, a widely used program that uses the environmental conditions of known localities to predict habitat suitability over large geographic areas. They ran two models – one with the entire Caribbean basin as the background and one with just Puerto Rico as the background.
The discrimination ability of the Caribbean model, which refers to how well it can predict occurrences compared to a random selection of points, was greater than the model using just Puerto Rico as a background. Both models were similar, however, in that they gave low suitability scores to the Florida habitat (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). In fact, all of Florida received a suitability score of zero from the Caribbean model. A strong thermal niche shift was detected in both runs, but the inability of the models to detect suitable habitat in Florida, despite the presence of A. cristatellus there, suggests that locality data alone do not predict distributions well. There is a growing literature, in fact, arguing that the inclusion of organismal data will improve distribution models (i.e. ‘mechanistic niche modeling’; 1, 2, 3, 4).
To address the second question the authors assessed acclimation response in temperature tolerance in various native and invasive populations of A. cristatellus. The ability to acclimate thermal tolerance to ambient temperature conditions is potentially instrumental in facilitating invasion in a cooler environment in this species, and so the authors hypothesized that invasive populations of A. cristatellus should exhibit more plasticity in their tolerance as compared to native populations. The metric used in this study is CTmin, which refers to the low temperature at which a lizard loses the ability to right itself when flipped onto its back. Because performance is tightly dependent on body temperature in ectotherms such as anoles, the CTmin is a good metric for understanding the thermal limits to performance. In a previous study Kolbe and colleagues found that populations of A. cristatellus in Florida derive from two distinct invasions. These two genetic sources came from different regions of Puerto Rico, permitting a natural replicate of the CTmin acclimation experiment.
To this end, they maintained invasive populations of A. cristatellus (Key Biscayne and South Miami) and their source populations from Puerto Rico (Fajardo and San Juan) in the laboratory under winterizing conditions (22.5◦C) for four weeks. This temperature falls within the typical range of winter temperatures in south Florida, and so it accurately reflects the thermal conditions experienced by the invasive populations. The authors also tested a population of A. sagrei, the invasive brown anole from Cuba, and the native green anole, A. carolinensis.
Surprisingly, the results of the acclimation experiment varied among populations of A. cristatellus (Fig. 5 above). Although they experience similar winter conditions, only the Miami population of A. cristatellus exhibited plasticity in CTmin. The population from Key Biscayne showed no appreciable change in cold tolerance – in fact, it increased between weeks 2 and 4. Neither source population exhibited an acclimation response in CTmin. Both A. sagrei and A. carolinensis showed plasticity in thermal tolerance, and their final mean CTmin was similar to that of the Key Biscayne population.
We know that animals chilled beyond their CTmin lose mobility and can certainly die. In a previous post, I discussed this possibility in Dominican anoles from cool pine forests at high elevation. Thus, seasonal adjustment of CTmin to track environmental conditions is likely adaptive, and so it is puzzling why the Key Biscayne population does not exhibit tolerance plasticity. Although the invasions are equally young, Kolbe notes that the invasion in Miami is more genetically diverse than the Key Biscayne population, which suggests that more additive genetic variation in the Miami population may be involved in the acquisition of thermal acclimation. Moreover, CTmin acclimation is potentially sensitive to many factors, and so the experimental conditions used here may not trigger an acclimation response in the Key Biscayne population. Perhaps a different thermal treatment, such as acute or chronic exposure to progressively lower temperatures, may elicit a response that exposure to mean winter temperatures does not. It is also possible that animals in the Key Biscayne population (but not the Miami population) use retreat behavior to evade thermal conditions that approach the thermal limit, and so acclimation in cold tolerance may not be ecologically relevant in this population.
The contingency in thermal acclimation in different populations of A. cristatellus highlights that understanding invasions requires studying organismal variation at the population level. While it is difficult to project how differences in thermal plasticity will translate into invasion success, these results do show that similar thermal environments do not always yield the same phenotypic outcome, making this paper an informative and enjoyable read.

Jason J. Kolbe, Paul S. VanMiddlesworth, Neil Losin, Nathan Dappen & Jonathan B. Losos (2012). Climatic niche shift predicts thermal trait response in one
but not both introductions of the Puerto Rican lizard
Anolis cristatellus to Miami, Florida, USA Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.263

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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials.____________
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Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
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McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

From Booklist
Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
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This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
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TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
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In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volumes 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $13.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 S&H for only one book.

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NOW COMES PART II

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

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

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

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

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:33 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 39 8/29/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)

&
And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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Table of Contents
1. Snake scent application in ground squirrels, Spermophilus spp.: a novel form of antipredator behaviour?
2) 2012 International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Symposium
3) U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposes 4 local salamanders as endangered (Texas)
4) Utah group goes on divine quest for rare toads-Spiritual environmentalists take a hike to help identify range of a vulnerable species.
5) Cane toad busts stepped up as Top End numbers fall
6) New Amphibian Species on the Increase- A curious paradox has befallen the world's amphibians, and UC Berkeley scientists are tracking it day by day.
7) Drought scorches amphibians
8) New species of blind snake found in Brazil
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NEW BOOKS -I call the following three books “Everything you ever wanted to know about these turtles that is so far known books.” This includes: Natural History, Systematics, Fossil Records, Diet, Behavior, Reproduction, Diseases and Parasites Extensive Husbandry and Care Information, Conservation, Distribution Maps, and more... If you have these turtles and tortoises or are studying them you must have these books.
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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THE EUROPEAN POND TURTLE
The 'Emys orbicularis' is ranked among the most intensively researched reptiles in all countries where it occurs. This book covers systematics, descriptions, distribution, proven methods of captive breeding and much, much more. 167 full-color and b/w photos and figures, 2 maps of Europe, tables. 270 pp. Hardcover, by Manfred Rogner, $65.00
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FOR ALL BOOKS ABOVE AN BELOW TABLE OF CONTENTS ARE THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT HERE, ALL PROFITS GOES TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
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1) Snake scent application in ground squirrels, Spermophilus spp.: a novel form of antipredator behaviour?
Animal Behaviour
Volume 75, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 299–307

• Barbara Clucas*, , ,
• Matthew P. Rowe†, 2,
• Donald H. Owings*, ‡, 1,
• Patricia C. Arrowood§, 3
• * Animal Behavior Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, U.S.A.
• † Department of Biological Sciences, Sam Houston State University, U.S.A.
• ‡ Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, U.S.A.
• § Department of Fishery and Wildlife Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, U.S.A.

Chemical substances produced by one species are sometimes found on the body of another species. Animals often ingest such foreign substances and sequester them into their integument, but here we report a case of direct application of heterospecific substances to the body. California ground squirrels, Spermophilus beecheyi, and rock squirrels, Spermophilus variegatus, apply scent derived from their major predator, rattlesnakes, Crotalus spp., by chewing shed rattlesnake skins and licking their fur. We found that the sequence of body areas licked during application was essentially the same for the two species. We consider three hypotheses regarding the function of this ‘snake scent application’ (SSA): antipredator defence, ectoparasite defence, and conspecific deterrence. To test these hypotheses, we assessed patterns of species and sex/age class differences in application quantity and compared them with patterns reflecting differences in the importance of predation, flea loads and conspecific aggression as sources of selection. We found no species differences in application quantity; however, juveniles and adult females of both species engaged in longer bouts of application than adult males. This pattern of sex/age class differences in SSA supports only the antipredator hypothesis because juveniles are most vulnerable to predation and adult females actively protect their young. We found no evidence to support either the ectoparasite defence or conspecific deterrence hypotheses. Thus, SSA behaviour may be a novel form of chemical defence against predation.
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2) 2012 International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Symposium
Call for Papers

This coming November more than 150 wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, conservationists, and other wildlife professionals will gather in Appleton, Wisconsin, to discuss their experiences of wildlife rehabilitation at the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s Annual Symposium. The Symposium provides an excellent opportunity for wildlife professionals to meet and exchange ideas, skills, and products relating to wildlife rehabilitation.

The Symposium will be held from Monday, 12th to Saturday, 18th November, 2012. Presentations will run from the Thursday to Saturday. The overall theme for the symposium will be The Science of Wildlife Rehabilitation. There will be one plenary session on the first morning, then two tracks a day for the rest of the symposium. We are now seeking submissions for presentations for all tracks. As well as a series of open sessions covering the subjects listed below, we also plan to run a track on the rehabilitation of reptiles and so we are particularly interested in receiving abstracts for presentations on this subject.

Suggested subject areas include:
Veterinarian: necropsy, new techniques
Legislation: working with your country/state/province officials
Research: post release monitoring, new diets
Conservation: projects with conservation agencies or on endangered species
Environmental Enrichment:
Rehabilitation: species specific presentations on birds, mammals, reptiles,
Animal welfare:
Tools of the trade: data collection, use of scientific procedures in rehabilitation, project design

Anyone wishing to present a talk should submit their abstract for review by the Symposium committee. If your talk is accepted, the committee will then contact you to confirm the date and time of your presentation.

The abstract should include:
• TITLE
• AUTHOR(S)
• AFFILIATION
• ABSTRACT (Summary of the presentation) 250 words
• BRIEF BIOGRAPHY 100 words
If there is more than one author, please indicate who will be presenting and provide a preferred contact email and postal address. The brief (one paragraph) biography of the author(s) should include experience as it relates to the presentation.

All abstracts will be available for delegates in booklet form and so should be submitted electronically as a MS Word document or using a Microsoft compatible format. Use 12-point font and, if possible, Times New Roman style. Use single line spacing, full justification and do not indent paragraphs.

Please also supply an extra version of your submission as an RTF or plain text file. If you cannot provide an electronic version of your submission, please ensure that you have given all the relevant information requested as your abstract will be retyped. Abstracts may be edited for grammar or length. Safe receipt of your abstract will be acknowledged.

The deadline for submissions is 31st August 2012.
Please submit your Abstract, via email, to Adam Grogan AGROGAN@rspca.org.uk
or Kai Williams director@iwrc.org
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3) U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposes 4 local salamanders as endangered (Texas)
By Mike Parker, Cedar Park-Leander Statesman , August 21, 2012
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed this morning listing four local salamanders on the Endangered Species Act hours before the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved a resolution against the listings.
The Austin blind, Jollyville Plateau, Georgetown and Salado salamanders live within Travis, Williamson and Bell counties, and the proposed listings would designate almost 6,000 acres as a critical habitat for the creatures.
The proposed listings stem from lawsuits filed by Save Our Springs Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity, which call for the salamanders to be listed among 250 other species as endangered. Colette Adkins Giese, an attorney for the CBD, said the listings give the creatures a “fighting chance.”
“Giving them a critical habitat is a big help in giving them a path to recovery,” she said. “Those areas are essential for their habitat and will keep them from harm.”
Many local officials, county commissioners and federal officials have opposed the listing, saying it is unnecessary and detrimental to local development. In July, U.S. Rep. John Carter introduced the Salamander Community Conservation Act, HR 6219, which would block premature listing of the species as endangered without adequate scientific data to support such a decision, according to a press release.
Williamson County commissioners created the Williamson County Conservation Foundation, which is funding a five-year study on the salamanders. Commissioners have said there is not enough data on the four species to know if they are in need of protection. But Giese said the 346-page proposal from USFWS has ample evidence to support the listings.
“We feel the science behind it is taking the day instead of some of the political pressure heaped upon this,” she said.
Cedar Park Mayor Pro Tem Tony Dale has been a vocal opponent to the listings. In an editorial published by the Cedar Park-Leander Statesman, he wrote evidence collected by the WCCF study is showing expanding development is not harming the salamanders.
“Many of us involved in working on this issue have seen USFWS is using data that does not support its likely conclusion that the species is endangered,” he wrote.
USFWS is holding public hearings on the proposed listings. The first hearing is 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Wingate, 1209 N. IH-35 North in Round Rock, and the second hearing is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Thompson Conference Center, 2405 Robert Dedman Dr., Room 2.102, in Austin.
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4) Utah group goes on divine quest for rare toads-Spiritual environmentalists take a hike to help identify range of a vulnerable species.

By Brandon Loomis| The Salt Lake Tribune.Aug 27 2012 • To the other hikers, it might have looked like a barefoot, summertime frolic on the banks of an alpine lake, but a handful of faithful Utahns really were on a toad hunt for God.
Volunteers from Interfaith Power & Light, an environmental coalition of churchgoers, climbed past Albion Basin to Catherine Lake on Saturday in search of the rare boreal toad. The U.S. Forest Service is unsure whether the creature lives there, and the volunteers set out to help answer the question.
For the agency, it’s strictly about maps and numbers — an effort to learn where the four-inch amphibian persists and may need protection. It occupies 1 percent of its historic breeding places and is under evaluation for Endangered Species Act protections.
For the volunteers, it’s about getting into God’s creation and taking action to save it.
"More and more we become so disconnected from nature," said Dale Ann Petersen, a Bountiful Episcopalian who brought two children on the jaunt. "We might go to church on Sunday, but I feel like we’re called to do more than that."
Plus, she added, kids love frogs and toads.
Sadly for them, they didn’t find any on Saturday. But that’s still potentially valuable knowledge — just not great for the family photo album. The kids did see wildlife, though, including a brook trout that they pointed out to a fly fisherman who then hooked it in one cast.
Boreal toads, like many of the world’s amphibians, are threatened by a fungus. Biologists believe habitat protections can help reduce stress and can keep outbreaks in check.
Interfaith Power & Light is a nondenominational group in 38 states seeking to combat climate change and install solar power generators on churches. But Susan Soleil, executive director of the Utah branch, said a broad sampling of environmental protections, including habitat preservation, are related to climate and deserve the group’s attention.
"Learning more about where [toads] live, we hope, will make people more passionate about their faith and taking care of the Earth."
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5) Cane toad busts stepped up as Top End numbers fall
An environmental action group says cane toad numbers in the Top End appear to be down from last year.
By By Melanie Arnost, ABC – Tue, Aug 21, 2012
An environmental action group says cane toad numbers in the Top End appear to be down from last year.
Frog Watch is conducting its annual cane toad audit in the Darwin area and is conducting toad busting programs every night this week.
Co-ordinator Graeme Sawyer says the group has made good progress in stopping the cane toad population from growing.
He says Darwin has a low number of toads compared to other places in Australia.
"Talking to people in Cairns and places in Queensland at the moment, they are just completely flooded with toads," he said.
"People might have 30 or 40 toads in their backyards.
"Most people in Darwin haven't got any in their backyard and the occasional one here and there.
"It is completely different and largely due to the fact that the population of Darwin has been really switched on to toad control from day one."
Mr Sawyer says he does not know why cane toad numbers are down.
"We are not sure whether it is because of cold weather or whether it is going to show that we've made some good progress in Darwin in the last 12 months," he said.
"Certainly we got some good work done last wet (season) and the breeding events that happened, like the one at Marrara golf course where we got 60,000 baby toads before they actually got out and away.
"We think that has made a pretty solid dent in the numbers."
Mr Sawyer says continuing toad busting programs are important.
"We will get in to more regular and serious toad busting right through from now until the rains come back," he said.
"Now we are getting into the warmer end of the dry season, the toads will be in their refuge mode.
"That's the time when we can do the most damage to their populations."
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6) New Amphibian Species on the Increase- A curious paradox has befallen the world's amphibians, and UC Berkeley scientists are tracking it day by day.
by David Perlman, July 31, 2012, SFGate
New species of frogs and toads, newts and salamanders, and wormlike critters called caecilians are being discovered all the time as biologists take to the field in the world's last unexplored places.
At the same time, naturalists say, more and more species of amphibians are dying off in what appears to be an oncoming mass extinction - particularly for frogs.
"In all the doom and gloom about the species that are threatened and the populations that are declining, we're finding new ones at an even faster rate," said David Wake, a UC Berkeley biologist who has long combed the continents discovering new amphibians - particularly salamanders - and was among the first to warn that many species are going extinct.
Wake and his colleagues have created an online catalog of the lives and fates of all amphibians, called AmphibiaWeb. The site reported with fanfare this week that 7,000 amphibian species have been recorded in the world, up from about 5,000 a dozen years ago.
In the past two weeks alone, biologists reported the discovery of 18 new species, said Wake, director of AmphibiaWeb.org. One of them is a little green glass frog, Centrolene sabini, discovered in Peru by a young naturalist from San Francisco State, Alessandro Catenazzi.
"It was a rainy night in January," Catenazzi wrote in an e-mail from his exploration site 10,000 feet high in the cloud forest of the Andes, "and I was just walking along a road looking for frogs when I heard C. sabini's intriguing call. This calling male was perched over a precipice above the stream, but luckily I was able to reach the branch and record the call."
Frogs dominate the Berkeley-based project, with 6,179 frog species reported. Newts and salamanders trail, with 631 species reported, and the caecilians come last, with only 190 species known to biologists.
The caecilians are obscure critters indeed: legless and nearly blind, they travel like worms and snakes, use their bony heads to burrow underground, and reproduce in varied bizarre ways. Three of the species are considered at risk of vanishing.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Switzerland, which tracks the status of all the world's plants and animals, reported on its Red List this year that 41 percent of the world's amphibians are threatened with extinction.
Fifteen years ago, the organization reported that only 18 species of amphibians were "critically endangered." This year the count is 507 species.
"It's deeply ironical and paradoxical that so many amphibians are going extinct right in front of our eyes, while at the same time, more and more biologists are taking the last chance to explore in the last wild places and discovering more and more new species of amphibians," Wake said.
The disappearance of many frogs has been documented in the Sierra, due primarily to an epidemic of the toxic chytrid fungus that is spreading across every continent in the world.
Other threats to amphibians include development on habitat lands, pollution, pesticides and the introduction of species that overwhelm existing populations, the AmphibiaWeb scientists say.
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7) Drought scorches amphibians
By Matthew Berger, 7/25/12, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado,
Although the exact details won’t be known until months or years from now, the drought that is drying up ponds and streams throughout Colorado and across the country appears to be affecting wildlife in significant and diverse ways. Those animals that rely on aquatic habitats may be hardest hit—not only fish but their amphibious neighbors, the frogs and salamanders that call western Colorado home.
In summers like this, it may be hard to imagine the hot, dry Grand Valley as home to many amphibians—and it seems it might be home to slightly fewer, for a while at least, in the wake of this record-setting drought.
From the chorus frogs and boreal toads found on Grand Mesa to the tiger salamanders that wash down from there, the red-spotted toads along Colorado National Monument to the canyon tree frogs tucked up in the monument’s canyons, the spadefoot toads in their burrows out by Grand Junction Regional Airport to the Woodhouse’s toads common throughout town, the amphibian population here is surprisingly large and diverse.
But a number of factors have taken their toll on amphibians throughout the hemisphere, including in Colorado—and the drought is only compounding those struggles.
About 39 percent of western hemisphere amphibian species are threatened with extinction, according to the Global Amphibian Assessment, largely due to habitat loss from agriculture and development and the rapid spread of a chytrid fungus that has already wiped out some populations and species.
The long list of other threats that have made amphibians the most imperiled class of animals today includes environmental contaminants, climatic changes and invasive species.
Though Caribbean and Central American species are the most imperiled, 21 percent of North American amphibian species are threatened, especially those found at higher elevations. In Colorado, the boreal toad has been listed as endangered by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, largely due to the spread of the chytrid fungus, including on Grand Mesa.
Amphibians here also face other threats, including diseases and parasites spread by leeches and ticks, said Steve Werman, a molecular biologist and herpetologist at Colorado Mesa University.
“Drought could clearly affect amphibians,” he said. “And if drought weakens them a little bit, that can stress them and allow diseases and other things to get in. They would be more susceptible to things they would normally fend off.”
The main impact from drought arises from the drying up of ponds where some amphibians breed.
After winters with low snowpacks, such as this year’s, there are fewer of those breeding sites, according to Stephen Corn, a herpetologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Missoula, Mont., office.
With Colorado State in the 1970s and early 1980s, Corn studied leopard frogs in the Red Feather Lakes north of Fort Collins. During the course of those studies, several populations went extinct following the drought of 1976-77, he said.
“The dry winters led a lot of sites to dry up over winter, and frogs never really came back to these sites for the most part,” Corn said. “If we see long-term drought that really dries up amphibian habitat, that has a chance to have effects.”
The scope of those impacts depends on species, and species that move to temporary breeding ponds to reproduce are expected to be impacted less than those that remain in a permanent habitat that may dry up and leave the animals with nowhere to go.
“You see expansion and contraction in those species that use temporary habitats, but in those that use permanent habitats, like leopard frogs, those impacts can be much worse,” Corn said.
Boreal toads, he noted, stay in their habitat rather than moving to temporary breeding grounds, potentially adding drought impacts to their plight.
“Certainly when you have multiple things, they’ll have a harder time coming back than if it’s just drought or just fungal outbreaks,” Corn said.
CMU’s Werman noted salamanders and canyon tree frogs could also be in that category, potentially stuck with a dried-up pond. The exact extent of that damage will not be clear immediately, he said, as dry ponds can affect populations both this year and next.
Spadefoot toads, for instance, typically stay underground and are fine if there is no rain, but they can be impacted if they stay underground for multiple years.
“It takes a long time to see impacts — more than a year,” noted Erin Muths, with USGS’s Fort Collins office, though she did say one frog pond she studies in Cameron Pass west of Fort Collins was completely dry already. It usually stays wet through mid-August.
“The big thing is these breeding ponds. If these dry up really fast that can really decimate a local population,” Werman said. “Anything with an aquatic water stage is going to be hurt.”
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8) New species of blind snake found in Brazil
New Keral.com, London, Aug 2 (IANS)
Scientists in Brazil have discovered a new species of a blind snake that is closely related to salamanders and frogs, it was reported here.

The atretochoana eiselti was found after engineers drained a hydroelectric dam over a river connected to the Amazon, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.

Biologists discovered six snakes - each about a metre long - at the bottom of the bed of the Madeira river in Rondonia.

Though the creatures were found in November last year, scientists have just now correctly classified the snake's genus.

They confirmed it is a rare creature which has only been spotted sporadically since it was first seen in 1968.

"Despite looking like snakes, they aren't reptiles and are more closely related to salamanders and frogs. We think the animal breathes through its skin, and probably feeds on small fish and worms, but there is still nothing proven," said biologist Julian Tupan, who works for Santo Antonio Energy - the company which constructed the dam. (IANS)

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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials.____________
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Self-Portrait with Turtles: A Memoir [Paperback]
By David M. Carroll
Mariner Books-Imprint Houghton Mifflin Press -192 Pages Paperback List Price $13.99
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McArthur Genius Award Winner, renowned artist, author, and naturalist, David M. Carroll is exceptionally skilled at capturing nature on the page. In Self-Portrait with Turtles, he reflects on his own life, recounting the crucial moments that shaped his passions and abilities. Beginning with his first sighting of a wild turtle at age eight, Carroll describes his lifelong fascination with swamps and the creatures that inhabit them. He also traces his evolution as an artist, from the words of encouragement he received in high school to his college days in Boston to his life with his wife and family. Self-Portrait with Turtles is a remarkable memoir, a marvelous and exhilarating account of a life well lived.

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Author-naturalist Carroll spent his early years in the city. When he was eight, his family moved to a town with woods, streams, ponds, and a salt marsh within walking distance. When Carroll saw his first turtle on his first outing through the wetlands, he was hooked. When a high-school art teacher declared that art was the only thing that lasts, the author then had the two guides for his life's work. A degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston led to turtles in the Fens and the woman who became his wife. Bouts of teaching are interspersed with rambling in search of turtles, and a final move to New Hampshire settles the author and his family in a landscape that comes complete with chelonian denizens. In a wonderful blend of natural history, memoir, and drawings, the author leads us through his life and how it has been shaped by his love of nature and turtles. This beautifully illustrated memoir will be sought out by lovers of good nature writing. Nancy Bent.
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Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians by Chris Mattison Hardcover - List Price $49.95
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This highly acclaimed encyclopedia combines authoritative, easy-to-read essays with exciting photographs showing reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. Illustrations explain anatomy and biological features, and maps show world distribution of species. Commissioned articles by scientists, zoologists and researchers provide the latest findings and interpretations of data.
Each species listing has a "factfile" of essential data: scientific order and population; distribution (with a color-coded map) and habitat; size and color; reproduction and life cycle; longevity and conservation status.
All status descriptions have been updated in this revised edition, which also includes:
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Authoritative, comprehensive and beautiful.
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
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TURTLE TV is here, It’s a freaking hilarious award winning 30 minute DVD compilation of excerpts from shows and events from a TV station run by turtles for turtles and their friends. - such as you? ALL SHOWS STAR ONLY TURTLES. Not a human to be seen
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Diamondback Terrapins: Gems of the Turtle World ($24.95 plus
$6 S&H)Complete Owner's Guide to Keeping and Breeding Diamondback Terrapins. FOR ALL AGES
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
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[A] monumental work... the standard reference to North American turtles for the next generation of biologists. Every serious vertebrate biologist on the continent will want a copy. (Herpetological Review )
The most comprehensive compilation on North American turtles ever attempted and achieved.(Herpetofauna )
In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volumes 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $13.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 S&H for only one book.

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

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:11 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 40 9/6/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)

&
And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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Table of Contents
1) Next Turtle Survival Alliance meeting is August 7-10, 2013 in St. Louis Missouri
2) Movements, overwintering, and mortality of hatchling Diamond-backed Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) at Jamaica Bay, New York
3) Evidence for and geomorphologic consequences of a reptilian ecosystem engineer: The burrowing cascade initiated by the Gopher Tortoise
4) Proceedings of the Annual Symposia on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation Electronic copies are available:Sea Turtle Symposia Proceedings (1988-present)
5) First Annual Reptile and Amphibian Law Symposium & Workshop September 28-30, 2012 - Houston, Texas
6) Almost 900 Star Tortoises Seized in Thailand
7) Salamanders Display Survival Techniques in Period of Extreme Drought
8) Hundreds of Scientists Support Endangered Species Act Petition for Rarest U.S. Frogs,
Turtles, Toads, Snakes, Lizards and Salamanders
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2013 calendars are here, TURTLES, SEA TURTLES, FROGS & SNAKES.
I have only one dozens of the last four. They are an experiment to see if their is a paying audience within the HerpDigest community for them. I will not reorder any of the calendars, Last year the TURTLES calendar was out by early November.
12” x 12” Glossy cover and calendar pages, $14.99 each plus $6.00 for S&H. If you are buying 2 the S&H is $3.00 more. See below on how to order.
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1) Next Turtle Survival Alliance meeting is August 7-10, 2013 in St. Louis Missouri, to get a copy of their annual magazine free (pdf copies only) full of articles on what they have done in the past year go to http://www.turtlesurvival.org/get-involved/conference and just click on the tab “Turtle Survival 2012 Issue is here.” on far right
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2) Movements, overwintering, and mortality of hatchling Diamond-backed Terrapins
(Malaclemys terrapin) at Jamaica Bay, New York

K.A. Muldoon and R.L. Burke

Can. J. Zool. Vol. 90, 2012

K.A. Muldoon* and R.L. Burke. Department of Biology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA.
Corresponding author: R.L. Burke (e-mail: biorlb@hofstra.edu).
*Present address: 62 Campbell Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, USA.

Abstract: As with other turtles, the postemergent movements, overwintering behaviours, and survivorship of hatchling Diamond-backed Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin (Schoepff, 1793)) are poorly known, but anecdotal reports suggest that they
may spend more time on land than most aquatic turtles. We investigated this behaviour using drift fences with pitfall traps on the island of Ruler’s Bar, Jamaica Bay, New York, fall 2006 to spring 2008. We captured 324 live hatchling Terrapins,95 were recaptured at least once, and we found 43 dead. After emergence from nests in the fall, most hatchlings moved upland away from the water; this pattern was reversed in the spring. Hatchling body sizes shrank during winter, probably owing to desiccation, and hatchlings were more likely to move on warmer days and days without precipitation. We recaptured
some hatchlings on land as long as 9 months after emergence. As a result, hatchling M. terrapin were seen on land from April to December, well outside fall and spring during which they emerge from nests, and we found strong evidence that hatchling M. terrapin overwinter on land outside their nests. One important nest predator (raccoons, Procyon lotor (L.,1758)) was also an important hatchling predator, as were Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769)). Future work should investigate the terrestrial microhabitats used by hatchling M. terrapin, and management should protect hatchlings during this life stage.
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3) Evidence for and geomorphologic consequences of a reptilian ecosystem engineer:
The burrowing cascade initiated by the Gopher Tortoise
Geomorphology 157-158 (2012) 108–121
A. Kinlaw a,⁎, M. Grasmueck b
a Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, 303 Newins-Ziegler Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611-0430 USA
b RSMAS Marine Geology and Geophysics Department, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 331409-1098 USA

⁎ Corresponding author at: Department of Pharmacy Services, University of
Maryland, Medical Center, 22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1595, USA.
Tel.: +1 443 318 4095; fax: +1 866 240 8259.
E-mail address: akinlaw@comcast.net (A. Kinlaw).

Abstract

Physical ecosystem engineers often make major, durable physical constructs that can provide living space for other species and can structure local animal communities over evolutionary time. In Florida, a medium sized chelonian, the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) will excavate extensive subterranean chambers that can endure for long periods of time. The tortoise starts a ‘burrowing cascade’, by first excavating a larger
burrow that may extend 10 m, which is then re-engineered by Florida Mice (Podomys floridanus) and other rodents that dig smaller side-burrows and pockets. This sequence is often followed by an invertebrate, the camel cricket (Ceuthophilus labibuli) which is reported to excavate even smaller chambers. Our first aim was to quantify the zoogeomorphic impact of this burrowing cascade by measuring the amount of soil excavated in a large sample of burrows in two communities. Secondly, we hypothesized that the high biodiversity reported for these structures might be related to the quasi-fractal nature of the geometry, following the work of Frontier (1987). To visualize this underground geometry, we used high-resolution 3D Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which provided images and insights previously unobtainable using excavations or 2D GPR. Our images verified that the active tortoise burrow had a spiraling shape, but also showed splits in the larger burrow apparently dug by tortoises. For the first time, the smaller Florida Mouse burrows were imaged, showing side loops that exit and re-renter the tortoise burrow. This study also presents new information by making the discovery of numerous remnants of past tortoise burrows underground in the sampling grid
surrounding the active burrow. Our third aim was to interpret our field results with previous ecological field studies to evaluate the strength of evidence that this species ranks as an ecosystem engineer.
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4) Proceedings of the Annual Symposia on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation
Electronic copies are available:
• Sea Turtle Symposia Proceedings (1988-present)
To request a hard copy version, email the contact below with the following:
1. Your mailing address. This will be used for the mailing label, including:
• First and Last Name
• Affiliation (if applicable)
• Street Address
• City, State, ZIP or Postal Code
• Country (if outside the U.S.)
• Phone number (if outside the U.S.)
1. Which of the available hard copies you would like to receive:
• 23rd annual symposium proceedings- March 2003, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
• 24th annual symposium proceedings- February 2004, San Jose, Costa Rica
• 25th annual symposium proceedings- January 2005, Savannah, Georgia, USA
• 27th annual symposium proceedings- February 2007, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
• 28th annual symposium proceedings- January 2008, Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico
• 29th annual symposium proceedings- February 2009, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
• 30th annual symposium proceedings- April 2010, Goa, India - COMING SOON!
• 31st annual symposium proceedings- January 2011, San Diego, California, USA
Availability
Hard copies of these documents were sent to all of the registered participants for each meeting. At times, these documents are returned due to the participant moving, changing their address, or due to an incomplete address. After an attempt is made to contact the participant via the email address provided to and available at seaturtle.org , the hardcopy is then made available on a first-come, first-served basis. These documents will not be reprinted.
Requests for sea turtle proceedings may also be sent via regular mail to:
Lisa Belskis
NOAA/NMFS
75 Virginia Beach Drive
Miami, FL 33149
Contact
• Lisa Belskis Lisa.Belskis@noaa.gov

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5) First Annual Reptile and Amphibian Law Symposium & Workshop
September 28-30, 2012 - Houston, Texas
Crowne Plaza Resort - 12801 Northwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77040
Presented in partnership by NRAAC, PIJAC, ARAV, and the East Texas Herpetological Society

The Reptile and Amphibian Law Symposium & Workshop will include two days of panels, workshops, breakout sessions and talks with the goal of bringing all parties interested in reptiles and amphibians and the law to the table, to discuss changes and issues with current and proposed reptile and amphibian laws and regulations at the local, state, federal, and international levels. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the concurrent East Texas Herpetological Symposium and Expo event at the same facility, which includes a Saturday symposium, banquet, and auction, and a Sunday reptile expo.

This event is being organized by a loose working group of people interested in reptiles and amphibians and the law, called the National Reptile Amphibian Advisory Council (NRAAC), with the assistance of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians and the East Texas Herp Society. If you are interested in participating in this discussion, or possibly assisting/volunteering/participating in this event, please register below, and also join our working group on Facebook, or/and send an email.

This event is open to all parties with an interest in reptiles, amphibians, and the law.
These are how they stand as of today -

Friday, September 28 - Day 1

8am - Invasive/Injurious Species - 2 hours
10am - What Is The Lacey Act and its Role - 2 hours
12pm - Lunch Break - 1 hour
1pm - International Laws/CITES - Import/Export - 2 hours
3pm - Endangered Species - 2 hours
5pm - Dinner Break - 1 hour

Saturday, September 29 - Day 2

8am - State Laws - Native Species - 2 hours
10am - State Laws - Non-Native Species - 2 hours
12pm - Lunch Break - 1 hour
1pm - Reptile Parasites/Diseases/Pathogens and the Law - 2 hours
3pm - Private Reptile Ownership, Ethics, and the Law - 1 hour
4pm - National Species Laws & Regulations Database - 1 hour
5pm - Dinner Break - 1 hour
Sunday, September 30 -- Day 3 -- Reptile Expo
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6) Almost 900 Star Tortoises Seized in Thailand

From Traffic Bangkok, Thailand, 29th August 2012—A suitcase filled with a whopping 890 Indian Star Tortoises has been seized, and an Indian national arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport.

Acting on a tip off, Tourist Police and Royal Thai Customs officers stopped the 26-year-old man who attempted to smuggle the tortoises into the country on a Thai Airways flight from Calcutta to Bangkok, on Monday 27th August.

The tortoises, all juveniles, were found stuffed into six pillow cases and hidden inside the suspect’s suitcase.

A statement has been taken from the suspect, a resident of Chennai in South India, who is expected to face charges under Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, Customs Act and the Animals Epidemics Act.

The Indian Star Tortoise Geochelone elegans is highly prized as an exotic pet and remains a target for collection and trade despite being afforded legal protection across the species range countries of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. All three countries have banned the species’s international commercial export under national legislation, making all shipments from these countries illegal anywhere in the world.

Famous for the beautiful patterns on their shells, the tortoises have turned up in several major seizures at airports throughout Southeast Asia, particularly Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. In a similar case in September, 2010 Customs officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport stopped a Pakistani man with 1,140 Indian Star tortoises in his suitcase.

Since 2011, published reports show that Thai authorities have stopped at least three other smugglers at Suvarnabumi Airport with at least 131 Indian Star Tortoises hidden among other illegal wildlife in their suitcases, while Indian and Bangladesh authorities have foiled the trafficking of over 800 Star Tortoises to Thailand.

Just four days ago, TRAFFIC observed at least 122 Indian Star Tortoises openly for sale at Bangkok’s popular weekend market, Chatuchak, confirming that the trade is indeed very active in Thailand. Most of the tortoises observed were juvenile animals, the size of those seized at the airport; while a handful was adult tortoises. These observations along with Monday’s seizure point to a huge demand for this species and that trade in the tortoises in Thailand continues despite its illegal nature.

“For a slow moving animal, Indian Star Tortoises are racing through the illegal trade. Still, TRAFFIC is pleased to see that the Thai authorities have come out ahead of the smugglers this time,” said Dr William Schaedla, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s Regional Director.

“TRAFFIC also wants to see authorities publicize the outcome of the prosecution in this case. Actual information on what happens to smugglers in the region is sparse. People must know that there is a heavy price to pay for trafficking animals if we are ultimately to win the battle against wildlife crime,” he said.

TRAFFIC also urged Thai authorities to increase enforcement efforts at local markets to remove Indian Star Tortoises while working with their counterparts in India to ensure a speedy repatriation of the tortoises seized this week, as authorities in Malaysia and Indonesia have done in the past.

