Herpetozoa

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Distribution (as numbers) of captures per year of sampling from 1997 to 2017.
Contingency table of captures per species and sampling year.
Population size variation from 1997 to 2017 (svl, in mm, ± 1 SD).
Total number of captures per each species and sampling year.
We analysed a snake species community of a Mediterranean 0.2 ha ecotonal area during a 21 year time span, monitoring two colubrid and one viperid snake species. We carried out analyses in seven years (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004–2005, 2016–2017) that had similar sampling efforts and, in the last two years of short-term monitoring, we applied a recently proposed monitoring protocol of the Italian Environment Ministry. In total, we captured 172 distinct individuals, 61 whip snakes ( Hierophisviridiflavus ), 26 barred grass snakes ( Natrixhelvetica ) and 85 asp vipers ( Viperaaspis ). Regarding the long-term monitoring period, whip snakes were captured on average about nine times per year, grass snakes were captured four times per year and asp vipers were found 12 times per year. Captures decreased in whip snakes, while increased in grass snakes and remained constant in asp vipers. In 2016 and 2017, we captured 10 whip snakes, 19 grass snakes and 31 asp vipers. Density estimates of snake species (0.5 H.viridiflavus /ha, 0.3 N.helvetica /ha and 0.7 V.aspis /ha) differ, to a certain extent, from published results for some other areas of central, northern and western Europe, perhaps depending on the approach applied for habitat suitability estimation. The average body size between two years differed neither for whip snakes nor for grass snakes, but it decreased significantly in asp vipers.
 
Variation of R. dalmatina population growth rate with population size over five consecutive years.
Variation of B. bufo population growth rate with population size over six consecutive years
Population parameters, meteorological parameters, and descriptive statistics of variables for Rana dalmatina population.
Population parameters, meteorological parameters, and descriptive statistics of variables for Bufo bufo population.
We monitored the population size of the agile frog ( Ranadalmatina ) and the common toad ( Bufobufo ) from 2011 or 2012, respectively, to the year 2017 at a syntopic breeding site in the vicinity of Belgrade. Adult R.dalmatina population size had minor fluctuations during the years of study (from 351 to 108 frogs). On the contrary, the adult B.bufo population was widely fluctuating towards decline (from 1158 to 141 toads). In both species, population fluctuations were not significantly related to variation of meteorological parameters (air temperature, humidity, precipitation). Density dependence effects on population size were not detected in either species. Apart from possible effects of climate change, the indicated trend towards decline of the monitored B.bufo population could also be the outcome of common population fluctuations or of increasing anthropogenic impact (vicinity of settlement and agricultural land). More years of monitoring more than one population are required to obtain precise information. Nevertheless, our results seem to be coherent with other studies that recommend conservation action for this species.
 
Ticks are regularly encountered ectoparasites of tortoises and play an important role in the transfer of viruses, bacteria and protozoa. There exist only few in situ investigations on tick infestations of Testudo graeca LINNAEUS, 1758. This is why the authors documented tick infestations observed during a field excursion to Morocco in April and May 2010. Eight out of twelve tortoises detected were infested (by 21 ticks). All ticks were identified as imagines of Hyalomma aegyptium (LINNAEUS, 1758). Additionally, an overview is given of the literature sources upon ticks as parasites of Testudo graeca and their significance as vectors for diseases.
 
The influence of different flow conditions on spawning and development of the Common Toad Bufo bufo LINNAEUS, 1758, were examined by comparing two breeding sites, a fishpond (Wolfsteich) and a brook (Kajabach). It has been shown that areas with a flow velocity of 10 cm s(-1) were also chosen for spawning. But the duration of development of the embryos in the Kajabach stream was significantly longer than in the Wolfsteich pond. Furthermore, optimal conditions for larval development in the Kajabach stream under low flow velocity conditions have been shown. There were also significant differences related to stage, body measurements and body mass between larvae of the Kajabach stream and those of the Wolfsteich pond. According to that, larvae in the Wolfsteich pond were averagely less developed than those in the Kajabach stream, even though the larval period was shorter. Also the larvae in the Wolfsteich pond were plump and heavier than those in the Kajabach stream. The reasons for these differences may mainly rely on the differences in water temperature and available food.
 