In March, Indonesian authorities repatriated 19 Indian Star Tortoises that they seized at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in November 2011. Malaysian authorities seized 699 Indian Star tortoises in two separate operations in mid-2011, and sent 600 surviving tortoises back to India in December the same year
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7) Salamanders Display Survival Techniques in Period of Extreme Drought
ScienceDaily (Sep. 5, 2012) — The stress of drought is acutely felt by aquatic animals such as salamanders. The extreme drought in the southeastern United States in 2007-2008 provided an opportunity to study how salamanders react and survive during such dry conditions. It also gave us clues as to how salamanders and other aquatic organisms may react to global warming.
The journal Herpetologica reports on a 5-year study of the Northern Dusky Salamander, common to eastern North America. From 2005 to 2009, including two severe drought years, the presence of salamanders was recorded at 17 first-order streams in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Data on the amphibians' presence were established by capturing, marking, and recapturing salamanders over the course of the study.
Researchers found that the adult salamanders had a high rate of survival over the course of the study, even during the drought years. The abundance of larval salamanders, however, decreased by an average of 30 percent during the drought. This differential mortality suggests a between-generation survival strategy, with the high survival rate of adults mitigating the effect of drought on the numbers of larvae.
During the extreme drought, water levels reached a 110-year low. Many streams were dry for periods of 2 to 3 months at a time, reduced to pools rather than flowing water. These conditions brought about another survival strategy, temporary migration of adult salamanders -- at twice the rate of non-drought years. They moved from stream beds to underground or high-humidity refuges. Crayfish burrows and rocks provided shelter from the hot and dry conditions.
Because climate change is expected to bring warming trends and more drought, this study offers implications for the survival of stream-dwelling salamanders. An increase in the mortality of larvae, or early metamorphosis, could mean declines in salamander fitness and size.
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8) Hundreds of Scientists Support Endangered Species Act Petition for Rarest U.S. Frogs,
Turtles, Toads, Snakes, Lizards and Salamanders
Press Release -Washington D.C. 9/6/12— More than 200 scientists sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today expressing support for an Endangered Species Act petition filed this summer by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, including E.O. Wilson, Thomas Lovejoy and Michael Lannoo. The petition, the largest ever filed targeting amphibians and reptiles, seeks federal protection for 53 species of turtles, snakes, toads, frogs, lizards and salamanders found across 45 states.
Wood turtle photo by Diane Baedeker Petit, USDA. Photos are available for media use.
“There’s broad scientific consensus that amphibians and reptiles face a profound, human-driven extinction crisis,” said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist and lawyer focused on protecting herpetofauna. “The surest way to ensure our country’s rarest turtles, frogs and salamanders have a future is to give them Endangered Species Act protection.”
The signatories to the letter — which states that the petitioned animals deserve a Fish and Wildlife Service status review because they face threats like habitat loss, pollution, introduced predators and climate change — are herpetologists, biologists, ecologists and other scientists with collective expertise on amphibians and reptiles.
The 450-page listing petition, filed July 11, asked the Service to provide Endangered Species Act protection for six turtles, seven snakes, two toads, four frogs, 10 lizards and 24 salamanders. It detailed their status and the threats to their survival.
“We will get serious — scientists and general public alike — about preserving the diversity of life on Earth only when we have precise knowledge of individual species like those in this petition,” said Edward O. Wilson, a distinguished Harvard biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. “Future generations will think badly of us if, through ignorance and inaction, we let die this part of their natural heritage.”
Although amphibians and reptiles have been around for hundreds of millions of years and survived every major extinction period, now, due largely to human impacts, they’re dying off at up to 10,000 times the historic extinction rate. This loss is alarming because they play important roles as predators and prey in their ecosystems and are valuable indicators of environmental health.
Among the species in the petition are the alligator snapping turtle in the Southeast, the wood turtle in the Northeast, Florida’s Key ringneck snake, the Illinois chorus frog, the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade torrent salamander and California’s western spadefoot toad. View an interactive state-by-state map showing where the petitioned species live and download photos for media use.
The Fish and Wildlife Service must determine within 90 days whether the petition has merit and make a decision about protection within a year.
Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:44 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 41 9/10/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for S&H price.)
THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS AMAZON, BUT REMEMBER ALL PROFITS HERE GO TO HERPDIGEST NOT AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS.
&
And this book speaks for itself in its comprehensiveness and necessity to own if you are anyway into snakes: studying, breeding, or just have them as pets.
SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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Table of Contents
1) Drones to protect Nepal's endangered species from poachers
2) Salvador quake destroys 45,000 endangered sea turtle eggs
3) Integrating local breeding pond, landcover, and climate factors in predicting amphibian distributions.
4) 75 Green turtle hatchlings crawl to sea (Promotes Hotel)
5) Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) Launches New Program in Colombia in Partnership with WCS to Target Endangered Chelonians
6) Indonesia’s Furtive Snake Trade
7) Tiny Carboniferous Steps (Fossilized Salamander Footprints)
8) IUCN Congress recognises conservation greats (Including Dr Russell Mittermeier, USA)
9) The 100 most threatened species. Are they priceless or worthless?
10) The Terrapin, Tortoise, & Freshwater Turtle Meeting at the 33rd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. The Terrapin, Tortoise, & Freshwater Turtle Meeting will take place 2-4 February 2013, 2013.
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“I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet”- Mitt Romney, Meet The Press 9/9/12
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Books Just In-All Discounted-Only 3 of each-No re-ordering allowed by Publishers.
-The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: The Biography of Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology by Frederick Rowe Davis, 312 pages, Orig price $50.00 Now $25.00 plus $6.00 for S&H
-Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems, by Michael Lannoo, 270 pages, Original Price $65.00 Now $30.00 plus $6.00 S&H
-Frogs & Toads Of North America-Photos of 100 frogs and toads and all their calls on a CD by Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt and Carlos Davidson, 350 pages, glossy, full color. List price $30.00 Now $19.95) Plus $6.00 S&H
-Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd Edition, General Editor Chris Mattison, 240 glossy pages, Oversize Book Once $50.00 - Now $30.00 Plus $12.00 S&H
&
2013 CALENDARS ARE IN- Turtles, Sea Turtles, Frogs & Snakes, Each Glossy 12’x 12” Plus an extra 6 month July-December, 2012 1-page planner with photo, Start Using the Calendar now. $14.99 each $6.00 for S&H. Limited number available will not re-order. 3 dozen of turtles(last year were out beginning of November) 1 dozen each, sea turtles, frogs and snakes.
AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF HERPDIGEST ISSUE.
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1) Drones to protect Nepal's endangered species from poachers
By Jill McGivering BBC News, 6/12/12

Conservationists in Nepal will soon start using special drones as part of efforts to protect endangered species.
The pioneering pilotless aircraft have been developed by the global wildlife organisation, WWF.
They have had some initial use in Indonesia and talks are underway to introduce them elsewhere, including in Tanzania and Malaysia.
Developers say they are cheap to buy and run and could help conservationists across the developing world.
In Nepal, endangered species, including rhinos and tigers, are suffering from the combined effects of poaching and habitat destruction. The drones can address both.
Poachers often slaughter the animals inside Nepal's national parks.
"We hope these drones will be useful in detecting poachers as they enter the parks," Dr Serge Wich, a biologist with the Anthropological Institute at the University of Zurich and one of the innovators behind the project, told the BBC.
"If they see poachers in the area, they can send out a team to catch them."
The small-scale, remote-controlled drones are still being refined. They are light enough to be launched by hand and fly a pre-programmed route of up to 20km (12.5 miles), filming the ground below with a stills or video camera.
The drones could help save Nepal's endangered rhinos from poachers
They are also inexpensive - each drone costs about $2,500.
Running costs are low, too. They are driven by electric batteries which can be recharged from the grid in about half an hour. That should make them affordable for conservationists in developing countries where budgets for wildlife protection tend to be modest.
"The whole idea," Dr Wich said, "is that people can run them for very low cost."
Test flights have just been completed in Nepal. Next comes training. Operational use should start in a few months' time.
Success in Nepal could help to kindle interest elsewhere. The drones have already been used in Indonesia to track orangutans and other vulnerable species and to monitor deforestation.
Negotiations are underway to use them in the Malaysian state of Sabah, as well as in Tanzania.
Drones may also help with the broader issue of habitat destruction.
Regular flights can monitor changes to park boundaries, for example, and help in the long-term battle against encroachment.
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2) Salvador quake destroys 45,000 endangered sea turtle eggs
By Associated Press, August 28
SAN SALVADOR — Wildlife authorities say a strong earthquake in the Pacific Ocean late Sunday destroyed more than 45,000 endangered sea turtle eggs on the coast of El Salvador.
The director of the turtle conservation program for the El Salvador Zoological Foundation says the 7.4-magnitude undersea quake sent at least three waves at least 30 feet high up the beach and destroyed thousands of nests and just-hatched turtles. It also washed up on about 150 people collecting eggs in order to protect them in special pens hundreds of feet up the beach. The waves injured three.
Program director Emilio Leon said that in the last year and a half the foundation has successfully hatched and released 700,000 turtles from four species at risk of extinction.
________________________________________________________________________3) Integrating local breeding pond, landcover, and climate factors in predicting amphibian distributions.
Trumbo DT, Burgett AA, Hopkins RL, Biro EG, Chase JM, Knouft JH (2012)
Landscape Ecology 27(8): 1183–1196.
Contact
dtrumbo@wsu.edu, Washington State University, School of Biological Sciences, Pullman, WA.
Abstract
Species distributions are influenced by many processes operating over varying spatial scales. The development of species distribution models (SDMs), also known as ecological niche models, has afforded the opportunity to predict the distributions of diverse taxa across broad geographic areas and identify variables that are potentially important in regulating these distributions. However, the integration of site-specific habitat data with broad scale climate and landcover data has received limited attention in an SDM framework. We investigate whether SDMs developed with breeding pond, landcover, and climate variables can accurately predict the distributions of nine pond-breeding amphibians in eastern Missouri, USA. Additionally we investigate the relative influences of each environmental variable on the distribution predictions for each study species, and whether the most influential variables are shared among multiple taxa. Boosted regression tree (BRT) SDMs were developed for each species with 38 abiotic and biotic environmental variables, including data from the breeding ponds, surrounding landcover, and climate. To test the models, field surveys were performed in 2007 and 2008 at 103 ponds for nine amphibian species. BRT models developed with breeding pond, landcover, and climate data accurately predicted the occurrences of six of nine species across the study area. Furthermore, the presence of each species was best predicted by a unique combination of environmental variables. Results also suggest that landcover and climate factors may be more influential for species near the edge of their geographic ranges, while local breeding pond factors may be more important for species nearer to the center of their ranges.
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4) 75 Green turtle hatchlings crawl to sea (Promotes Hotel)
Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Lombok | Archipelago | Thu, September 06 2012

Some 75 green sea turtles hatchlings crawled to the sea at Senggigi beach in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, with a little help from dozens of tourists on Thursday.
As the hatchlings reached the open sea and swam vigorously against the tide, the tourists had kept their cameras on to capture the joyful moments.
“What an amazing experience. I feel so happy to witness this moment during my first trip to Lombok,” Australia’s Alicia Noonan told the Jakarta Post.
The management of Sheraton hotel in Senggigi, which created the event to mark its 75th anniversary, said that the green sea turtles were hatched at the hotel’s turtle conservation center.
The hotel buys eggs from locals and puts them for incubation. The baby turtles, locally called tukik, will stay at the center for the next three months before being returned to the sea.
“In 15 years, we have released more than nine million turtles to their habitat,” Sheraton sales director Jelantik Suharta said.
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5) Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) Launches New Program in Colombia in Partnership with WCS to Target Endangered Chelonians
August 29, 2012-Press Release

Recognizing the key role of Colombia for the conservation of South American freshwater turtles and tortoises, and the imminent threat that many of these species face, the TSA launched a new Colombian program in July 2012. This program is possible due to a collaborative agreement between the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the TSA, and will expand a model partnership that has already proved effective in Myanmar and China. Colombia is widely recognized as a strategic location for turtle conservation in South America, and with 27 species, is considered one of the world’s turtle diversity hotspots, ranked 6th in species richness with three endemic species. In South America only Brazil has more species with 29. Located at the intersection of Central and South America, Colombia is biogeographically remarkable. It supports the highest number of chelonian families with seven. But Colombia’s diverse chelonian fauna is under threat from a range of human mediated factors including consumption and habitat loss and pollution.

The program coordinator, German Forero-Medina, will be responsible for the implementation of specific actions identified in the Strategic Plan for the Conservation of Colombian Continental Turtles that was launched recently by Vivian Paez and the Colombian Herpetological Association (ACH). One of his primary responsibilities will be to ensure that chelonians are included in higher level discussions regarding new protected areas and the prioritization of species and research areas for funding consideration. He will also be tasked with expanding the potential for turtle conservation work in Colombia through training workshops, both on field research and captive management techniques. Perhaps the most daunting challenge for the program promises to be the development of a strategy for dealing with the thousands of turtles and tortoises confiscated annually, by strengthening the network of zoos and rescue centers and improving their capacity to deal with the ongoing problem of overcrowded facilities.

On a species-specific level, the program aims to develop long-term monitoring programs for endemic species considered rare (Dunn’s mud turtle, Kinosternon dunni) and endangered (Dahl’s toad-head turtle, Mesoclemmys dahli). A leading priority species is the endemic Magdalena river turtle (Podocnemis lewyana). The WCS/TSA team will encourage coordination of the various research and conservation activities that will hopefully lead to a Recovery Plan for this critically endangered species.
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6) Indonesia’s Furtive Snake Trade- 9/9/12, NY Times
Rhinos may be poached for their precious horns and tigers for their skin and bones, but with reptiles it’s often about the allure of possessing live exotic animals. Illegal trading of reptiles and amphibians in Southeast Asia is aimed mainly at stocking the international pet trade.


Despite legislation in the region banning the practice, many of those animals wind up overseas in European terrariums or listed in online classifieds in the United States.

“Consumers play a huge role in this trade,” said Jessica Lyons, a master’s candidate in conservation biology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who described the phenomenon in an article in the latest issue of the journal Conservation Biology.


Ms. Lyons set out to document the toll this demand is taking on reptiles and amphibians in Indonesia. Often described as “megadiverse,” Indonesia’s 17,000-plus islands still have relatively intact forests that house species found nowhere else.

Ms. Lyons traveled to Papua, West Papua and the Aru Islands. Over the course of seven months, she visited 15 local wildlife traders who were identified by word of mouth. She spoke extensively with the traders about their businesses and spent time observing the animals that they captured from nearby forests.

Her surveys turned up 5,370 amphibians and reptiles representing 52 species passing in and out of the traders’ establishments.


Indonesia follows the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, which forbids harvesting some species from the wild and sets quotas for others. Almost 20 percent of the species she saw were fully protected under the convention, and another 44 percent did not have an allocated quota, meaning that their collection and trade was also illegal, Mr. Lyons and her co-author, Daniel Natusch, wrote.


Most of the traders told Ms. Lyons that some species, especially the non-venomous pythons, were growing scarce as a result of overhunting but that their increasing rarity spurred demand and boosted prices.


“Collecting species restricted to small ranges will seriously impact their survival,” Ms. Lyons said. Past studies of island species, she pointed out, show that the pet trade has led to population declines for green pythons and Roti Island snake-necked turtles.


Many mammals and birds are also collected for the pet market. To curb the illegal side of the trade, Ms. Lyons suggests, Indonesia needs to acknowledge the problem and make a commitment to more strict enforcement of its laws. At a recent meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, for example, the Indonesian representatives claimed that the country is not involved in the illegal snake trade.


Reptiles can be exported so long as they are “captive bred,” so traders route many illegally collected wild animals through farms in Jakarta or Bali to acquire the necessary paperwork. Many of the farms have no expertise in breeding or caring for the species they claim to produce, but government monitoring at these front farms is nearly nonexistent. “Therein lies the loophole,” Ms. Lyons said.


Once the animals leave Indonesia by plane or boat, those that survive the trip usually wind up in wealthier countries. Ms. Lyons raised the possibility that many Western collectors who buy them in shops or online “turn a blind eye” to the animals’ provenance.


“It’s time consumers step up to the mark and get serious about playing a more sustainable, active role in the conservation of the very species they appreciate,” she said.

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/ ... /?src=recg
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7) Tiny Carboniferous Steps (Fossilized Salamander Footprints)
By Brian Switek 9/6/11, Wired Science Blogs
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/ ... ous-steps/ for illustration
The tiny Batrachichnus salamandroides trackway found in Nova Scotia. Image courtesy Justin Spielmann.
Fossil footprints are lovely vestiges of prehistoric life. Even though skeletons are wonderful things, and immense mounts of defleshed dinosaurs were what inspired my love of paleontology in the first place, the variety of fossil tracks paleontologists have collected and cataloged are intricate snapshots of life in motion. Imprints and trackways record movement and behavior – petrified outlines of prehistoric moments that we can’t observe directly. And it’s this variety of fossil that allowed paleontologists to follow a tiny 315 million year old tetrapod on a little jaunt.
Discovered by amateur paleontologist Gloria Melanson along Nova Scotia’s Joggins Cliffs, the tiny trackway contains what Melanson, Matt Stimson, and Spencer Lucas deem to be the smallest fossil vertebrate footprints yet found. The whole trackway, containing about 30 footprints, is just under two inches long, and the imprints themselves range from 0.09 to 0.06 of an inch long each. This was a tiny, tiny tetrapod that strutted along a floodplain during a time when insects were giants and our own ancestors were small, lizard-like creatures. Based on the details of the tracks, it seems that the vertebrate was walking at a normal pace before slightly speeding up toward the end of the slab. But just what sort of animal made the tracks?
Students of trace fossils – technically known as ichnologists – constantly face what paleontologist Martin Lockley has called the “Cinderella Syndrome.” Unless an organism literally dies in its tracks, paleontologists face the problem of matching the trace to the trace-maker. Indeed, the situations that preserved body fossils weren’t always amenable to setting trace fossils in stone, and vice versa. And even in places like the Joggins Cliffs, where body and trace fossils are both found, many of the body fossils are fragments preserved in different settings than the footprints. In this case, what we know about the skeletons of the Joggins Cliffs animals comes from bones found inside the fossilized trunks of tree-like lycopsids – vascular plants most closely related to today’s club mosses and quillworts.

A restoration of the kind of amphibian that may have made the Batrachichnus tracks, courtesy Justin Spielmann.
Stimson and co-authors attribute the tracks to the ichnospecies Batrachichnus salamandroides. This is the name for the particular track type, but not the animal itself. (Just like body fossils, trace fossils are organized according to a binomial system which refers to specific trace fossil forms.) But the paleontologists also narrow down the list of possible creatures that could have made the Batrachichnus salamandroides footprints. Their prime candidate is a juvenile Dendrerpeton– a roughly salamanderish amphibian known from an articulated skeleton and other fossils found in the ancient lycopsid stumps. The crawler’s proportions, when shrunk down to scale, seem to match the proportions of the trackmaker.
Then again, Dendrerpeton isn’t the only suitable candidate. A different variety of amphibian, called a microsaur, could have made similar tracks. As Stimson and colleagues conclude, “multiple biotaxa of varying sizes could produce Batrachichnus salamandroides tracks.” We may never know for sure who left the tracks. The trail of itty bitty footprints can only take us so far into the past.
Reference:
Matt Stimson, Spencer G. Lucas & Gloria Melanson (2012): The Smallest Known Tetrapod Footprints: Batrachichnus salamandroides from the Carboniferous of Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada, Ichnos: An International Journal for Plant and Animal Traces, 19:3, 127-140
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8) IUCN Congress recognises conservation greats (Including Dr Russell Mittermeier, USA)

Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, 11 September 2012 (IUCN) Today, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, IUCN awarded its two highest medals to outstanding individuals of the conservation world, and eleven other conservation greats were granted honorary membership of IUCN.

Sir David Attenborough was honoured with IUCN’s highest conservation award, the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal, which has been presented at every General Assembly and Congress since 1963. Awarded in memory of the life and work of Dr John C. Phillips, a pioneer of the conservation movement and specialist in species classification and genetics, it is in recognition of outstanding service in international conservation. Former recipients of this medal include Indira Gandhi, Professor E. O. Wilson and Dr Luc Hoffmann.

A British naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David has reached the masses with his captivating programmes on natural history, creating awareness of the natural world and its vulnerability, and, over the course of the last fifty years, inspiring generations to protect and conserve our planet.

“IUCN is an organisation of enormous importance for all of us who care about the natural world. There is no other international organization quite like it, none which is quite so scientifically based, none whose compliments I would value more highly”, says Sir David in a video message to the IUCN Congress.

The winner of the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal for outstanding contributions to conservation of nature and natural resources was Dr. Wolfgang E. Burhenne of Germany, the Executive Governor of the International Council on Environmental Law. Established at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok in 2004, this is the second time that the Coolidge Memorial Medal has been awarded.

IUCN owes a great deal of its global leadership in environmental law to Dr. Burhenne. The award recognizes his very significant contributions to international environmental treaties and specifically to IUCN as Chair and Deputy Chair of IUCN’s Commission on Environmental Law (1960-1990), Legal Adviser to the Union (1990-1994), long standing member of the IUCN Council and a constant source of support to the Secretariat at every General Assembly and Congress since 1950. In the true spirit of Harold Coolidge, Dr. Burhenne has also provided inspiration and encouragement to many individuals throughout his career who have gone on to become leading figures in the field of environmental law.

Honorary Membership of IUCN, which recognizes outstanding services to the conservation of nature and natural resources, is presented by the World Conservation Congress, on the recommendation of the IUCN Council, to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to furthering the goals of the Union. Today, eleven such individuals were honoured:

• Dr Abdulaziz Abuzinada, Saudi Arabia
• Ms Angela Cropper, Trinidad and Tobago
• Dr Aila Keto, Australia
• His Excellency, The State President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Botswana
• Mr Veit Koester, Denmark
• Dr Russell Mittermeier, USA
• Dr Ian Player, South Africa
• Professor Nicholas Robinson, USA
• Dr Marina Silva, Brazil
• Mr Achim Steiner, Germany
• Professor Randolph Robert Thaman, Fiji

More information

• For a broadcast copy of the acceptance speech by Sir David Attenborough please contact IUCN’s Borjana Pervan, Media Relations Manager, tel +82 (0)10 2150 6673, email borjana.pervan@iucn.org.
• Information on the John C Phillips Memorial Medal
• Information on the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal
• Information on honorary membership of IUCN and background information on each of the recipients of honorary membership

Contacts
Anete Berzina anete.berzina@iucn.org 010‐2150‐5978
Dararat Weerapong dararat.weerapong@iucn.org 010‐2150‐9451
Katie Wagner katie.wagner@iucn.org 010‐2150‐9447
Maggie Roth maggie.roth@iucn.org 010‐2150‐8732
Safietou Sall safietou.sall@iucn.org 010‐2150‐8764
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9) The 100 most threatened species. Are they priceless or worthless?

Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, 11 September 2012 (IUCN) — Tarzan’s Chameleon, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Pygmy Three-toed Sloth have all topped a new list of the species closest to extinction released today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

For the first time ever, more than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) have come together to identify 100 of the most threatened animals, plants and fungi on the planet. But conservationists fear they’ll be allowed to die out because none of these species provide humans with obvious benefits.

"The donor community and conservation movement are leaning increasingly towards a ‘what can nature do for us’ approach, where species and wild habitats are valued and prioritised according to the services they provide for people,” says Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s Director of Conservation.“This has made it increasingly difficult for conservationists to protect the most threatened species on the planet. We have an important moral and ethical decision to make: Do these species have a right to survive or do we have a right to drive them to extinction?”

The report, called Priceless or Worthless?, was presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea today. The publication hopes to push the conservation of 'worthless' creatures up the agenda that is set by NGOs from around the globe.

“All the species listed are unique and irreplaceable. If they vanish, no amount of money can bring them back,” says Ellen Butcher, ZSL, co-author of the report. “However, if we take immediate action we can give them a fighting chance for survival. But this requires society to support the moral and ethical position that all species have an inherent right to exist.”

Their declines have mainly been caused by humans, but in almost all cases scientists believe their extinction can still be avoided if conservation efforts are specifically focused. Conservation actions deliver results with many species such as Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus) and Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) have being saved from extinction.

The 100 species, from 48 different countries are first in line to disappear completely if nothing is done to protect them. The pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) is one of the animals facing a bleak future. Escudo Island, 17km off the coast of Panama, is the only place in the world where these tiny sloths are found. At half the size of their mainland cousins, and weighing roughly the same as a newborn baby, pygmy sloths are the smallest and slowest sloths in the world and remain Critically Endangered.

Similarly, the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is one of the most threatened mammals in Southeast Asia. Known as the Asian unicorn because of its rarity, the population of these antelope may be down to few tens of individuals today. In the UK, a small area in Wales is the only place in the world where the brightly coloured willow blister (Cryptomyces maximus) is found. Populations of the spore-shooting fungi are currently in decline, and a single catastrophic event could cause their total destruction.

“If we believe these species are priceless it is time for the conservation community, government and industry to step up to the plate and show future generations that we value all life,’’ adds Professor Baillie

Whilst monetising nature remains a worthwhile necessity for conservationists, the wider value of species on the brink of extinction should not be disregarded, the report states.

“All species have a value to nature and thus in turn to humans,” says Dr Simon Stuart, Chair IUCN Species Survival Commission. “Although the value of some species may not appear obvious at first, all species in fact contribute in their way to the healthy functioning of the planet.”

SOS – Save Our Species, is a global partnership initiated by leading conservation organizations aimed at mobilizing new sources of funding for threatened species, their habitats and the people depending on them. By joining SOS, governments, foundations, companies, wealthy individuals can join forces and ensure that species featured in this book prosper again.

ZSL and IUCN will be showcasing ‘Priceless or Worthless?’ at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea on 11th September 2012.
# # #
Editors’ Notes
Images
High resolution images available here:- https://zslondon.sharefile.com/d/sc7ae43b473445e0b
View the book here - https://www.yousendit.com/download/TEhX ... NEx2WnRVag

For more information or interviews please contact:
Lynne Labanne, IUCN Species Programme Communications Officer, t +41 22 999 0153, m +41 79 527 7221, e lynne.labanne@iucn.org
Smita Chandra, ZSL, Press Officer, t +44 207 449 6288, email smita.chandra@zsl.org
___________________________________________________________

10) The Terrapin, Tortoise, & Freshwater Turtle Meeting at the 33rd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. The Terrapin, Tortoise, & Freshwater Turtle Meeting will take place 2-4 February 2013, 2013. [8:00 AM – 5:00 PM & 7:00 – 10:00PM on Saturday and Sunday, February 2nd and 3rd and 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM on Monday, February 4th at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 700 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, Maryland. This year it is dedicated to Ernie Liner and Susan Hagood.

It looks like it’s going to be quite a gathering with over sixty presentations over three days: Saturday – North America, etc., Sunday – International plus, Monday – Mostly Terrapins. And we just added video nights on Saturday and Sunday. Add to this, four more days of sea turtle presentations, posters, an exciting variety of exhibitors and vendors, over 1,200 attendees representing over 75 countries, evening activities, live auction, and banquet and you have the largest chelonian congregation to date!

There will also be book signings by Carl Ernst, Peter Pritchard, and Dick Vogt. Many of their books will be on sale at the meeting.

Our Speakers to date include: Omar Attum, Dincer Ayaz, Tom Akre, Patrick Baker, Al Breisch, Russ Burke, Joe Butler, Edwin Cadena, Christina Castellano, Rebecca Christoffel, Justin Congdon, Jack Cover, Sean Doody, Dana Ehret, Carl Ernst (keynote), Andres Estrades, Camila Ferrara, Nancy Fitsimmons, Eric Goode, Cris Hagen, Kristen Hart, Mike Jones, Thushan Kapurusinghe, Yakup Kaska, Thomas Leuteritz, Greg Lewbart, Peter Lindeman, Jeff Miller, Asghar Mobaraki, Rick Morin, Terry Norton, Dave Owens, Ed Pirog, Peter Pritchard, Tom Radzio, John Roe, Willem Roosenberg, Dave Rostal, Allen Salzberg, Chuck Schaffer, Rick Schaffer, John Seyjagat, Kevin Shoemaker, Rich Siegel, Scott Smith, Meryem Tekin, Tony Tucker, Oguz Türkozan, Peter Paul van Dijk, Lily Venizelos, Dick Vogt, Marguerite Whilden, Thane Wibbels, Roger Wood, and Bob Zappalorti. And there will be a few surprises yet to come.

The Meeting is a small part of the larger Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation which runs from February 2-8, also at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. Each year the International Sea Turtle Society assembles a variety of chelonian researchers, rehabbers, and a variety of other individuals from around the world in an amazing Symposium. You are encouraged to make your hotel reservations early and can do so here -https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_gi_new&groupID=9575293. The special group sleeping room rate is $155 per night for one, two, three, or four people sharing. Those who make their reservation via this link will receive free internet access in their guestroom (normally a $12.95 charge per day). Reserving through this link also helps support the meeting as we are committed to fill a certain number of guest rooms at the hotel in order to receive free meeting space. Online registration is now online [http://iconferences.seaturtle.org/] but here is a very brief glimpse of what is in store for you at the 33rd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation -

• Sea Turtles 101 and Sea Turtle Success Stories (Both of these meetings will be live webcast into Baltimore City Public Schools.)
• Dive Behavior Workshop, Sea Turtle Medicine Workshop, Statistics and Data Analyses Workshop
Anatomy, Physiology and Health Meeting, In-Water Biology Meeting, Conservation, Management and Policy Meeting, Fisheries and Threats Meeting, Nesting Biology Meeting, Social, Economic and Cultural Studies Meeting, and Population Biology and Monitoring Meeting
• Opening Social on Monday evening, 04 February
• Adventures from the Field on Tuesday evening, 05 February - this is a very informal gathering; participants are encouraged to share their experiences from the field
• Live Auction on Thursday evening, 07 February
• Farewell Banquet on Friday evening, 08 February, come dine, dance and spend some time with friends, new and old, until we meet again in 2014!

Email Chuck Shaffer at Chelonian1@aol.com
for any additional information.
_________________________________________________________________
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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
___________________________________________________________________
Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011, (Only 5 copies left)
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
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In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volumes 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $13.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 S&H for only one book.

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

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

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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:15 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 42 9/19/12, Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg

FULL OF NEW BOOKS, EXCLUSIVES AND DISCOUNTS
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
This is another one of Herpdigest’s win-win situations for herps,. All profits from the sale of “The Tortoise” goes to The Turtle Conservancy and HerpDigest. No intermediary distributors or wholesalers taking their cut.
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The 2013 CALENDARS ARE IN- Turtles, Sea Turtles, Frogs & Snakes, Each Glossy 12’x 12” Plus an extra 6 month July-December, 2012 1-page planner with photo, Start Using the Calendar now. $14.99 for each calendar $6.00 for S&H for first calendar. $3.00 S&H or each additional calendar. Limited number available will not re-order. 3 dozen of turtles(last year were out beginning of November) 1 dozen each, sea turtles, frogs and snakes. Want to see what they look like? Go to http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html, While there check out the magnets and Herp Novelty Diplomas.
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Table of Contents
1) Third Annual-Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group Conference on Captive Care and Breeding, Mesa AZ, 11/15/-16/12
2) A Perspective on Box Turtle Derbies ( This is a 7 page pdf document contact by Sandy Barnett, Herpetologist at sandy.barnett@verizon.net for a copy)
3) Center for Snake Conservation Sponsors Fall Snake Count—
A Citizen Science Program Focused on Mapping and Conserving Snakes
4)Resistance and Resilience f A Stream Salamander to Supraseasonal Drought
5) Researchers Find Our Inner Reptile Hearts
6) Public Comment Opportunity-FWS Proposes Critical Habitat Designation for Jemez Mountains Salamnder
7) Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Turtle in Florida, Georgia and Alabama (Barbour’s Map)
8) Blinded by the light: As sea-turtle nests increase, so do disorientations
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TURTLES, TORTOISES, AND TERRAPINS, A NATURAL HISTORY, REVISED, EXPANDED AND UPDATED, by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11", 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, indexThe publisher’s warehouse is sending me copies now. 59.95 US plus $12.00 for S&H in US, overseas please contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org To order, as always see the very bottom of this document
This new edition has 150 more pages than the first edition.
Since this book was first published a decade ago, turtle, tortoise and terrapin species have continued to suffer from human intervention. Sought for food, as pets and for tortoiseshell they are under attack on land and sea and populations are in decline around the world due to loss of habitat and food sources. At the same time, however, humans have been working hard to ensure the survival of turtles, tortoises and terrapins. Understanding these species is not only interesting but critical to their future.
Turtles, tortoises and terrapins have been on Earth since the Triassic Period, approximately 200 million years ago. It has long been unclear from which group of reptiles turtles sprang. Although the earliest fossils are clearly turtles, their anatomy changed dramatically over time. In addition, turtle species vary greatly in such basic characteristics as anatomy and habitat preferences. Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins surveys turtle anatomy, their habitat and life cycles throughout the ages, bringing the knowledge up to date with recent discoveries and research.
Contents include: - Why Turtles Matter/ What Turtles Are/How Turtles Live/Will Turtles Survive?/Turtles of the World/Turtle Watching/How to Help Conserve Turtles
The battle to save turtles goes on, and this book provides an important voice in turtle ecology. Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins is the perfect resource for anyone interested in these amazing and diverse reptiles.
59.95 US plus $12.00 for S&H in US, overseas please contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org To order, as always see the very bottom of this document
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1) THIRD ANNUAL-TURTLE and TORTOISE PRESERVATION GROUP
CONFERENCE on CAPTIVE CARE and BREEDING
Thursday, November 15th (8:30 am to 6:30 pm)
Friday, November 16th, 2012 (8:30 am to 1:00 pm)
Mesa Centennial Hall
263 N. Center Street
Mesa, Arizona 85201
 
Speakers confirmed so far: Peter Pritchard (banquet), Stephen Bohm from Austria, David Lee (Tortoise Reserve), David Mifsud (Blandings), Cord Offermann DVM, Barry Downer (Tulsa Zoo), Greg Fleming DVM (Disney Zoo), Richard Fife, and Ashley Rademacher (Zoo Med).

For more information, go to our website at www.ttpg.org. Here you will be able to sign up for the conference, become a member of the TTPG, and learn more about our organization.
________________________________________________________________________

2) A Perspective on Box Turtle Derbies ( This is a 7 page pdf document contact
by Sandy Barnett, Herpetologist at sandy.barnett@verizon.net for a copy)

Turtle derbies have a long history in many communities in eastern, mid-western, and southern states, often in conjunction with Fourth of July celebrations. I understand the value of traditional celebrations to families; many people feel that turtle races are a wonderful form of harmless family entertainment. However, I would like to discuss some aspects of turtle derbies that people may not be aware of such as the health hazards they pose to humans and turtles, the enormous amount of distress they cause to the animals, the potential contribution of these races to the decline of our native box turtle populations, and the ecological role of these animals.
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3) Center for Snake Conservation Sponsors Fall Snake Count—
A Citizen Science Program Focused on Mapping and Conserving Snakes

Louisville, CO Press release 9/14/12- − The Center for Snake Conservation (www.snakeconservation.org) will be hosting its fall Snake Count from September 15-23, 2012. The Snake Count will be used to map and track the distribution of snake species across the United States. This Citizen Science Program encourages everyday “citizens” to get out in nature, learn about snakes, and promote snake conservation by observing and recording snake species in their local area. The Center for Snake Conservation will be partnering with Project Noah (www.projectnoah.org) to help document the snakes found during the Snake Count.

“Snakes play vital roles as mid- to top-level predators in our natural ecosystems but they are often misunderstood and feared by humans,” says Cameron Young, Founder and Executive Director of Center for Snake Conservation. Snakes and other reptiles are among the most imperiled vertebrate species in the world—nearly 25% of all evaluated reptile species are endangered or vulnerable, and the status of another 20% has not been assessed due to lack of data.

Data collected during the Snake Count will be used by the Center Snake Conservation to confirm the existence of rare species and provide baseline data to monitor populations of more common species. The Snake Count also serves to raise awareness for snake conservation thereby ensuring that these unique predators will continue to persist in our developing world.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the Center for Snake Conservation to help build on their important work. Snakes are incredible predators and we want as many people as possible to understand and appreciate the critical role these reptiles play in ecosystems across the planet” says Yasser Ansari, Co-Founder and Chief Leaf of Project Noah. Project Noah is a technology platform and community built to provide a powerful way for research groups to collect important ecological data.

Young encourages families, nature centers, snake enthusiasts, students, local chapters of wildlife organizations, and anyone else with an interest in enjoying and conserving the natural world to become involved and help researchers to learn which species or regions may need focused conservation efforts.

To register for the Snake Count, download a snake count tool kit, or just to learn more, go to http://www.snakecount.org/ or contact the Center for Snake Conservation at 770-500-0000 or snakecount@snakeconservation.org. If you are unable to participate in the Snake Count and would like to further support snake research, education, and conservation, visit www.snakeconservation.org.

The Center for Snake Conservation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of all snakes. The organization’s mission is “to promote the conservation of snakes and their natural ecosystems and implement positive change in human attitudes towards snakes” through education, conservation, and science.

Contact: Cameron A. Young, Center for Snake Conservation, (770) 500-000
________________________________________________________________
4) Resistance and Resilience f A Stream Salamander to Supraseasonal Drought
Herpetologica, 68(3), 2012, 312–323
STEVEN J. PRICE
1,2,3 , ROBERT A. BROWNE
1 , AND MICHAEL E. DORCAS
2
1Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
2Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035-7118, USA

ABSTRACT
Drought represents a significant stressor to aquatic animals. However, empirical data regarding the response of many aquatic animals, particularly amphibians, to drought are limited. The southeastern United States experienced a supraseasonal drought in 2007–2008, which provided an opportunity to examine the resistance and resilience of salamanders to drought. In this study, we used 5 yr of presence–absence data at 17 first-order streams and 61 mo of mark–recapture data at one stream to examine the effects of drought on occupancy and vital rates of the salamander Desmognathus fuscus (Northern Dusky Salamander). We tested three hypotheses regarding the effects of drought: larvae would decrease in occupancy during drought conditions, but adult occupancy would remain stable; adult temporary emigration rates would be greatest during supraseasonal drought conditions; and adult survivorship would be equal or nearly equal during nondrought conditions and drought conditions due to higher rates of temporary emigration. We found that adult salamander occupancy remained stable through the 5 yr of sampling; however, larval salamander occupancy decreased by an average of 30% during the supraseasonal drought. We found that adult temporary emigration probabilities were twice as high during supraseasonal drought conditions than during nondrought or typical drought conditions. Monthly survival of adults was relatively high during nondrought (S.0.89 6 0.02), typical drought (S . 0.97 6 0.02), and severe drought conditions (S. 0.90 6 0.01). Our findings suggest that high survivorship of adult D. fuscus likely buffers the negative effects of drought on larvae and high rates of
temporary emigration allow adult salamanders to be resilient to supraseasonal drought conditions.
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5) Researchers Find Our Inner Reptile Hearts
ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2012) — The genetic building blocks behind the human heart's subtle control system have finally been identified.
An elaborate system of leads spreads across our hearts. These leads -- the heart's electrical system -- control our pulse and coordinate contraction of the heart chambers. While the structure of the human heart has been known for a long time, the evolutionary origin of our conduction system has nevertheless remained a mystery. Researchers have finally succeeded in showing that the spongy tissue in reptile hearts is the forerunner of the complex hearts of both birds and mammals. The new knowledge provides a deeper understanding of the complex conductive tissue of the human heart, which is of key importance in many heart conditions.
Forerunner of conductive tissue
"The heart of a bird or a mammal -- for example a human -- pumps frequently and rapidly. This is only possible because it has electrically conductive tissue that controls the heart. Until now, however, we haven't been able to find conductive tissue in our common reptilian ancestors, which means we haven't been able to understand how this enormously important system emerged," says Bjarke Jensen, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University. Along with Danish colleagues and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam, he can now reveal that the genetic building blocks for highly developed conductive tissue are actually hidden behind the thin wall in the spongy hearts of reptiles. The new results have just been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Different anatomy conceals similarity
"We studied the hearts of cold-blooded animals like lizards, frogs and zebrafish, and we investigated the gene that determines which parts of the heart are responsible for conducting the activating current. By comparing adult hearts from reptiles with embryonic hearts from birds and mammals, we discovered a common molecular structure that's hidden by the anatomical differences," explains Dr Jensen. Since the early 1900s, scientists have been wondering how birds and mammals could have developed almost identical conduction systems independently of each other when their common ancestor was a cold-blooded reptile with a sponge-like inner heart that has virtually no conduction bundles.
Human fetal hearts
The studies show that it is simply the spongy inner tissue in the fetal heart that gets stretched out to become a fine network of conductive tissue in adult birds and mammals. And this knowledge can be put to use in the future. "Our knowledge about the reptilian heart and the evolutionary background to our conductive tissue can provide us with a better understanding of how the heart works in the early months of fetal life in humans, when many women miscarry, and where heart disorders are thought to be the leading cause of spontaneous abortion," says Professor Tobias Wang.
Fact box: Why did we not keep reptilian hearts?
• Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and therefore have the same temperature as their surroundings. Their spongy hearts are efficient enough to maintain their low metabolism.
• Birds and mammals -- including humans -- have independently of each other developed a high body temperature (warm-bloodedness) and spend enormous amounts of energy maintaining it. Their pulse has to increase to pump all the blood needed for high metabolism. This means they require efficient conductive tissue in the heart.
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6) Public Comment Opportunity-FWS Proposes Critical Habitat Designation for Jemez Mountains Salamnder

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced it is
seeking comments on critical habitat designations for a New Mexico
Salamander. The Salamander was recently designated as 'endangered' under the Endangered Species Act.

On Sept. 12, FWS announced the Jemez Mountains salamander (Plethodon
neomexicanus) was given federal protection and has proposed a rule to
designate 90,789 acres in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and Sandoval
Counties, NM as critical habitat for the species.

The Jemez Mountains salamander is one of two North American
plethodontid salamander species geographically isolated from all
other salamander species, the other being the Sacramento Mountains
salamander. Threats to the salamander cited by FWS include wildland
fires, forest silvicultural practices, livestock grazing, habitat
fragmentation as well as residential and recreational development.
According to WildEarth Guardians, which petitioned the listing, the
species is now found in only 38 percent of historically occupied sites.

Comments will be accepted until November 13, 2012 and can be
submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov (Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2012-0063) or by mail to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0063
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203.