study area at the kavak river Delta (40°38' n, 26°50' e), saros Bay, Province of çanakkale, Turkish Thrace. Abb. 1: Das untersuchungsgebiet am kavak flußdelta (40°38' n, 26°50' e), saros Bucht, Provinz çanakkale, Türkisch Thrakien. 
Four Mauremys rivulata (VALENCIENNES, 1833) and thirty-nine Emys orbicularis (LINNAEUS, 1758) collected in the Kayak River Delta (Saros Bay, Province of Canakkale, Turkish Thrace) were examined for epizoic algae on tail and carapace surfaces. Algae samples were grouped according to turtle species and shell size to detect potential patterns in the distributions of algae. Fourteen taxa of epizoic algae that were collected by scraping were identified from the turtles. Algae of the genera Chamaesiphon, Phormidium and Oscillatoria were found most frequently. The amount of algal growth was less in M rivulata than E. orbicularis when turtles of similar carapax length were compared.
 
The populations of the widespread European pond turtle and their numbers are decreasing in Hungary and other European countries. Knowledge of basking habits, along with other biological characteristics of the species, could be important to preserve the European pond turtle. The purpose of our research was to assess the seasonal and daily basking activity of the European pond turtle, and the effects of weather parameters on sun-basking, for which no prior data exist for Hungary. Our study was carried out in the area of a dammed valley pond system at Gödöllő (Hungary) over two years. The results showed that the seasonal peak of the turtles’ basking (the highest number of observed sun-basking turtles) was in the spring. When using a finer time scale (1.5-hour intervals), we found that daily activity peaks were earlier in the spring and summer (11:00–12:30 h) than in autumn (12:30–14:00 h). Based on three measured temperatures (air temperature in shade and sunlight, water temperature), the number of basking turtles positively correlated with temperatures and varied seasonally; the optimal temperature ranges also shifted during the year. In the spring and autumn, turtles started sun-basking at lower temperatures than in the summer. We observed the narrowest optimal temperature ranges in the summer as well. Based on a Principal Component Analysis of weather parameters, low humidity and high air temperature created optimal basking conditions, whereas high humidity, and low air and water temperatures had an adverse effect.
 
Plate 204 out of Edwards, G. (1751): "A natural history of birds. The most of which have not hitherto been either figured or described, and the rest, by reason of obscure, or too brief descriptions without figures, or of figures very ill designed, are hitherto but little known: Part IV" etc. Above there is "The African Land-Tortoise", = Testudo graeca Linné.
MNHN 0.1937., designated Neotypus of Testudo graeca mauritanica, dorsal. (Photograph: A. Ohler).
MNHN 0.1937., designated Neotypus of Testudo graeca mauritanica, lateral. (Photograph: A. Ohler).
MNHN 0.1937., designated Neotypus of Testudo graeca mauritanica, ventral. (Photograph: A. Ohler).
It is shown that the location data for the terra typica restricta of Testudo graeca and for the terra typica designata for Testudo graeca are based on an incorrectly assigned location. In fact, the original place corresponds to Santa Cruz, known today as Agadir (Morocco) and not the old Spanish fortress of Santa Cruz near Oran in Algeria. Accordingly, populations of Testudo graeca from the Agadir environment have to be named Testudo graeca graeca instead of Testudo graeca soussensis . For the populations of Testudo graeca from the vicinity of Algiers, “ mauritanica ” is the next available name for this subspecies of graeca . Therefore, Testudo graeca mauritanica has to be used instead of Testudo graeca graeca . For Testudo graeca mauritanica , a lectotypus is designated.
 
Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and the locations of the melanistic grass snakes Natrix natrix found during our study and in literature (map source: OpenStreetMap.org and geo-spatial.org).
Polymorphism observed in Natrix natrix populations from DDBR. Top common morph; middle double yellow stripes pattern; bottom melanotic morph (photo credit: E. A. Telea & G. Fănaru).
Examples of encountered melanistic morphs of Natrix natrix. A. dorsal view of partially melanistic morph with double yellow stripes pattern, Sfântu Gheorghe (photo credit: I. Gherghel); B. dorsal view of melanotic morph, Histria (photo credit: E.A. Telea); C. partial lateral and ventral views of completely melanistic morph, Periboina (photo credit: F. Stănescu).
Body sizes of grass snakes Natrix natrix from Histria locality.
Animal colouration has a significant ecological role in defence, reproduction, and thermoregulation. In the case of melanism, it is a complex topic. Besides potential disadvantages such as higher risk of predation, melanistic ectotherms may have certain physiological advantages such as more efficient thermoregulation in colder climates and thus, reduced basking time. The common grass snake ( Natrix natrix ) is a widespread species throughout Europe and Asia. It exhibits a wide range of colour polymorphisms, from olive to dark grey, even albinistic and melanistic. Between 2016 and 2021, we conducted fieldwork in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR) with the aim to document the geographic range of melanistic grass snakes. We categorised the melanistic expressions of N. natrix individuals as melanotic, completely melanistic, and partially melanistic. Melanistic snakes were encountered in all six localities visited, suggesting that the occurrence of melanistic grass snakes in the DDBR is geographically widespread. We observed both juveniles (n=2) and adults (n=11) with melanism, suggesting that individuals are born melanistic. However, the proportion of melanistic individuals in the general population of N. natrix from the DDBR is unknown. Only at Histria locality we studied the proportion of melanism in the grass snake population and 6.3% of the snakes caught were melanistic. Body size comparisons are not statistically significant because of the low sample size. The N. natrix melanistic morph’s geographical distribution in the DDBR is most likely due to an interaction of climate and habitats, which offer a thermal advantage in the face of predation pressure.
 
Understanding population dynamics is vital in amphibian conservation. To compare demography and movements, we conducted a capture-recapture study over three spring seasons in two populations of Salamandra salamandra in the Vienna Woods. The study sites differ in topography, vegetation, and the type of breeding waters. Population density in a beech forest traversed by a stream was more than twice as high as in an oak-hornbeam forest with temporary pools. Movement distances were on average higher at the latter site whereas home range estimates were similar for both sites. The sexes did not differ significantly in the observed movement patterns at either site. Annual apparent survival was mostly high (~0.85), but the estimate for females from the low-density site was lower (~0.60), indicating a higher rate of emigration or mortality.
 
ML phylogenetic tree depicting the relationships between cytochrome b sequences haplotypes from Central Balkan clade of Podarcis muralis and those from Ukrainian introduced populations. Bootstrap support is indicated next to the nodes of interest. GenBank numbers follow previous phylogeographic studies (Schulte et al. 2012; Jablonski et al. 2019). Coloration of particular lineages corresponding with those used in Jablonski et al. (2019). Inset: an adult male from Reni, Ukraine.
The main haplogroups of the Central Balkan clade. Circle size is proportional to the number of samples under the same cytochrome b haplotype. Open circles represent missing haplotypes. Colors of haplotypes follow colors on Fig. 1.
Geographical position of the main cytochrome b haplogroups of the Central Balkan clade in the studied area. Approximate species distribution is given in green shading modified according to Jablonski et al. 2019).
Novel sequences used in this study and their geograph- ic position.
The phylogenetic relationships and possible origin of a putative non-native population of Podarcis muralis in Ukraine were assessed based on sequences of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b . Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Ukrainian lizards belong to two distinct mitochondrial lineages (haplogroups), both occurring within the Central Balkan clade, which includes most of central and south-eastern European populations. From overall three detected Ukrainian haplotypes, one haplotype share same genetic signal with the hyplotype from the locality Bjala (Bulgaria), the other two are unique for Ukrainian population. Two of haplotypes correspond with haplogroup covering large geographic region of Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. These results reinforce previous findings that the species has the ability to establish new populations out of its native range. While most introductions to Germany and Britain have been deliberate, it appears likely that human transport of goods via the Danube river of goods is responsible for the range expansion into Ukraine.
 
The distribution of Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni GMELIN, 1789, in the territory of former Yugoslavia was reviewed based on the records published since the end of the 19th century and the authors' observations. Although anthropogenic translocation of tortoises evidently occurred along the Adriatic coast, some populations in the northern parts of the Adriatic could be relicts of an originally continuous distribution.
 
The distinction of Acanthodactylus boskianus asper (AUDOUIN, 1827) from A. b. boskianus (DAUDIN, 1802) has always been debated, due to the variation within the former. We describe an overlooked qualitative pholidotic character that occurs in A. b. boskianus but not in A. b. asper or several other congeneric taxa, namely a vertebral track of smaller dorsal scales. Understanding its systematic implication requires further research.
 