To view the full Federal Register notice for the Jemez Mountains
salamander, click here:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-09 ... -21882.pdf
________________________________________________________________
7) Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Turtle in Florida, Georgia and Alabama (Barbour’s Map)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the agency’s failure to decide whether an increasingly rare animal, the Barbour’s map turtle, should receive Endangered Species Act protection. The turtle is declining due to illegal collection, pollution, dredging and disease.
“Barbour’s map turtles are disappearing fast, and in some areas they’ve already vanished. They desperately need Endangered Species Act protection to survive,” said the Center’s reptile-and-amphibian specialist, Collette Adkins Giese. “The Endangered Species Act has a nearly perfect record of stopping species from going extinct — it’s hands-down our best tool for saving these rare turtles.”
The Center and regional allies petitioned to protect the Barbour’s map turtle in 2010. In 2011 the Service determined that the turtle “may warrant” protection as an endangered species, but it has failed to take the next required step, a 12-month finding on whether protection is warranted.
Many of the 20 remaining populations of the turtle are experiencing substantial declines from habitat loss and degradation. Industrial water pollution is causing extensive deformities and shell ulcerations in the turtles and killing many of the mollusks they eat.
Also, these beautiful turtles, known for their spiked shells and intricate patterns of yellow markings, suffer from overcollection for the pet trade, despite the fact that collection is illegal across their range. Even limited collection of turtles is unsustainable because of the key role played by large adult female turtles, which can take more than 15 years to reach sexual maturity.
“Turtle traders continue to deplete populations of Barbour’s map turtles and other U.S. turtles at a frightening rate. It’s got to stop before we lose these incredible animals from the wild,” said Adkins Giese. “Overcollection compounds the daily problems our turtles already face from habitat loss, water pollution and road mortality.”
Background
The Barbour’s map turtle is one of the rarest map turtles, found only in the Apalachicola River system and nearby waterways of Florida, Georgia and Alabama in the southeastern United States. It usually lives in wide streams with swift currents and abundant downed trees, often in areas exposed to limestone. It eats mainly mollusks and insects like caddisfly larvae and can only survive in waters clean enough to support its prey base.
The United States is a turtle biodiversity hotspot, home to more types of turtles than any other country in the world. As part a campaign to protect this rich natural heritage, the Center in 2008 and 2009 petitioned states with unrestricted commercial turtle harvest to improve harvest regulations. In 2009 Florida responded by banning almost all commercial harvest of freshwater turtles from public and private waters. Earlier this year Georgia approved state rules regulating the commercial harvest of turtles, and Alabama completely banned commercial harvests.
The Center is also working to end unsustainable international trade in U.S. freshwater turtles, including Barbour’s map turtles. In response to a Center petition, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced in April of this year that it may propose 17 U.S. freshwater species for protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
______________________________________________________________________
8) Blinded by the light: As sea-turtle nests increase, so do disorientations

By Dinah Voyles Pulver
ENVIRONMENT WRITER, The Daytona Beach News Journal, September 8, 2012.
Jennifer Winters stood on the beach and tried to imagine what light, shining through the night, might have caused 10 newly hatched loggerhead sea turtles to wander north on the beach instead of heading to the ocean.
Winters, who manages Volusia County's beachfront habitat conservation program, could see several possible distractions, which she noted on a clipboard lit by a set of tiny LED lights.
Was it the bright light glowing out of a parking garage? Unshielded streetlights across A1A? Or a lamp on a deck pointed out toward the beach instead of illuminating the sidewalk?
All are technical violations of the county's lighting ordinance, a stipulation of the federal permit that allows Volusia beaches to remain open to driving. Winters would later notify property owners that their lights weren't in compliance.
Flagler also has a lighting program aimed at keeping property owners in line with a county ordinance designed to prevent distractions to turtle hatchlings to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act.
County officials routinely try to educate beachfront property owners and have worked with the Sea Turtle Conservancy to coordinate grants for properties to correct lighting violations. But despite these efforts and the rules in place for more than a decade, dozens of violations are found each summer.
And, hundreds of sea turtle hatchlings are reported disoriented by volunteer monitors who sometimes find them in the morning or see the trail where the hatchlings trekked along the beach before finding their way to the waves.
This summer has been a busy one for sea turtles, with record numbers of females digging nests and depositing eggs along the beach. More than 1,480 nests have been counted on Volusia and Flagler beaches north of Canaveral National Seashore, and officials say more than 50,000 eggs have hatched in Volusia alone.
Disorientation events also have increased.
By the end of August, of the 582 nests that were evaluated on Volusia beaches so far, more than 1,450 hatchlings from 36 nests have been disoriented, Winters reported. In Flagler, turtle hatchlings have wandered away from at least six of the more than 260 nests that have hatched so far, said Beth Libert, of the Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol.
In the last several weeks, dead hatchlings have been collected on State Road A1A in Daytona Beach and Flagler Beach.
Each event prompts a visit from Winters or a colleague. This summer the county has about 185 open lighting cases as it tries to enforce the ordinance and monitor the lights that can disrupt the turtle hatchlings or lead them to their deaths.
Many property owners along the beach have voluntarily complied with the ordinances over the years, said officials in both counties. Other property owners just turn off offending lights during the season. And others play a cat and mouse game, leaving non-complying lights on until they hear from the county. Sometimes, lighting problems occur when properties are sold and new owners take over.
"It's frustrating," said Winters.
One formerly brightly lit location on the beach has had a makeover and now sports a new low light profile. The Ocean Walk Resort Condominium Association just completed a major retrofit project to redo all of its lighting along the beach and pool area, installing new shielded light fixtures and lower wave length and/or amber colored lights instead of incandescent bulbs.
On a recent Friday night, Winters walked the pool deck area there with Anne Delude, the on-site community association manager, and Karen Shudes with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The project was accomplished in part by a grant the conservancy administers.
"I'm so thrilled with the final product," Delude said. "I couldn't have envisioned this."
It's better for guest safety and better for the turtles, she said. Residents and guests can see better and the ambience improved.
Delude said the association "couldn't have done it" without the Sea Turtle Conservancy, which administers a BP grant program, funded by the sale of crude oil recovered at the site of the company's Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
A first round of the grant program helped pay for improvements at Volusia County's Marine Science Center and other sea turtle rehabilitation facilities around the state. A second round of funding was used to help pay for lighting retrofits at facilities along East Coast beaches most frequently visited by nesting sea turtles.
The conservancy also has worked with the Coral Sands Resort and Cottages and the Indies House in Ormond Beach and Sea Coast Gardens in New Smyrna Beach.
The grant to the Ocean Walk paid about half the cost of the $50,000 retrofit, said Shudes.
The Friday night walk was Shudes' first look at the final project and she was happy with the end result.
"It's my hope that other adjacent properties will follow suit and we continue that stretch of darkened habitat for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings," she said.
Hotels and condominiums can achieve the candle requirements for keeping their pools open at night, she said. "We're hearing positive feedback from property owners and guests."
Both Delude and Shudes said guests find the amber-colored lights more soft and pleasing, she said. "It kind of reminds them of candlelight," said Shudes.
"It was actually harder to see with the brighter lights because your eyes were adjusting from really bright light," said Shudes. "Your pupils allow more light in so you can use your adaptive night vision."
Guests can see better and there are fewer shadows, Delude said. "That's the key to guest safety and security."
Shudes said other facilities along the coast are finding that the 70-percent more efficient LED lights are "extremely energy efficient."
Elsewhere along the beach in its other lighting cases, Volusia County is working with property owners to resolve problems, Winters said.
Cases that can't be resolved are sent to the code enforcement board for follow up and enforcement, including fines.
Not everyone is happy with the county's approach. Turtle advocates would like to see the county take a more hard-line approach to pursue violations of the ordinance.
For example, Shirley Reynolds, who once sued the county on behalf of sea turtles, routinely calls the county to task for failing to do enough to enforce the lighting rules.
Others say the county staff is stretched too thin to adequately address the problems. At times in the past, the county had two full-time staff devoted to enforcing the lighting ordinance. This summer, the one position allocated for that task has been vacant and Winters and a colleague are sharing the work.
Winters said they hope to hire someone to fill the position shortly.
Facts
Volusia's Lighting Rules
Light fixtures shall be designed, positioned, shielded or otherwise modified such that the source of light and any reflective surfaces of the fixture shall not be directly visible by a person who is in a standing position on the beach. With the exception of a small area of the beach in downtown Daytona Beach that is exempt from the regulations, any source of light or reflective surface of the fixture visible from the beach is a violation (regardless of color).
Lights shall not directly or indirectly illuminate the beach during the sea turtle nesting season. County officials advise using long wavelength (red or amber LED) lights or low wattage bulbs along with shielded fixtures to reduce beach illumination. Light trespassing onto the beach is beach illumination and is a violation of the ordinance.
Tinted glass, or any window film applied to window glass which meet the shading criteria for tinted glass, shall be installed on all windows of single- or multistory buildings or structures within line of sight of the beach in the regulated boundaries.

Lights illuminating signs shall be shielded or screened such that they do not illuminate the beach and the source of the light shall not be visible by a person who is in a standing position on the beach.
_______________________________________________________________________

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An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
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SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
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Re: Herp- Digest Newsletter

Postby Philsuma » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:46 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 45 10/4/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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Confessions of a Turtle Wife --Use coupon code WR62G at Smashwords to download for just 99 cents thru Oct 6!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/165977
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********NEW HERPDIGEST POLICY**********************
When it comes to job, volunteer, grant etc. announcements, waiting a week to announce them in that issue, or even 2 to 3 days just isn’t right. Readers of Herpdigest should know about them as soon as I do. Those few days can make the difference.

So Expect daily emails from Herpdigest. No ads (except if it is for a book) no other articles, jobs, or grants, lost among the usual 15 page issue. This also open up more space in the regular issue of Herpdigest for more articles. A win-win situation.

This policy has already started and I hope it will help HerpDigest Readers gett hose job, grants, volunteers that they need to continue their research. After all HerpDigest was created to serve the herp community.
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“The Most Comphrensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
AND YES EVEN IF YOU HAVE COPIES OF THE FIRST EDITION YOU SHOULD GET THE 2ND EDITION, IT’S A WHOLE NEW BOOK.
$59.95 USD plus $12.00 for S&H in US, overseas please contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
The first issue is only $20.00 plus $6.00 for S&H. As all always contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for overseas shipping costs.
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Table of Contents
1) Rigorous gharial population estimation in the Chambal: implications for conservation and management of a globally threatened crocodilian
2) Rapid Increases and Time-Lagged Declines in Amphibian Occupancy after Wildfire
3) Re-evaluating the effect of harvesting regimes on Nile crocodiles using an integral projection model
4) Gut and intestinal passage time in the Rainbow Skink (Trachylepis margaritifer): implications for stress measures using faecal analysis
5) Study finds snakes in the wild harbor deadly mosquito-borne EEEV virus through hibernation-Research finds snakes play role in transmission cycle of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus, one of the most lethal mosquito-borne viruses affecting horses and humans; opens door to strategy to counter spread of highly pathogenic virus
6) Here's How the Feds Busted David Feltenberger for Smuggling Turtles to China
7) In Mexico, the ajolote's fate lies in troubled waters-The salamander, long a metaphor for the Mexican soul, risks extinction unless its sole habitat, the canal system of Xochimilco, can be restored.
8) New 'Green List' Shows Species On Path to Conservation Success
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“I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet”- Mitt Romney, Meet The Press 9/9/12
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SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
Books Just In-All Discounted-Only 3 of each-No re-ordering allowed by Publishers.
The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: The Biography of Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology by Frederick Rowe Davis, 312 pages, Orig price $50.00 Now $25.00 plus $6.00 for S&H
Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems, by Michael Lannoo, 270 pages, Original Price $65.00 Now $30.00 plus $6.00 S&H
Frogs & Toads Of North America-Photos of 100 frogs and toads and all their calls on a CD by Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt and Carlos Davidson, 350 pages, glossy, full color. List price $30.00 Now $19.95) Plus $6.00 S&H
Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd Edition, General Editor Chris Mattison, 240 glossy pages, Oversize Book Once $50.00 - Now $30.00 Plus $12.00 S&H
&
2013 CALENDARS ARE IN- Turtles, Sea Turtles, Frogs & Snakes, Each Glossy 12’x 12” Plus an extra 6 month July-December, 2012 1-page planner with photo, Start Using the Calendar now. $14.99 each $6.00 for S&H. Limited number available will not re-order. 3 dozen of turtles(last year were out beginning of November) 1 dozen each, sea turtles, frogs and snakes. To see and order them go to http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
Check out the magnets and diplomas while you are there.
AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF HERPDIGEST ISSUE.
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1) Rigorous gharial population estimation in the Chambal: implications for conservation and management of a globally threatened crocodilian

Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 49, Issue 5, pages 1046–1054, October 2012
1. Tarun Nair1,2,*,
2. John B. Thorbjarnarson3,†,
3. Patrick Aust4,
4. Jagdish Krishnaswamy1,5
Article first published online: 13 AUG 2012
How to Cite
Nair, T., Thorbjarnarson, J. B., Aust, P., Krishnaswamy, J. (2012), Rigorous gharial population estimation in the Chambal: implications for conservation and management of a globally threatened crocodilian. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49: 1046–1054. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02189.x
Author Information
1. 1Post-graduate Program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society—India Program, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India
2. 2Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore, India
3. 3Wildlife Conservation Society, Gainsville, FL, USA
4. 4Centre for Herpetology, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
5. 5Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India
6. †In memoriam.
*Correspondence author. E-mail: tarunnair1982@gmail.com
Summary
1. India's Chambal River hosts the largest population of the critically endangered gharial. Boat-based daylight surveys to date only provide indices of relative abundance, without measures of survey bias or error. No attempt to quantify detection probabilities in these surveys has yet been made, and thus, absolute density estimates of this population remain unknown.
2. We surveyed 75 km of the River Chambal and photographed individual gharials for capture–recapture analysis. The total sampling effort yielded 400 captures. Population closure was supported (z = −1•48, P = 0•069), and closed-population models were used to estimate abundances.
3. Models were selected using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) index of model fit. The best model estimated 231 ± 32 adult, 83 ± 23 subadult and 89 ± 19 juvenile gharials (Mean ± SE), respectively, while the model-averaged estimate was 220 ± 28 adult, 76 ± 16 subadults and 93 ± 16 juvenile gharials, respectively.
4. The best model estimated absolute densities of 3•08 ± 0•43, 1•11 ± 0•3 and 1•19 ± 0•25 adult, subadult and juvenile gharials km−1, respectively, while the model-averaged estimate was 2•93 ± 0•37, 1•01 ± 0•21 and 1•24 ± 0•21 adult, subadult and juvenile gharials km−1, respectively, compared with relative densities of 0•94, 0•45 and 0•30 adult, subadult and juvenile gharials km−1, respectively, from boat-based daylight surveys. On the basis of our best model, we suggest a detection probability based correction factor of 3•27, 2•47 and 3•97 to boat-based daylight survey estimates of adult, subadult and juvenile gharials, respectively.
1. Synthesis and applications. Used within the framework of capture–recapture analysis, photoidentification provides a reliable and noninvasive method of estimating population size and structure in crocodilians. We also opine that without determining the current status of gharials, highly intensive strategies, such as the egg-collection and rear-and-release programmes being implemented currently, initiated on the basis of underestimates of population sizes, are unwarranted and divert valuable conservation resources away from field-based protection measures, which are essential in the face of threats like hydrologic diversions, sand mining, fishing and bankside cultivation.
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2) Rapid Increases and Time-Lagged Declines in Amphibian Occupancy after Wildfire
Conservation Biology Early View-Online Version of Record published before incluion in an issue.
1. BLAKE R. HOSSACK1,2,
2. WINSOR H. LOWE3,
3. PAUL STEPHEN CORN1
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2012
Author Information
1. 1 U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, 790 East Beckwith Avenue, Missoula, MT 59801, U.S.A., email blake_hossack@usgs.gov
2. 2 Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, U.S.A.
3. 3 Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, U.S.A.
Contact: blake_hossack@usgs.gov
Abstract:  Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of drought and wildfire. Aquatic and moisture-sensitive species, such as amphibians, may be particularly vulnerable to these modified disturbance regimes because large wildfires often occur during extended droughts and thus may compound environmental threats. However, understanding of the effects of wildfires on amphibians in forests with long fire-return intervals is limited. Numerous stand-replacing wildfires have occurred since 1988 in Glacier National Park (Montana, U.S.A.), where we have conducted long-term monitoring of amphibians. We measured responses of 3 amphibian species to fires of different sizes, severity, and age in a small geographic area with uniform management. We used data from wetlands associated with 6 wildfires that burned between 1988 and 2003 to evaluate whether burn extent and severity and interactions between wildfire and wetland isolation affected the distribution of breeding populations. We measured responses with models that accounted for imperfect detection to estimate occupancy during prefire (0–4 years) and different postfire recovery periods. For the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) and Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), occupancy was not affected for 6 years after wildfire. But 7–21 years after wildfire, occupancy for both species decreased ≥25% in areas where >50% of the forest within 500 m of wetlands burned. In contrast, occupancy of the boreal toad (Anaxyrus boreas) tripled in the 3 years after low-elevation forests burned. This increase in occupancy was followed by a gradual decline. Our results show that accounting for magnitude of change and time lags is critical to understanding population dynamics of amphibians after large disturbances. Our results also inform understanding of the potential threat of increases in wildfire frequency or severity to amphibians in the region.
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3) Re-evaluating the effect of harvesting regimes on Nile crocodiles using an integral projection model
Journal of Animal Ecology
Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)
1. Kevin Wallace1,*,
2. Alison Leslie2,
3. Tim Coulson1
Article first published online: 10 SEP 2012
Author Information
1. 1Division of Ecology and Evolution, Imperial College London, Silwood Park, Berkshire, UK
2. 2Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Faculty of Agrisciences, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, South Africa
*Correspondence author. E-mail: k.wallace08@imperial.ac.uk
How to Cite
Wallace, K., Leslie, A., Coulson, T. (2012), Re-evaluating the effect of harvesting regimes on Nile crocodiles using an integral projection model. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2012.02027.x
Summary
1. Crocodile populations are size-structured, and for populations that are subject to harvesting, removal is typically size selective. For this reason, size-structured matrix models are typically used to analyse the dynamics of crocodile populations. The boundaries between the size classes used to classify individuals in these models are typically chosen arbitrarily. This is problematic because results can depend upon the number and width of size classes.
2. The recent development of continuous character population models termed integral projection models (IPM) has removed the need to arbitrarily classify individuals. These models are yet to be applied to harvested animal populations.
3. Using information obtained from the literature, we develop an IPM for crocodiles. We use perturbation analyses to investigate how altering size-specific demographic rates influences the population growth rate and the strength of selection on snout to vent length.
4. We find that perturbations can lead to complex responses. Sensitivity analysis to population growth and fertility selection reveals that the smallest animals and the sizes of early breeding individuals and their eggs may have more influence on these population biology parameters than previously thought.
5. Although our model is relatively simple, our results show that IPM can be used to gain theoretical insight into the possible consequences of altering size-specific demographic rates on the population and evolutionary ecology of harvested populations.
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4) Gut and intestinal passage time in the Rainbow Skink (Trachylepis margaritifer): implications for stress measures using faecal analysis
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)
1. A. K. Miller,
2. B. F. N. Erasmus,
3. G. J. Alexander
Article first published online: 24 SEP 2012
School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
A. K. Miller, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, PO Box 324, Jukskei Park, Johannesburg 2153, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)82 375 2205; Fax: +27 (0)11 704 2358 E-mail: ashadee.k.miller@gmail.com
How to Cite
Miller, A. K., Erasmus, B. F. N. and Alexander, G. J. (2012), Gut and intestinal passage time in the Rainbow Skink (Trachylepis margaritifer): implications for stress measures using faecal analysis. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12004
Summary
Stress levels in organisms provide a rapid measure for assessing population health. Handling and capture stress, however, cause error in blood measures, so this method is rapidly being replaced by assessing levels of stress metabolites in faeces. This eliminates the source of error because there is a lag period between stress perception and the resultant stress metabolite accumulation within faeces. This lag period is correlated with specific intestinal passage time, a measure that can vary greatly between taxa, particularly amongst ectotherms. Due to two deleterious consequences associated with extended exposure of the metabolites to the intestinal environment, species that exhibit long and variable intestinal passage times are not good candidates for metabolite studies. We measured gut and intestinal passage times in Trachylepis margaritifer to ascertain whether it would be an appropriate candidate for stress metabolite studies. We first tested if barium sulphate in the meal had an effect on gut passage time at three ambient temperatures (25, 27 and 32 °C). Barium sulphate had no effect; however, temperature had a significant effect with an unexpected pattern: gut passage time was fastest at 32 °C but was slower at 27 °C than at 25 °C. We then used X-ray technology and barium sulphate-loaded meals to measure gut and intestinal passage times at 25 and 27 °C. This allowed us to observe which parts of the digestive process were responsible for increased passage times at 27 °C: the faster passage time at 25 °C was due to faster intestinal passage time; there was no difference in gastric emptying time. We assess the species to be a suitable candidate for studies using faeces to measure stress. It is imperative however, that the effect of temperature on passage rates is known and taken into account in such studies.
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5) Study finds snakes in the wild harbor deadly mosquito-borne EEEV virus through hibernation-Research finds snakes play role in transmission cycle of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis Virus, one of the most lethal mosquito-borne viruses affecting horses and humans; opens door to strategy to counter spread of highly pathogenic virus

Eureka, Deerfield, Il (October 1, 2012) Snakes in the wild serve as hosts for the deadly mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalomyelitis Virus (EEEV), possibly acting as a "bridge" to the next season, according to researchers studying endemic areas in the Tuskegee National Forest in Alabama. This sets the stage for mosquitoes feeding on the infected snakes – primarily in the early spring – to become virus carriers. Scientists have been puzzled as to how the virus survived a harsh winter. With this new link established in the transmission cycle, a viable strategy to counter the virus may be at hand. The findings were published today online in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and will be published in the December print issue.
While previous studies demonstrated that snakes experimentally infected with EEEV in laboratories could harbor the virus in their blood through hibernation, this is the first evidence documenting wild-caught snakes with EEEV already circulating in their blood. "This study confirms that the snakes carry the live virus across seasons," said study co-author Thomas R. Unnasch, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida's Global Health Infectious Disease Research Program. "So after hibernating all winter, when they emerge in the sun in the spring, they still have the virus in their blood ready to share with a new crop of mosquitoes which can then spread it on to other animals."
"Triple E is one of the most deadly viruses that's endemic to the United States and what this result allows us to do is to start thinking about early season interventions to basically eliminate the virus transmission early in the season and interrupt it before it gets going, before it will be a threat to human beings later on in the season," he said.
EEEV has been detected in Central, South and in North America, along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S. as well as Michigan and Ohio. Most human cases have occurred in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Currently, in Massachusetts public health officials have confirmed that at least seven residents have contracted the virus commonly called "Triple E" (EEE) and two of them have died from the disease. The number of cases in the state alone has already reached the average number of EEE cases reported annually nationwide.
EEEV – Deadly to Horses and Humans
EEEV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can be passed to a wide range of animals including birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. But once infected, horses and humans appear to suffer the most adverse effects. For horses with EEE there's a 90 percent chance of death. And although there is a vaccine available, hundreds of horses go unvaccinated. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average 200 EEE horse cases were reported annually over the past five years. For humans EEE is rare, with approximately five to ten cases reported annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 35% of the people who contract the disease will die and among those who survive, 35% will have long term severe neurological damage. In severe cases of the virus (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) symptoms include the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures or coma. There is no cure for EEEV and care is based on symptoms. There is currently no vaccine approved for human use.
EEEV Breeding grounds
Freshwater hardwood swamps in the Northeast are hotbeds for EEEV and the virus is maintained through a cycle of Culiseta melanura mosquitoes which primarily get their blood meals from birds. As infection rates rise among more mosquitoes feeding on their avian hosts, the birds spread the virus rapidly and broadly but it takes a mosquito species (Aedes, Coquillettidia and Culex) capable of bridging the infection from infected birds to uninfected mammals for the virus to be transmitted.
Until now, the mystery of how the virus survived the winter has been an outstanding question because the virus has appeared in the same locations in several Northeastern U.S. states from year to year. "There are no mosquitoes there in the winter and not many birds and there's never been evidence that mosquitoes can carry the virus over the winter," Unnasch said.
Snake Wrangling
For their research for this study, scientists from the University of South Florida and Auburn University wrangled snakes for blood samples from an area in the Tuskegee National Forest where EEEV has circulated for years. They found that the infected snakes, mostly cottonmouths, hibernate the virus in their blood during winter. They also discovered that the virus in snakes peaked in April and September. Unnasch said when the major transmission agents, migratory birds, leave the area in the fall the mosquitoes turn to the snakes -- feeding through the eye membranes of the vipers, not their tough skin -- which is why infection rates peak in September. He added that there is no research on whether the virus can be transmitted by a snake bite, but they plan to use defanged snakes in their next experiments."
Prevention
Unnasch and his colleagues believe that the virus can be stopped before it becomes a threat. Further study could prove whether early season interventions could be really useful in eliminating infections in the summer, which may involve humans. "We'd like to test this experimentally by doing some early season insecticide treatments for mosquitoes in Florida," said Unnasch, adding that according to the CDC his home state has far more cases of Triple E virus than any other.
"This study not only offers insight into the ways to prevent the outbreaks of deadly mosquito-borne viruses like EEEV and West Nile Virus, it also provides a path toward finding cures and vaccines that will save lives and money," said James W. Kazura, MD, President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which publishes the journal, and director of the Center for Global Health and Diseases at Case Western Reserve University. "We must never forget that the lives of real people are at stake here. Each year, through the generosity of the Labell family, ASTMH's American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses awards a $2000 grant to a graduate student conducting research on EEEV or other mosquito-borne diseases in the name of their daughter, Kelly, a New Hampshire teenager who died tragically in 2005 from EEEV. This research is another step closer to preventing tragedy for another family."
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6) Here's How the Feds Busted David Feltenberger for Smuggling Turtles to China

By Stefan Kamph Tue., Oct. 2 2012
New Times Broward Palm Beach


In October 2011, an undercover officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service arrived at David Feltenberger's "Big Lake Fish Farm" in Okeechobee. Feltenberger was sentenced last week for conspiring to export turtles.

He had a license to keep hundreds or thousands of softshell turtles, snapping turtles, chicken turtles, striped mud turtles, eastern river cooters, Florida cooters, peninsula cooters, Florida red-bellied turtles, common musk turtles, and yellow-bellied sliders for the purpose of letting them breed in a giant tank so they could be sustainably sold.

But the FWS thought Feltenberger might be catching wild turtles and shipping them off to China, where endangered sea turtles are enjoyed as food and medicine. So the undercover agent brought along 23 turtles -- each of them marked with an electronic tracking device.

Feltenberger, 51, the farm's proprieter, directed an associate to put all the turtles into rubber containers except for one: a common snapping turtle, which he threw into the breeding pond. The rest, which were more valuable, were prepared for shipment.

The undercover agent later said that while he was at the farm, "other individuals arrived and unloaded 232 lbs. of soft shell turtles." The heavy ones went into bins, the little ones went into the pond. Then everyone went to Feltenberger's house to get paid, the agent said. From his affidavit:

On October 27, 2011, at approximately 2:48 p.m., a vehicle traveled from the [farm] to the loading dock of a commercial cargo air carrier at Orlando International Airport with a shipment of 3,025 lbs. of live turtles... Upon arrival at LAX, law enforcement agents located and inspected the shipment of turtles. During the inspection, they identified 12 of the 23 turtles... by their electronic devices. The shipment was later consolidated with other shipments of turtles consigned for export to China.

Feltenberger later switched from plastic bins to a concrete holding pen that could be drained to collect the turtles for shipment, according to his associate Christopher Craig, who seems to have cooperated with authorities and who avoided the conspiracy-to-export charges.

The U.S. attorney filed suit against Feltenberger in May, and he pleaded guilty on July 16. He was sentenced last week to 90 days in jail, 90 days of house arrest, three years of supervised release, a $20,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.
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7) In Mexico, the ajolote's fate lies in troubled waters-The salamander, long a metaphor for the Mexican soul, risks extinction unless its sole habitat, the canal system of Xochimilco, can be restored.
By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
October 1, 2012,
Mexico City— Somewhere underneath the hull of Armando Tovar's boat, the aquatic manifestation of the great god Xolotl was slithering along the muddy canal bottom, digesting bugs, laying eggs and trying to avoid extinction.
Even though he could not see the creature, Tovar knew it would be confronting its troubled environment with that weird fixed smile, the one that makes it appear to be in on some cosmic joke.
As a 9-inch salamander, of course, the ajolote (pronounced ah-ho-LO-tay) couldn't know its own cultural significance in Mexico. It couldn't know its role in the Aztec creation myth. Or its freak-show star status among biology nerds for its ability to regenerate lost limbs, heart cells and bits of brain. Or its allure, in the world of arts and letters, as both a cryptic literary symbol and a metaphor for the Mexican soul.
It couldn't know, on this placid Tuesday morning, that Armando Tovar was in this long, flat wooden boat, with his colleagues and their water-quality monitoring devices, hoping to save it from oblivion.
Tovar, 33, a biologist at Mexico's National Autonomous University, or UNAM, is one of a group of scholars seeking to solve the ecological puzzle of the ajolote and its sole habitat, the canal system of Xochimilco, the last watery remnant of the Aztec society built on the lakes and wetlands of the Valley of Mexico.
Today, Xochimilco is a heavily visited oasis of crops and canals hemmed by the teeming, concrete presence that some here call la mancha urbana, the urban stain. Its 110 miles of waterways are a place where tourists and locals fritter away Sunday afternoons, floating on brightly colored gondolas, drinking beer and taking in the area's remaining chinampas, small agricultural islands that were invented by Aztec farmers.
The precious green space scrubs carbon dioxide from Mexico City's famously polluted air, serves as a rest stop for 84 species of migratory birds and helps recharge a perilously overtaxed aquifer.
But it also is dealing with pollution issues of its own, and that has consequences for the salamander whose strangely childish looks have made waves as far as Japan, where it was the inspiration for a Pokemon character.
In 1998, Xochimilco was home to tens of thousands of ajolotes. Today, Tovar said, the number might be as low as 100.
The forces aligned against the ajolote are formidable, some as old as Mexico itself.
Luis Zambrano, the director of UNAM's Ecological Restoration Laboratory and leader of the rescue effort, said the problems started with the 16th century conquistadors who, hailing from arid Spain, saw the lake system as a problem to be solved. So they drained it, making way for a modern metropolis in which, he said, natural water systems are still often viewed as a hindrance to progress.
The researchers, despite years of restoration efforts, have struggled to undo the harm. The ajolote habitat has been degraded by water extraction, industrial fertilizers, the pressures of tourism, and untreated wastewater discharged by rogue developments inside Xochimilco's protected area.
The canals are also teeming with nonnative carp and tilapia, introduced in a misguided '70s-era aquaculture project. These heartier foreign species feast on ajolote eggs and compete for scarce resources. "I call it, 'A society's defeat, caused by society,'" Tovar said.
Last month, the director of the National Water Commission, Jose Luis Luege, said Xochimilco was in danger of deteriorating so severely that it could lose its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He recommended that the federal government immediately launch an ambitious, 20-year restoration plan, the newspaper Excelsior reported.
The city and federal governments already have spent millions over the years. But Zambrano said the funding for the ajolote project is wildly inconsistent from year to year, making it difficult to plan long term.
To Zambrano, Xochimilco's famous salamander is a slimy sentinel, a canary in Mexico City's ecological coal mine. Its disappearance from the wild, he argues, would be a warning that the megacity was no longer a sustainable proposition.
Protecting the ajolote, he wrote in a recent essay, "means protecting ourselves from ourselves."
***
The Aztecs believed that the creature formally known as the Ambystoma mexicanum was an iteration of Xolotl, the deformed god of lightning and Charon-like ferryman of the dead to the underworld. Xolotl, the legend goes, took the form of an ajolote to escape a death sentence imposed upon him as the current universe was being created. UCLA art history professor John Pohl notes that the Aztecs also saw in the amphibian's regenerative powers a metaphor for the bounty of the lake system that sustained them.
Until recent decades, when the creature began to disappear, ajolote-derived products were important components in local folk medicine. Its flesh also was valued as a particularly tasty tamale filling.
Over the centuries, naturalists worldwide have been fascinated not only with the ajolote's regenerative abilities, but also with its state of suspended pre-adolescence: Unlike most amphibians, which trade gills for lungs upon reaching adulthood, the ajolote keeps its external gills, which appear like a spiky collar behind its curiously smiling face.
The creature's biological anomalies, historic resonance and otherworldly appearance offered an inescapable appeal to a certain kind of Latin American thinker. The ajolote was the subject of a well-known Kafkaesque short story by the late Argentine writer Julio Cortazar and has featured prominently in poems by Mexican writers Octavio Paz ("Salamander/in the abstract city/between the vertiginous geometries") and Jose Emilio Pacheco ("The ajolote is our emblem/embodying the fear of being no one/and retreating/into the perpetual night, in which the gods/rot under the mud").
In 1987, the Mexican academic Roger Bartra, in his influential book "The Cage of Melancholy," embarked on an extended meditation on the ajolote, comparing it to the Mexican national character, a "strange amphibian" that is developmentally suspended, ajolote-like, between the primitive and the modern.
As Tovar and his colleagues toured a muddy, green chinampa, their boat docked, they said they didn't buy into Bartra's assertion that the animal bears "the terrible weight of symbolizing the Mexican national character."
But that didn't mean they weren't taking advantage of the ajolote's notoriety. To Tovar, the ajolote — cute, as far as salamanders go — serves as a kind of polar bear for the effort to save Xochimilco. It is their sympathetic critter. At a recent environmental fair, the biologists hawked copies of a children's book with a smiling cartoon ajolote on the cover, piloting one of Xochimilco's famous boats.
"In truth, the ajolote itself is not so important to me … or, rather, it's only important in the broader context of this threatened environment," Tovar said. "The ajolote is our flag."
***
But an intellectual pedigree and a cute face can help only so much.
Tovar's colleague Leonardo Sastre said the group contracts with local fishermen to haul an average of 100 tons of nonnative fish out of the canals each year. Yet their populations are still growing. At one point, on the prow of the little boat, he pointed as the normally still water began to shudder and quake.
"Look," he said. "Tilapia."
The rescue team is also working with an environmental group to encourage farmers on the chinampas to raise their crops without the fertilizers that harm the water. But less fertilizer means more work.
Carlos Sumano, a member of the environmental group, dreams of the day when hip Mexico City chefs who subscribe to the slow-food movement will buy regularly from the chinamperos. But , he said, fewer than a dozen of the hundreds of the farmers have changed their ways.
Standing on the bank of a canal, Tovar showed examples of plants that have been introduced to naturally clean the water of contaminants, including a free-floating, spongy specimen known in English as duckweed. The vegetation has been introduced in some small canals that are also outfitted with barriers to block nonnative fish.
These trench "refuges" for the ajolote have been somewhat successful; however, they cover only about 1,600 square yards of water, a tiny fraction of the canal system. Sastre said there wasn't enough financing to do more.
Two cages were submerged in the dark water of one trench, dusted with bright green duckweed. They contained 15 ajolotes hatched inside. Their parents were raised in a lab.
The biologists are not ready to release them into the wild. They worry that could introduce new diseases and genetic problems to the ecosystem. And for now, Tovar said, the water beyond the clean trench was too filthy for them to survive in.
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8) New 'Green List' Shows Species On Path to Conservation Success
ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2012) — The IUCN World Conservation Congress has adopted a motion sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partners to create a Green List to assess conservation success. The Green List for Species would include species identified as 'fully conserved,' which are those that exist in ecologically significant numbers, interacting fully with other species in their ecosystems.
The motion was adopted at the World Conservation Congress, which was held this month in Jeju, Republic of Korea.
The aim of the Green List is to highlight species that are thriving parts of a healthy ecosystem and will emphasize that conservation is about more than just preventing extinction.
"Successful species conservation involves the conservation of a species with significant populations, interacting fully with a complete suite of other native species and processes," said WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristián Samper. "The conservation community should be giving to the world a positive and proactive vision of success: ¬species at or near their natural carrying capacity, as integral parts of fully functional ecosystems. The Green List will be a step in that direction."
The Green List will complement the IUCN Red List, which focuses on avoidance of extinction. The Red List has been critical in assessing conservation prioritization and has been a scientifically-rigorous tool highly regarded by governments and other conservation actors. To create the Green List to reach the same level of effectiveness, the motion recommends that IUCN conducts an international scientific consultation process to develop consensus and rigorous criteria.
Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS Vice President of Species Conservation, said: "The Green List represents a positive vision for conservation in the future. It is a roadmap for species to follow on the way to full conservation recovery."
Dr. Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN's Species Survival Commission, said: "The Green List process is about optimism and success. It will incentivize conservation action and encourage investment in programs and policies that enhance and measure conservation success and management effectiveness."
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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Volume # 12 Issue # 47 10/7/12
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Table of Contents
1. Oahu Invasive Species Group Probes Coqui Reports
2) Gopher Frog Habitat Designation Called ‘Land Grab'
3) PETA Foots The Bill For Virtual Frog Dissection Software In India
1. Researchers Discover Unexpected Patterns in Evolution of Frog Life Cycles
5) UT Student Testing Snakes to Study Ranaviruses Which Are Spreading to Amphibians and Turtles Around the World
6) Haiti's Frogs, Losing Habitat, Find a Home at Philadelphia Zoo
7) Could Frogs Hold Cure for Glaucoma, Blindness? Washington & Lee Researchers Exploring
8) Endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs Might Get a Happy Ending
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“I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet”- Mitt Romney, Meet The Press 9/9/12
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SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: The Biography of Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology by Frederick Rowe Davis, 312 pages, Orig price $50.00 Now $25.00 plus $6.00 for S&H
Malformed Frogs: The Collapse of Aquatic Ecosystems, by Michael Lannoo, 270 pages, Original Price $65.00 Now $30.00 plus $6.00 S&H
Frogs & Toads Of North America-Photos of 100 frogs and toads and all their calls on a CD by Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt and Carlos Davidson, 350 pages, glossy, full color. List price $30.00 Now $19.95) Plus $6.00 S&H
Firefly Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd Edition, General Editor Chris Mattison, 240 glossy pages, Oversize Book Once $50.00 - Now $30.00 Plus $12.00 S&H
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1) Oahu Invasive Species Group Probes Coqui Reports
Sep 14, 2012, HONOLULU (AP) - The Oahu Invasive Species Committee is investigating 12 reports of coqui frogs submitted by people who participated in a "Go Out and Listen Night."

The committee said in a Facebook post Thursday 133 people participated in the coordinated effort to listen for the frogs.
The committee had asked Oahu residents to go outside and listen for the frog's nocturnal mating call on Wednesday between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The committee says what starts out as one mating call could quickly turn into "an earsplitting chorus" if the frogs aren't reported immediately.
Coqui frogs reproduce quickly in Hawaii because they don't have natural predators here.
The frogs are well established on the Big Island. Many have been showing up on Oahu after hitchhiking their way in plants and other cargo.
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2) Gopher Frog Habitat Designation Called ‘Land Grab'
Posted: Oct 2, 2012 5:56 AM by Janet McConnaughey/CS
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A property rights nonprofit says the federal government made an illegal land grab by designating 1,500 acres of private land in St. Tammany Parish as critical habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

An estimated 100 to 200 gopher frogs live in the wild in Mississippi, and fewer than 900 in zoos.

The Pacific Legal Foundation says it will sue unless the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overturns its decision, which requires the agency's consultation for federal permits.

A "demand letter" says the service cannot know what areas are essential because it hasn't decided how many frogs would be needed to repopulate the wild or the minimum area they would need. And it says the land is unsuitable for the frog.
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3) PETA Foots The Bill For Virtual Frog Dissection Software In India
Techcrunch.com Natasha Lomas , Monday, September 24th, 2012
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is offering to sponsor software that lets students poke around the innards of frogs — without actually, you know, poking around the innards of frogs. The offer is being made to schools and colleges in India that agree to give students a choice of cutting into real or virtual frog flesh — or indeed replacing traditional dissection with other “humane” alternatives.
The software in question — Frog Dissection — is made by Emantras, the company PETA is tying up with for the Indian initiative, and is priced at between $2.99 and $4.99 in the U.S. but will be offered free to classrooms in India that agree to offer non-animal dissection alternatives.
PETA says it’s targeting India for the free software as a follow up to recommendations by the country’s University Grants Commission (UGC) that animal dissection and experimentation should be phased out of labs over the long term. The UGC also recommends software alternatives to dissection should be developed.
“Countless frogs and other animals are killed for dissection, even though non-animal methods for teaching biology are far superior,” noted PETA India Science Policy Adviser, Dr Chaitanya Koduri, in a statement. “PETA India is eager to help universities and schools take the lead in teaching biology using humane, modern methods.”
Emantras’ software is available for PCs, Macs, iPads and interactive whiteboards. Key features are said to include “vivid” 3D imaging”, step-by-step dissection instructions, detailed info on frogs’ organs and “accurate simulation of the wet lab dissection procedure”.
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4) Researchers Discover Unexpected Patterns in Evolution of Frog Life Cycles
September 10, 2012, Phys.org

All tadpoles grow into frogs, but not all frogs start out as tadpoles, reveals a new study on 720 species of frogs to be published in the journal Evolution.

The study, "Phylogenetic analyses reveal unexpected patterns in the evolution of reproductive modes in frogs," led by John J. Wiens, an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, and colleagues Ivan Gomez-Mestra from the Doñana Biological Station in Seville, Spain, and R. Alexander Pyron from George Washington University, uncovers the surprising evolution of life cycles in frogs.

Roughly half of all frog species have a life cycle that starts with eggs laid in water, which hatch into aquatic tadpoles, and then go through metamorphosis and become adult frogs. The other half, according to the authors, "includes an incredible diversity of life cycles, including species in which eggs are placed on leaves, in nests made of foam, and even in the throat, stomach, or back of the female frog.

There are also hundreds of species with no tadpole stage at all, a reproductive mode called direct development." For decades, it has been assumed that the typical mode (with eggs and tadpoles placed in water) gave rise to direct development through a series of gradual intermediate steps involving eggs laid in various places outside water. "However, the results show that in many cases, species with eggs and tadpoles placed in water seem to give rise directly to species with direct development, without going through the many seemingly intermediate steps that were previously thought to be necessary," Dr. Wiens said.

"The results also suggests that there many potential benefits for species that have retained aquatic eggs and tadpoles, such as allowing females to have more offspring and to colonize regions with cooler and drier climates. These advantages may explain why the typical frog life cycle has been maintained for more than 220 million years among thousands of species," said Professor Wiens.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-unexpected ... e.html#jCp
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5) UT Student Testing Snakes to Study Ranaviruses Which Are Spreading to Amphibians and Turtles Around the World
WALLAND, Tenn. (AP) 9/22/10— A University of Tennessee student is catching and testing water snakes for viruses that have killed a large amount of frogs and salamanders around the world.
Stephen Nelson, who is a senior majoring in wildlife and fisheries management, has spent the last two years testing northern water snakes for ranavirus, which is actually a group of viruses. The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/OMZux8) reports his project is the first to test all North American snakes for ranavirus.
The virus was linked in the 1980s to large-scale amphibian deaths, but recently has been found in box turtles, including those at the Oak Ridge Arboretum. Especially with the disease's jump to turtles, which are reptiles, biologists are trying to find out how it spreads.
During a recent trip to Little River in Blount County, Nelson caught a northern water snake with the help a couple of local teenagers who told him they had just seen one disappear under a rock.
Nelson waded into the water, gently raised the rock and found a 24-inch specimen with alternating bands of reddish-brown and gray. Nelson says researchers are trying to figure out how the ranavirus can be present in ditches and other places that stay dry part of the year and should be virus-free.
"We figure something is bringing the virus back to these ponds whenever they fill up," Nelson said. "Water snakes can travel in between bodies of water. They could be the host."
It's not even known if northern water snakes carry the disease, but studies show that hellbenders do — and small hellbenders are part of the snake's diet. After catching the snakes, Nelson swabs them and takes the samples to a UT lab where they are tested for ranavirus. The project will end in the fall when the northern water snakes start hibernating.
So far, he has caught 17 northern water snakes on the Little River; he hopes to get 30.
"They're elusive," Nelson said. "They're bad about diving in the water and getting away. I've had to grab them as they swim down rapids."
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6) Haiti's Frogs, Losing Habitat, Find a Home at Philadelphia Zoo
September 28, 2012|By Faye Flam, Inquirer Staff Writer

Haiti has lost 99 percent of its native forest, but every time Pennsylvania State University biologist Blair Hedges explores the tiny patches that remain, he finds dozens of species of frogs, some previously unknown to science.
With their forest habitat fast disappearing, the only future for these creatures may be here in Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, a group of Haitian government officials and environmental activists visited their country's native frogs at the Philadelphia Zoo, the only facility in the world raising these critically endangered animals in captivity.
"We're hoping to show the Haitians that these frogs have value," Hedges said. Over several expeditions, he and Carlos Martinez, a zoo conservation biologist, have brought 154 live frogs from Haiti. Their number at the zoo has climbed to an estimated 1,400. Of 10 original species, nine have produced young.
Reptile keeper Joyce Foreman works with Martinez to figure out what to feed the frogs and their tiny offspring. In an adjoining room, Parker shows the various insects she's raising in plastic containers.
The zoo has tried fruit flies, she said, but the frogs tend to ignore them. Other menu options are live pill bugs, crickets, bean beetles, and springtails.
Parker and Martinez have experimented with temperature and humidity, hoping to re-create the conditions of the cool mountain forests where the frogs were caught. "We don't know the exact ecology," Martinez said. "We're learning along the way."
The most prolific species are the La Hotte frog, the breast-spot frog, and a tuneful frog named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Another musical species, the La Hotte glanded frog, has a metallic chime to its call, Parker said, but this creature is more difficult to breed. The offspring are tiny and so far haven't survived in captivity.
The frogs are not currently on display, though some hardier species may become part of an exhibit.
While North American frogs go through a tadpole stage, many tropical species either give live birth to tiny frogs or lay eggs that hatch into froglets, Martinez said.
Some of the Haitian frogs are so small the adults can fit on a quarter. Some are greenish, some reddish, some spotted, some pudgy, and some leggy.
Haitian officials asked about the living conditions and the frogs' safety. Lyonel Valburn, the director general of the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, said he was pleased he could count on Philadelphia to take care of Haiti's frogs.
The zoo is no substitute for the rich forests that once made Haiti a paradise. The nation is home to 50 known species of frog, though Hedges has found enough new ones to suspect Haiti is losing frogs that will never be known to humanity. On an evening trek, he once discovered five new species.
Though Haiti has set aside national parks, the government hasn't been able to enforce the boundaries, Hedges said. People still come in and cut down trees to make charcoal, which they depend on for cooking.
After the morning tour, Hedges and Martinez spent the afternoon with the Haitian officials, trying to work out some plan to preserve Haiti's tiny but diverse patches of forest. Along with the agriculture official were two people from the division of parks and soils, and leaders of the Haiti Audubon Society.
The participants discussed many possibilities, including educational programs, building "ecolodges" for tourism and research, farming trees for charcoal, and paying people not to destroy the forest.
Some scientists view Haiti as a microcosm of the world and an example of what can happen when human beings put extreme stress on the environment.
Hedges said he and other biologists were not balancing the lives of humans against those of frogs. If people remain dependent on cutting trees, then when the last forests collapse, they will die too.
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7) Could Frogs Hold Cure for Glaucoma, Blindness? Washington & Lee Researchers Exploring

By: Tim Ciesco | WSLS10, Published: September 25, 2012

They may not be not princes in disguise, but researchers at Washington & Lee University believe frogs hold a different kind of secret -- the secret to curing degenerative eye conditions, like glaucoma, in humans.
"We're doing some really new stuff," said Luke Deary, a Senior at Washington & Lee who is working on the project. "I hope it can spawn into something that really helps a lot of people."
When a frog's optic nerve -- the connector between the eye and the brain that allows it to see -- is damaged, it's able to regenerate that nerve. In other words, the frog can regain its sight.
That is not the case in humans or other mammals.
"The question is why frogs?" said Dr. Fiona Watson, an Assistant Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at Washington & Lee, who is leading the project.
It's a question she and a group of undergraduate students want to answer. Specifically, they want to figure out what genes in a frog turn on or off during that regeneration process.
"What we hope is we'll be able to figure out how the frogs can do it and see if there may be some therapy we can apply to the clinic," said Watson.
The frogs they're using in the study have been altered so that a group of cells in their eyes called retinal ganglion cells give off a green glow when observed through a special microscope. Watson says they do that to help distinguish these cells they want to study from other cells.
They begin by giving the frog an anesthetic, then very carefully go through its mouth to "crush" or damage the optic nerve in one eye. After about 35 days, when the optic nerve regenerates, they collect tissue samples from the frogs, which they study further. Finally, they send the samples off for gene sequencing.
"The frog genome and the human genome are very similar," said Watson.
While there's still a lot of research that has to take place before they're able to reach the end goal, the group says they're excited about what they're doing and what the future holds for their work.
"Just being a part of that is pretty great," said Bayan Misaghi, a sophomore at Washington & Lee, who is also working on the project.
Watson and her team are working with another group from Johns Hopkins University where researchers want to recreate the regeneration process in mice.
http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/sep/25/c ... r-2232511/ for video version of story.

________________________________________________________________________8) Endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs Might Get a Happy Ending
September 18, 2012 by Louis Sahagu, Physorg

To reach one of the last wild populations of the mountain yellow-legged frog on Earth, Adam Backlin and Elizabeth Gallegos tramped down a no-nonsense trail, scaled cliffs and barged through nettles along a vein of water in a scowling canyon deep in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Finally, the U.S. Geological Survey field biologists reached the headwaters of the Mojave River, about 15 miles west of Wrightwood. They forded pools and crawled through underbrush to net as many of the endangered frogs as possible and methodically record their vital statistics.

Recent efforts to save the frogs have included restricting public access and ridding the water of predatory trout. Now, the fist-sized amphibians are breeding in numbers not seen in decades. When Backlin and Gallegos visited recently, several hundred adult frogs shared the knee-deep pools with hundreds of wiggling tadpoles and dime-sized babies.

"Whoa!" Backlin shouted, diving head first into a tangle of branches shading a small patch of water boiling with frogs. With one sweep of the net, he pulled out half a dozen. In less than three hours, the biologists captured 71 adults of the species scientists know as Rana muscosa.

Fifty-two had been tagged during previous forays into the canyon. But 19 were new frogs. Two years ago, this 1.5-mile stretch of spring water and ice melt was thought to hold about five. With skin as permeable as a mop, the species is susceptible to a skin fungus linked to amphibians vanishing around the world. And the fungus and its waterborne zoospores have been detected in mountain yellow-legged frogs.

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a chytrid fungus first identified in 1998. It causes a thickening of the skin, which impairs gas exchange and the animal's ability to absorb water, triggering rapid, mass die-offs.

"Exactly how they these frogs are surviving the fungus is a mystery," Backlin said. "One theory is that after the fungus first swept through the San Gabriels in the 1960s - wiping out up to 90 percent of the entire frog population - survivors somehow developed an immunity." Biologists will study possible defense mechanisms as they search for a cure to the fungus.

The life and times of mountain yellow-legged frogs embody the challenges facing species - and wildlife biologists - in Southern California. For thousands of years, the frogs thrived in almost all of the creeks cascading down the San Bernardino, San Gabriel and San Jacinto mountains. Since the 1960s, however, the species has been decimated by fires, mudslides, pesticides, fungal infections and loss of habitat, as well as the appetites of garter snakes, raccoons and nonnative fish, bullfrogs and crayfish.

Recent efforts by zoos in Los Angeles, San Diego and Fresno to reintroduce captive-bred frogs into their ancestral haunts have had limited success. For the time being, the creation of trout-free zones in hard-to-reach streams is one of the most effective survival strategies. For example, in a remote corner of the San Jacinto Mountains, the frogs are starting to recolonize sections of Fuller Mill Creek where fish were removed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service. Usually found on sunny banks and rocks near riffles, the 3-inch-long frogs are named for the bright yellow extending from the undersides of the hind legs onto the lower abdomen.

"Amphibians in general, and frogs in particular, are resilient - if you give them a chance, they rebound," said Sam Sweet, professor of ecology and evolution at UC Santa Barbara. "One reason they produce huge numbers of eggs is that life is so uncertain for an egg or tadpole. All those eggs compensate for years when creeks dry up, or predators and disease move in and wipe them all out."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-endangered ... y.html#jCp

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Volume # 12 Issue # 49 10/19/12
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TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
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Table of Contents:
1. 569 Radiated Tortoises seized at Airport in Madagascar
2) Turtle Trafficker Sentenced to Prison in U.S.
3) Turtles Urinate Via Their Mouths—A First--Peeing out of the mouth helps species stay healthy, scientist suggests. -The Chinese soft-shelled turtle is the first animal known to pee via its mouth.
4) Research Finds That Lizards Are Fast Learners
5) Cayman Turtle Farm Under Critical Scrutiny
6) Virgin Births May be Common in the Wild
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1) 569 Radiated Tortoises seized at Airport in Madagascar
by Heather Lowe, 10/12/12 Turtle Survival Alliance

On October 10, two Asian passengers on an Air Madagascar flight to Bangkok, Thailand and Guangzhou, China were arrested at Ivato International Airport after attempting to smuggle four suitcases full of 569 Critically Endangered Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) through customs. This is a record number seizure for this airport in the capital city of Antananarivo. After the confiscation, the Malagasy Forestry Authority mandated the Turtle Survival Alliance to look after the baby tortoises. Of the group, three were already dead and ten are currently in very poor condition.
This is the second major tortoise confiscation in the past two weeks and is already overwhelming our resources to care for them properly. This underscores the critical need for another regional rescue center in the south where tortoises can be moved immediately following seizure for quarantine, treatment and long-term care prior to their release back into protected areas.
Herilala Randriamahazo (TSA Malagasy Tortoise Conservation Coordinator) has been scrambling ever since the confiscation to care for the tortoises, along with the help of the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership (MBP) staff. The tortoises are currently being housed at the offices shared by the TSA and the MBP in Antananarivo, but there are not sufficient facilities available there to house the massive influx of animals. Right now, many are making their home on the terrace out of necessity! They will be kept there until the investigation against the poachers is complete and the TSA is given permission to move forward with reintroduction plans that will send the tortoises back to the spiny forests in the south.
In the meantime, plans are underway to construct additional pens on site and to transform a part of the existing garden to better manage the tortoises. Part-time keepers will have to be brought on board to assist with the massive job of caring with such a large group until their eventual release. If you are interested in making a donation toward these efforts (anything will help!) please contact Heather Lowe at the Turtle Survival Alliance for more details.
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2) Turtle Trafficker Sentenced to Prison in U.S.

10/18/12-Press Release, Dept. of Justice

The owner of a Florida turtle farm was sentenced to prison for illegally exporting wild-caught turtles to China.
A turtle trafficker identified as David Feltenberger of Okeechobee, Florida, has been sentenced to 90 days in prison followed by 90 days of house arrest, three years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine for exporting wild-caught turtles to China.

An undercover investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service found that Feltenberger was using his FWCC Turtle Aquaculture Brood Stock Collection Permit and his aquaculture facility known as the Big Lake Fish Farm II (Florida Hydrofarms LLC) to launder wild turtles as captive-bred.

According to court documents, 23 turtles were caught in the wild and sold to Feltenberger on October 23, 2011. The turtles were marked with electronic devices by the undercover agent. On October 27, 2011, 3,025 pounds of live turtles from Big Lake Fish Farm II were shipped from Orlando International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Feltenberger’s signature was on the airway bill.

Law enforcement agents at LAX inspected the turtle shipment and identified 12 of the 23 turtles that had been marked by the agent in a shipment of turtles consigned for export to China.

The undercover agent sold another batch of electronically marked turtles to Feltenberger on November 5, 2011. Ten of these turtles were discovered on November 11, 2011, by U.S. Fish & Wildlife inspectors at LAX. The turtles were part of a shipment destined for China, and the shipper was Big Lake Fish Farm II.

In violation of his FWCC Permit, Feltenberger purchased wild-caught turtles and instead of holding them on his aquaculture facility to use as brood stock, Feltenberger repeatedly shipped the live turtles to China, in violation of the Lacey Act.

Feltenberger was charged with conspiracy to export turtles in interstate and foreign commerce in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 incorporating the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A).

One of Feltenberger’s employees, Christopher Craig, was sentenced to two years of probation and 50 hours of community service for assisting Feltenberger with his turtle scheme.

Craig facilitated the purchase and packaging of Florida softshell turtles (Apalone ferox), which were caught in the wild. The turtles were sold to buyers in China using brokers in Los Angeles.

Instead of holding [the turtles] at the aquaculture facility to use as brood stock, Craig helped his employer to repeatedly ship the live turtles to China.

Craig was charged with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 incorporating the Lacey Act, Title 16, United States Code, Sections 3372(a)(2)(A) and 3373(d)(1)(A).

Ironically, Feltenberger’s Big Lake Fish Farm II had been issued the FWCC Turtle Aquaculture Brood Stock Collection Permit as part of a system in Florida to keep wild turtles from being “over-harvested” by allowing only captive-bred turtles to be exported (wild turtles can be collected for brood stock and not exported). The permit allowed Big Lake Fish Farm II to “collect” more than 15,000 turtles from the wild.
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3) Turtles Urinate Via Their Mouths—A First--Peeing out of the mouth helps species stay healthy, scientist suggests. -The Chinese soft-shelled turtle is the first animal known to pee via its mouth.
by Rachel Kaufman for National Geographic News, 10/12/12
When a species of soft-shelled turtle in China piddles in puddles, it does so through its mouth—the first evidence of an animal doing so, a new study says.
The findings could also have stomach-churning implications for humans with kidney failure, scientists say.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore noticed Pelodiscus sinensis turtles would stick their heads into puddles of water and wiggle their tongues, but they weren't drinking.
Study leader Yuen K. Ip and colleagues also knew that the soft-shelled turtle had structures similar to gills inside its mouth, which had previously been thought to help the turtle breathe—but did not actually function as gills.
"However, I saw a controversy here," Ip said via e-mail. "If the turtle has lungs, why would it need to submerge its head in water [to breathe]?"
To find out, the researchers purchased live turtles from a local market and kept them in water for six days. Only 6 percent of the urea—the main ingredient in animal urine besides water—produced by the turtles ended up in the urine from their hind ends.
After the researchers removed the reptiles from the water but provided them with a puddle, the turtles dipped their heads and, using the water puddles as a mouth rinse, spat out 50 times more urea than was present in the mouth discharge. The urea travels through the bloodstreams to their mouths, so it's not technically urination.
The team also found that the turtles carry a gene that produces a specialized protein that helps expel urea. The gene was expressed in their mouths, not their kidneys.
The reptiles live in brackish water, which makes the mouth pee a clever adaptation.
If the turtles expelled their urea the traditional way—a process that requires a lot of water—they'd need more water to stay hydrated.
This would lead to what Ip called a "a vicious cycle of imbibing more seawater"—like us, the turtles would have to drink more saltwater to lower the salt in their blood, because reptiles can't expel salt in their urine. This process would continue until the saltwater proved fatal.
Instead, simply rinsing out the mouth without drinking any salty water helps keep the creatures healthy.
"The ability to excrete urea through the mouth instead of the kidney might have facilitated P. sinensis and other soft-shelled turtles to successfully invade the brackish and/or marine environment," Ip said.
Ip's research interests tend toward "what we can learn from the animal world to resolve biomedical problems," he added.
In other words, the turtle with a mouth full of wee could someday help humans who have undergone kidney failure. Currently, human patients with failed kidneys must undergo dialysis to remove waste from their bloodstream.
"Hypothetically," Ip said, "if active urea-excretion mechanisms can be expressed in the mouth of a patient with kidney failure, urea excretion can still occur, through rinsing the mouth with water—just like the soft-shelled turtle."
For now, though—perhaps to the relief of some patients—the idea is just a tinkle in Ip's eye.
The turtle-pee study appears in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.
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4) Research Finds That Lizards Are Fast Learners

October 17, 2012 Phys.org

An Australian lizard, the Eastern Water Skink, has dispelled a long held myth that reptiles are slow learners. Researchers studying the lizard have found they do have the ability for rapid and flexible learning, challenging previous work that has suggested reptiles are less cognitively sophisticated than other vertebrates.

"Previous studies have reported that lizards require dozens of trials before learning a relatively simple spatial task if they learn at all. We found this wasn't the case," says lead researcher Daniel Noble, Macquarie University.

The breakthrough to this research was testing the lizards in an environment that more closely mimics their natural conditions. The lizards were given spatial tasks, which required them to learn the location of safe refuges. Under these conditions approximately one third of the skinks were able to learn both a spatial learning and spatial reversal task within a little over a week.

An animal's ability to act on information from its surroundings and to change what they learn has a strong bearing on its survival. In the case of a lizard, learning the location of safe refuges in their environment could mean the difference between life and death.

"The idea that lizards and snakes have poor cognitive abilities has been spurred in part by the use of ecologically irrelevant tasks. We observed flexible spatial learning in water skinks by testing them under a biologically meaningful context and in semi-natural conditions. This learning may have been fast because of the diversity of available cues lizards could use to make associations with particular refuges. In contrast, laboratory experiments are often only interested in a subset of these cues, which may inhibit lizards from learning quickly " says Noble.

Though further research is needed to understand the precise mechanisms responsible for spatial learning in these reptiles, it is clear that lizards can learn a task quickly if it has important bearing on fitness.

"Our results make a lot of sense because lizards are often faced with predatory threats in the wild where they are required to escape to a refuge to avoid being eaten. This requires the knowledge of the spatial locations of refuges within their environment and to be able to flexibly adjust the use of the refuges depending on whatever contingencies arise " says Noble. Information provided by Macquarie University

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5) Cayman Turtle Farm Under Critical Scrutiny
10/18/2012, Caribbean News Now!-------The Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) has come under intense and damning scrutiny from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), a London-based international organisational dedicated to animal welfare and elimination of animal cruelty.

In a report entitled ‘The Cayman Turtle Farm: A case for change’ , which was made public last week, the WSPA has cited the Cayman Turtle Farm for not meeting the welfare needs of animals under its care and for being a threat to the captive as well as wild turtle population. The report described what it called poor conditions at the Turtle Farm, citing water quality, the turtles’ diet, congenital defects in captive bred turtles and overcrowding in tanks.
The report is authored by WSPA’s Dr Neil D’Cruze, with supporting research by Dr Philip Arena, Murdoch University; Dr Adam Dutton, WildCRU, University of Oxford and Ms Catrina Steedman and Mr Clifford Warwick of the Emergent Disease Foundation.
“Sub-optimal conditions” at the farm
The report states that various diseases were observed at the farm, attributable to high stress load, sub-optimal welfare conditions and poor water hygiene associated with commercial farming. It cited “overt behavioural signs of maladaptive captivity stress…throughout the farm in turtles of varying ages and developmental stages.”
In terms of water quality, the report states that water-bearing enclosures at the farm are not cleaned properly, leading to contamination of the living environment through uneaten food and body waste. It highlighted the turtles’ artificial diet of fish pellets as a contributory factor to the animals shifting from being an omnivore in the juvenile stage to becoming a herbivore as an adult.
It was also critical of the fact that visitors of all ages can handle turtles at the farm as part of the tourism experience, a practice, it says, that can trigger a stress response and lead to significant injury to the animals.
There were obvious signs of overcrowding, with too many turtles occupying the same space and thus not having enough room to express their natural behaviour, the WSPA concludes.
The report also says that turtles with birth defects were observed at the farm, including skeletal deformities and absence of one or both eyes.
In a strong response to the WSPA report, the government and Cayman Turtle issued statements rejecting the organisation’s findings, but undertaking nonetheless to conduct its own independent review of the farm’s operations by December.
“In its purported quest to “shut down sea turtle farming,” the WSPA is making grave allegations against the world’s only sea turtle farming and conservation organisation that has reached the landmark achievement of a second generation of captive-bred sea turtles. The Cayman Farm is taking these allegations very seriously, as the organisation focuses on its mission to be a world-renowned attraction where guests enjoy quality interaction with animals in a safe environment which promotes sea turtle conservation through research and education,” the statement from the Turtle Farm read.
Health and well-being of turtles maintained
CTF rejected claims that its operations are cruel to turtles in its cares. “We found no evidence of the kinds of injuries or defects among the turtles reared at our facility that the WSPA is listing in its assertions against us.
“Rather, we have instead succeeded in maintaining the health and well-being of our turtle population through established veterinary treatment protocols and methods,” the statement noted.
It described as “completely erroneous”, claims by the WSPA that diseased or defective turtles were being reared and slaughtered for meat. “Any turtles among the population with congenital defects are humanely euthanised. Such defects are very rare and have not been found at rates higher than those expected in the wild population. Also, all meat harvesting is performed under the guidelines of the Cayman Islands Department of Environmental Health as well as internationally-accepted humane harvesting procedures,” the CTF noted.

Handling turtles
It also refuted statements regarding the handling of turtles and the potential for harm to the creatures, and the safety of visitors to the facility.
“In addition to the safety and well-being of the turtles at our facility, we are also dedicated to the health, safety and enjoyment of the many visitors to the Cayman Turtle Farm each year. The Cayman Turtle Farm is the number-one land-based attraction in the Cayman Islands and receives on average over 200,000 visitors annually, giving them the unique experience of seeing sea turtles of many different ages and sizes.
“We adhere to all safe turtle handling protocols to ensure that our guests, who come to interact with sea turtles as a unique and often once-in-a-lifetime experience, are in a completely safe environment. This is done through signage and extensive spoken instructions by our on-site tour guides and lifeguards. All handling protocols at the Cayman Turtle Farm follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for the safe handling of reptiles,” the CTF stated.
“Watertight evidence”
In a follow up statement issued on Monday, 15 October, the WSPA stood by the findings of its report and defended its research and findings.
“Our claims against the Cayman Turtle Farm (CTF) are founded on evidence gathered during a comprehensive, 18 month investigation into the treatment of the sea turtles at the CTF. This evidence is the basis for our compelling arguments against the CTF and is in the form of footage and photographic evidence and peer reviewed scientific analysis. WSPA does not initiate campaigns such as this without watertight evidence.
“The investigation was carried out in response to a number of complaints we received in early 2011 from scientific experts and visitors to the CTF, relating to the animal welfare conditions therein. To verify these concerns, we conducted our investigation in association with a number of research partners, and received two Freedom of Information (FOI) requests directly from the CTF,” the WSPA said.
Commitment to conservation
The investigations into CTF by the WSPA were brought to the farm’s attention earlier this year and discussion had taken place with government representatives on island and in the UK.
In addition to its stated goal of reviewing its operations, CTF has reiterated its commitment to continue its work with Green sea turtles – in conservation, reproduction, display and education. “We endeavour to preserve the population of this species so humans may continue to learn from them and experience the joy of interacting with these animals that are held in such high esteem in our Islands’ national heritage and consciousness,” the CTF emphasised.
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6) Virgin Births May be Common in the Wild
By Charles Choi, 9/15/12, LiveScience
Wild female pit vipers can reproduce without a male, suggesting virgin births may take place in nature far more than before thought.
Asexual reproduction is common among invertebrates — that is, animals without backbones. It occurs rarely in vertebrates, but examples of it are increasingly being discovered. For instance, the Komodo dragon, the world's largest living lizard, has given birth via parthenogenesis, in which an unfertilized egg develops to maturity. Such virgin births have also been seen in sharks at least twice; in birds such as chickens and turkeys; and in snakes such as pit vipers and boa constrictors.
Although virgin birth has been observed in vertebrates in captivity, scientists had not yet seen it happen in the wild. This raised the possibility that such asexual reproduction might just be a rare curiosity outside the mainstream of vertebrate evolution.
"Until this discovery, facultative parthenogenesis — asexual reproduction by a normally sexual species — has been considered a captive syndrome," said researcher Warren Booth, a molecular ecologist at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.
Now, genetic analysis reveals examples of virgin birth in two closely related species of pit viper snakes — the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus).
The researchers collected genetic samples from long-term studies of the snakes — copperheads from Connecticut and cottonmouths from Georgia. They gathered specimens from 22 litters of copperheads and 37 litters of cottonmouths, both the mothers and their offspring. DNA analysis confirmed that in one litter from each species, the offspring were solely the product of the mother, with no genetic contributions from a father.
The researchers were able to analyze the large amount of data due to collaborations with Charles Smith and Pam Eskridge of the Copperhead Institute and Wofford College, S.C., and Shannon Hoss, a graduate student at San Diego State University.
"We just sat there stunned at the discovery," Booth told LiveScience. "This is something that we always believed existed, but in order to investigate it, it would take a massive amount of work in the field. … To detect it in both species in our first attempt was astounding."
"I think the frequency is what really shocked us," Booth added. "In the copperhead population, we detected one instance in 22 litters, whereas in the cottonmouths, it was one in 37 litters. Essentially, somewhere between 2.5 and 5 percent of litters produced in these populations may be resulting from parthenogenesis. That's quite remarkable for something that has been considered an evolutionary novelty, even by me up until this finding."
Pit vipers and many other creatures carry out meiosis, in which cells divide to form sex cells, each of which only possess half the material needed to make offspring. In the female pit vipers, pairs of their sex cells likely fused to generate embryos. The results were progeny that included only the mother's genetic material. However, these offspring weren't clones of the mother since they were not made using identical halves of her genome.
How prevalent, then, is virgin birth? And could it possibly extend to humans?
"In terms of other species, it is evident now that reptiles are a group that appear predisposed to parthenogenesis, whether facultative, as we address here, or obligate, where the primary reproductive mode is parthenogenesis and few or no males are known within the species," Booth said.
Obligate parthenogenesis may have arisen from ancestral interbreeding between species, though scientists aren't sure why some animals seem to randomly give birth without help from the male (the facultative type).
"What is common to those that reproduce facultatively is the lack of genomic imprinting — by that, I mean a process in which a specific set of genes are provided by the mother, and a second set from the father," Booth said. "These genes of different parental origin must interact in a process called genomic imprinting in order for the development of an embryo. This, as far as we are aware, occurs in all mammals with the exception of the monotremes — platypus and echidnas — and therefore explains why we cannot have facultative parthenogenesis in mammalian species without significant intervention by scientists."
Originally, Booth and his colleagues thought such virgin births might happen if potential mates were not present, but over the years, they have seen six captive female boa constrictors give birth via parthenogenesis even when males were around during their breeding cycles. The number of times virgin births have occurred with different females also seem to rule out a freak accident causing it to occur, Booth and colleagues said. They are now investigating other possible causes for these virgin births — "these include genetics, viruses, tumors and bacteria," Booth said.
In the future, the researchers also hope to investigate other species for virgin births, such as water snakes in Oklahoma. In addition, they plan to see how well the offspring of virgin births survive and reproduce. It may be that virgin mothers can establish whole area populations of snakes by themselves. "We will know if this is possible in the next two to three years," Booth said.
The scientists detail their findings online Sept. 12 in the journal Biology Letters.
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The Lizard King, by Bryan Christy, 256 Pages, Hardcover-List Price $25.00 Sale $12.00 per book. $6.00 for S&H. (Only 2 copies left)

Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
Page count: 176, 188 color photos, 8 maps, 1 table, 7 figures
Paperback, c2011, (Only 5 copies left)
Was $25.00 Now Just $15.00 plus add $6.00 for shipping and handling.
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SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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Turtles of the United States and Canada by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
List Price: $98.00, (Hardcover) 840 pages
The Johns Hopkins University Press; Second edition

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In 1972, C. H. Ernst completed the daunting task of compiling a sequel to A. F. Carr's (1952) landmark Handbook of Turtles. Two decades later, Ernst, this time with assistance from former student and fellow cheloniophile J. E. Lovich, has done it again. (Copeia )
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Venomous Reptiles of the United States, Canada, and Northern Mexico volumes 1 and 2 -$75.00 each book, $13.00 S&H for both books, $6.00 S&H for only one book.

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NOW COMES PART II

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

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

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

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

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

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Volume # 12 Issue # 52 11/6/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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BRAND NEW------------

RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction
by Peter C. H. Pritchard
In this, Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope..$65 + $6.00 Overseas contact us for S&H info. SEE BOTTOM OF THIS ISSUE ON HOW TO ORDER. LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
AND YES EVEN IF YOU HAVE COPIES OF THE FIRST EDITION YOU SHOULD GET THE 2ND EDITION, IT’S A WHOLE NEW BOOK.
$59.95 USD plus $12.00 for S&H in US, overseas please contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
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Table of Contents
1) Turtle Vocalizations as the First Evidence of Post Hatchling Parental Care in Chelonians
2) Snake Eaters Warned as the 'Year of' Approaches
3) 73 rare turtles seized at airport-3 suspected smugglers held
4) TRAFFIC urges consumers not to buy marine turtle products after new report highlights ongoing illegal trade
5) Dolled-Up Turtles-Borrowing techniques from nail and hair salons, researchers have devised a method to tag small, previously untrackable sea turtles.
6) Snake Farm Feels Bite as Drugmakers Reduce Venom Orders
7) Spray toad reintroduced to Tanzanian gorge
8) Mythic Salamander Faces Crucial Test: Survival in the Wild
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MORE TURTLE BOOKS AND CALENDARS
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
The first issue is only $20.00 plus $6.00 for S&H. As all always contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for overseas shipping costs.
&
2013 CALENDARS ARE IN- Turtles, Sea Turtles, Frogs & Snakes, Each Glossy 12’x 12” Plus an extra 6 month July-December, 2012 1-page planner with photo, Start Using the Calendar now. $14.99 each $6.00 for S&H. Limited number available will not re-order. 3 dozen of turtles(last year were out beginning of November) 1 dozen each, sea turtles, frogs and snakes. To see and order them go to http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
Check out the magnets and diplomas while you are there.
AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF HERPDIGEST ISSUE.
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1) Turtle Vocalizations as the First Evidence of Posthatching Parental Care in Chelonians

Journal of Comparative Psychology
1) Camila R. Ferrara, Richard C. Vogt, and 2) Renata S. Sousa-Lima
Online First Publication, October 22, 2012. doi: 10.1037/a0029656

CITATION
Ferrara, C. R., Vogt, R. C., & Sousa-Lima, R. S. (2012, October 22). Turtle Vocalizations as the First Evidence of Posthatching Parental Care in Chelonians. Journal of Comparative Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029656

1) Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil
Renata S. Sousa-Lima
2) Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte and Cornell Lab
of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York

Until recently, freshwater turtles were thought to be silent reptiles, neither vocalizing nor hearing very well. We recorded individuals in nature, captivity, and during interactions between adults and hatchlings and show that hatchlings and adult turtles, Podocnemis expansa, produce sounds in and out of the water. Sounds were emitted by hatchlings inside the egg, in open nests, in the river, and in captive conditions.Adult females were recorded producing sounds in the river, while basking, while nesting, and in captivity. Females were recorded in the river approaching and responding to hatchling sounds. We
detected 2,122 sounds, classified in 11 different types. These data suggest that there is sound communication between adults and hatchings and that these sounds may be used to congregate hatchlings with adults for mass migration. Hatchlings and females with transmitters were found migrating together. We consider these findings as the first evidence of acoustic communication mediating posthatching parental care in chelonians. We anticipate that our findings will influence the way turtle behavior is studied and
interpreted, and add communication and sound pollution to turtle conservation concerns.
Keywords: turtles, sound, parental care, giant South American river turtle, Podocnemis exp

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Richard
C. Vogt, Coordenação de Pesquisa em Biologia de Água Doce e Pesca
Interior, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Caixa Postal 478,
Manaus, AM, Brazil 69083-000. E-mail: vogt@inpa.gov.br and richard@
pq.cnpq.br
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2) Snake eaters warned as the 'year of' approaches
People’s Daily (Beijing, China) People’s Daily 10/30/12

With the Year of the Snake just over three months away, local authorities in Shanghai are trying to head off an expected rise in demand for snake dishes by warning residents that eating or trading endangered wild animal, is against the law.

Restaurants in the city have started receiving special orders for snake from customers making reservations for their Chinese New Year Eve's banquet on February, reported the Shanghai-based Youth Daily.

"Though the sale of snakes has not seen a sudden rise recently, many people eat snake in the fall as a tonic before winter," said the owner of a snake-raising farm in the city's Qingpu district, surnamed Gu.

Gu told the Global Times he supplies King Cobra and Agkistrodon, a venomous pit viper, to restaurants. "He also supplies crocodile."

"Crocodiles and snakes are not considered wild animals if they are raised on farms," said Gu.
Yan Jingjing, director of the Shanghai Wildlife Conservation Management Station under the municipal forestry and environmental administration, told the Global Times that trading snakes and other endangered animals without a license is strictly banned.

Yan added that some species of Agkistrodon are categorized as protected wild animals. "Eating and trading them is against the Wild Animal Protection Law and violators will face criminal charges."
Yan said the city carries out regular crackdowns on illegal sales of wild animals.

"Apart from the destruction of the natural ecology, the animals carry many parasites, which are a potential health hazard," Yan added.

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3) 73 rare turtles seized at airport-3 suspected smugglers held
Staff Correspondent-11/8/12-Traffic
Security personnel and customs officials at Shahjalal International Airport yesterday seized 73 turtles of rare species while being smuggled out through the airport.
The turtles were being smuggled to either Thailand or Singapore, said an official at the airport's Armed Police Battalion (APBn).

The officials also arrested three persons suspecting their link to the smuggling. They are Mohammad Yeasin, Mohammad Sabuj and Mohammad Sohagh.

“The reptiles include rare species like Shila Turtle, Star Turtle and Kali Turtle. These are on the verge of extinction,” Divisional Forest Officer Md Shahabuddin, who inspected the turtles at the airport, told The Daily Star last night.

Security personnel of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh and customs officials first noticed some suspicious objects in one of the luggage while scanning at Gate No. 3 of the airport around 11:00am.

As the officials asked the owner of the luggage to open it, he said he had left the key outside and left the place hurriedly.

The members of APBn chased him while he fast got into a microbus. The law enforcers managed to halt the vehicle after a while, but the man got down and fled away.
The APBn members later arrested the three from the microbus. The arrestees, however, denied their having any link to the smuggling.

After opening the luggage, the law enforcers found the turtles strapped in four cloth-made sacks.