We report the first country record of Calotes irawadi , identified previously as C. versicolor , from China based on four specimens collected from Tongbiguan Nature Reserve, Western Yunnan, China. Morphologically, the specimens show good agreement with the original description of C. irawadi , and phylogenetically clustered with specimens (including holotype) of C. irawadi from Myanmar with strong support. This is also the first record of C. irawadi from outside Myanmar.
 
Representative Peltocephalus dumerilianus in a lake on the Tapajós River. Captured and photographed by E.G.
Approximate distribution of Peltocephalus dumerilianus. The area highlighted in green is based on occurrences confirmed in the literature. The distribution range includes Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Peru and Venezuela.
Morphometric data (in cm and g) for Peltocephalus dumerilianus hatchlings. CL = straight carapace length; CW = carapace width; PL = plastron length, and PW = plastron width.
We review the extent and nature of scientific knowledge of the Big-headed Amazon River Turtle, Peltocephalus dumerilianus, covering distribution, morphology, taxonomy, diet, behaviour, reproduction, and ecology. We discuss the phylogenetic position of the species and its evolutionary relationships with the other podocnemidids, comparing morphological, karyological and molecular information. Also, we describe the importance of this species and its relationship with traditional Amazonian communities, including capture techniques, uses, beliefs and taboos. Finally, we comment on the conservation status of the species and the urgent need for additional studies. Besides discussing and reinterpreting published data, we provide new information from recent genetic studies, field activities and captive observations.
 
Map of Iran and Iraq showing the sampling localities of Ablepharus bivittatus (squares), A. chernovi (diamond), A. grayanus (circles), Ablepharus sp. (black triangles) and A. pannonicus (white triangles) used in this study. Numbers correspond to specimens listed in Suppl. material 1: Table S1.
Consensus tree of the Bayesian analysis based on data set of 536 bp of 16S rRNA mtDNA genes. Ablepharus bivittatus (Clade A); A. chernovi (Clade B); A. pannonicus includes populations from Khorasan Razavi and Semnan Provinces (subclade C1a), A. grayanus complex includes populations from east, south-eastern Iran and Indian (A.gra_CES09_858) (subclade C1b), Ablepharus sp. is distributed in eastern parts of Iraq, west and southwest of Iran and (subclade C2), A. kitaibelii Greece; (Clade D), A. budaki Cyprus and Syria (Clade E) and A. kitaibelii Greece and Turkey (Clade F). Numbers next to the nodes are posterior probabilities over 90%.
Primers used in this study to amplify and sequence marker genes.
Pairwise divergence amongst clades derived from the 12S rRNA mitochondrial gene; p-distances (bold) above and K2P below diagonal. Note that the outgroup taxa are Plestiodon elegans and Ophiomorus persicus.
Comparative pairwise divergence amongst all clades in Iran, Iraq, Cyprus, India, Greece, Turkey and Syria derived from the 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene; p-distances (bold) above and K2P below diagonal.
We recovered molecular phylogenetic relationships amongst species of the genus Ablepharus in Iran and Iraq. Partial sequences of three mitochondrial genes (cytochrome C oxidase subunit I – COI, 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA) were analysed. In addition, phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic evaluation of Ablepharus species in Cyprus, India, Greece, Turkey and Syria were performed using partial sequences of the 16S rRNA gene. Phylogenetic trees and estimated genetic distances showed that the Ablepharus populations of Iran and Iraq clustered into three distinct clades. One is found in northwest Iran ( A. bivittatus in Ardabil, East and West Azerbaijan and Hamedan Provinces). The second clade, formed by A. chernovi , is found only in Uromia. The third and most heterogeneous clade is divided into two subclades, the first includes two lineages of Ablepharus in Khorasan Razavi and Semnan Provinces ( A. pannonicus ) and in eastern and south-eastern Iran ( A. grayanus ); the second subclade is distributed in the eastern part of Iraq and west and south-western Iran ( Ablepharus sp.). Our analyses indicated that splitting of A. chernovi within the genus occurred in the early Miocene [about 22.5 million years ago (Mya)]. Ablepharus bivittatus diverged 15.2 Mya, in the middle Miocene. Ablepharus pannonicus diverged in the late Miocene (8.4 Mya) and A. grayanus separated in the late Miocene (6.7 Mya). The lineages of eastern Iraq and south-western Iran ( Ablepharus sp.) diverged also in the late Miocene (7.0 Mya).
 