Earlier on August 6, the APBn members seized 108 Shila Turtles at the airport while being smuggled to Thailand.
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4) TRAFFIC urges consumers not to buy marine turtle products after new report highlights ongoing illegal trade

Beijing, China, 1st November 2012—TRAFFIC is urging holiday makers not to buy marine turtle products through broadcasts in Hainan Province on local radio FM886.
The FM886 radio campaign aims to raise awareness among local fishermen, souvenir shop owners and tourists about the ongoing poaching, illegal processing and trade in marine turtles. Three key messages are being broadcasted at least nine times per day until March 2013.
Hainan Province was chosen for the campaign after ongoing TRAFFIC market surveys found the illegal trade in marine turtle parts rising there and in Guangxi Province. In 2009, TRAFFIC surveys found 4,812 marine turtle products for sale in 57 shops in Hainan, while in July 2012 the number had risen to 11,255 products in 92 shops.
The survey results were revealed today in a new report, Market Forces – An Examination of Marine Turtle Trade in China and Japan. The report finds significant growth of the trade in China and persistent demand from the bekko industry in Japan as factors influencing source country turtle populations in the Coral Triangle region, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Asian countries, especially China and Japan, have a long history of using marine turtles and their products as luxury goods, souvenirs and traditional medicine.
“With Hainan a popular holiday destination and many thousands of visitors each year, there is a huge demand for souvenirs, but we would urge visitors not to buy goods made from marine turtles, which are being sold illegally,” said James Compton, TRAFFIC’s Senior Programme Director for Asia & the Pacific.
“Anyone buying or selling such goods faces prosecution and harsh sentences under Chinese law and is guilty of contributing to the decline in marine turtle populations throughout the region.”
Marine turtles are poached for their tortoiseshell scutes as well as for their meat and eggs. All species are banned from international commercial trade under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and in China they are listed as national second-class protected animals under the Wild Animal Protection Law.
In Japan, a persistent demand exists for highly decorative bekko pieces manufactured from Hawksbill Turtle shells, while in China the main demand is for jewellery and whole ornamental specimens, as well as scutes for use in traditional medicine.
Significantly, the Chinese government has acknowledged the seriousness of this problem and in June this year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Security and General Customs launched a joint enforcement action against the illegal trade.
TRAFFIC has supported this initiative through working with local government authorities. In July 2012, more than 110 fisheries enforcement officers from 29 border checkpoints, along with 10 officers from the Industry & Commerce department and border police took part in an enforcement training workshop supported by TRAFFIC in Haikou, Hainan Province.
In Malaysia and the Philippines, where marine turtles are sourced, TRAFFIC provided similar training in 2011 for 30 enforcement officials working inside one of the Coral Triangle’s transboundary protected areas. Trainings in Indonesia and Viet Nam are also pending. These activities are being conducted under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN). They have been accompanied by a review of national laws pertaining to turtles in Southeast Asia.
“Strengthening law enforcement is critical to deterring the illegal trade in marine turtles and the poaching of these animals in source regions,” said Lida Pet Soede, leader of WWF’s Coral Triangle Programme, based in Indonesia.
“We are happy to see the Chinese government paying increased attention to this illegal trade as part of its focus on combating the wildlife crime whose consequences are felt well beyond China’s borders.”
TRAFFIC’s work on combating the illegal trade and reducing the demand for marine turtle products in China is generously supported by WWF’s Coral Triangle Programme.
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5) Dolled-Up Turtles-Borrowing techniques from nail and hair salons, researchers have devised a method to tag small, previously untrackable sea turtles.
By Jef Akst | November 1, 2012
In 2007, sea turtle researchers Kate Mansfield of the US National Marine Fisheries Service and Jeanette Wyneken of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) were faced with a dilemma. They wanted to track loggerhead turtles during the oceanic phase of their lives, from the time they leave nesting beaches as hatchlings until they move back to near-shore habitats some years later—but such young animals were too small for the tagging devices used on adult turtles.
“It’s easy to glue a tag on some of the larger turtles, but the first couple of year age classes have been much too small,” Mansfield says. “So there’s this whole gap in our knowledge of what turtles are doing, how they’re behaving, what they’re eating, what part of the water column they’re swimming within. From the time they leave the nest as hatchlings to the time they come back, there’s just this huge unknown.” And given that all species of sea turtles are endangered or threatened, understanding these early, vulnerable years is critical to managing populations. “The more we know, the better we can protect them,” Mansfield says.
Mansfield had recently learned of smaller tags used on birds that took advantage of solar energy technology to eliminate the large battery packs that power many satellite tagging devices. “Sea turtles are basically birds with flippers,” Wyneken noted. But attaching the tags to their small, semisoft shells was proving difficult. The duo had tested a variety of tactics on Wyneken’s lab-reared turtles at FAU, but nothing seemed to work. Affixed with the typical marine epoxy glues used for larger animals, the tags fell off within 2 to 3 weeks due to the young turtles’ fast growth. Velcro was similarly ineffective. An independent-study student in Wyneken’s lab who had started school as a fashion design major before switching over to biology at FAU designed various flexible neoprene harnesses, which worked, but all too well—they didn’t fall off as the turtles matured, and started to constrict the animals’ shells as they grew.
Then, while mulling over the problem one day in the lab, Mansfield noticed Wyneken’s beautifully manicured toenails, with blue waves carefully painted on. Wyneken also thought of her guitar-playing husband, who had acrylic nails applied to his own to help him pluck the strings. The researchers realized that turtle shells are composed of the same protein as human fingernails—keratin. Maybe the techniques the manicurist used could help them secure the tags to the young turtles. Wyneken stepped outside and called Marisol Marrero of Just Nails in Boynton Beach, who recommended they use the same acrylic base coat that she used on Wyneken’s husband’s nails. So the two researchers buffed shells and painted them with nail acrylic from the local pharmacy before gluing the tags in place.
It’s really worked out beautifully. I’m reminded every time I get a manicure.
—Jeanette Wyneken, Florida Atlantic University
The strategy worked. Previously, the longest time researchers had been able to track a young oceanic turtle in the wild was a few days, and the best tags Mansfield and Wyneken tested in the lab lasted just a few weeks. The new technique “extended the attachment period by 4 to 8 times,” Mansfield says—up to 2 months or more.
On top of the acrylic base coat, the team was using a surgical adhesive to secure the tags. Then another of Wyneken’s students, whose family owned a hair salon, recognized the odor. “One of my undergrads said to me, ‘That glue you’re using smells like what we use for hair extensions,’” Wyneken recalls. The student brought in a bottle of the stuff to the lab, and sure enough, the hair extension glue worked even better. “It’s the same chemical, but it polymerizes a little differently, so it remains a little stretchy,” Wyneken says. “Basically it accommodates, in people, the movement of the scalp, and in turtles, the growth.”
NICE BIKINI: Neoprene harnesses like this one fit turtles well, but rapidly became too tight on the growing animals.COURTESY OF KATE MANSFIELD
In 2009 the team released several tagged turtles, some as small as 11 centimeters long, into the Gulf Stream, and headed back to the lab to wait for the satellite data to start coming in.
The first batch of tags, affixed to animals 4–9 months old, lasted 38 to 172 days (Mar Ecol Prog Ser, 457:181-92, 2012; manicurist Marrero is acknowledged in the paper). On animals that have been released since then, the tags have lasted more than 200 days.
“Considering that prior to this work almost all of the tracking data were limited to a couple of days [on turtles] from near-shore habitats, what we’re getting is pretty exciting,” Mansfield says. “We’re seeing the turtles moving thousands of kilometers in the Atlantic.”
The ability to track younger turtles for extended periods of time in the open ocean is promising for studying seasonal patterns of activity, migration routes, and other aspects of turtle behavior. “It’s going to allow you to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of a life-history stage that’s been relatively understudied,” says marine scientist Mike Arendt of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Mansfield and Wyneken couldn’t be more pleased with their salon-inspired technology. “It’s really worked out beautifully,” Wyneken says. “I’m reminded every time I get a manicure.”
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6) Snake Farm Feels Bite as Drugmakers Reduce Venom Orders

BLOOMBERG (New York, New York) (Caroline Connan and Marthe Fourcade) 10/30/12

Venomous snakes in the French town of Valence are feeling the bite of Europe’s economic crisis.

Latoxan, a company that farms snakes and scorpions to sell their venom to drugmakers including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Sanofi (SAN) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE), expects sales to drop 30 percent this year as clients cut back on orders, said Chief Executive Officer Harold de Pomyers.

Pomyers, who with just seven staff took in sales of 1.6 million euros ($2.1 million) in 2011, said he’s reducing his number of snakes to 500 from as many as 800 because of lower demand from Paris-based Sanofi and other drugmakers. Sanofi and Latoxan ended their collaboration this year, a Sanofi spokesman said by e-mail.

“We are currently suffering from the crisis,” Pomyers said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the company’s headquarters, located in a residential area of Valence, near Lyon. “Sales are falling in European countries such as Italy, Greece or Spain, but also in the United States.”

Latoxan employees extract venom from snakes including deadly black mambas and rattlesnakes by squeezing their jaws with their bare hands, a process they refer to as “milking.” Snakes that are no longer needed will be killed or given away, according to two members of staff who take part in the milking process.

“Fortunately we only have one accident every 18 months,” Pomyers said.

One gram of venom can cost as much as 4,000 euros. The product is used by pharmaceutical companies for research and to manufacture anti-venom, according to Pomyers. Scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology in Sophia Antipolis, France, have isolated two new molecules from black mamba venom and are studying them as a possible alternative to morphine, he said.

About 5 million people worldwide get bitten by snakes each year and an estimated 100,000 die, according to Jean-Philippe Chippaux, a snake expert and director at the Development Research Institute in Cotonou, Benin.

“You need very good venom from good snakes” to make reliable antidotes, says Chippaux. In the past year, Pomyers says he has diversified by adding about 3,000 scorpions to the French farm. Their venom can sell for as much as 35,000 euros a gram.

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7) Spray toad reintroduced to Tanzanian gorge
Man-made mist recreates toads natural habitat

Wildllife Exrea.com, October 2012. The Kihansi Spray Toad, Nectophrynoides asperginis, was restricted to the smallest known range for any vertebrate species, with an estimated historic wild population of 17,000 toads found within 2 hectares of waterfall spray zone in the Kihansi Gorge of the Udzungwa Mountains in south-central Tanzania. Only discovered by scientists in 1996, the thumbnail-sized golden coloured toad was believed to be extirpated from its small patch of habitat in 2004, and was officially declared Extinct in the Wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in October 2009.

University of Dar es Salaam professors, Dr. Charles Msuya and Dr. Kim Howell, one of the scientists to discover the toad in 1996, jointly wrote, "The Kihansi Spray Toad is unique because of its specialized habitat. It was endemic to Tanzania, in the ‘spray meadows' at the base of the Kihansi Falls that received more than 70 mm of ‘rain' per day in the form of spray from the falls prior to the construction of the Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project dam. Very few species of amphibians can survive in this habitat.
Gives birth to live young
The KST is also unusual because its life cycle does not have a free swimming tadpole stage, but rather, females give birth to tiny froglets."
Dam and chytrid fungus probably extirpated wild population
The species' rapid decline followed hydroelectric dam construction upstream from its habitat that resulted in a nearly complete loss of the "spray meadow" habitat that the species depended on, and coincided with the emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus, a disease that has been implicated in amphibian extinctions in several parts of the world.
In November 2000, at the invitation of the Tanzanian Government, 499 toads were collected and transferred to the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, and later the Toledo Zoo, to initiate a captive breeding program which is now represented by over 6,000 toads. In 2010, a captive colony was established in Tanzania by University of Dar Salaam and National Environmental Management Council researchers who had facilities constructed specifically for the conservation of the small toad in Dar es Salaam and at the base of the Kihansi Gorge.

In 2010, the Lower Kihansi Environmental Management Project (LKEMP) within Tanzania's National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) and the University of Dar Salaam organized Tanzanian researchers and an international team of conservation biologists and pathologists from the Toledo Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, the IUCN SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Global Wildlife Conservation, and other partners to develop a plan for reintroducing the Kihansi Spray Toad to its native habitat. The reintroduction plan set a timeframe to address causes of the KST decline as well as carry out a series of experiments to ensure the species' survival in the wild. At this stage, preliminary ‘soft' release studies involving toads within mesh cages situated in the native habitat have shown success.
Misting system replicates spray zone
Prior to its reintroduction, several initiatives were made to restore the Kihansi Gorge ecosystem. These included the installation of an expansive misting system designed to replicate the spray zone habitat that was lost after dam construction, and building of bridges and walkways to facilitate monitoring of the gorge. Funded by the World Bank and the Government of Norway, the misting system has been running since late 2000 in order to restore and maintain the native vegetation that the toads once lived amongst, and the invertebrates upon which they fed.
Reintroduced
The missing amphibian that has been the focus of much attention in Tanzania and around the world was returned to its niche within this unique ecosystem on October 30th 2012. The initial release represents a total of 2,500 animals flown to Tanzania from the Toledo and Bronx Zoos in June and earlier this month. The animals made their international journey safely and were acclimatized before their release. Future releases are expected as researchers work towards re-establishing a viable population in the wild.
"Most reintroductions for amphibians and reptiles have been designed to establish or augment a population of a rare species, but it is extremely exciting to be involved in actually returning a species that was extinct in the wild back to its native habitat." said Dr. Kurt Buhlmann and Dr. Tracey Tuberville, research scientists with the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.
The reintroduction of the Kihansi Spray Toad is being led by researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam, the National Environment Management Council of Tanzania, and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, in international collaboration with scientists from the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Toledo Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society, IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, and Global Wildlife Conservation.
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8) Mythic Salamander Faces Crucial Test: Survival in the Wild by Sofia Castello Y Tickell, New York Times, NY 10/30/12

Mexico City: Aztec legend has it that the first axolotl, the feathery-gilled salamander that once swarmed through the ancient lakes of this city, was a god who changed form to elude sacrifice.

But what remains of its habitat today — a polluted network of canals choked with hungry fish imported from another continent — may prove to be an inescapable threat.

“They are about to go extinct,” said Sandra Balderas Arias, a biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico working to conserve axolotls in the wild.

The loss of this salamander in its habitat would extinguish one of the few natural links Mexicans still have with the city that the Aztecs built on islands in a network of vast mountain lakes. Its extinction in the wild could also erase clues for scientists studying its mystifying traits.

Despite their precarious future in freshwater, axolotls (pronounced axo-LO-tuhls) have long flourished in aquariums. They have been bred successfully behind glass over the past century, raised as exotic pets or as laboratory specimens for scientists investigating their extraordinary ability to regrow a severed limb or tail.

The Mexican axolotl is an odd-looking salamander with a flat head and spiked feet, unusual because it often spends its entire life in the so-called larval stage, like a tadpole, without ever moving to land. “It grows and grows in the same shape, and has the capacity to reproduce,” said the biologist Armando Tovar Garza. “We don’t really know why it doesn’t change.”

Its gaze seems to captivate as its gills slowly beat. In Julio Cortázar’s short story “Axolotl,” the narrator is transfixed — “I stayed watching them for an hour and left, unable to think of anything else” — and experiences his own metamorphosis.

The Aztecs and their descendants consumed axolotls as part of their diet, and the amphibians are still stirred into a syrup as a folk remedy for respiratory ailments.

But in their only home, the canals of Xochimilco in the far south of the city, the axolotls’ decline has been precipitous. For every 60 of them counted in 1998, researchers could find only one a decade later, according to Luis Zambrano, another biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Gliding on a flat-bottomed boat through the canals where the Aztecs once farmed floating gardens, but where cinder block houses now dump their waste and students toss their beer cans during parties, Mr. Tovar described the threats. “The axolotl is suffering on two fronts,” he said, as pounding music and the smell of sewage filled the air. “One is the water quality. It’s not improving.”

Then, as dimples appeared on the still surface of the canal, like raindrops before a deluge, another researcher leaned over and the axolotl’s second challenge became evident. “See how the water is moving? All of those circles?” asked the researcher, Leonardo Sastre Baez, who monitors fishing. “Those are the tilapias.”

That resilient fish was introduced over 20 years ago, along with carp, in an effort to support Xochimilco’s fishermen. “The government thought, ‘If people can’t work, at least they can eat,’ ” Mr. Sastre said. But the tilapias reproduce faster than they can be caught, and they feed voraciously on the plants where the axolotls lay their eggs.

Mexicans’ taste for axolotls has endured, generating some strong reactions from Europeans over the years. The naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt wrote in the 19th century that the Mexicans he observed lived “in great want, compelled to feed on roots of aquatic plants, insects and a problematical reptile called axolotl.”

Others would disagree with the interpretation.

“Have you ever eaten frogs?” asked Roberto Altamirano, president of the fishermen’s association, who ate axolotls as a child and is now working to save them. “Well, that’s what it tastes like. Somewhere between fish and chicken.”

The dire conditions in Xochimilco have generated debate among biologists. Some are adamant that the axolotl should be preserved only in its environment, but others are convinced it can survive only if new populations are introduced elsewhere.

“It’s not about just rescuing the axolotl, it’s about rescuing the whole system of Xochimilco,” Dr. Zambrano said.

Axolotls were once at the top of the food chain — eating insects, worms, crustaceans and even small fish — and their continued survival in the canals is a sign that the ecosystem of Xochimilco can endure as well. Finding them a new home would be tantamount to giving up, Dr. Zambrano argued.

“That’s like saying, ‘to rescue polar bears, we’re going to have them in zoos,’ ” he said. “Or, ‘let’s build them a really cold refuge in the Amazon.’ ”

Dr. Zambrano’s solution is two-pronged. First, he is promoting traditional methods of agriculture because he believes that Aztec practices provide an alternative to the polluting pesticides and fertilizers that many farmers in Xochimilco have adopted. He has found a few farmers willing to help his work, and in a twist, his team is grinding up tilapia to make organic fertilizer.

He is also creating a series of small tilapia-free sanctuaries by blocking off the entrances to certain canals. After placing trackers on test axolotls, the team was surprised to see how lively they were in the wild. “In the lab, they become really still, and here they are very active,” Mr. Tovar said. “They’re more awake.” The axolotls have also been growing faster in the sequestered canals.

Another team of researchers has begun testing for a new home far from the multiplying troubles of Xochimilco, in an artificial lake in Tecámac, about an hour outside Mexico City.

“We could see that putting axolotls in there would be like sending them to the slaughterhouse,” said Ms. Balderas, the biologist, referring to Xochimilco. “If we look somewhere else, we might be able to give them a better life, like the one they had before.”
Ms. Balderas and her student assistant, Marlen Montes Ruiz, are monitoring laboratory-bred axolotls to see if they are capable of hunting water bugs and other prey and coping in the wild after being pandered to for so long. So far, they say, axolotls have adapted well and have even become adept at hiding from the researchers, just as the ancient god eluded his captors. It can take hours to fish out all of the axolotls on measuring day.
As Ms. Montes lowered a female axolotl back into the test pond, it began to undulate its tail. Her fingers loosened around its torso and the creature slipped under the water, through a green spot of sun, and then blended into dark brown.
“There are a lot of water bugs; it’ll be O.K.,” she said. “They really do get lost here.”
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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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SNAKE DISEASES, PREVENTING AND RECOGNIZING ILLNESS
An indispensable resource for amateur herpetoculurists and veterinarians. This book shares the authors' years of knowledge and veterinary practice for recognizing many health problems in reptiles that can be avoided through careful husbandry. 378 full-color and b/w photographs, tables. 306 pp. Hardcover by Frank Mutschmann, DVM $79.50 plus $6.00 S&H
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LEOPARD AND AFRICAN SPURRED TORTOISE
Based on years of observations in both nature and captivity, this is a must have for field herpetologists, tortoise keepers, conservationists, and anyone else interested in these two largest and most impressive tortoises of the African continent. Chapters cover descriptions, geographical distribution, habitat, diet, reproduction, growth, behavior, diseases, husbandry, and much more. Full-color and b/w photographs, charts, and tables. 192 pp. Hardcover, by Holger Vetter $39.95 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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SOUTH AMERICAN TORTOISES
Discusses the Red-footed, Yellow-footed, and Chaco tortoise from all parts of the continent in one fantastic book. Covers the gamut from an analysis of nomenclatural history of the three species to detailed examination of captive culture conditions. Other topics include extensive referencing of predecessor findings, parasitology, to existing protective legislation. 278 full-color photographs. Maps, and tables. 360 pp. Hardcover, Authors: Sabine Vinke, Holgren Vetter, Thomas Vinke, and Susanne Vetter $69.50 plus $ 6.00 S&H
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TURTLES OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA by Carl H. Ernst and Jeffrey E. Lovich
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Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

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

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

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Volume # 12 Issue # 53 11/14/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction
by Peter C. H. Pritchard
In this, Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope..$65 + $6.00 Overseas contact us for S&H info. SEE BOTTOM OF THIS ISSUE ON HOW TO ORDER. LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
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Table of Contents
1)Froglog 104 is available at http://issuu.com/amphibiansdotorg/docs/froglog104/1
2) Small Grant Application for Salamander Research
3)Crocodiles And Alligators Are Actually Sensitive Creatures
4)Tentacled Snake Births Surprise National Zoo
5) Feds to Seek International Trade Protection (CITES) for 3 U.S. Turtles -Spotted, Blandings and Diamondback Terrapins
6) Snake Nirmal dies after viper's bite (K A Shaji)
7 Fears for lizard species discovered in Western Australia
8) Opinionator: Will Snakes Inherit the Earth? (Diane Ackerman)
9) Neighbors: Snakes lurking in overgrown lot?
I0) UCN Grand Cayman Blue Iguana takes step back from extinction
11) More highlights from the latest IUCN Red List update
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MORE TURTLE BOOKS AND CALENDARS
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
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AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF HERPDIGEST ISSUE.
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1) Froglog 104 is available at http://issuu.com/amphibiansdotorg/docs/froglog104/1
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2) Small Grant Application for Salamander Research
A significant part of the Chopsticks for Salamanders mission is to provide funding for salamander conservation, education and research. Chopsticks for Salamanders is proud to offer a $1500 grant for 2013, to be distributed to a single applicant who demonstrates an excellent use for the funds tied to our mission.
Application materials in Microsoft Word format must be submitted to the Grant Committee at reusechopsticks@gmail.com by January 1, 2013. Should your project receive funding, we will disburse funds as specified in the award letter. Recipients will be notified by February 1, 2013.
Download Application
Please download and complete the Chopsticks for Salamanders grant application by right clicking and saving the link above. Direct any questions to reusechopsticks@gmail.com.
Go to http://www.chopsticksforsalamanders.org ... tion/c1t49 to apply

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3) Crocodiles And Alligators Are Actually Sensitive Creatures
November 8, 2012

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Crocodiles and alligators are well-known for being cold-blooded and having thick skin, but new research from a pair of Vanderbilt University scientists has shown that the ancient reptiles can be quite sensitive.
More specifically, the scientists demonstrated that these reptilian predators have small pigmented domes that dot their skin– conveying a sense of touch is even more responsive than that of humans, according to the pair’s report in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
“We didn’t expect these spots to be so sensitive because the animals are so heavily armored,” said study co-author Duncan Leitch, a graduate student at Vanderbilt.
Previous studies have noted these spots before and have dubbed them “integumentary sensor organs” or ISOs. A variety of different hypotheses were made about their possible function, including being a glandular source of oily secretions, detectors of electric fields, or the ability to gauge water salinity.
The Vanderbilt duo’s study was heavily influenced by a 2002 study from a biologist at the University of Maryland. That study found alligators in a darkened aquarium detected droplets of water even while their hearing was disrupted by white noise. The Maryland biologist asserted that the sensor spots on the animals’ faces allowed them to detect the disturbances caused by the drops hitting the water.
“This intriguing finding inspired us to look further,” Ken Catania, a professor of biology at Vanderbilt, said in a press release. “For a variety of reasons, including the way that the spots are distributed around their body, we thought that the ISOs might be more than water ripple sensors.”
In the Vanderbilt study, Leitch would use a minute hair designed to test human touch sensitivity to gently test the response of the animal’s sensory domes, and found that the domes around the animals’ teeth and jaws were more sensitive than human finger-tips.
“As soon as they feel something touch, they snap at it,” said Catania.
To inspect these touch receptors in more detail, Leitch and Catania used scanning electron microscopy to examine the skin and pigmented domes of American alligators. The researchers then sliced through several of the domes to inspect the sensory receptor structures and free nerve endings beneath. Leitch also stained the nerves surrounding the dome site so that he could trace them throughout the animal’s skin.
From their inspection, the scientists identified a diverse collection of “mechanoreceptors,” or nerves that respond to both pressure and vibration. They noted that some receptors are tuned specifically to the 20-35 Hertz range, an ideal range for sensing tiny water ripples.
The scientists theorized that this exceptional touch sensitivity, especially around the animals’ teeth and jaws, helps them to use their jaws in a refined manner. Female alligators and crocodiles have been observed delicately breaking open their eggs to assist their young in hatching. They have also been seen carrying hatchlings in their jaws. In light of the fact that these are the same jaws which can snap prey in half with a force greater than any other modern predator, the ISOs appear to be an important evolutionary development for the reptiles.
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4) Tentacled Snake Births Surprise National Zoo
11/08/2012 For photos go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/0 ... 92705.html
WASHINGTON -- Two snakes that had not produced viable offspring in the past four years surprised the National Zoo by giving birth to eight tentacled snake babies on Oct. 21.
The zoo, which released a series of photos of the new additions to the Reptile Discovery Center on Thursday, indicated that that the babies were already growing up fast.
"Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults," Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper, said in a statement. "Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we're already learning so much just watching them grow."
According to an advisory from the National Zoo:
Tentacled snakes are aquatic, produce live young and are ambush hunters. They use their tails to anchor themselves and wait underwater for their prey. They get their name from the unique tentacles that protrude from their snout and function as sensory mechanisms that allow the reptiles to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by.

The new snakes, which are listed as a species of concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, will likely not stay at the National Zoo, will likely end up in other zoos when they get older.
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5) Feds to Seek International Trade Protection (CITES) for 3 U.S. Turtles -Spotted, Blandings and Diamondback Terrapins
Would Help End Runaway Harvest of Turtles in Eastern United States
November 9, 2012, WASHINGTON— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will propose three species of U.S. freshwater turtles for protection at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Thailand in 2013. Today’s announcement responds to a 2011 petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity that asked the Service to help end the destructive international trade in American freshwater turtles. Millions of wild freshwater turtles are caught in the United States every year and exported.
“Turtle traders are depleting U.S. turtle populations at a frightening rate. It’s got to stop soon or we’re going to lose these incredible animals from the wild,” said the Center’s Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney and biologist who works to save endangered reptiles and amphibians. “Commercial harvesting only compounds the daily problems native turtles already face from habitat loss, water pollution and road mortality.”
More than 2 million wild-caught, live turtles are exported from the United States each year. Most are used to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where turtle consumption rates have soared despite the fact that native turtle populations have already been killed off. Adult turtles are also taken from the wild to breed hatchlings for the international pet trade.
Overharvest has caused population declines in almost all turtle species, with many now either protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act or under consideration for such protection. For example, the beautiful spotted turtle — one of 53 species of amphibians and reptiles included in a recent Endangered Species Act listing petition filed by the Center — has suffered sharp declines because of overcollection for the pet trade.
“I’m so pleased that the United States is acting to save our freshwater turtles,” said Adkins Giese. “International protection from exploitation is vital for the survival of wild freshwater turtles across the country.”
The list of species announced today by the Service contains three species of U.S. turtles being considered for CITES Appendix II, including the spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle and diamondback terrapin, all of which the Center recommended in its 2011 petition. When turtles are added to CITES Appendix II, their international trade is regulated by a system in which permits are issued only when trade has been determined to be nondetrimental to species survival. CITES-listed species are also subject to mandatory reporting requirements.
The Service, which has already received more than 25,000 comments supporting trade restrictions for the North American turtles, is opening another public comment period on its species proposals for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (“CoP16”), which will be held in March 2013 in Thailand.
Background
The United States is a turtle biodiversity hotspot, home to more types of turtles than any other country in the world. As part of a campaign to protect this rich natural heritage, the Center in 2008 and 2009 petitioned states with unrestricted commercial turtle harvest to improve harvest regulations. In 2009 Florida responded by banning almost all commercial harvest of freshwater turtles from public and private waters; earlier this year Georgia approved state rules regulating the commercial harvest of turtles, while Alabama completely banned commercial harvests. The Center has also petitioned to list several species of imperiled freshwater turtles under the Endangered Species Act.
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6) Snake Nirmal dies after viper's bite (K A Shaji)

TIMES OF INDIA (New Delhi) 10/12/30 Coimbatore: In a cruel twist of fate, city's highly celebrated snake rescuer B Nirmal breathed his last at a hospital here on Monday, four days after he was bitten by a Russell's viper. One of the most venomous snakes in Asia, the Russell's viper had bitten him when Nirmal attempted to rescue it from a house near Sulur.

Known widely as Snake Nirmal, the youth in his early twenties was working as a volunteer with Coimbatore-based Isha Yoga Foundation after completing MCA. Nirmal won attention of the whole city by rescuing snakes from very hostile and difficult situations. Hailing from Sulur and having dedication to social and environmental causes, Nirmal was admitted to KG Hospital in the city soon after he was attacked by the viper.

Despite continuous treatment, he breathed his last at around 6.30pm on Monday. Nirmal was always available on call across the city to save snakes and he also worked with major environmental groups like Osai and Siruthuli. He was also closely associated with leading green activists of the city.

"The brave heart has left us. He was a symbol of extreme courage and dedication. Nirmal was in fact a model to emulate,'' said environmental activist C R Jayaprakash. According to him, Nirmal's love and care for snakes began at a younger age. It developed during his computer education days.

"He excelled both as a software designer and snake-catcher. During the day, he created software in his college lab and in the evenings, he trapped cobras and vipers. He often remained very proud of handling cobras in the way one can handle a cute pup,'' remembers Jayaprakash.

Cutting across social and economic divides, people loved young Nirmal because he was available round the clock to help them when they encountered snakes. Even the district administration and police have availed his service when snakes sneaked into human settlements.
"I love nature and snakes much more than my computer," he said some months ago while becoming a volunteer with Isha to focus more on reptiles and their well-being. His college mates at GRD College remember how he handled Russell's vipers on many a past occasions. His friends and snake rescuers S Ranjith and B Ramachandran are also clueless about what went wrong with Nirmal when he tried to rescue the snake in Sulur.

Every month, Nirmal used to rescue at least 20 snakes from the backyards of houses, apartment complexes and farms. From the cobra and common krait to the saw-scaled viper and Russell's viper, they have rescued venomous snakes from several places in Coimbatore and released them in forests. He had also conducted awareness drives on snakes in different colleges and factories.

Nirmal, who used to capture even the most venomous serpent in less than two minutes, was also very keen on their rehabilitation. "Nirmal learnt to handle snakes during a nature awareness programme conducted at Isha Foundation when he was barely 10 years old. Since then, he was passionate about catching snakes,'' said Ramachandran.

"Initially, I used a stick with a steel hook to pick snakes. After a few months of training, I learnt to hold the snake in my hands. Catching venomous snakes is a real challenge. The knack of capturing a snake lies in catching it by the tail. In the case of a venomous snake, the reptile has to be rotated till it sheds its fangs,'' Nirmal told TOI in a previous interview.
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7) Fears for lizard species discovered in Western Australia

THE AUSTRALIAN (Sydney, Australia) 10/29/12 (AAP) A new species of lizard has been discovered in sand dunes outside Perth but scientists fear it faces extinction with urban sprawl rapidly closing in.

The six-centimetre-long Ctenotus ora, or the coastal plains skink, was found by Australian National University ecologist Geoffrey Kay and colleague Scott Keogh during research on biological diversity in southwestern Australia.

Mr Kay said it was a fantastic discovery, but warned that urban encroachment could wipe the species out.

The small stretch of sand the brown and white skink called home was steadily being concreted, he said.

"Our new lizard is under serious risk of being erased just as suddenly as it appeared to us," Mr Kay said.

"Developments along the coastline near Perth need to consider this new lizard and potentially a large number of other species yet to be discovered in this diverse part of the world."
Mr Kay said the exact size of the skink population was unknown but it was clear that numbers were low as only a few of them had been found.

He said the new research that led to the skink's discovery showed that biodiversity in southwestern Australia - particularly for reptiles - was far deeper and more extreme than previously imagined.

The region is already recognised as one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, alongside places like Madagascar.
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8) Opinionator: Will Snakes Inherit the Earth? (Diane Ackerman)

NEW YORK TIMES (New York) 10/27/12-----Named P-52, as if she were a fighter plane or a precious fragment of papyrus, the Burmese python recently found in the Everglades weighed 165 pounds and stretched 17 feet in length — a local record. (Not a world record — that was set by a 403-pound, 27-foot-long python living in an Illinois zoo.) A tan beauty, with black splotches, dry satiny skin, and a body like a firm eraser, P-52 had a pyramidal head, a brain surging with raw instinct and tiny black Sen-Sen eyes. In her heyday, she could squeeze the life out of an alligator or a panther. And she was pregnant.

Standing shoulder to shoulder at the dissecting table, amazed University of Florida scientists uncovered 87 eggs in her womb. Not all the hatchlings would have survived. But with such fecundity it’s easy to understand the flourishing of pythons throughout the Everglades, slipping and slithering through the saw grass, slanting up to their prey, and then — slam! — seizing hold with back-curving teeth, crushing and slowly swallowing every morsel.

No one knows precisely how many pythons inhabit South Florida, but reliable estimates run to 30,000 or more. Over the last 10 years, snake wranglers removed 1,825 pythons from as far south as the Florida Keys. In the picturesque, if amusingly named, Shark Valley (no sharks, a valley only a foot deep) in the heart of the Everglades, visitors may glimpse a python plying the river of grass, or even wrinkling across the road. Pythons are also busy hunting, sun-swilling on the canal levees, mating (in spring), coiling around their eggs and trembling their muscles to incubate them, occasionally wrestling with alligators, and absorbing warmth from still toasty asphalt roads at night.

Alas, they’ve vanquished nearly all the foxes, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, bobcats and white-tailed deer in the park; also the three-foot-tall statuesque white wood storks. A survey conducted between 2003 and 2011, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that raccoons had declined 99.3 percent, opossums 98.9 percent and bobcats 87.5 percent. It also said that marsh rabbits and foxes had completely disappeared. Last year, one Burmese python was found digesting an entire 76-pound deer.

Where did all the pythons — native to India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia— come from? Some were wayward pets or hitchhikers in delivery trucks. Others escaped from ponds overflowing in heavy rains; from pet stores during hurricanes; from international food markets. They hid in foreign packing materials for plants, fruits and vegetables or clung to boat hulls or propeller blades. Some may have freeloaded in the ballast of large ships, which take on water and who knows what aquatic species in a foreign port, and release alien life-forms when they reach their destination.

Burmese pythons are unfamiliar hobgoblins in Florida, and native species haven’t evolved to resist or compete with them. But pythons aren’t the only brawny invaders. In Cape Coral, monitor lizards threaten the protected, and altogether winsome, burrowing owl. Gambian pouched rats are overrunning Grassy Key. Cuban tree frogs devour smaller native frogs. Giant African snails dine on 500 different plants. Jumbo green iguanas are driving the Miamiblue butterfly toward extinction. And monk parakeets flock across the Florida skies, making shrieking noises that sound like people prying the lids off cans of motor oil. Florida boasts more invasive species than anywhere else on earth, from wild boars and Jamaican fruit bats to Mexican red-bellied squirrels, vervet monkeys, nine-banded armadillos and prairie dogs.

We wantonly shuffle life-forms which, charmed by the climate and organisms at their new locale, take hold, sometimes fiercely. People may talk about rebalancing an ecosystem, but there is no perfect “balance of nature,” no strategy that will guarantee perpetual harmony and freedom from change. Nature is more like a seesaw than a crystal, a never-ending conga line of bold moves and corrections. Hence the continuing debate about whether or not the Everglades should be python-free, or allowed to evolve into whatever comes next.

Can we keep an iconic landscape from changing? Should we? Ever since the 1920s we’ve been transmogrifying Florida swamps into real estate. So the real question is what sort of pocket wilderness we prefer.

I’m really of two minds about this. On one hand, I don’t want to disturb the dynamic well of nature. Habitats keep evolving new pageants of species, and we shouldn’t interfere. Yet I also sympathize with E. O. Wilson who, at the Aspen Environment Forum in June, argued that we should capture the pythons in the Everglades and allow the ecosystem to return to its admittedly idealized state, where foxes, rabbits, deer and a host of other vanishing life-forms may flourish. We’re losing biodiversity globally at an alarming rate, and we need a cornucopia of different plants and animals, for the planet’s health and our own. By introducing just one predator into a beloved habitat, we’ve doomed a shockingly large segment of species (and all those that depend on them). This is a good opportunity for us to think about what’s at stake when we recklessly rearrange nature.

Elsewhere in the country, invasive species have been running riot for ages, some a plague and a nuisance, others a delight. People love their English ivy, Norway maple, bullfrogs, Japanese honeysuckle, oxeye daisies, St. John’s wort, dog roses, Scots pine, etc. Other alien invaders — African bees, tiger mosquitoes, water lettuce, burdock, purple loose strife, bamboo, zebra mussels, kudzu and dandelions (they probably accompanied pilgrims on the Mayflower) are scorned, cursed and uprooted.


Of course, most of us humans are transplants, too, often moving between cities, and taking our familiar plants and animals with us — by accident or by design — without worrying much over the mischief we may unloose. Meanwhile, foxes, rabbits and other mammals are vanishing from the Everglades, while pythons abound. We are like witches, leaning over the caldron of the planet, stirring its creatures round and round, unsure about our new familiars — not wild cats, but pythons? — and waiting to see what on earth may bubble up next.
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9) Neighbors: Snakes lurking in overgrown lot?

Nov 01, 2012, By Steve Campion, NBC2 Reporter - CAPE CORAL - People in one Cape Coral neighborhood say they are sick to their stomachs over an overgrown lot. They say snakes are everywhere and other creatures are taking over their community.
Neighbors near the lot on SW 14th Avenue say the steal their solace by the second – adding that it has left them afraid to let their own children outside.
"You don't want those creatures going in your backyard, breaking into your screens," said homeowner Eddie Rodriquez.
Nowadays, Rodriquez says, more and more snakes slither out of the overgrown grass. He says he fears for his children and forces them to steer clear of the wide open space.
"You can't see we're they're coming from. You have to take matters into your own hands just to keep it safe for the kids," he said.
Neighbors cut battle lines in the ground by clearing out some of the land.
They explained there's no choice left but to do it themselves because the critters - especially the cold blooded kind - get bolder by the day.
"I run over them. I'll go back and pick then up when I'm sure they're dead," said neighbor Ron Vann.
Vann, like many who border up to the large lot, wants all the grass and brush cut down.
"I didn't move here to live in a ghetto. We have beautiful homes around here. To look at this eyesore every morning is terrible," he said.
We've learned Cape Coral Code Compliance is looking into this problem. But neighbors say the process to get someone out there just takes too long – leaving them to take care of it on their own.
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I0) UCN Grand Cayman Blue Iguana takes step back from extinction
10/20/12 --India- The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) has taken a formal step back from extinction this year. The announcement comes with the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, which was released in India this week by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In 2002, there were only about 10 to 25 Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas in the wild and as a result it was listed as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List. Today, due to the conservation efforts of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, the wild population of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana has risen to an estimated 750 individuals and has been downlisted to Endangered.
“In IUCN Red List terms, Endangered is the best we can ever hope for as far as the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is concerned,” says Fred Burton, member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Iguana Specialist Group and Programme Director of the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme. “Human impacts on Grand Cayman are now so extensive that there just isn’t scope for these iguanas to regain numbers in the tens of thousands. However, we are confident that we will achieve our long term goal of restoring at least 1,000 Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas to the wild.”
The newly published IUCN Red List assessment shows conservation of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is taking a step in the right direction. The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme involves habitat protection; captive breeding and release; research and monitoring; as well as education and outreach, and is an example of how conservation can work successfully. However, the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is still threatened by free-roaming dogs and cats as well as by habitat loss so conservation must continue.
“The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme deserves congratulations as the downlisting of the Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is a fantastic achievement,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Directory, IUCN Global Species Programme. “When people with dedication and good knowledge are supported, success can be expected and this news will boost the morale of people around the world who are working hard to improve the status of other species.”
For more information please contact:
Fred Burton, Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, tel: 345-916-2418 e: fjburton@blueiguana.ky
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11) More highlights from the latest IUCN Red List update
10/26/12- Switzerland- In the most recent update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, there were both new additions and changes to the status of species already listed. Good news included the rediscovery of two frog species and the downlisting of a number of species due to conservation efforts. However, of the 65,518 species on The IUCN Red List, 20,219 are assessed as “threatened”.
Rediscovered Species
The Sri Lankan toad species Adenomus kandianus was until recently known only from one late 19th Century record, and the lack of further sightings led to this species being labelled as Extinct. However, in 2009 this species was rediscovered in cloud forest in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary in Central Province, Sri Lanka. While it is possible that this toad has a more widespread occurrence, it is so far only known from a single site in an area of 200 m². There is a continuing decline of its natural habitat in this area due to illegal gem mining, conversion of forest to tea plantations, and pollution from a very high volume of religious pilgrimage. This species has therefore been assessed as Critically Endangered.
Holdridge’s Toad (Incilius holdridgei) was once common in appropriate habitat (with 2,765 males seen visiting two pools in an eight-day period in 1975) but in 2008 it was declared Extinct, having not been seen since 1986 despite intensive searches. This Costa Rican endemic was then rediscovered in 2009 at two nearby sites – adults, juveniles, and tadpoles were all present but extensive searching has revealed less than five adult toads, suggesting a total population of fewer than 50 adults. This species is therefore assessed as Critically Endangered. Although it has not been proven, the main cause of the population decline is thought to be chytridiomycosis, perhaps in combination with the effects of climate change.
Reassessed species
Widespread but relatively rare throughout the Indo-Pacific, the Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix), previously Data Deficient, has been reassessed as Vulnerable. A population decline of at least 30% over the last 10–15 years is suspected, and these declines are expected to continue into the future. As well as targeted fishing for the aquarium and traditional medicine trades, there are also concerns about habitat destruction and capture of seahorses as bycatch throughout the species’ range.
The Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) was previously assessed as Endangered, but is now Near Threatened thanks to a genuine improvement in its situation. This northern Pacific species has two subspecies, one of which experienced a dramatic and unexplained population decline between the late 1970s and 1990. This downward trend has recently started to turn around. Meanwhile, the population of the second subspecies has been steadily increasing since 1979, and so the species as a whole has only declined by 28% over the last three generations, with the population currently increasing.
Species new to The IUCN Red List
Endemic to Rotuma, a small island in Fifi, the Rotuma Forest Gecko (Lepidodactylus gardineri) is a highly arboreal species which is strongly dependent on secondary forest. Clearance of the secondary growth forest for farmland could have devastating effects on this Vulnerable species, which is not found in any protected areas.
The Arabian Horned Viper (Cerastes gasperettii) is threatened in Saudi Arabia by over-collection for venom extraction. However, it has a wide distribution, and there are no major threats to this species in the Arabian Peninsula part of its range. It is presumed to have a large population which is stable overall, and has been assessed as Least Concern.
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Volume # 12 Issue # 54 11/17/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction
by Peter C. H. Pritchard
In this, Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope..$65 + $6.00 Overseas contact us for S&H info. SEE BOTTOM OF THIS ISSUE ON HOW TO ORDER. LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
AND YES EVEN IF YOU HAVE COPIES OF THE FIRST EDITION YOU SHOULD GET THE 2ND EDITION, IT’S A WHOLE NEW BOOK.
$59.95 USD plus $12.00 for S&H in US, overseas please contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org
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Table of Contents
1) Man Arrested For Firing Assault Rifle at Turtles
2) 'Swamp Brother,' partner charged with violating federal wildlife rules (Star of Discovery Channel’s “Swamp Brothers”

3) Indiscriminate Sea Turtle Slaughter-FiJi

4) Hellbender, North America's Largest Amphibian, Makes List of Top 10 Species Threatened by Water Pollution
5) DNA Tests Show Lonesome George May Not Have Been Last of His Species
6) Paternity Tests for 'Promiscuous' Hermann's Tortoise
7) Honor for Snake Man with a Passion for Turtles-John Can
8) Dogs, cats have their rescuers … amphibians have The Frog Lady
9) Hillary Clinton Speaks Out Against Wildlife Crime - Launches US Government to Tackle It

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MORE TURTLE BOOKS AND
ATURTLE, SNAKE, SEA TURTLE & FROG CALENDARS
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
The first issue is only $20.00 plus $6.00 for S&H. As all always contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for overseas shipping costs.
&
2013 CALENDARS ARE IN- Turtles, Sea Turtles, Frogs & Snakes, Each Glossy 12’x 12” Plus an extra 6 month July-December, 2012 1-page planner with photo, Start Using the Calendar now. $14.99 each $6.00 for S&H. Limited number available will not re-order. 3 dozen of turtles(last year were out beginning of November) 1 dozen each, sea turtles, frogs and snakes. To see and order them go to http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
Check out the magnets and diplomas while you are there.
AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF THIS AND ALL HERPDIGEST ISSUES.
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1) Man Arrested For Firing Assault Rifle at Turtles

Cleveland Advocate, 12/8/12---A McLennan County game warden received a trespass call. While unable to immediately locate the individuals, he decided to wait in the area. After dark, the warden saw a vehicle stop just down the road and noticed a group of people get out with an AR-15 rifle and flashlight.

They began to shoot off the road into a nearby creek and field, so the warden approached the group and issued a citation for discharging a firearm from a public road. No evidence of hunting from the road was found.

Forty-five minutes later, another truck stopped down the road in the same general area, and a man got out of the truck with an AK-47 and fired numerous rounds into the creek. When the warden made contact with the shooter, he noticed open containers in the vehicle.

The subject said he was testing his AK-47 on the turtles in the creek. No turtles were located and citations were issued.
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2) 'Swamp Brother,' partner charged with violating federal wildlife rules (Star of Discovery Channel’s “Swamp Brothers”)
November 14, 2012|By Amy Pavuk, Staff Writer, Orlando Sentinel

A Florida man who stars in the Discovery Channel's Swamp Brothers series and his business partner have been accused of violating federal wildlife laws, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Swamp Brother Robert Keszey and Robroy MacInnes, co-owners and managers the Glades Herp Farm in Sumter County, are accused of buying wildlife they knew was illegally collected from the wild.
Federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania say the men transported the wildlife to the Glades Herp Farm in Bushnell, about 60 miles west of Orlando, so the company could sell the wildlife.
MacInnes, 54, and Keszey, 47, are also accused of illegally taking and attempting to collect animals from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The alleged crimes occurred from 2007 to 2008, the indictment said.
In 2007, Keszey traveled to Jim Thorpe, Pa., and in that area seized two Eastern timber rattlesnakes from the wild without a permit. That species is considered endangered in New Jersey and threatened in New York. It is also illegal to possess an Eastern timber rattlesnake without a permit in Pennsylvania.
During the same trip, Keszey and another person, who was not identified in the indictment, traveled to the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey and seized a king snake from the wild.
Keszey, who resides in Bushnell, took the two Eastern timber rattlesnakes and other wildlife taken from the wild to the Glades Herp Farm, the indictment said. Prosecutors said that in 2008, MacInnes and Keszey took a pair of Eastern indigo snakes without a permit, violating Florida law, then shipped them to an unidentified person in Pennsylvania. It was done with the understanding that person would breed the snakes and share the sales from selling the offspring.
The Eastern indigo snake is listed as threatened by both Florida and federal law.
Jonathan Ripps, who represents Keszey, said his client is innocent and he will defend the case "vigorously."
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3) Indiscriminate Sea Turtle Slaughter In FiJi
Fiji Times 12/8/12 by Luke Rawala

Turtles continued to be slaughtered despite protective legislation with some villagers unnecessarily seeking approval to eat the marine creatures during functions.

Speaking to villagers on the island of Galoa, Bua, Fisheries officer Ului Tuinamata said the number of sea turtles was dropping rapidly with some species on the verge of extinction.

He said some people were slaughtering turtles for trivial events.

"We hear of turtles being slaughtered every now and then for occasions which are very minor in nature in comparison to the dangerous position these poor creatures are in with regards to their numbers," said Mr Tuinamata.

"Slaughtering of sea turtles is illegal and it is only approved for traditional functions, which has to be applied for in writing prior to any traditional event."

"Applications are forwarded to the provincial or district offices who will then direct the application to the Minister for Primary Industries for his approval," he said.

Mr Tuinamata said the processing of permits took 14 days and that people needed to work within these procedures.

"People need to realise that our turtle numbers are rapidly dropping and to appreciate the value of these creatures including the vari voce (sea wrasse), dairo (bech-de-mer). They should think of the future and contribute to their sustainability," he said.

"We continue to receive applications to slaughter turtles for minor events. While we do not allow them and there are processes in place, the onus is still on natural resource owners to ensure that they are strictly followed to ensure the future existence of these innocent creatures," he said.

The fisheries officer was part of a touring government delegation.

He also said there was a need to establish an active network with villagers to allow for the monitoring of sea turtles.
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4) Hellbender, North America's Largest Amphibian, Makes List of Top 10 Species Threatened by Water Pollution

New Report Names the Ozarks as one of Top 10 Ecosystems Facing Water Woes
Press Releasse 11/14/12- COLUMBIA, Mo.— The hellbender, North America’s largest amphibian, was named one of the 10 U.S. species most threatened by freshwater pollution in a report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, Water Woes: How Dams, Diversions, Dirty Water and Drought Put America’s Wildlife at Risk, highlights how reductions in water quality and quantity threaten imperiled species in 10 important ecosystems across the country. The Ozark hellbender, which can grow longer than two feet, is found in streams in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. The eastern hellbender ranges from Mississippi to New York. Both have declined in recent years and remain threatened with extinction due to water pollution and dams.
Ozark hellbender photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Brian Gratwicke. Photos of species and ecosystems in the "Top 10" report are available for media use.
“Hellbenders are strange and fascinating creatures that also serve as a barometer for the health of the freshwater systems where they live,” said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity who works to protect amphibians and reptiles. “When we protect water quality for hellbenders, we also protect water that people rely on for drinking, fishing and recreation.”
The Ozark hellbender has declined by 75 percent since the 1980s, with fewer than 600 remaining in the wild. The primary threat facing Ozark hellbenders is degradation of their aquatic habitats from sources such as mining, fertilizer runoff and animal operations. The eastern hellbender has declined by at least 30 percent. Hellbenders are fully aquatic salamanders, meaning they never leave the water. In highly polluted waters they develop dramatic skin lesions.
The Ozark hellbender was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2011 as part of an agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled species across the country. The eastern hellbender is under consideration for protection in response to a petition filed by the Center in 2010 seeking protection for hundreds of at-risk freshwater species in the southeastern United States.
Hellbenders, ancient animals that have changed very little over time, are uniquely adapted to aquatic life. They have paddle-like tails for swimming and flattened bodies and heads that fit in crevices and allow them to cling to the river bottom. Numerous folds of skin on their sides allow increased oxygen absorption from the water. They have lidless eyes and largely rely on vibrations and scents for communication and foraging. They secrete toxic slime to ward off predators but are not poisonous to humans. Hellbenders forage at night, preying on crayfish, insects, dead fish and other amphibians, and are in turn eaten by fish, turtles and snakes. Males build nests by making saucer-shaped depressions in gravel and then defend their nests until young are about three weeks old. Hellbenders reach sexual maturity at 5 to 8 years and may live as long as 30 years.
They are known by a number of colorful common names, including alligator of the mountains, big water lizard, devil dog, mud devil, walking catfish, water dog and snot otter.
Hellbenders are one of many species across the country facing extinction due to water pollution and development. Among the other at-risk ecosystems named in the “Top 10” report are Florida’s Everglades, the Colorado River, the Tennessee River and the Sierra Nevada mountains. For each ecosystem, the report identifies some of the endangered species that live there, as well as the conservation measures required to help them survive. Member groups of the Endangered Species Coalition from across the country nominated the species and ecosystems for inclusion in the report; the submissions were then reviewed and judged by a panel of scientists. Most of the imperiled species are fish, but the report also identifies two amphibians, two birds, two mammals and one plant, all of which are facing water challenges within the 10 ecosystems.
The Endangered Species Coalition has produced a “Top 10” report annually for the last five years. Water Woes can be downloaded at: http://waterwoes.org. Previous reports are available on the coalition’s website, www.stopextinction.org.
Contact: Collette Adkins Giese, (651) 955-3821
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5) DNA Tests Show Lonesome George May Not Have Been Last of His Species
By Staff Editor Nov 15, 2012(HealthNewsDigest.com) - New Haven, Conn.— When the giant tortoise Lonesome George died this summer, conservationists from around the world mourned the extinction his species. However, a genetic analysis by Yale University researchers of tortoises living in a remote area of a Galapagos Island suggests individuals of the same tortoise species may still be alive — perhaps ancestors of tortoises thrown overboard by 19th century sailors.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

On the remote northern tip of Isabella Island, the Yale team collected DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises and discovered that 17 were ancestors of the species Chelonoidis abingdoni, native to Pinta Island of which Lonesome George was the last known survivor. The 17 tortoises are hybrids, but evidence suggested a few might be the offspring of a purebred C. abingdoni parent. Five of these tortoises are juveniles, which suggested to researchers that purebred individuals of the species may still live on the rocky cliffs of Isabella in an area called Volcano Wolf.

“Our goal is to go back this spring to look for surviving individuals of this species and to collect hybrids,” said Adalgisa “Gisella” Caccone, senior research scientist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior author on the study. “We hope that with a selective breeding program, we can reintroduce this tortoise species to its native home.”

Volcano Wolf where DNA samples were collected is 37 miles away from Pinta Island. Scientists do not believe ocean currents could have carried giant tortoises to Isabella Island. They note that Volcano Wolf is next to Banks Bay, where in the 19th century sailors of naval and whaling vessels discarded giant tortoises collected from other islands when they were no longer needed for food. A previous genetic analysis of these same tortoises had discovered tortoises with genetic ancestry of C. elephantopus, a species from Floreana Island that had been hunted to extinction in its home range. The members of these marooned tortoise species then mated with indigenous tortoises, researchers suggest.

Yale and the Galapagos Conservancy hope to collect hybrids and any surviving members of both Pinta and Floreana Island species and begin a captive breeding program that would restore both species. The Conservancy, Galapagos National Park, National Geographic Society, The Eppley foundation, The Paul and Bay Foundation and the Turtle Conservation Fund supported the research.

“These giant tortoises are of crucial importance to the ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands, and the reintroduction of these species will help preserve their evolutionary legacy,” said Danielle Edwards, postdoctoral research associate at Yale and lead author on the study.

Other Yale authors of the study were Edgar Benavides, Ryan C. Garrick, Kristin B. Dion,and Chaz Hyseni.
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6) Paternity Tests for 'Promiscuous' Hermann's Tortoise
By Michelle Warwicker BBC Nature, 12/16/12
Italian scientists have been investigating the sex lives of Hermann's tortoises

Baby tortoises have been given paternity tests to find out whether sperm storage affects fertilisation.
Female Hermann's tortoises mate with multiple partners and can store sperm inside their bodies for years.
Scientists found that in egg clutches with multiple fathers, mating order did not affect males' fertilisation success.
Previous studies into similar species have found that a higher proportion of eggs are fertilised by the last mate.
"[This] 'last in first out' hypothesis was our main hypothesis," said research team member Dr Sara Fratini from the University of Florence.
She explained that, according to the mechanics of a tube such as those found in the females' reproductive system, the first substance to enter would be the last to come back out when emptied. But in the study, published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Dr Fratini and colleagues Giulia Cutuli, Dr Stefano Cannicci and Prof Marco Vannini did not find evidence to match this logic.
Instead the team's findings support the idea that sperm may become randomly mixed inside the female's oviduct, the passageway from the ovaries.
Sperm storage has been frequently reported in reptiles and birds, and is associated with a promiscuous mating system.
Chelonian species are known for their long-term sperm storage, and females are capable of storing viable sperm for three or four years in specialised tubes within their oviduct.
To better understand this system the team set up a series of planned matings between Hermann's tortoises (Testudo hermanni hermanni) and conducted paternity tests on tortoise hatchlings from 16 egg clutches.
They found that 46% of the clutches had been "multi-sired": fertilised by two or three males.
Of the clutches that were fertilised by three tortoises they reported that a "significant contribution" of previous years' partners was found in the distribution of sperm.
The results indicate that males that contribute more sperm fertilise a greater proportion of an egg clutch; a theory which has been found to be valid in some aquatic turtles.
But Dr Fratini said the findings could also suggest that females may actively optimise the use of stored sperm to use old sperm first - before it becomes unviable - and newly aquired sperm afterwards.
"At the present time, we cannot say which hypothesis is the real one," she told BBC Nature.
It is not easy to find a partner.”
Dr Sara Fratini University of Florence
The study also examined how a multi-partner mating system affected the tortoises' courtship behaviour.
The team found that male Hermann's tortoises' behaviour did not change depending on the order in which they mated with the female during a single reproduction cycle. Whether first or second to court a female, the males invested equally in activity.
However, when males were placed with females that had not mated for three years, their courtship attempts were more succesful with the female accepting being mounted and not trying to escape.
"For this we hypothesised that these females may have the 'perception' that their stored sperm is finishing," explained Dr Fratini. "And for this they are motivated to re-mate."
She commented that one possible reason for females storing sperm is that the density of wild Hermann's tortoise populations is "generally low".
"It is not easy to find a partner."
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7) Honour for Snake Man with a Passion for Turtles-John Cann

Sydney Morning Herald ( Australia) 12/8/12by Julie Power--His mother may have been the Cleopatra of Snakes and his father the original snake man of La Perouse, but the last of the snake men, John Cann, admits his real passion was for turtles.

''Turtles were my main interest,'' he said. ''They're terribly on the decrease and nobody knows why. They're dying in every major river system in Australia and Papua New Guinea.''

For 90 years Mr Cann's family ran the snake show every Sunday in the pit at La Perouse, an area once alive with snakes - tigers, browns and blacks. His father George, a showman and curator of reptiles at Taronga Zoo, started the show in 1919 and helped start the first anti-venom program with the late Eric Worrell of the Australian Reptile Park.

Now the Canns's contribution to La Perouse and our knowledge of snakes has been recognised side by side with the suburb's French namesake in a permanent exhibition at the La Perouse Museum (Botany Bay National Park).

Some people may have thought the Cann show a bit of vaudeville, a sideshow owing more to the tradition of Bearded Ladies, the Tallest Man in the World and, drumroll please, Two-Headed Men.
Yet many of the early snake handlers were called professors. These self-taught herpetologists pioneered the study of reptiles, collected species and tested anti-venoms and theories (very often with fatal results).

John Cann is a professor in that tradition.

He's written five books on snakes and turtles, uncovered 10 to 12 new turtle species, travelled Australia and the world to lecture on snakes and reptiles, and advised the zoo and the reptile park. Until he was 60, Mr Cann worked full time job as a rigger while raising a large family.

He sees the snake-show legacy as a major contribution to our understanding of snakes, but during the show he often broke the law to show visitors how dangerous snakes could be.

''We used to break the law all the time. We always had lively snakes. People want to see them bite or strike,'' Mr Cann said of the visitors who came to his show. Often he would let four snakes out at once, despite the law allowing only one snake on display at any time.

When the snakes got used to him handling them, Mr Cann would let them go, then head down the back of La Perouse for fresh, lively snakes instead of using snakes kept in captivity as required by law.

''If people see quiet snakes, they can get the wrong impression. Kids may think they can pick them up.'' The downside to handling such lively snakes was that, when he slowed down, they didn't.

''My reflexes weren't too good,'' Mr Cann said of the months before he retired two years ago.

He admits to leaving one too many doors open on the cages where he kept the poisonous snakes at home.

He had been bitten five times, once by a tiger snake, which caused complications that caused the loss of a kidney this year. He had also developed an allergy to snakes, and the next bite would have been fatal.

His children did not want to take over the show. ''My sons weren't interested in reptiles, which made me a bit sad and a bit glad,'' he said.

Retiring was a relief, freeing him to go outback in search of turtles: ''As soon as I gave it away, I was away to Western Australia.''

He's now 1200 pages into volumes one and two of a family history, including his own sporting ventures (he represented Australia in the decathlon in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and he played Rugby League for NSW).

Sadly for us, it's a limited release: family only.

His memoirs will also be available in the National Library and in the Maroubra library.

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8) Dogs, cats have their rescuers … amphibians have The Frog Lady

By Erik Lacitis , Seattle Times staff reporter, 12/12/12,
By third grade, growing up in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe, her nickname was "Froggie."
Thayer Cueter then, and now, has loved everything about frogs.
She is 50 and in the intervening years, her admittedly rather unusual passion has remained undiminished. She now proudly calls herself The Frog Lady.
This is a woman who wants to get into the Guinness World Records with her 10,000 frog collectibles that include an astounding 400 Kermit the Frog toys, 490 plush frog toys and 20 pairs of frog pajamas, each different.
She says about frogs, the live kind, "They're whimsical, they're cute. It's hard to explain. They're fragile. It's not easy being green."
So it should be no surprise that Cueter runs an animal-rescue place in Edmonds specializing in ... frogs.
She and her volunteers take in those exotic frogs bought at pet stores and that the owners no longer want. The frogs come from warmer climates and would struggle and likely die outdoors in the Northwest.
Dogs, cats, horses all have their passionate champions. Why not frogs?
The nonprofit Just Frogs Toads Too! Amphibian Center, now has 16 frogs, 11 toads (a subclassification of frogs; toads generally have drier and bumpier skins), as well as 30 turtles, four tortoises, three geckos and a tarantula in its small rental just below the Arnies Restaurant on the Edmonds waterfront.
As people found out about the center, they began dropping off more than just frogs.
Over the years, Cueter figures she's taken in several hundred amphibians. Around Edmonds, she's become known and, on some days, she says, 100 people stop by.
Maybe it all started, Cueter says, because she was born on St. Patrick's Day and early on began getting gifts that were green. The gifts were often frog-related, frogs being associated with that day, along with leprechauns, snakes, corned beef and liquored-up celebrating.
As a kid, she spent summers at her family's cabin in Michigan, hanging out at a nearby pond, mesmerized as she watched the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs.
She remembers taking those injured by a lawnmower to the vet, then back home to treat their cuts with Q-tips soaked in antibiotic until they were well enough to be released.
Cueter's mom was a nurse, and together, they "rescued everything that hit the sidewalk — birds, cats, squirrels." At one point, she says, their home had 26 assorted animals.
In school, Cueter's locker was plastered with frog stickers, frog magnets, frog wrapping paper. She hung a mirror on the inside of the locker that was, of course, in the shape of a frog.
In 10th-grade science class, she refused to dissect a live frog (though the next year she agreed to dissect a dead one in formaldehyde). In those days, in the late 1970s, it wasn't uncommon for biology classes to take a live frog, stick a pin through the back of its head, keeping it alive but destroying its brain.
These days schools tend to shun that method.
The Seattle Public Schools does no dissection of animals, although that's mostly because it has no budget for such projects. At the University of Washington, one biology class does use the needle method so students can see organs still working, although the needle "pithing" is done by trained staff, not students.
With her interest in helping animals, Cueter enrolled in a veterinary-tech program, got a license and began working in clinics.
In 1990, Cueter ended up in Seattle, began working at vet clinics, and in 1997 decided to do something about her zeal for frogs.
She opened the doors on Main Street in Edmonds to a gift shop that specialized in frog merchandise.
"You would not believe how many people are frog collectors," she says.
Right away, she says, people began bringing in live amphibians.
Maybe somebody found a turtle that had been run over by a car, maybe somebody had decided they were too sick themselves, or had just plain gotten bored, to take care of a pet frog.
The store bounced around a couple locations and eventually moved to its waterfront place.
The sound of frogs greets you even before you walk into the center. Cueter has put together a CD of Pacific treefrogs — also known as Pacific chorus frogs, the state's official amphibian — that she recorded over many nights. Inside, she never loses her enthusiasm about pointing out the rescues.
There is "Rocky," a toad that arrived sick because it had ingested a bunch of aquarium rocks that had to be squeezed out. And "Tank," a red-eared slider turtle left outside the center in, of course, a tank.
Sometimes the rescues travel to schools for show-and-tell where Cueter tells about the plight of frogs worldwide as their populations experience dramatic declines. Sometimes she hosts kids parties that feature the rescues, the proceeds from which all go to the center.
It costs money to keep the place, something like $2,800 a month, what with rent, vet bills and the mealworms, waxworms, crickets, dog food, vegetables and fruit to feed all those amphibians.
When the money is short, Cueter makes up the difference. She had quit her vet-clinic job to be full-time with the center, but now she'll have to go back to a steady paycheck.
She is asked if the frogs have any discernible personalities.
"Of course they do!" Cueter says. "When they get hungry, they stare at the top of the cage, waiting for food to come down. And see that one, it's not happy at the dirty stand and staring at it until I clean it."
For three years before coming to Seattle, Cueter was married.
These days, she says, it is the amphibians that take up her time.
Says Cueter, "The Frog Lady is still looking for a prince. I've kissed a lot of frogs, but they stay frogs."
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or elacitis@seattletimes.com
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9) Hillary Clinton Speaks Out Against Wildlife Crime - Launches US Government to Tackle It
For video http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/hi ... on.html#cr
November 2012. Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, has issued a stern warning against illicit trafficking of wildlife products. She announced that the U.S government is keen to pursue a policy on non-trafficking and wildlife security. Clinton said that the global value of illegal wildlife trafficking is as much as $10 billion per year, ranking it as one of the largest criminal transnational activities worldwide along with arms, drugs and human trafficking. The following is a (large) extract from her speech.

Now, some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation, or why we are hosting this event at the State Department in the first place. Well, I think it's because, as Bob Hormats has just pointed out, and as the public service announcements reinforce, over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before.

As the middle class grows, which we all welcome and support, in many nations items like ivory or rhinoceros horn become symbols of wealth and social status. And so the demand for these goods rises. By some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivalled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs. Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.
What's more, we are increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world. Local populations that depend on wildlife, either for tourism or sustenance, are finding it harder and harder to maintain their livelihoods. Diseases are spreading to new corners of the globe through wildlife that is not properly inspected at border crossings. Park rangers are being killed. And we have good reason to believe that rebel militias are players in a worldwide ivory market worth millions and millions of dollars a year.
So yes, I think many of us are here because protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet's natural beauty. We see it's a stewardship responsibility for us and this generation and future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue that is critical to each and every country represented here.
We all, unfortunately, contribute to the continued demand for illegal animal goods. Wildlife might be targeted and killed across Asia and Africa, but their furs, tusks, bones, and horns are sold all over the world. Smuggled goods from poached animals find their way to Europe, Australia, China, and the United States. I regret to say the United States is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife in the world. And that is something we are going to address.
Now, several conservation groups are here with us today, and we greatly appreciate their invaluable work. But the truth is they cannot solve this problem alone. None of us can. This is a global challenge that spans continents and crosses oceans, and we need to address it with partnerships that are as robust and far-reaching as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle.
Therefore, we need governments, civil society, businesses, scientists, and activists to come together to educate people about the harms of wildlife trafficking. We need law enforcement personnel to prevent poachers from preying on wildlife. We need trade experts to track the movement of goods and help enforce existing trade laws. We need finance experts to study and help undermine the black markets that deal in wildlife. And most importantly, perhaps, we need to reach individuals, to convince them to make the right choices about the goods they purchase.
Now, there's no quick fix, but by working closely, internationally, with all of these partners, we can take important steps to protect wildlife in their environments and begin to dry up the demand for trafficked goods. So with these goals in mind, the State Department is pursuing a four-part strategy.
Putin
First, on the diplomatic front, we are working with leaders from around the world to develop a global consensus on wildlife protection. I spoke with President Putin when we were together at the APEC summit in Vladivostok. He has been a staunch, vocal, public supporter of Russian wildlife. And I think it's fair to say his personal efforts over the last years have made the lives of tigers in Russia much safer. There's still poaching, but at least there is a commitment from the highest level of the Russian Government to protect the wildlife of Russia. In fact, when I was in Vladivostok, there were posters everywhere with tigers on the pictures on the lampposts and walls and everywhere we looked, reminding people that this was an important issue to Russia and the Russian Government. And I worked - I had the great privilege of working with President Putin and the other leaders there to make sure that the leaders' statement that was issued included, for the first time ever, strong language on wildlife trafficking.
Now, Undersecretaries Bob Hormats and Maria Otero have met with African and Asian leaders to discuss the immediate actions needed to thwart poachers. Next week, President Obama and I will personally bring this message to our partners in ASEAN and the East Asia Summit when we meet in Phnom Penh.
New Zealand & Antarctic
We are also pressing forward with efforts to protect marine life. And last week, we joined forces with New Zealand to propose the world's largest marine protected area, the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. And we hope to gain support from the international community as this important proposal moves forward.
We're strengthening our ability to engage diplomatically on these and other scientific issues. Building scientific partnerships is an important tool in addressing such global challenges. That's why I'm pleased to announce our three new science envoys, Dr. Bernard Amadei of the University of Colorado, the founder of Engineers Without Borders; Dr. Susan Hockfield, the former president and currently faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and renowned evolutionary biologist Dr. Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis. Are these three scientists with us today? Are they? Okay. But I think it's working to create a scientific consensus and very preeminent scientists from across the world speaking out that is one of the important steps that we are urging partners to join with us in doing.
Public awareness
Secondly, we are reaching beyond governments to enlist the support of people. As part of this effort, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is spearheading a global outreach campaign which we will launch December 4th on Wildlife Conservation Day. Our embassies will use every tool at their disposal to raise awareness about this issue, from honouring local activists, to spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. We want to make buying goods, products from trafficked wildlife, endangered species unacceptable, socially unacceptable. We want friends to tell friends they don't want friends who ingest, display, or otherwise use products that come from endangered species anywhere in the world.
Third, we're launching new initiatives to strengthen and expand enforcement areas. USAID has already provided more than $24 million over the past five years on a range of programs that combat wildlife crimes. Last year, they launched the ARREST program, which is establishing regional centers of expertise and expanding training programs for law enforcement. We really want to work with all of you, and we want both from countries that are victimized by trafficking to countries where consumers are the end-buyers of such products.
Global issue
Finally, this is a global issue, and it calls, therefore, for a concerted global response. So I hope every government and organization here today will join the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking. That is the global partnership for sharing information on poachers and illicit traders. We'll also be convening meetings with traditional stakeholders like NGOs and governments and with less traditional stakeholders like air and cruise line companies to discuss new potential partnerships.
Some of the most successful initiatives we've seen so far are the regional wildlife enforcement networks. These networks are critical to strengthening protection efforts and enhancing cooperation among key countries. To build on these efforts, today I'm calling for the creation of a global system of regional wildlife enforcement networks to take advantage of those networks that already are operating and the lessons we have learned from them. The sooner we get this off the ground, the better, and to that end, the State Department is pledging $100,000 to help get this new global system up and running.
Intelligence and organised crime
I want to mention one last step we're taking. Trafficking relies on porous borders, corrupt officials, and strong networks of organized crime, all of which undermine our mutual security. I'm asking the intelligence community to produce an assessment of the impact of large-scale wildlife trafficking on our security interests so we can fully understand what we're up against. When I was in Africa last summer, I was quite alarmed by the level of anxiety I heard from leaders. It is one thing to be worried about the traditional poachers who come in and kill and take a few animals, a few tusks, a few horns, or other animal parts. It's something else when you've got helicopters, night vision goggles, automatic weapons, which pose a threat to human life as well as wildlife. Local communities are becoming terrified. Local leaders are telling their national leaders that they can lose control of large swaths of territory to these criminal gangs. Where criminal gangs can come and go at their total discretion, we know that begins to provide safe havens for other sorts of threats to people and governments.
So I think we have to look at this in a comprehensive, holistic way. And there's something for everybody. If you love animals, if you want to see a more secure world, if you want our economy not to be corrupted globally by this kind of illicit behaviour, there is so much we can do together. After all, the world's wildlife, both on land and in our waters, is such a precious resource, but it is also a limited one. It cannot be manufactured. And once it's gone, it cannot be replenished. And those who profit from it illegally are not just undermining our borders and our economies. They are truly stealing from the next generation. So we have to work together to stop them and ensure a sustainable future for our wildlife, the people who live with them, and the people who appreciate them everywhere.
So let me thank you all for being here. I really appreciate the turnout, and it means a great deal and the fact that so many ambassadors are here representing their countries - and I particularly want to thank our colleagues, the Ambassador of Kenya, the Ambassador from Indonesia, for taking a leading role in this effort. We want to hear your ideas. These are our ideas, but we really are soliciting your ideas - what works, what can we do better, how can we make a difference? Let's put the poachers out of business and build a more secure and prosperous world for all of us, and particularly for children generations to come.

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Volume # 12 Issue # 55 11/26/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction
by Peter C. H. Pritchard
In this, Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope..$65 + $6.00 Overseas contact us for S&H info. SEE BOTTOM OF THIS ISSUE ON HOW TO ORDER. LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
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Table of Contents
1)Gaza sewer crocodile captured
2) N. Idaho reptile business owners to pay $15K
3) Council delays decision on bylaw exemption for prohibited snakes
4) Thar be Dragons! (Oh, Actually it's a Newt)
5) Snakes Feast on Garbage City’s Rats (Bangalore India)
6) Centre Admits 2,806 Snake Bite Patients (Nigeria)
7) Forget the Thick Skin: Crocodiles are Really Sensitive Souls, Find Researchers

8) Hochfest for Reptile and Amphibian Enthusiasts at Toronto Zoo

9) Dog-faced Mangrove Snake Named for Finder

AND THE MUST READ ARTICLE IN THIS ISSUE

10) Croaking: Science's New Normal? Merging ecological emergencies and funding cuts made for one gloomy 'world summit' of herpetologists this year.

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1) Gaza sewer crocodile captured

AL JAZEERA (Doha, Qater) 11/5/12 A crocodile that has been roaming the pipes of the sewer basins network in the besieged Gaza Strip has been captured, according to Bregadier General Mohammed Abu Sissi, a police officer.

"We have been chasing the crocodile to catch it before it grows more and becomes a real threat for civilians. We have used all possibilities including fishermen and civil defence men to catch it alive. We could have sniped it but we preferred to catch it alive and bring it back to the nearby zoo where it fled from," Abu Sissi said.

The crocodile, whose length is estimated at 1.7m, has been living in the sewage network for two years according to Rajab al-Ankah, head of the Northern Gaza Sewage Station.

The crocodile escaped from one of the nearby zoos called Bissan and sought refuge in the sewers,” al-Ankah said, adding that it escaped capture several times.

“The nets were set up to capture the crocodile, but it managed to escape. The slippery ground in the area around the swamps near Beit Lahia in northern Gaza made the escape easier and the crocodile disappeared once more.”

According to local residents, the crocodile used to come out of the sewage basins to look for food then disappeared quickly for fear of being captured.

“It came as a baby and now it is huge and the more it grows the more dangerous it becomes for the residents of the area and their livestock,” al-Ankah said.

One of the farmers in Beit Lahia had already reported that the crocodile ate two of his goats when they were grazing near one of the sewage basins.

This raised concerns about the possibility of the crocodile attacking human beings in the future if it was not captured shortly.
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2) N. Idaho reptile business owners to pay $15K

11/8/12 Boise, Idaho (AP): A northern Idaho reptile dealer must refund $15,000 to former customers, is forbidden from selling sick or dying animals and can't make unsubstantiated claims about its animals' genetic qualities.

The settlement announced Thursday by the Idaho attorney general's office also prevents owners of Coeur d'Alene-based TMT Reptiles from making claims about their supposed specialized knowledge regarding genetics or breeding that they don't actually have.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says owners including Timothy M. West were the subject of numerous complaints from customers who spent thousands on bearded dragons, geckos, tortoises and other animals, in the hopes of setting up lucrative breeding businesses.

Despite West's claims, the attorney general says the animals often failed to breed — or died.

A $15,000 civil penalty will be held in abeyance, pending West's compliance.
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3) Council delays decision on bylaw exemption for prohibited snakes

New Tecumseth Free Press, Ontario11/7/12 An Alliston resident's original path to operating a snake rescue out of his Heydon Avenue home was initially a clear one after councillors determined they had no problems granting him a site specific exemption to the Wildlife and Prohibited Wildlife bylaw.

But the decision has yet to be ratified following local emergency services voicing concerns for potential health and safety issues that fire, police, and paramedics could be exposed to if called to the residence.

Additionally, after news hit the local media about the exemption, neighbours of Jim LaPorte jumped in expressing their concerns and opposition to his keeping of snakes on the premises - the exemption would have set a maximum of 25 at one-time. He reportedly has had up to 14 as recently as last month.

There is now a second request for exemption filed by David Smith, an Alexender Street resident in Tottenham for the last three years.

In his letter to the Town, Mr. Smith explains he is a wildlife biologist by profession who keeps and shows a variety of animals, and that neighbours are not only aware of it, but at times have come over with children to see the animals.

"The animals in my possession are used for educational shows and displays at venues such as school classrooms, public events, charity fund raisers, daycares and birthday parties," according to Mr. Smith. " I volunteered my time and presented hands-on reptile displays at the 2011 Tottenham Halloween Event and the 2012 Tottenham Street Festival. The educational shows emphasize interesting facts about reptiles and aim to get people over their fears of animals such as snakes. The Harris's Hawk is used in many of the educational shows and also as a Falconry bird; I am a licensed falconer by the Ministry of Natural Resources."

On Monday night, a report from the Town clerk that presented some options to address concerns, was instead deferred for a further report. Below are the recommendations that were to be tabled.

1) That exemptions from By-law 93-135 for the keeping of reptiles/exotic animals be limited to properties in a commercial or industrial zone, or an agricultural zone where the reptiles/exotic animals are housed in a secured premise, separate from any residential dwelling;

2) Any properties granted an exemption, be required to sign the property to alert the public and First Responders that there are reptiles/exotic animals on the premises and that all species be identified for flagging in the Town's CAD system;

3) That the property owner and/or owner of the reptiles/exotic animals provide a letter agreeing to indemnify and save harmless the municipality from all damages, claims, demands, money and legal fees and costs that may be incurred respecting any harm or damage suffered as a result of keeping reptiles/exotic animals or enter into an indemnity agreement with the municipality.

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4) Thar be Dragons! (Oh, Actually it's a Newt)

Sacramento Bee, Calfornia) 11/5/12 via London (PRNewswire): Froglife (http://froglife.org), the UK's dedicated amphibian and reptile charity has asked Incentivated to create "The Dragon Finder" - a smartphone app which will allow people to identify amphibian and reptile species within the UK, record their sightings and find out more about individual species.

Based upon Froglife's existing database, the app - which will initially be available on iOS and Android devices, along with a mobile website - will provide users with useful species information, and allow people to submit a finding form which will include the name of the species (which can be automatically determined through a comparison page) location data and for app users to upload a photo of the animal, which will help researchers at the charity to re-confirm the identity of the animal identified.

The app is part of a new Froglife Trust project called Dragon Finder which has been funded by a £472,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project will enable the amphibian and reptile charity to help people find, identify and map these tiny dragons in London. The four and half year scheme will involve thousands of local people and see volunteers recording newts, lizards and snakes in the city, improving habitats for them and celebrating these secretive animals.

Being able to identify a little dragon at the point it has been spotted, rather than having to wait until you get back home to log on to a website, by which time the details may be a bit 'hazy' is seen as important in increasing the accuracy of our knowledge of the populations of these species..

Victoria Ogilvy, Froglife: "There are very few school children today who take part in species recording. We believe providing access through the use of new technologies will encourage more young people to take part, which is vital for maintaining a population of recorders throughout the generations. By using mobile technology people are more likely to upload their data because this can be done on the spot - even in remote areas - and mobile location technology, such as GPS, can allow highly accurate mapping of sightings as well."

Jason Cross, Marketing Director, Incentivated: "This is a great way for a small charity to use mobile as a way of connecting and engaging with younger people. By creating a service that takes advantage of the inherent strengths of mobile, this is a clear example of using Lottery funding to provide a service that supports the core needs of the charity, rather than creating an app for the sake of having an app.

The fact that it's always on you, has accurate location technology, and can access and bring to life complicated information for people of all ages in a simple way, allows mobile to be a useful tool as we increase our overall knowledge about the UK's native wildlife."

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5) Snakes Feast on Garbage City’s Rats (Bangalore India)

Times of India, New Delhi, 11/7/12

Bangalore (TNN): After rats, it's snakes. Bangalore's growing rat colonies among the garbage piles are luring snakes which feed on them.

The sudden appearance of the reptiles in some residential areas has sparked off an alarm in a city struggling to deal with diseases spawned by garbage.

The BBMP control room registered a marked increase in complaints about the appearance of snakes.