Map of Pernambuco (PE) State in Brazil, location of Catimbau National Park inside the state and the municipalities that border the CU.
The diet of lizards is mainly composed of arthropods. It can be affected by biotic and abiotic factors, which influence the energy supply provided by the composition of the animal´s diet. The richness and abundance of many arthropod species can be influenced by environmental seasonality, especially in the Caatinga ecoregion, due to the rainfall regimes. The present study aims to describe aspects of the seasonal and morphological variation in the lizard Gymnodactylus geckoides diet and their energy content. We collected 157 individuals (63 females, 68 males, and 26 juveniles) at the Catimbau National Park, Northeastern Brazil, of which 72 were analyzed for the dry season and 59 for the rainy season. Our data indicates Isoptera to be the most common prey in G. geckoides’s diet. Energy content, prey number was higher in the dry season, whereas prey volume and glycogen content increased in the rainy season. Proteins and lipids did not show marked differences. The present study represents the first effort to understand variations in G. geckoide ’s trophic ecology, indicating that this specie presents a wide variation in their diet, especially when considering seasonal factors, revealing their needs and restrictions according to prey availability and environmental conditions.
 
The cross-section (18 µm thick) at the diaphysis level of a toe phalanx of a male Hyla savignyi (audOuin, 1827) from the İskenderun population shows 5 Lags and numerous osteocytes in the osseous matrix. m.c.-marrow cavity, e.b.-endosteal bone. abb. 2: der Querschnitt (schnittdicke 18 µm) im diaphysenbereich eines zehengliedes einer männlichen Hyla savignyi (audOuin, 1827) der İskenderun-population zeigt fünf Linien verlangsamten wachstums und zahlreiche Osteozyten in der Knochenmatrix. m.c.-Markhöhle, e.b.-endostaler Knochen.
Frequency distribution of male Hyla savignyi (audOuin, 1827) within five age classes (2 y-6 y) in the studied populations of İskenderun (n = 57), şanlıurfa (n = 50) and iğdır (n = 20). abb 3: verteilung männlicher Hyla savignyi (audOuin, 1827)auf fünf altersklassen (2 y-6 y) in den untersuchten populationen von İskenderun (n = 57), şanlıurfa (n = 50) und iğdır (n = 20).
A total of 127 male individuals of Hyla savignyi (AUDOUIN, 1827) from three populations of different altitudes (Iskenderun - 10 m a.s.l., Sanlrurfa - 476 m, Igdir - 858 m) were studied for age structure and body size using skeletochronology. Due to the small number of females collected, only males were considered in the analysis. The oldest individuals were six years old, both in Sanlrurfa and Igdir, compared to five years in the Iskenderun population. Age upon attaining sexual maturity ranged from one to two years for all sites. Males from higher altitude and latitude populations were larger than individuals from low altitude and more southern populations.
 
Gravid female of Basiliscus vittatus from La Selva del Marinero, Catemaco, Veracruz. Photo by Kevin M. Gribbins.
Relationship between snout vent length (SVL) and volume of eggs (VE) in Basiliscus vittatus from La Selva del Marinero, Catemaco, Veracruz.
Statistical summary for female morphology: SVL (snout-vent length), AM (absolute mass), and ILD (inter-limb distance), and reproductive traits: RCM (relative clutch mass), CS (clutch size), CM (clutch mass), ML (maximum length), MW (maximum wide), and VE (volume of egg) in Basiliscus vittatus from La Selva del Marinero, Catemaco, Veracruz.
Linear regression analysis of the relationship between female traits (SVL = snout vent length, ILD = inter-limb distance, AM = absolute mass), and reproductive traits (CS = clutch size, CM = clutch mass, ML = maximum length, MW = maximum wide, VE = volume of egg, and RCM = relative clutch mass) of Basiliscus vittatus from La Selva del Marinero, Catemaco, Veracruz. The * indicates a relationship between both traits.
Clutch size in family Corytophanidae, the data correspond to mean values.
Clutch size (CS) and relative clutch mass (RCM) are considered important features in life history descriptions of species within Squamata. Variations in these two characteristics are caused by both biotic and abiotic factors. The present study provides the first account related to CS and RCM of Basiliscus vittatus in Mexico within a population that inhabits an open riverbed juxtapositioned to tropical rainforest habitat in Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico (170 m a.s.l.). Twenty-nine gravid females were collected and kept in captivity under favorable conditions that promote oviposition. The CS within this population was 6.2 ± 0.2 and was correlated positively with snout vent-length (SVL); while the RCM was 0.17 ± 0.006 and was correlated positively with both CS and width of egg. Factors, such as female morphology and environmental conditions, should influence these reproductive traits in B. vittatus . The data collected in this study could provide a framework for comparisons of the life history traits across populations of B. vittatus in Mexico and within other species of the family Corytophanidae and provide a model for testing how abiotic and biotic factors may influence the CS and RCM in basilisk lizards throughout their range.
 