"We usually get about 15-20 calls a month from residential areas to capture snakes. Now we get at least three complaints a day from across the city," said a control room official.

A few days ago, Sharat Babu, an environmental adviser with the BBMP's environment cell, rescued a red sand boa in Vyalikaval. On Tuesday, the BBMP received a call from residents of Police Quarters, Marappana Palya, Malahakshmi Layout, that a snake had been sighted.

"Around 9am, women from our quarters spotted a snake moving around. We called the BBMP control room, which gave us a snake-catcher's number. It wasn't of much help," said Chenna Byregowda, a driver who lives in Marappana Palya.

Byregowda said this was the first time a snake had been sighted here. "I don't know what the cause is, but there's a sudden increase in rodents in our area." He confirmed that waste collection is irregular, and there's a huge garbage heap next to the quarters.

The failure to dispose of solid waste effectively has led to a new problem: snakes in the city. BBMP claims its control room receives two or three complaints a day about snakes being sighted. BBMP's role is limited: it provides phone numbers of snakecatchers and there ends the issue. "Ideally, snake-catchers should report to us, but they don't do so regularly . We don't have a record of what happened to the complaints received," a control room official pointed out.

According to Sharat Babu, environmental adviser with the BBMP's environment cell, rats attract snakes which feed on them. "Rodents mate only when they find enough food around. They appear wherever there are garbage heaps and multiply," he added.

Ten months ago, a pourakarmika found a box in a garbage heap in Yelahanka and opened it to find a 9-foot long python in it. Ironically , rats also render snakes impossible to catch. "If a snake enters a rat hole, it's not easy to catch it. At times, rat holes span a length of around 0.5km," said Deepak Reddy , who works with the BBMP wildlife rescue team.
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6) Centre Admits 2,806 Snake Bite Patients (Nigeria)

PM News Lagos, Nigeria 11/7/12

At least 2,806 patients were admitted at the Snake Bite Treatment and Research Centre, Kaltungo, Gombe State from January to November, 2012.

The Medical Officer in Charge of the Centre, Dr Habu Ballah, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaltungo on Tuesday.

He said of the figure 33 patients died owing to the delay in reaching the centre, while four others died on arrival at the centre.

Dr Ballah recalled that 316 patients attended the centre in 2011, saying the existing figure was higher owing to factors such as flooding, lack of awareness of treatment at the centre and increase in farming activities.

He said apart from the state, patients were brought from Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Adamawa, Jigawa, Kano, Yobe and even Cameroun.

“Last year, we recorded about 316 patients, but this year we are going to have more than that.

“The increase is due to awareness on the part of the patients on the services here, flooding that took place this year which made the snakes to be in the land and the engagements in the farms as civil servants engaged in farming,” he said. According to him, in the six days of November we so far have about 90 patients and the increase is due to harvesting and flooding.

He said before this month, an average of 12 patients were brought to the centre daily, but added that the figure increased to 19 because of harvesting season and flooding.

Ballah advised people in the snake infested areas to wear boots and gloves when working in the nights, leave markets and farms early as the snakes start coming out from 6.30 p.m.

He commended women in Kaltungo for building and donating a ward at the centre.

He commended the Rotary Club of Greenwich, England, for providing 70 vials of drugs and some philanthropists in the state who donated drugs, mattresses as well as the 11 Local Governments in the state which gave N5.5 million worth of drugs.
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7) Forget the Thick Skin: Crocodiles are Really Sensitive Souls, Find Researchers

Daily Mail London, UK 11/7/12 by Mark Prigg

Forget their thick skins - crocodiles are sensitive souls underneath, scientists say.

Crocodiles and alligators are well known for their heavily armoured bodies, which have scarcely changed since pre-historic times.

Their sense of touch is controlled by small pigmented domes on their skin - and new research shows that these are even more sensitive to pressure and vibration than human fingertips.

Dr Duncan Leitch, of Vanderbilt University, said in the Journal of Experimental Biology: 'We didn’t expect these spots to be so sensitive because the animals are so heavily armoured.'

The spots are known as 'integumentary sensor organs' or ISOs and debate has been ongoing about their function.

Suggestions included a source of oily secretions that keep the animals clean; detection of electric fields; detection of magnetic fields; detection of water salinity; and, detection of pressure and vibrations.

In 2002, researchers found that alligators in a darkened aquarium turned to face the location of single droplets of water even when their hearing was disrupted by white noise, suggesting they were detecting the ripples.

Dr Leitch said: 'This intriguing finding inspired us to look further.

'For a variety of reasons, including the way that the spots are distributed around their body, we thought that the ISOs might be more than water ripple sensors.'

Researchers looked at ISOs and their neural connections in both American alligators and Nile crocodiles and found that these sensory spots are connected to the brain through the trigeminal ganglia, the nerve bundle that provides sensation to the face and jaw in humans.

They also ruled out most of the alternative hypothesis for the ISOs function, incluiding clearning oil, electrical fields or salinity.

Dr Leitch said: 'I didn’t test for sensitivity to magnetic fields, but we don’t think this is likely either,' said Leitch.

'In animals that can detect magnetic fields, he explained, the sensors are located inside the body, not on the surface.'

Instead, said Dr Leitch, the ISOs contained a diverse collection of nerves that respond to pressure and vibration, perfectly tuned for detecting water ripples.

Dr Leigh said: 'We concluded that the crocodilian’s touch system is exceptional, allowing them to not only detect water movements created by swimming prey, but also to determine the location of prey through direct contact for a rapid and direct strike and to discriminate and manipulate objects in their jaws.'

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8) Hochfest for Reptile and Amphibian Enthusiasts at Toronto Zoo

Digital Journal, Ontario12/6/12 Hochfest for reptile and amphibian enthusiasts at Toronto Zoo (Bart B. Van Bockstaele)

Toronto Zoo is the central hub for nature conservancy in Ontario. On Saturday, 3 November, the Zoo invited people who are active in its Turtle Tally and FrogWatch programmes for a day of fellowship and information.

Toronto Zoo is not just a minor two-hour Sunday afternoon attraction for people with young children, far from it. Toronto Zoo is a centre of practical biological knowledge and science, and the central hub for nature education and conservancy in Ontario. Its people are very active in the field, both as a part of their jobs and as volunteers.

Adopt-A-Pond is one of the many programmes run by Toronto Zoo. It consists of several different parts, two of which are FrogWatch Ontario and Ontario Turtle Tally.

These are essentially scientific crowdsourcing programmes designed to help with collecting data paid scientists and employees can't collect because the contents of the public purse are too small to hire more, and because one person can only do so much.

Once a year, Toronto Zoo organises a FrogWatch and Turtle Tally Participant Appreciation Day as a thank you to the people who volunteer their time for the programmes. It is a great occasion for people who share the same interest to meet and talk about their own experiences and to share ideas.

This year took on a more-than-usual significance for me because Julia Phillips, Adopt-A-Pond co-ordinator and organiser of the event, had asked me to give a talk as well.

Bob Johnson, the Toronto Zoo's curator for reptiles and amphibians and very active in conservation of reptiles and amphibians, started the event and introduced Julia Philips.

Julia Phillips presented a summary of the observations of turtles, frogs and toads that had been sent in this year. This was an unusual year for Frogwatch, because the frogs became active a lot earlier than usual, the spring peepers even as early as the first week of February.

Crystal Robertson, Adopt-A-Pond's Stewardship and Social Marketing Coordinator, talked about what Adopt-A-Pond is doing in Ontario's lake communities, such as helping people understand why every single turtle is important and why the death of even a single turtle can deliver a significant blow to a population, the installation of nesting beaches, distributing information and more.

Jeff Howard, an avid environmentalist and community volunteer, talked about his passion for all living things, in particular about how he worked with a local developer who was about to fill-in a wetland, in order to save as many Blanding's turtles he could.

After this came Lyn Garrah, M.E.S. Graduate, Queen's University. She talked about the work she did for her university thesis, studying amphibian and reptile road mortality on the 1000 Islands Parkway, the goal being to gather data and possibly finding way to reduce it.

Lyn's talk was of particular significance for me, since I also study amphibian and reptile road mortality, but in Toronto. What surprised me however, is that some of what we do is not just similar, but even identical. We both use a bicycle to do our work, for some of the same reasons (snakes can be easily missed when using a car), and even the distance we bike is almost the same: between 34 and 38 km. Her conclusions are also similar, namely that predicting and protecting amphibians and snakes is a far more complicated matter than is often assumed.

Paul Prior, a fauna biologist with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, gave a talk titled "No Frog (or Toad) Left Behind – Pre-empting Rarity". His view on things is that conservation tends to jump in when it is already (almost) too late. He pleads for pre-emptive conservation, i.e. starting to take care of things before an animal - or a plant for that matter - has become almost extinct.

In order to make this possible, he proposes a system in which levels of rarity are assigned to each organism. This system relies a lot on trends over relatively long periods of time, 10 to 20 years or so, and it requires careful collection of data in a grid that covers the entire region. The advantage of such a system is that it makes it possible to be proactive and act before the situation becomes desperate.

After a 30 minute break, it was Massimo Giammarco's turn. Although this pint-sized conservationist is only 8 years old, he is the driving force behind turtle conservation efforts in his community, as he showed with his talk "Helping Students to Help Turtles". While children are often seen as unimportant and merely "endearing" or "cute", they can indeed be quite important. I witnessed that myself only a few weeks ago, when a girl managed to convince her parents to put their dog back on the leash in order to protect a snapping turtle. I had been unable to convince her parents, but she was, and she may well have saved the life of that turtle in the process.

"Completing the Hatch: A Fighting Chance for Ontario's Turtles" was a talk by Matt Thomson who devised a simple cage-type protection to prevent predators from raiding turtle nests. It can be hard to measure the effectiveness of such a system, but he is working on it, and the design certainly looks promising.
Bob Johnson, curator of the Toronto Zoo herptile collection, promised him some help. Bob does not waste words. Last year, I had a conversation with him that lasted mere seconds, but in that time he predicted the results of my research and he was spot on.

With "Amphibians and Reptiles in the Urban Wilderness" came my attempt at informing and entertaining my fellow reptile and amphibian conservationists. I had made a selection among the tens of thousands of pictures I have taken over the years.

My take on photography is somewhat different than that of many nature photographers. It is not my goal to make "beautiful" pictures. It is my goal to make pictures that document what is really there. As such, I do not carry a lot of "gear", nor do I use any tricks to attract wildlife or to make superb pictures. I take pictures of what is there when it is there. They are a record of what is true, rather than of what I would like to be true. I hoped - and hope - that people seeing these pictures will realise that Toronto is a unique city with a unique natural heritage.

I must admit to having been a bit naughty, since I did overstep my allotted time quite a bit as I was showing the pictures I had selected. Fortunately for me, no one pulled a gun or a knife to silence me. I am very grateful for that much unexpected courtesy.

Karine Bériault was the last speaker of the day. She is a Species at Risk Biologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources. One of her activities is trying to help the threatened wood turtle population back to healthy levels. I hope her initiatives work out, for I have never seen a wood turtle before.

After the presentations, we were treated to a mountain of pizza, an excellent opportunity for me to fight weight loss, as well as a wonderful occasion to intermingle.

Julia Phillips also treated the speakers to a copy of Brennan Caverhill's Blanding's turtle plastron poster and a properly camouflaged metal drinking bottle, Toronto Zoo edition. My poster is destined to replace a satellite picture of Toronto, and the bottle is ready to be used on my regular expeditions in the parks of Toronto.

When the programme was finished, we were "released" into the zoo for an enjoyable walk in this unique collection of animals and plants implanted in what is poised to become Canada's first urban national park: the uniquely beautiful Rouge Valley, a great end to a wonderful day.

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9) Dog-faced Mangrove Snake Named for Finder

Gasparilla Gazette, Boca Grande, Florida, 11/6/12 by William Dunson

I was surprised to find that a colleague at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History named a mangrove snake for me recently.

Many years ago I discovered a new type of salt gland in a mangrove snake, a dog-faced water snake I collected in Palau of the island group Micronesia, and (my wife) Margaret, and I published a paper on this in 1979.

Subsequently this snake has been found to be a new and isolated island species dubbed Cerberus dunsoni.

"This species is named in honor of William A. Dunson for his pioneering work in osmoregulation in reptiles," read the etymology on the research find published in Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed Magnolia Press scientific journal for animal taxonomists.

Cerberus dunsoni can be distinguished from all other members of the genus with 23 scales rows at midbody by its rounded, juxtaposed, plate-like scales on the crown. These scales appear to be thickened compared with the scales of other Cerberus species. The 9-inch upper labial is horizontally divided.

These characters, combined with large parietal scale fragments and its uniform black venter, make this a distinctive species. The large, plate-like fragments of the parietals may fuse with the temporal scales.

The parietal scales in other Cerberus snakes are usually fragmented into small scales similar to other scales on the crown.

Is it an honor to have a snake named for you? I think so and am very pleased to have my years of study of marine reptiles recognized in this way.

William Dunson, Ph.d., professor emeritus of biology at Penn State University, splits time between Southwest Florida and his farm in Galax, Va. He can be reached at wdunson@comcast.net.
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10) Croaking: Science's New Normal? Merging ecological emergencies and funding cuts made for one gloomy 'world summit' of herpetologists this year.
By Leslie Anthony, 11/16/12 TheTyee.ca
First there was the doom: a raft of presentations documenting the impacts of clear-cutting, invasive species, toxic chemicals, parasites, disease and the time bomb of climate change. Then the gloom: a collective realization among 1,700 scientists from 48 countries that these forces, acting in concert, had produced an apocalyptic symphony, and their decades-long mission to document, understand and preserve biodiversity among the world's 14,000-ish species of amphibian and reptile had probably come to this: an act of global triage.
Such was the mood blackening the hallways at the University of British Columbia this past August during the Seventh World Congress of Herpetology (herpetology being the study of amphibians and reptiles). Having attended the first World Congress in Canterbury, U.K. in 1988 as a wide-eyed doctoral student, and similar gatherings over subsequent decades as a researcher and journalist, the week-long Vancouver affair was indeed remarkable for its melancholy -- contra the typical joie de vivre of the scientific community's oddball fraternity. Missing was the puffing, posturing camaraderie that stems from studying -- sometimes surviving -- animals that are the stuff of other people's nightmares.
As a driving force behind the molecular methodologies of modern taxonomy and population analyses, herpetologists have long claimed the forefront of conservation genetics and ecology. It's an unfortunate irony, given the theme that dominated this summer's World Congress: collectively, their study organism are now the most endangered vertebrates on earth.
Decades of cutting-edge research demonstrating how important reptiles and amphibians are in global ecosystems have done little to stanch their demise. Both play key ecological roles in energy transfer between water and land, a trait that confers vulnerability to degradation of either environment. Confined primarily to moist environments by the permeability of their skins, many amphibians also have biphasic lifestyles in which aquatic larvae become terrestrial adults. Adult amphibians voraciously consume water-bred (often disease-carrying) insects; in turn a host of snake and lizard and bird species consume both larval and adult frogs, toads and salamanders. Mammals, birds and snakes rely on lizards for food, most lizards rely on insects, and turtles are top carnivores and main scavengers in many aquatic ecosystems. The group isn't simply part of the general food-web house of cards, but a trophic Jenga of its own.
Long the villains of many a folk tale, being overlooked is nothing new for reptiles and amphibians. But historical prejudices swept aside, it's clear that an overwhelming conservation focus on charismatic megafauna (lions and tigers and panda bears, oh my!), combined with an evolving societal view of science as nothing more than a lapdog of industry, are contributing to a current crisis in herpetology. And perhaps it's not alone.
Herptiles under siege

The gloomy tone of the World Congress was set by Dr. Tyrone Hayes of the University of California at Berkeley in his opening address on the effects and impact of the herbicide atrazine -- 80 million tons of which is dumped on U.S. cornfields and golf courses each year. Dogged and revealing research on the chemical widely present in both rain and tap water has made Hayes both an enemy of industry and a genuine celebrity, with a day named in his honour in Minneapolis and a film collaboration with Erin Brockovich.
Atrazine has been shown to demasculinize, sterilize and even feminize males across all vertebrates, including compromised reproductive health in humans. Like many toxins, atrazine also hurts immune function, increasing susceptibility to disease. Hayes' thesis was that "a" cause of amphibian declines did not exist; rather, the main culprit was chemical contaminants like atrazine interacting with other factors.
"It's not like we've done just one thing here, but far too many -- and now interactions are the problem," Hayes offered the audience. "Pathogens, parasites, habitat modification and climate change all serve to increase the effects of pesticide exposure."
Ecotoxicology, a difficult field requiring foundations in ecology, physiology and chemistry, has recently been made more difficult.
"There are serious declines in support and interest," noted Dr. Donald Sparling of Southern Illinois University in his own talk on the global impacts of contaminants, "and less money means less research."
Translation: when it comes to attracting monies, feminized frogs aren't as sexy as dead ones.
Funding cuts and an anti-environment political climate -- particularly in the host country -- loomed large, but there was more. Symposia comprising over 1,000 studies were dominated not by the usual ecological and evolutionary topics, but by battles with invasive species, conservation skirmishes involving hundreds of threatened species, and all-out war on disease. This litany added up to the scary phrase "New Normal" bandied at every coffee break: in other words, that these were no longer ephemeral or stand-alone issues, but a merger of ongoing problems accelerating rapidly to an unknowable end game. Herpetologists had ceased believing they could safeguard biodiversity and were instead merely coping with the disaster upon them, hoping to learn enough to deal with an imminent ecological meltdown.
Not all of this was new. Invasive species fires had long smouldered at meetings, like the many incursions of the Cane Toad (islands, particularly Australia) and bullfrog (including British Columbia) that decimated native amphibians and altered local food chains. At the World Congress, however, these had fanned into full-blown conflagrations. Ditto the swarm of alien Burmese pythons in South Florida; more novelty than threat a decade ago, they were now some 150,000 strong, responsible for the virtual disappearance of small mammals from the Everglades and a proven predator of critically endangered birds and mammals. Other talks focused on how introduced organisms as diverse as fire ants, crayfish, fish, rats, tree frogs and lizards were spreading disease and radically changing ecologies everywhere.
On the disease ledger, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or "chytrid," the microscopic fungus plowing through the world's amphibians -- primarily in remote and pristine areas -- had been a fixture of meetings since its identification in 1998. This plague has been seen as the main culprit in the disappearance or endangerment of 36 per cent of the planet's 6,000-plus amphibian species, but the New Normal turns the received view on its head. As Sparling demonstrated with analysis of studies like those of Hayes, pesticides like atrazine applied in lowlands like California's Central Valley -- which grows 50 per cent of America's food -- are aerosolized on the wind and carried aloft to be deposited into otherwise pristine mountain ponds. Such high-altitude areas in the Sierras have indeed experienced massive frog die-offs, and this "montane paradigm" also pertains to Central America, the Andes, and possibly the east coast of Australia, areas of the worst chytrid disasters. "Most amphibians currently in trouble live in an area that fits a model of oceanic effects from lowland agriculture meeting a mountainous region," Sparling concluded.
Furthermore, forensic DNA studies revealed new strains of the fungus have emerged and/or been moved around by invasive species to increase susceptibility to already immune-compromised and chemically stressed frogs. As Hayes had suggested, the unstoppable chytrid epidemic likely doesn't have a single cause -- nor so infectious diseases posing new significant threats: ranavirus outbreaks in amphibians, reptiles and fishes in the Americas, Europe, and Asia have featured death rates exceeding 90 per cent, while the once-rare "chelonian herpesvirus" is increasingly behind mass turtle die-offs globally.
Climate: off the scales
None of this should be surprising. Studies have made clear how the cavalier practices of big agriculture in general, and those around GMO crops in particular, have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees and declines in butterflies. The documented effects of agrichemicals on human health range from dozens of cancers, through increasing prevalence of Parkinson's Disease, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, autism, and even obesity and diabetes. Imagining the toll on animals that bathe daily in the toxic soup of human progress isn't much of a leap (pun intended), and if there was anything truly new here it was the accelerant being poured on these fires by climate change.
In Vancouver, Dr. Barry Sinervo, evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, updated his landmark 2010 study, which demonstrated that even under the most optimistic scenarios for curbing CO2 emissions, one-fifth of the globe's lizard populations -- corresponding to six per cent of all species -- will be extinct by 2050.
"We have committed ourselves to this [much loss]," he lamented. "This is the baseline."
Climate change, he added, had driven 12 per cent of Mexico's colourful Sceloporus lizards extinct since 1975, and because warming triggers tree death and vegetative die-back, such ecosystem-level changes will exacerbate the heat and water stress on lizards, particularly those dependent on vegetation. Springtime temperatures are now so high in California that lizards hide in shade when they would normally be feeding and mating. If carbon emissions continue at current levels, by 2080 39 per cent of the world's lizard populations will vanish. While the ecological implications of this can't be known, it's worth noting that lizards are primarily insect eaters; when a population goes extinct, insect populations explode.
"The New Normal is already off the scale in the tropics," warned Sinervo. "And the average summer temperature at the end of the century will be higher than the highest temps ever recorded at most tropical sites."
If Sinervo is even close to right about the added stress of a warming climate, the world will soon be a very different place. Was there a take-home?
"It is clearly the interaction of multiple threats," allows Purnima Govindarajulu, a herpetologist at the B.C. Ministry of the Environment who has worked on invasive bullfrogs on Vancouver Island (they're expanding), province-wide surveys for chytrid (it's everywhere), and a range of species recovery projects (now threatened by federal softening of the Species at Risk, Environmental Review and Navigable Waterways Acts). "That the total impact is often greater than a simple sum of parts -- and far more worrisome -- speaks to how our current techniques are pretty poor at predicting or even tracking interactions."
Part of the problem is that science funding models favor reductionist research -- where complex issues are broken into their simplest components for study. So although much might be learned about a cause of decline in a species -- such as a disease or parasite epidemic -- little is known of the conditions that led to it. Though useful, such studies are proving to be dust in the wind of a much bigger picture.
Would you live here?
For many attendees of the summit, "habitat" was the elephant in the room, the thing that no one -- and few funding bodies, tied as they are to governments -- wants to acknowledge. And yet every study of declines ultimately points back to loss and degradation of habitat. It's a simple equation: animals dwelling in non-optimal conditions are ecologically and genetically stressed; add a litany of toxic chemicals, a rapidly changing climate, and a host of competing invasive species and you have a formula for emerging diseases, collapsing food webs, population crashes, and widespread extinctions. It's Silent Spring on steroids in a figurative sense, and, given the now widespread environmental presence of such molecules, literally as well.
Such knowledge is no help without political will and regulation -- particularly with the voracious land-gobbling of Big Agriculture. The rare desert ecozone of B.C.'s south Okanagan Valley shares the highest number of species at risk (more than 60) in Canada with one of the country's fastest-developing communities. Severe pollution, invasive species, and loss of 84 per cent of wetlands bode poorly for its 15 species of amphibians and reptiles, with two already extirpated and the remainder endangered, threatened or of special concern.
University of Waterloo researcher Sara Ashpole has worked on wetland rehabilitation in the beleaguered Okanagan for a decade.
"The conclusion I came away [from the Congress] with was that we are now accepting marginal habitats when we shouldn't. Say you're studying 'occupancy' of frogs in agricultural areas. Well, we know they can exist, but if your study is only a snapshot of one or two years -- because of funding -- how do you measure population dynamics or success?"
Meaning, you don't. In spring, ditches and ponds in agricultural landscapes may contain enough water for frogs to reproduce, but are marginal in that they also contain loads of chemicals and feature high temperatures and unhealthy numbers of pathogens and parasites that lead to low hatching rates, poor survival to metamorphosis, and illness in adults. The study will conclude the animals are present -- be they diseased, dying or disappearing -- and government, agriculture and property owners will smile and say "See? It's OK. We have frogs!"
"These types of studies give permission for accepting marginal habitats, sending the message that these can replace natural habitats," says Ashpole. "That shouldn't be part of the New Normal."

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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced Predator
Michael E. Dorcas and John D. Willson, Foreword by Whit Gibbons
The first detailed, comprehensive study of this invasive predator
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Volume # 12 Issue # 56 12/2/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
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RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction
by Peter C. H. Pritchard
In this, Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope..$65 + $6.00 Overseas contact us for S&H info. SEE BOTTOM OF THIS ISSUE ON HOW TO ORDER. LIMITED NUMBER AVAILABLE
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Table of Contents
1. RANAVIRUS, TURTLE - USA (02): (WEST VIRGINIA)
2) Study Raises Concern over International Trade in Python Skins
3) International Volunteer Helps Track Threatened Turtles-Mary River Turtles(Australia)
4) 40 hypothermic sea turtles rescued on Cape Cod
5) Feds Debate Extending "Python Ban" Amid Growing Opposition From Reptile Industry
6) Sea Turtle protection device plans shelved by NOAA
7) A Rather Thin and Long New Snake Crawls out of One of Earth's Biodiversity Hotspots
8) Orsini's Viper: Alternates Between Reproducing and Growing, Year-By-Year
9) Agency probes land turtle import, sale (Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
10) Genetic turtle tags reveal surprise nesting trends- mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
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MORE TURTLE BOOKS AND CALENDARS
HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
The first issue is only $20.00 plus $6.00 for S&H. As all always contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for overseas shipping costs.
&
2013 Turtle CALENDARS ARE IN--2 left after Cyber Monday Sale $14.99 each $6.00 for S&H. To see and order them go to http://www.herpdigest.org/calendars.html
Looking for great gifts --Check out the magnets and diplomas while you are there.
AS ALWAYS INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ORDER BOTTOM OF HERPDIGEST ISSUE.
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1) RANAVIRUS, TURTLE - USA (02): (WEST VIRGINIA)
*********************************************
(Editor must read, Ranavirus can be major threat to wild turtle populations. You can help by reporting any large herp mortality events to local natural resources agency as soon as possible)

A ProMED-mail post
<http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases this is from their listserv
<http://www.isid.org>

Date: Sat 24 Nov 2012
Source: Sunday Gazette-Mail [edited]
<http://wvgazette.com/News/201211240036>


In July [2012], while walking near a small pond he had built on his
farm near Clendenin, Bill Archibald spotted a pair of dead eastern box
turtles in the brush.

"I didn't think a whole lot about it at first," Archibald recalled,
"but then I noticed other turtles in the same area acting kind of
lethargic, with swelling around their eyes, lying in the same spot for
days, and I started to wonder what was going on."

When Archibald returned to his farm following a weeklong trip to
Alaska, "every day that I walked up to the pond I'd find dead
turtles."

The mysterious deaths, which numbered 26 by the end of the summer,
didn't sit well with Archibald, a graduate of the state Division of
Natural Resources' Master Naturalist program, who had built the pond
to enhance habitat for the frogs, salamanders, and turtles living on
his land. He emailed Doug Wood, a retired Department of Environmental
Protection biologist who teaches several Master Naturalist classes.

"Bill sent me one of those unusual queries I get from time to time --
'Hey, Doug, do you know what this is?' " Wood recalled. After
consulting the Internet and some professional colleagues, Wood
supplied Archibald with the contact information he believed could
solve the mystery about what was killing the box turtles on his land.

As it turned out, the turtle was infected with ranavirus -- a pathogen
that causes an animal disease known to have caused large localized
die-offs, mainly in populations of frogs, salamanders, and other
amphibians in 25 states since 1997. In more recent years, the virus is
known to have infected scattered populations of box turtles, which are
reptiles, in several states.

At Wood's suggestion, Archibald got in touch with Towson University
(Maryland) biology professor Richard Siegel, leader of a box turtle
study at a highway construction site between Baltimore and Washington,
DC.

There, local turtles were outfitted with radio transmitters and
released in areas safe from blasting and heavy machinery. The study
was designed to determine whether relocated turtles did better by
being moved to a site 6 miles [9.7 km] from the construction zone, or
to an area just across a fence from the new highway site.

But Siegel and his Towson colleagues found that an alarming number of
turtles -- which can live to be 50 or older and normally have a 98
percent survival rate from year to year -- were dying at the
relocation area near the construction site. 31 of the 123 turtles
outfitted with the transmitters and released there were found dead
within a 3-year period. Cars or construction equipment killed 3 of the
turtles, but the rest were felled by disease, which turned out to be
ranavirus in 27 cases.

"Finding even one dead turtle is unusual," Siegel said in a Washington
Post story about the die-off that appeared earlier this year [2012].
"Finding over 27 dead turtles in a 2-to-3-year period was bizarre."

In addition to killing the Maryland box turtles, ranavirus is believed
to have been the cause of death of nearly every tadpole and young
salamander in the study area since spring of 2010.

Siegel referred Archibald, who had lost a similar number of turtles on
a half-acre [0.2 ha] tract of land within a single season, to Dr
Matthew Gray, professor of wetland ecology at the University of
Tennessee in Knoxville, and a ranavirus researcher. The Clendenin area
man sent 3 frozen box turtle carcasses to Gray for analysis through
the University of Tennessee's Center for Wildlife Health.

The best preserved of the 3 carcasses was that of a box turtle that
had exhibited signs similar to those shown by the ranavirus-infected
turtles in the Maryland study -- foot lesions, lethargy, difficulty
breathing, swollen eyes, and bubble production at the nose and mouth.

"We verified that ranavirus was the likely disease agent that killed
the turtles on Bill Archibald's property," said Gray. Of the 3 turtle
carcasses sent by Archibald, 2 were too decomposed for analysis, Gray
said. Because the 3rd carcass -- which tested positive for ranavirus,
had been frozen, damaging tissue cell structure -- a test could not be
made to confirm that ranavirus directly killed the turtle.

"We can say that the turtle from Bill Archibald's property was
infected with ranavirus, but without histology -- inspecting tissues
microscopically for damage by the pathogen -- we cannot make an
assessment if the infection caused the disease leading to death," Gray
said. "We plan to stay in contact with Bill, and will process
additional specimens if he observes mortality. Future plans are to
sequence a portion of the virus genome to determine if it is a common
or unique type of ranavirus."

Unlike the ranavirus incident in Maryland, frog and tadpole life in
and around Archibald's pond appears unaffected by the box turtle
die-off.

Researchers believe people, pets, farm animals, and warm-blooded
wildlife species are immune to ranavirus, because their bodies are too
warm to support the disease.

Wildlife biologists worry about how far ranavirus has spread, how fast
it is spreading, how often it recurs, and how quickly amphibians and
turtles can develop a resistance to it. Ranavirus-associated die-offs
involving more than 20 species of amphibians and turtles have been
recorded in at least 25 states since 1997.

The ranavirus outbreak that killed the Maryland box turtles was one of
the 1st known incidences involving that species. The National Wildlife
Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, lists it as the nation's only
confirmed case of a ranaviral infection involving wild box turtles.
But the center acknowledges that similar ranaviral outbreaks in box
turtles have been reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and
Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia prior to the case reported at
Archibald's farm.

"Ranavirus tends to hit amphibians in their young life stages, so when
it shows up, it can wipe out a whole age class," said Dr Anne Ballman,
wildlife disease specialist at the National Wildlife Health Center.
"If a local population runs out of young recruits, a species can be
wiped out for a season. If ranavirus occurs repeatedly, there is the
potential of that population declining dramatically in localized
areas."

Because there is no required monitoring of wildlife deaths due to
disease, it's difficult for wildlife biologists to know how
far-reaching and fast-moving the virus is.

"That's why it's important for people who come across large mortality
events involving amphibians or turtles to report them to their local
natural resource agency," Ballman said.

Researchers believe ranavirus is spread through direct contact with
infected animals, by exposure to contaminated water or sediment, or by
preying upon or cannibalizing animals carrying the virus.

"Observant folks who enjoy the woods, like Bill, are often the front
line of defense in documenting the spread of biological infestations
or infections," said Wood. Archibald's interest and action "led to
what appears to be the first known, or at least, first publicized
finding of ranavirus in a wild box turtle population in West Virginia.
This speaks highly of citizen involvement in conservation concerns."

"I wonder how the virus got here, whether it will come back again, and
why the frogs and tadpoles in the pond weren't affected by it," he
said. "I hope that by studying what happened here, researchers can
find some answers."

[Byline: Rick Steelhammer]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[It becomes increasingly apparent that some infectious diseases are a
very important threat to wildlife populations and a growing
conservation concern. Amphibians are already being hit by another
emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis. Also, there is evidence
that these pathogens interact with environmental factors (climate
change, pollution, etc.) resulting in greater impact. Ranaviruses are
a group of pathogens belonging to the genus Ranavirus (family
Iridoviridae) that have been linked to catastrophic die-offs of larval
amphibians in North America and elsewhere. In the United States,
ranaviruses are responsible for the majority of disease-related
mortality events in amphibians. This virus became an emerging
infectious disease possibly due to a novel strain introduction or
increased occurrence of anthropogenic stressors on the landscape.

A few years ago, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) listed
this pathogen as a notifiable disease.

Although ranaviruses were known to infect reptiles, here and in recent
episodes, turtles appear to be the main host species involved. This
host preference jump across taxonomic classes (from amphibians to
reptiles) merits concern and a molecular investigation.
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2) Study Raises Concern over International Trade in Python Skins
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 27 November 2012 – A new study finds that close to half a million python skins are reported as exported annually from South-East Asia. The main importer is the European fashion and leather industry. The study raises concerns over the illegality in parts of the trade, animal welfare issues and the trade’s impact on the conservation of python populations.

The report, Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins, was launched today by the International Trade Centre (ITC), in co-operation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC, a joint programme of IUCN and WWF. It reveals that the trade in python skins is worth an estimated US $1 billion annually.

“The report shows that problems of illegality persist in the trade in python skins and that this can threaten species’ survival,” saysAlexander Kasterine, Head of ITC’s Trade and Environment Programme. “The fashion and leather industry has a stronger role to play in supporting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and the developing countries to ensure supply is legal and sustainable.”

Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam are the main sources of exports of python skins, with European Union countries – in particular Italy, Germany and France – the biggest importers. Around 70% of all python skins are re-exported via Singapore. The report notes that a lack of transparency concerning undisclosed stockpiles in the country could be facilitating the laundering of illegally sourced skins.

“It would appear a substantial proportion of the skins in trade are sourced illegally from wild animals, beyond agreed quotas, and using false permits to launder the skins,” says Tomas Waller, Chair of IUCN’s Boa and Python Specialist Group (BPSG).

“With potentially large mark-ups along the supply chain, there is a strong financial incentive for illegal trade in python skins and considerable scope for traders to issue false permits,” says Olivier Caillabet, Programme Officer with TRAFFIC in South-East Asia, and a co-author of the report.

Although more than 20% of exports of Reticulated Python skins from South-East Asia (mainly Viet Nam and Lao PDR) are declared as captive-bred, the report argues that the “commercial case is not convincing and needs to be specifically assessed”, noting that the cost of breeding, feeding and maintaining the snakes to reach slaughter size appears much higher than the market price.

The report recommends that the fashion industry implements a traceability system to demonstrate to consumers that its sourcing is legal and sustainable. This would complement the existing CITES permitting system to allow identification of skins along the length of the supply chain.

An additional concern regards the possible lack of sustainability of sourcing. Large numbers of wild pythons are slaughtered before they reach the reproductive stage, meaning harvest quotas may have been set at unsustainable levels. The report recommends a precautionary approach is applied to harvesting, with legally binding minimum skin size limits to ensure protection of immature snakes.

The report highlights previously unknown slaughter methods, yet argues that trade bans are not an effective or fair way to address illegality and animal welfare issues.

The report was funded by the Government of Denmark, through ITC’s Trade and Environment Programme.

The report can be downloaded from http://www.intracen.org/The-Trade-in-So ... thon-Skin/

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
IUCN: Ewa Magiera, Media Relations, m +41 79 856 76 26, ewa.magiera@iucn.org
ITC: Jarle Hetland, Web Editor, t +41 22 730 0145, hetland@intracen.org
TRAFFIC: Richard Thomas, Communications Co-ordinator, t +44 1223 651782, richard.thomas@traffic.org
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3) International Volunteer Helps Track Threatened Turtles-Mary River Turtles(Australia)
Fraser Coast Chroniclce-Hannah Busch-11/26/12--FOR American student Laura Shields, it was binoculars and tracking turtles along the Mary River instead of turkey and snow for thanksgiving.
Ms Shields is an international volunteer helping Tiaro Landcare to log information on the threatened species in the Mary River.
She spent thanksgiving hidden among scrub trees in Tiaro tracking the river's vulnerable turtles.
The 17 turtles that were successfully spotted while basking in the sun included seven Mary River turtles, seven kreffts turtles and three white-throated snapping turtles.
Until this project, the basking turtles had only been observed with a specialised wildlife camera.
Tiaro Landcare project officer Marilyn Connell said Ms Shields' efforts in the survey meant they were able to track details that were normally extremely difficult to see.
This included details on the size of each turtle which was pointing to good signs of a successful breeding season.
"We were able to observe in detail turtle behaviour and interactions with other species," she said.
"Results from the basking survey are very encouraging for our turtle nest protection project."
Visit maryriverturtle.com for more information on the project.
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4) 40 hypothermic sea turtles rescued on Cape Cod
By Sarah N. Mattero, Boston Globe Correspondent, 11/27/12
Forty hypothermic sea turtles found on Cape Cod are being taken to the New England Aquarium’s care center in Quincy to be warmed up, the aquarium said today.
The endangered reptiles, mostly large loggerheads and green sea turtles, have been pouring in over the past three days, aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said in a statement.
Sea turtles often become stranded from early November through December, so volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay stake out the coasts each year in order to save them.
Despite the fact that sea turtles are cold-blooded, they are susceptible to infections at such low body temperatures. The aquarium takes the reptiles and warms them up 5 degrees a day until their body temperature reaches slightly more than 70 degrees.
Almost 90 sea turtles have been rescued so far this season, including the recent batch, the aquarium said.
Loggerhead turtles are both an endangered and threatened species and typically weigh up to 250 pounds and grow up to 3 feet long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Green sea turtles are also an endangered and threatened species and can grow to about 3 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds.
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5) Feds Debate Extending "Python Ban" Amid Growing Opposition From Reptile Industry

By Chris Sweeney Tue., Nov. 27 2012 at 7:53 AM
Broward Palm Beach New Times Blog

To most people, Burmese pythons and similarly large snakes are icky and frightening. But are they a menace worthy of federal regulation and tax dollars?

On Thursday, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee is slated to hold a hearing on whether to add nine constricting snakes to the so-called "Python Ban." Not everyone is pleased by the prospect, least of all the reptile industry, which says the Congressional Budget Office has ignored the financial blow these types of bans inflict on those engaged in herpetoculture.

The United States Association of Reptile Keepers, or USARK, said it is sending three experts, including Shawn Heflick of Nat Geo Wild's Python Hunters television show, to challenge the ban.

There was much fanfare earlier this year when Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced a new set of restrictions on the much-maligned Burmese python. By enacting a tough set of laws and essentially banning anyone from moving the snakes across state lines, the feds reasoned that they would be able to confine the damage the invasive species has caused to the Everglades.

But as those who oppose the ban are apt to point out, Burmese pythons may not be able to survive in the wild anywhere outside the southernmost regions of Florida. They often ask why a federal ban was needed for a problem that afflicts only a few counties in South Florida.

Ahead of Thursday's hearing, USARK issued a news statement touting a new study from University of Florida researchers that explains why "it is unlikely that feral pythons can survive north of the Everglades."

"As tropical species, pythons are morphologically, physiologically, and behaviorally ill-equipped to tolerate low temperatures commonly reached north of the Everglades during the winter," the statement says. "In other words, pythons can barely tolerate cold temperatures in South Florida, let alone central or north Florida, or outside of the state."

One of the study's authors points out that feral hogs are a much more destructive invasive species, a sentiment that has been echoed by several experts.
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6) Sea Turtle protection device plans shelved by NOAA

MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press 11/27/12-— New regulations that would have forced shrimpers in the bays and marshes of the Gulf of Mexico to install devices on their nets to save endangered sea turtles were scrapped Tuesday by federal officials.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it is withdrawing plans by its fisheries service to require "turtle excluder devices" for small fishing operations that trawl for shrimp in state waters.
NOAA said data collected over the summer showed the devices — which are escape hatches for sea turtles on nets — may not keep small turtles from being caught in the shallower waters that would have been subject to the requirement.
"The information we now have suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options," Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said in a statement.
The rules had been set to take effect by spring. Gulf of Mexico shrimpers had said the requirement could push them out of business. The change would have affected 2,600 fishermen, including an estimated 2,300 vessels in Louisiana.
Crabtree said federal officials will continue their research to help prevent turtle deaths.
"We're not abandoning this issue. There's just more work that needs to be done to get it right," he said.
A spike in turtle deaths in the Gulf since 2010, environmental lawsuits, the BP PLC oil spill and the endangered status of sea turtles have spurred federal officials to look at stronger protections for vulnerable turtle populations.
In the past two years, more than 1,100 dead sea turtles have been found in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama waters. Federal scientists estimate about 28,000 sea turtles are caught each year in nets.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation group that sought the protections, criticized the decision to shelve the proposed federal rules, saying further delay will cause unnecessary turtle deaths.
"The agency's failure to protect these species is tragic. Despite its own claim that the Fisheries Service is not abandoning its promise to protect sea turtles, it is in fact maintaining the deadly status quo by failing to move forward with any protective measures," said Jaclyn Lopez, a lawyer for the center.
Turtle excluder devices have been required for larger shrimp vessels that work in federal waters for more than two decades, according to NOAA, but not in state waters, with shallower areas and smaller turtles.
Instead of the devices, fishermen in state waters are supposed to lift their nets out of the water every once in a while to help trapped turtles breathe and get out of nets. NOAA officials said they've had trouble with low compliance and difficulties in enforcement.
The proposed rules targeted three common types of nets called skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls and wing net trawls. Other states that would have been included in the rules, according to NOAA spokeswoman Allison Garrett, were Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida.
Fishermen have long resisted moves to force the turtle-saving gear on the fleet. Shrimpers said there was little evidence that they were responsible for the spike in sea turtle deaths and said the cost of the new rules could destroy the industry.
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7) A Rather Thin and Long New Snake Crawls out of One of Earth's Biodiversity Hotspots
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — Field and laboratory work by a group of zoologists led by Omar Torres-Carvajal from Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, has resulted in the discovery of a new species of blunt-headed vine snake from the Chocoan forests in northwestern Ecuador. This region is part of the 274,597 km2 Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena hotspot that lies west of the Andes.
The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Blunt-headed vine snakes live in an area comprising Mexico and Argentina, and are different from all other New World snakes in having a very thin body, disproportionately slender neck, big eyes, and a blunt head. They live in trees and hunt frogs and lizards at night. The new species described by Torres-Carvajal and his collaborators was named Imantodes chocoensis and increases the number of species in this group of snakes to seven.
Snakes collected as far back as 1994 and deposited in several Ecuadorian and American natural history museums were also examined. The authors were soon surprised with an interesting discovery. Some individuals from the Ecuadorian Chocó lacked a big scale on their face that is present in all other blunt-headed vine snakes from the New World. Other features, as well as DNA evidence, indicate that these Chocoan snakes actually belong to a new species. DNA data also suggest that its closest relative is a species that inhabits the Amazon on the other side of the Andes.
'One possible explanation for the disjunct distribution between the new species and its closest relative is that the uplift of the Andes fragmented an ancestral population into two, each of which evolved into a different species, one in the Chocó region and the other in the Amazon' said Dr Torres-Carvajal.
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8) Orsini's Viper: Alternates Between Reproducing and Growing, Year-By-Year
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — Orsini's viper, a rare and protected species at risk of extinction in France, has an original reproductive strategy. In alternate years, it switches between reproductive and non-reproductive behavior. This strategy has recently been uncovered by a team from the Laboratoire Ecologie et Evolution (CNRS/UPMC/ENS), the Centre de Recherche en Ecologie Expérimentale et Predictive (CNRS/ENS)(1), and the Université Paris Sorbonne. Based on a detailed analysis of field data collected over thirty years (on Mont Ventoux) and on mathematical modeling, the researchers demonstrated the advantages of this life history strategy. Far from being a constraint on the species, it allows Orsini's viper to make a better quality investment in reproduction, with no physiological cost or risk to parental survival.

These results were published online in the journal Functional Ecology on 23 November 2012.
Orsini's viper is a small insectivorous snake that is rare and extremely threatened in France. Since the early 1980s, a population of Orsini's vipers on Mont Ventoux has been the subject of an in-depth monitoring study. In total, 160 females were monitored throughout their lives, revealing that adult specimens (which can live for more than 12 years) regularly alternate between reproductive and non-reproductive years. A mathematical model confirmed that natural selection could induce alternation between reproductive years and years of growth.
In this species, adult females reproduce every two years. In the non-reproductive years, snakes build up fat reserves and invest resources in body growth, which is possible throughout their lives and influences their fertility. The larger a female becomes, the more offspring she can produce. In a reproductive year, growth stops and all the acquired resources are committed to reproduction. This means that the reproductive success rate is high and that the immediate physiological impact on the mothers is low. This "strategy" differs radically from the behavior of other viviparous snake species, in which the females appear very thin after they have given birth. Their fat reserves 'melt away," which can threaten their survival. The strategy of Orsini's viper, however, allows a high quality litter to be born without such a "cost" to the parent.
Monitoring females before and after reproduction to assess their condition, body growth and survival rate has shed light on the logic behind this particular reproductive behavior, which is not -- as generally thought -- correlated with environmental fluctuations. The findings of this research could explain many other cases of intermittent reproduction in other species of both animals and plants. They also illustrate the value of long-term individual studies on natural populations for improving knowledge of the ecological and physiological mechanisms that determine species demography.
(1) Ecotron Ile de France (CEREEP)
__________________________________________________________________9) Agency probes land turtle import, sale (Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
Saipan.com, by Clarissa V. David 11/27/1200-----With an ongoing investigation involving a recent report of turtles being sold at a local store, the CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife stressed the importance of having a vigilant public report similar incidents.
Aquatic education specialist Richard B. Seman said in an interview yesterday that Secretary Arnold I. Palacios of the Department of Land and Natural Resources received a call regarding the matter on Nov. 21 and immediately referred it to the Enforcement Division.
The female caller, who saw the turtles at the store at about 2pm, posted what she saw on Facebook and instantly elicited responses encouraging her to report it to the authorities.
“I heard before that it was illegal to catch or eat turtles but I'm not sure. And seeing them in a store for sale made me think maybe it's legal. That's why I did the Facebook posting,” she said in an email response.
Seman said their personnel responded by going to the store and discovered, upon inspection, 11 land turtles-not sea turtles-and other species that should not have been imported to the Northern Marianas in the first place that were being sold by a male Chinese who imported the animals from China.
There have been previous cases when these land turtles are brought in as pets but this is not allowed, according to Seman who disclosed that the same man had a shipment of live shrimp that was confiscated by quarantine officers at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Nov. 3.
Seman noted that the man did not know that land turtles are not allowed for importation to the CNMI.
“But ignorance is not an excuse,” he told Saipan Tribune. “Unfortunately, he lost all his products. All of them were confiscated and frozen and will be discarded soon.”
Seman said there are individuals in the Commonwealth who import live species but before doing so, they visit the Division of Fish & Wildlife to submit a request. He said their office responds back by informing the requester what can and cannot be brought in and other corresponding regulations.
Seman, who will serve officially at the division until January before he takes on his new role as lawmaker, said investigation of last week's incident is still ongoing.
“We'll get to the bottom of this,” he said, adding that the male Chinese involved is “very cooperative and learning along the way.”
Seman said the division has a continuous education and outreach program that raises awareness and emphasizes the need for the public to report any irregularities that they see involving the islands' marine and wildlife resources.
He encouraged those who have plans to import to consult their office first to avoid wasting their time, money, and other resources.
“It is very critical that we do not allow any non-endemic species from entering our islands because some of them may have natural enemies or predators that may end up replacing our endemic species. By then, we're going to have problems with our ecosystem,” added Seman.
For any reports, call the Division of Fish & Wildlife enforcement section at 664-6000 or 989-6093.
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10) Genetic turtle tags reveal surprise nesting trends- mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
Lumina News, North Carolina, by Daniel Bowden, 11/21/12

Some unexpected findings during the genetic tagging of sea turtles revealed the prevalence of mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
“It’s something we never anticipated,” said Matthew Godfrey, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Biologist. Godfrey presented his findings during the 2012 North Carolina Beach Inlet and Waterways Association conference, held at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Nov. 19-20.
The average age of maturity for loggerhead sea turtles is 30 years, Godfrey said. If a mother and daughter are nesting at the same time, the mother must be at least 60.
The higher-than-expected prevalence of siblings nesting in the same area was also surprising. With only one out of 1,000 sea turtles surviving into adulthood, it seems unlikely that two siblings would survive and nest in the same region. This finding suggests that genetic factors may play a role in deciding which turtles survive.
The national recovery plan for loggerhead sea turtles, which was last revised in 2009, lists the species as threatened in the Northwest Atlantic. The plan for the region set the goal of 2,000 nests per season. The number of nests found each season currently averages around 750. Godfrey said to reach the goal of 2,000, wildlife officials are hoping to see a 2-percent increase in nests found during the next 40 years.
One of the most telling indicators of the species improving is the number of nesting females; however, with so much coastline to cover and so few volunteers, it’s hard to locate them all. Godfrey and his team have found a way to identify the nesting females based on the eggs they leave behind.
Eggs are constructed layer by layer inside the oviduct of a mother turtle. As the layers grow, cells from the mother’s oviduct rub off and are trapped underneath them. After removing one egg from each nest, which averages 120 eggs, Godfrey and his team peel back the egg’s layers to identify 18 alleles from the trapped oviduct cells to create a genetic identification for the turtle.
This genetic identification is used to gather information about a variety of aspects of the turtle’s nesting behavior, including the number of nesting females in the region, nest site fidelity and internesting intervals.
Since 2009, the project has sampled 2,954 nests and identified 828 nesting female loggerheads. It has determined the average number of nests per season, per female turtle is three and the internesting interval is about 15 days. The project costs approximately $200,000 per year, and is funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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Albino pythons, endangered lizards and other reptiles are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. Freelance writer Christy's debut is an enthusiastic chronicle of the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him. Mike Van Nostrand inherited Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, from his father, Ray, turning it into a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. Van Nostrand imported reptiles of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of his mules, and sold them to collectors and pet stores. He exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials._____________
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Invasive Pythons in the United States- Ecology of an Introduced
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Carl and Evelyn Ernst have completely revised their landmark reference Venomous Reptiles of North America to present the most comprehensive review of these animals in years. A review that now needs two volumes to complete. ;Volume One of this definitive work presented dramatically improved species accounts of the venomous lizards and elapid and viperid snakes found north of Mexico's twenty-fifth parallel.

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

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Postby Philsuma » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:56 pm

Volume # 12 Issue # 56 12/5/12
Publisher/Editor- Allen Salzberg
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“The Most Comprehensive Turtle Book.”
TURTLES, TORTOISES AND TERRAPINS- A Natural History -Revised, Expanded and Updated by Ronald Orenstein, 448 pages, that’s 150 more than the first edition, 9" X 11",more than 300 full color photographs, range maps, bibliography, index
AND YES EVEN IF YOU HAVE COPIES OF THE FIRST EDITION YOU SHOULD GET THE 2ND EDITION, IT’S A WHOLE NEW BOOK.
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HEALTH CARE AND REHABILITATION OF TURTLES AND TORTOISES
An excellent, must have for every turtle owner and every turtle & wildlife rehabilitator
Covers everything from general information such as: turtle anatomy, diet, stress, hibernation, brumation, outdoor and indoor enclosures and more --- to over 250 pages on shell fractures, tube feeding, bacterial and viral diseases, parasites, diagnostics, antibiotics in chelonians, and with supporting photographs. The author took great time and care to translate her and others experiences in turtle rehabilitation without the jargon, so all turtle owners enthusiasts can understand.
Full-color photographs. (2012) 393 pp. Softcover, by Amanda Ebenhack $39.85 plus $6.00 S&H see below on how to order (Overseas email us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org or S&H price)

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Table of Contents
1) Ranavirus, Turtle- USA (02): WestVirginia
2) Study Raises Concern over International Trade in Python Skins
3) International Volunteer Helps Track Threatened Turtles-Mary River Turtles (Australia)
4) Hypothermic sea turtles rescued on Cape Cod (Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles)
5) Sea Turtle protection device plans shelved by NOAA
6) A Rather Thin and Long New Snake Crawls out of One of Earth's Biodiversity Hotspots
7) Orsini's Viper: Alternates Between Reproducing and Growing, Year-By-Year
8) Agency probes land turtle import, sale (Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)
9) Genetic turtle tags reveal surprise nesting trends- mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
10) Fitness for Toad Sperm: Secret Is to Mate Frequently
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“THE TORTOISE” The Turtle Conservancy’s -For Members Only-New Periodical Publication (But it’s not just about Tortoises).
HerpDigest has Gained Access to a Limited Number of the Very First issue of the Turtle Conservancy’s New Periodical Publication “The Tortoise.” Recently available only to members. And they are going fast.
According to the Turtle Conservancy, by publishing “The Tortoise” on a yearly basis, it will keep it relevant by containing more in-depth information on the latest work being done to save turtles and tortoises all over the world than any other publication.
Issue # 1, is an excellent example of this, with it’s 160 pages, 100 color photos and 14 reports and stories on the work done and that needs to be done, on a number of threatened and critically endangered species from around the globe:
Ranging from the highlands of Southeast Asia, home to two primitive tortoises of the genus Manouria, to the restricted range of the Geometric Tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, to the West Coast of the US home of the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata), to the cryptic wood turtles (Rhinoclemmys sp.) of Mexico, and almost everywhere in between.
The first issue is only $20.00 plus $6.00 for S&H. As all always contact us at asalzberg@herpdigest.org for overseas shipping costs.
&
WE ARE PERMANENTLY OUT OUT OF ALL 2013 CALENDARS
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1) Ranavirus, Turtle- USA (02): WestVirginia
*********************************************
(Editor must read, Ranavirus can be major threat to wild turtle populations. You can help by reporting any large herp mortality events to local natural resources agency as soon as possible)

A ProMED-mail post
<http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases this is from their listserv
<http://www.isid.org>

Date: Sat 24 Nov 2012
Source: Sunday Gazette-Mail [edited]
<http://wvgazette.com/News/201211240036>


In July [2012], while walking near a small pond he had built on his farm near Clendenin, Bill Archibald spotted a pair of dead eastern box turtles in the brush.

"I didn't think a whole lot about it at first," Archibald recalled, "but then I noticed other turtles in the same area acting kind of lethargic, with swelling around their eyes, lying in the same spot for days, and I started to wonder what was going on."

When Archibald returned to his farm following a weeklong trip to Alaska, "every day that I walked up to the pond I'd find dead turtles."

The mysterious deaths, which numbered 26 by the end of the summer, didn't sit well with Archibald, a graduate of the state Division of Natural Resources' Master Naturalist program, who had built the pond to enhance habitat for the frogs, salamanders, and turtles living on
his land. He emailed Doug Wood, a retired Department of Environmental Protection biologist who teaches several Master Naturalist classes.

"Bill sent me one of those unusual queries I get from time to time -- 'Hey, Doug, do you know what this is?' " Wood recalled. After consulting the Internet and some professional colleagues, Wood supplied Archibald with the contact information he believed could
solve the mystery about what was killing the box turtles on his land.

As it turned out, the turtle was infected with ranavirus -- a pathogen that causes an animal disease known to have caused large localized die-offs, mainly in populations of frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians in 25 states since 1997. In more recent years, the virus is
known to have infected scattered populations of box turtles, which are reptiles, in several states.

At Wood's suggestion, Archibald got in touch with Towson University (Maryland) biology professor Richard Siegel, leader of a box turtle study at a highway construction site between Baltimore and Washington,DC.

There, local turtles were outfitted with radio transmitters and released in areas safe from blasting and heavy machinery. The study was designed to determine whether relocated turtles did better by being moved to a site 6 miles [9.7 km] from the construction zone, or
to an area just across a fence from the new highway site.

But Siegel and his Towson colleagues found that an alarming number of turtles -- which can live to be 50 or older and normally have a 98 percent survival rate from year to year -- were dying at the relocation area near the construction site. 31 of the 123 turtles
outfitted with the transmitters and released there were found dead within a 3-year period. Cars or construction equipment killed 3 of the turtles, but the rest were felled by disease, which turned out to be ranavirus in 27 cases.

"Finding even one dead turtle is unusual," Siegel said in a Washington Post story about the die-off that appeared earlier this year [2012]."Finding over 27 dead turtles in a 2-to-3-year period was bizarre."

In addition to killing the Maryland box turtles, ranavirus is believed to have been the cause of death of nearly every tadpole and young salamander in the study area since spring of 2010.

Siegel referred Archibald, who had lost a similar number of turtles on a half-acre [0.2 ha] tract of land within a single season, to Dr Matthew Gray, professor of wetland ecology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a ranavirus researcher. The Clendenin area
man sent 3 frozen box turtle carcasses to Gray for analysis through the University of Tennessee's Center for Wildlife Health.

The best preserved of the 3 carcasses was that of a box turtle that had exhibited signs similar to those shown by the ranavirus-infected turtles in the Maryland study -- foot lesions, lethargy, difficulty breathing, swollen eyes, and bubble production at the nose and mouth.

"We verified that ranavirus was the likely disease agent that killed the turtles on Bill Archibald's property," said Gray. Of the 3 turtle carcasses sent by Archibald, 2 were too decomposed for analysis, Gray said. Because the 3rd carcass -- which tested positive for ranavirus,
had been frozen, damaging tissue cell structure -- a test could not be made to confirm that ranavirus directly killed the turtle.

"We can say that the turtle from Bill Archibald's property was infected with ranavirus, but without histology -- inspecting tissues microscopically for damage by the pathogen -- we cannot make an assessment if the infection caused the disease leading to death," Gray
said. "We plan to stay in contact with Bill, and will process additional specimens if he observes mortality. Future plans are to sequence a portion of the virus genome to determine if it is a common or unique type of ranavirus."

Unlike the ranavirus incident in Maryland, frog and tadpole life in and around Archibald's pond appears unaffected by the box turtle die-off.

Researchers believe people, pets, farm animals, and warm-blooded wildlife species are immune to ranavirus, because their bodies are too warm to support the disease.

Wildlife biologists worry about how far ranavirus has spread, how fast it is spreading, how often it recurs, and how quickly amphibians and turtles can develop a resistance to it. Ranavirus-associated die-offs involving more than 20 species of amphibians and turtles have been
recorded in at least 25 states since 1997.

The ranavirus outbreak that killed the Maryland box turtles was one of the 1st known incidences involving that species. The National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, lists it as the nation's only confirmed case of a ranaviral infection involving wild box turtles.
But the center acknowledges that similar ranaviral outbreaks in box turtles have been reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia prior to the case reported at Archibald's farm.

"Ranavirus tends to hit amphibians in their young life stages, so when it shows up, it can wipe out a whole age class," said Dr Anne Ballman, wildlife disease specialist at the National Wildlife Health Center. "If a local population runs out of young recruits, a species can be
wiped out for a season. If ranavirus occurs repeatedly, there is the potential of that population declining dramatically in localized areas."

Because there is no required monitoring of wildlife deaths due to disease, it's difficult for wildlife biologists to know how far-reaching and fast-moving the virus is.

"That's why it's important for people who come across large mortality events involving amphibians or turtles to report them to their local natural resource agency," Ballman said.

Researchers believe ranavirus is spread through direct contact with infected animals, by exposure to contaminated water or sediment, or by preying upon or cannibalizing animals carrying the virus.

"Observant folks who enjoy the woods, like Bill, are often the front line of defense in documenting the spread of biological infestations or infections," said Wood. Archibald's interest and action "led to what appears to be the first known, or at least, first publicized
finding of ranavirus in a wild box turtle population in West Virginia. This speaks highly of citizen involvement in conservation concerns."

"I wonder how the virus got here, whether it will come back again, and why the frogs and tadpoles in the pond weren't affected by it," he said. "I hope that by studying what happened here, researchers can
find some answers."

[Byline: Rick Steelhammer]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[It becomes increasingly apparent that some infectious diseases are a very important threat to wildlife populations and a growing conservation concern. Amphibians are already being hit by another emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis. Also, there is evidence
that these pathogens interact with environmental factors (climate change, pollution, etc.) resulting in greater impact. Ranaviruses are a group of pathogens belonging to the genus Ranavirus (family
Iridoviridae) that have been linked to catastrophic die-offs of larval amphibians in North America and elsewhere. In the United States, ranaviruses are responsible for the majority of disease-related mortality events in amphibians. This virus became an emerging infectious disease possibly due to a novel strain introduction orincreased occurrence of anthropogenic stressors on the landscape.

A few years ago, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) listed this pathogen as a notifiable disease.

Although ranaviruses were known to infect reptiles, here and in recent episodes, turtles appear to be the main host species involved. This
host preference jump across taxonomic classes (from amphibians to reptiles) merits concern and a molecular investigation.
_____________________________________________________________
2) Study Raises Concern over International Trade in Python Skins
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 27 November 2012 – A new study finds that close to half a million python skins are reported as exported annually from South-East Asia. The main importer is the European fashion and leather industry. The study raises concerns over the illegality in parts of the trade, animal welfare issues and the trade’s impact on the conservation of python populations.

The report, Trade in South-East Asian Python Skins, was launched today by the International Trade Centre (ITC), in co-operation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC, a joint programme of IUCN and WWF. It reveals that the trade in python skins is worth an estimated US $1 billion annually.

“The report shows that problems of illegality persist in the trade in python skins and that this can threaten species’ survival,” saysAlexander Kasterine, Head of ITC’s Trade and Environment Programme. “The fashion and leather industry has a stronger role to play in supporting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and the developing countries to ensure supply is legal and sustainable.”

Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam are the main sources of exports of python skins, with European Union countries – in particular Italy, Germany and France – the biggest importers. Around 70% of all python skins are re-exported via Singapore. The report notes that a lack of transparency concerning undisclosed stockpiles in the country could be facilitating the laundering of illegally sourced skins.

“It would appear a substantial proportion of the skins in trade are sourced illegally from wild animals, beyond agreed quotas, and using false permits to launder the skins,” says Tomas Waller, Chair of IUCN’s Boa and Python Specialist Group (BPSG).

“With potentially large mark-ups along the supply chain, there is a strong financial incentive for illegal trade in python skins and considerable scope for traders to issue false permits,” says Olivier Caillabet, Programme Officer with TRAFFIC in South-East Asia, and a co-author of the report.

Although more than 20% of exports of Reticulated Python skins from South-East Asia (mainly Viet Nam and Lao PDR) are declared as captive-bred, the report argues that the “commercial case is not convincing and needs to be specifically assessed”, noting that the cost of breeding, feeding and maintaining the snakes to reach slaughter size appears much higher than the market price.

The report recommends that the fashion industry implements a traceability system to demonstrate to consumers that its sourcing is legal and sustainable. This would complement the existing CITES permitting system to allow identification of skins along the length of the supply chain.

An additional concern regards the possible lack of sustainability of sourcing. Large numbers of wild pythons are slaughtered before they reach the reproductive stage, meaning harvest quotas may have been set at unsustainable levels. The report recommends a precautionary approach is applied to harvesting, with legally binding minimum skin size limits to ensure protection of immature snakes.

The report highlights previously unknown slaughter methods, yet argues that trade bans are not an effective or fair way to address illegality and animal welfare issues.

The report was funded by the Government of Denmark, through ITC’s Trade and Environment Programme.

The report can be downloaded from http://www.intracen.org/The-Trade-in-So ... thon-Skin/

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
IUCN: Ewa Magiera, Media Relations, m +41 79 856 76 26, ewa.magiera@iucn.org
ITC: Jarle Hetland, Web Editor, t +41 22 730 0145, hetland@intracen.org
TRAFFIC: Richard Thomas, Communications Co-ordinator, t +44 1223 651782, richard.thomas@traffic.org
_________________________________________________________________
3) International Volunteer Helps Track Threatened Turtles-Mary River Turtles(Australia)
Fraser Coast Chroniclce-Hannah Busch-11/26/12--FOR American student Laura Shields, it was binoculars and tracking turtles along the Mary River instead of turkey and snow for thanksgiving.
Ms Shields is an international volunteer helping Tiaro Landcare to log information on the threatened species in the Mary River.
She spent thanksgiving hidden among scrub trees in Tiaro tracking the river's vulnerable turtles.
The 17 turtles that were successfully spotted while basking in the sun included seven Mary River turtles, seven kreffts turtles and three white-throated snapping turtles.
Until this project, the basking turtles had only been observed with a specialised wildlife camera.
Tiaro Landcare project officer Marilyn Connell said Ms Shields' efforts in the survey meant they were able to track details that were normally extremely difficult to see.
This included details on the size of each turtle which was pointing to good signs of a successful breeding season.
"We were able to observe in detail turtle behaviour and interactions with other species," she said.
"Results from the basking survey are very encouraging for our turtle nest protection project."
Visit maryriverturtle.com for more information on the project.
__________________________________________________________________
4) Hypothermic sea turtles rescued on Cape Cod (Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles)
By Sarah N. Mattero, Boston Globe Correspondent, 11/27/12
Forty hypothermic sea turtles found on Cape Cod are being taken to the New England Aquarium’s care center in Quincy to be warmed up, the aquarium said today.
The endangered reptiles, mostly large loggerheads and green sea turtles, have been pouring in over the past three days, aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said in a statement.
Sea turtles often become stranded from early November through December, so volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay stake out the coasts each year in order to save them.
Despite the fact that sea turtles are cold-blooded, they are susceptible to infections at such low body temperatures. The aquarium takes the reptiles and warms them up 5 degrees a day until their body temperature reaches slightly more than 70 degrees.
Almost 90 sea turtles have been rescued so far this season, including the recent batch, the aquarium said.
Loggerhead turtles are both an endangered and threatened species and typically weigh up to 250 pounds and grow up to 3 feet long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Green sea turtles are also an endangered and threatened species and can grow to about 3 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds.
____________________________________________________
5) Sea Turtle protection device plans shelved by NOAA
MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press 11/27/12-— New regulations that would have forced shrimpers in the bays and marshes of the Gulf of Mexico to install devices on their nets to save endangered sea turtles were scrapped Tuesday by federal officials.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it is withdrawing plans by its fisheries service to require "turtle excluder devices" for small fishing operations that trawl for shrimp in state waters.
NOAA said data collected over the summer showed the devices — which are escape hatches for sea turtles on nets — may not keep small turtles from being caught in the shallower waters that would have been subject to the requirement.
"The information we now have suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options," Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said in a statement.
The rules had been set to take effect by spring. Gulf of Mexico shrimpers had said the requirement could push them out of business. The change would have affected 2,600 fishermen, including an estimated 2,300 vessels in Louisiana.
Crabtree said federal officials will continue their research to help prevent turtle deaths.
"We're not abandoning this issue. There's just more work that needs to be done to get it right," he said.
A spike in turtle deaths in the Gulf since 2010, environmental lawsuits, the BP PLC oil spill and the endangered status of sea turtles have spurred federal officials to look at stronger protections for vulnerable turtle populations.
In the past two years, more than 1,100 dead sea turtles have been found in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama waters. Federal scientists estimate about 28,000 sea turtles are caught each year in nets.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation group that sought the protections, criticized the decision to shelve the proposed federal rules, saying further delay will cause unnecessary turtle deaths.
"The agency's failure to protect these species is tragic. Despite its own claim that the Fisheries Service is not abandoning its promise to protect sea turtles, it is in fact maintaining the deadly status quo by failing to move forward with any protective measures," said Jaclyn Lopez, a lawyer for the center.
Turtle excluder devices have been required for larger shrimp vessels that work in federal waters for more than two decades, according to NOAA, but not in state waters, with shallower areas and smaller turtles.
Instead of the devices, fishermen in state waters are supposed to lift their nets out of the water every once in a while to help trapped turtles breathe and get out of nets. NOAA officials said they've had trouble with low compliance and difficulties in enforcement.
The proposed rules targeted three common types of nets called skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls and wing net trawls. Other states that would have been included in the rules, according to NOAA spokeswoman Allison Garrett, were Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida.
Fishermen have long resisted moves to force the turtle-saving gear on the fleet. Shrimpers said there was little evidence that they were responsible for the spike in sea turtle deaths and said the cost of the new rules could destroy the industry.
_______________________________________________________________
6) A Rather Thin and Long New Snake Crawls out of One of Earth's Biodiversity Hotspots

ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — Field and laboratory work by a group of zoologists led by Omar Torres-Carvajal from Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, has resulted in the discovery of a new species of blunt-headed vine snake from the Chocoan forests in northwestern Ecuador. This region is part of the 274,597 km2 Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena hotspot that lies west of the Andes.
The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Blunt-headed vine snakes live in an area comprising Mexico and Argentina, and are different from all other New World snakes in having a very thin body, disproportionately slender neck, big eyes, and a blunt head. They live in trees and hunt frogs and lizards at night. The new species described by Torres-Carvajal and his collaborators was named Imantodes chocoensis and increases the number of species in this group of snakes to seven.
Snakes collected as far back as 1994 and deposited in several Ecuadorian and American natural history museums were also examined. The authors were soon surprised with an interesting discovery. Some individuals from the Ecuadorian Chocó lacked a big scale on their face that is present in all other blunt-headed vine snakes from the New World. Other features, as well as DNA evidence, indicate that these Chocoan snakes actually belong to a new species. DNA data also suggest that its closest relative is a species that inhabits the Amazon on the other side of the Andes.
'One possible explanation for the disjunct distribution between the new species and its closest relative is that the uplift of the Andes fragmented an ancestral population into two, each of which evolved into a different species, one in the Chocó region and the other in the Amazon' said Dr Torres-Carvajal.
__________________________________________________________________
7) Orsini's Viper: Alternates Between Reproducing and Growing, Year-By-Year
ScienceDaily (Nov. 27, 2012) — Orsini's viper, a rare and protected species at risk of extinction in France, has an original reproductive strategy. In alternate years, it switches between reproductive and non-reproductive behavior. This strategy has recently been uncovered by a team from the Laboratoire Ecologie et Evolution (CNRS/UPMC/ENS), the Centre de Recherche en Ecologie Expérimentale et Predictive (CNRS/ENS)(1), and the Université Paris Sorbonne. Based on a detailed analysis of field data collected over thirty years (on Mont Ventoux) and on mathematical modeling, the researchers demonstrated the advantages of this life history strategy. Far from being a constraint on the species, it allows Orsini's viper to make a better quality investment in reproduction, with no physiological cost or risk to parental survival.
These results were published online in the journal Functional Ecology on 23 November 2012.
Orsini's viper is a small insectivorous snake that is rare and extremely threatened in France. Since the early 1980s, a population of Orsini's vipers on Mont Ventoux has been the subject of an in-depth monitoring study. In total, 160 females were monitored throughout their lives, revealing that adult specimens (which can live for more than 12 years) regularly alternate between reproductive and non-reproductive years. A mathematical model confirmed that natural selection could induce alternation between reproductive years and years of growth.
In this species, adult females reproduce every two years. In the non-reproductive years, snakes build up fat reserves and invest resources in body growth, which is possible throughout their lives and influences their fertility. The larger a female becomes, the more offspring she can produce. In a reproductive year, growth stops and all the acquired resources are committed to reproduction. This means that the reproductive success rate is high and that the immediate physiological impact on the mothers is low. This "strategy" differs radically from the behavior of other viviparous snake species, in which the females appear very thin after they have given birth. Their fat reserves 'melt away," which can threaten their survival. The strategy of Orsini's viper, however, allows a high quality litter to be born without such a "cost" to the parent.
Monitoring females before and after reproduction to assess their condition, body growth and survival rate has shed light on the logic behind this particular reproductive behavior, which is not -- as generally thought -- correlated with environmental fluctuations. The findings of this research could explain many other cases of intermittent reproduction in other species of both animals and plants. They also illustrate the value of long-term individual studies on natural populations for improving knowledge of the ecological and physiological mechanisms that determine species demography.
(1) Ecotron Ile de France (CEREEP)
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8) Agency probes land turtle import, sale (Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)

Saipan.com, by Clarissa V. David 11/27/1200-----With an ongoing investigation involving a recent report of turtles being sold at a local store, the CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife stressed the importance of having a vigilant public report similar incidents.
Aquatic education specialist Richard B. Seman said in an interview yesterday that Secretary Arnold I. Palacios of the Department of Land and Natural Resources received a call regarding the matter on Nov. 21 and immediately referred it to the Enforcement Division.
The female caller, who saw the turtles at the store at about 2pm, posted what she saw on Facebook and instantly elicited responses encouraging her to report it to the authorities.
“I heard before that it was illegal to catch or eat turtles but I'm not sure. And seeing them in a store for sale made me think maybe it's legal. That's why I did the Facebook posting,” she said in an email response.
Seman said their personnel responded by going to the store and discovered, upon inspection, 11 land turtles-not sea turtles-and other species that should not have been imported to the Northern Marianas in the first place that were being sold by a male Chinese who imported the animals from China.
There have been previous cases when these land turtles are brought in as pets but this is not allowed, according to Seman who disclosed that the same man had a shipment of live shrimp that was confiscated by quarantine officers at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Nov. 3.
Seman noted that the man did not know that land turtles are not allowed for importation to the CNMI.
“But ignorance is not an excuse,” he told Saipan Tribune. “Unfortunately, he lost all his products. All of them were confiscated and frozen and will be discarded soon.”
Seman said there are individuals in the Commonwealth who import live species but before doing so, they visit the Division of Fish & Wildlife to submit a request. He said their office responds back by informing the requester what can and cannot be brought in and other corresponding regulations.
Seman, who will serve officially at the division until January before he takes on his new role as lawmaker, said investigation of last week's incident is still ongoing.
“We'll get to the bottom of this,” he said, adding that the male Chinese involved is “very cooperative and learning along the way.”
Seman said the division has a continuous education and outreach program that raises awareness and emphasizes the need for the public to report any irregularities that they see involving the islands' marine and wildlife resources.
He encouraged those who have plans to import to consult their office first to avoid wasting their time, money, and other resources.
“It is very critical that we do not allow any non-endemic species from entering our islands because some of them may have natural enemies or predators that may end up replacing our endemic species. By then, we're going to have problems with our ecosystem,” added Seman.
For any reports, call the Division of Fish & Wildlife enforcement section at 664-6000 or 989-6093.
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9) Genetic turtle tags reveal surprise nesting trends- mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
Lumina News, North Carolina, by Daniel Bowden, 11/21/12

Some unexpected findings during the genetic tagging of sea turtles revealed the prevalence of mother and daughter turtles nesting at the same time.
“It’s something we never anticipated,” said Matthew Godfrey, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Biologist. Godfrey presented his findings during the 2012 North Carolina Beach Inlet and Waterways Association conference, held at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Nov. 19-20.
The average age of maturity for loggerhead sea turtles is 30 years, Godfrey said. If a mother and daughter are nesting at the same time, the mother must be at least 60.
The higher-than-expected prevalence of siblings nesting in the same area was also surprising. With only one out of 1,000 sea turtles surviving into adulthood, it seems unlikely that two siblings would survive and nest in the same region. This finding suggests that genetic factors may play a role in deciding which turtles survive.
The national recovery plan for loggerhead sea turtles, which was last revised in 2009, lists the species as threatened in the Northwest Atlantic. The plan for the region set the goal of 2,000 nests per season. The number of nests found each season currently averages around 750. Godfrey said to reach the goal of 2,000, wildlife officials are hoping to see a 2-percent increase in nests found during the next 40 years.
One of the most telling indicators of the species improving is the number of nesting females; however, with so much coastline to cover and so few volunteers, it’s hard to locate them all. Godfrey and his team have found a way to identify the nesting females based on the eggs they leave behind.
Eggs are constructed layer by layer inside the oviduct of a mother turtle. As the layers grow, cells from the mother’s oviduct rub off and are trapped underneath them. After removing one egg from each nest, which averages 120 eggs, Godfrey and his team peel back the egg’s layers to identify 18 alleles from the trapped oviduct cells to create a genetic identification for the turtle.
This genetic identification is used to gather information about a variety of aspects of the turtle’s nesting behavior, including the number of nesting females in the region, nest site fidelity and internesting intervals.
Since 2009, the project has sampled 2,954 nests and identified 828 nesting female loggerheads. It has determined the average number of nests per season, per female turtle is three and the internesting interval is about 15 days. The project costs approximately $200,000 per year, and is funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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10) Fitness for Toad Sperm: Secret Is to Mate Frequently
ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2012) — Fertility tests frequently reveal that males have problems with the quality of their sperm. The problems often relate to sperm senescence, which is a reduction in quality with age. Sperm senescence can arise either before or after the DNA in the sperm cells is produced by a process known as meiosis. So-called "pre-meiotic" senescence results from accumulated damage in the germline cells with increasing age and results in older males having sperm of lower quality. Post-meiotic senescence occurs after the sperm cells have been produced, either during storage of sperm by the male or after ejaculation and before they fertilize the eggs.
There is previous evidence that various kinds of sperm senescence occur in insects, in some domestic animals (birds and mammals) and even in humans but the studies have generally been carried out under fairly artificial conditions and so it is not clear how they relate to wild animals -- or to the general human population. These objections have been overcome in the latest work of Attila Hettyey and colleagues at the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni), together with Balázs Vági in Budapest, Hungary, where Hettyey himself is now working.
The researchers investigated the common toad, an interesting model system as it is known to produce all its sperm before the start of the breeding season. They found that male toads that re-entered hibernation at the start of the breeding season, i.e. that lowered their metabolic rates after producing sperm, stored sperm of significantly higher motility than males kept under pseudo-natural conditions without females throughout the entire breeding season. The result means that slowing the normal rate of general physiological processes reduced the normal rate of sperm aging within the toad's testicles. This constitutes the first evidence for post-meiotic intra-testicular sperm senescence in a wild vertebrate. A further surprising result was that in males kept under pseudo-natural conditions, sperm motility was related to the number of matings a male achieved, with the presence of females or the occurrence of matings having a positive effect on the quality of stored sperm. This suggests that post-meiotic intra-testicular sperm senescence does not occur at a fixed rate but may be modulated by external factors, such as temperature and number of matings.
In summary, the scientists at the Vetmeduni have shown that sperm senescence occurs while sperm are stored in the testicles of animals living under essentially "natural" conditions. They also suggest that the rate of sperm senescence can be slowed if males mate more frequently. For animals that produce sperm continuously, such as man, the implications seem to be that more frequent ejaculations serve both to remove older and thus less viable sperm as well as to reduce the damage to sperm cells during storage. The senior author on the PLoS ONE paper, Richard Wagner, is keen to speculate on the importance of the results. "We do not yet know how general post-meiotic sperm senescence is in wild animals, or man. But if it turns out to be widespread, it will be fascinating to see how it affects reproductive behaviour." As Hettyey says, "Females may try to avoid males with damaged sperm while males may choose particular environments that slow sperm senescence and may attempt to shorten periods of sexual rest by also accepting matings with low-quality females or by discharging aged sperm."
Story Source:
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
1. Attila Hettyey, Balázs Vági, Dustin J. Penn, Herbert Hoi, Richard H. Wagner. Post-Meiotic Intra-Testicular Sperm Senescence in a Wild Vertebrate. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (12): e50820 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050820

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Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien (2012, December 4). Fitness for toad sperm: Secret is to mate frequently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2012/12/121204081142.htm

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