Erythrocytes of the tadpoles of Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). a-round cell with centrally placed nucleus, b-oval cells with centrally and eccentrically placed nuclei, c-elliptical cell with centrally placed nucleus, d-senile erythrocytes (without nucleus), e-teardrop-shaped cell, f-comma-shaped cell, g-poikilocytosis, h-dividing erythrocyte, i and j-crenulated erythrocytes, k-large erythrocytes, l-erythrocyte undergoing cell division, m and n-aggregation of erythrocytes. Length of scale bar represents 10 µm. abb. 1: Erythrozyten der Larven von Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). a-runde Zelle mit zentralem Kern, b-ovale Zellen mit zentral und exzentrisch gelegenen Kernen, c-elliptische Zelle mit zentralem Kern, d-senile (kernlose) Erythrozyten, e-tränenförmige Zelle, f-kommaförmige Zelle, g-Poikilozytose, h-Erythrozyt in Teilung, i und j-Erythrozyten mit gezackten oder welligen Zellgrenzen, k-große Erythrozyten, l-Erythrozyt in Zellteilung, m und n-Erythrozytenaggregate. die Balkenlänge entspricht 10 µm.
Leucocytes and platelets of the tadpoles of Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). a -large lymphocyte, b -small lymphocyte, c -monocyte with centrally placed indented nucleus, d -monocytes with eccentrically placed round nuclei, e -monocyte with eccentrically placed indented nucleus, f -monocytes with irregular cell edges, g -neutrophil granulocyte with trilobate nucleus, h -neutrophil granulocyte with tetra lobate nucleus, i -eosinophil granulocyte, j -basophil granulocyte, k -platelets in cluster. Length of scale bar represents 10 µm. abb. 2: Leukozyten und Blutplättchen der Larven von Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). a -großer Lymphozyt, b -kleiner Lymphozyt, c -Monozyt mit zentral gelegenem, gekerbten Kern, d -Monozyten mit exzentrischen, runden Kernen, e -Monozyt mit exzentrischem, gekerbten Kern, f -Monozyten mit unregelmäßigen Zellgrenzen, g -Neutrophiler Granulozyt mit dreilappigem Kern, h -neutrophiler Granulozyt mit vierlappigem Kern, i -eosinophiler Granulozyt, j -basophiler Granulozyt, k -verklumpte Blutplättchen. die Balkenlänge entspricht 10 µm.  
correlation between different morphometric values of erythrocytes and numeric developmental stage of tadpoles of Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). abb. 3: Korrelation zwischen den untersuchten morphometrischen Erythrozytenmerkmalen und dem numerischen Entwicklungsstadium bei Larven von Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830).  
Polynomial regression of the second order describing the relationship between percentage of different types of leucocytes and numerical developmental stage of tadpoles of Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830). abb. 4: Polynomiale regression zweiter Ordnung zur Beschreibung der Beziehung zwischen dem Prozentsatz verschiedener Leukozytentypen und dem numerischen Entwicklungsstadium bei Larven von Polypedates maculatus (Gray, 1830).  
Changes in erythrocyte morphology and leukocyte profile were studied in the Indian Tree Frog Polypedates maculatus (GRAY, 1830), during larval development, from hind limb bud appearance to completion of metamorphosis. The shape of erythrocytes varied from normal oval/elliptical and round to irregular forms such as teardrop-shaped, comma-shaped, and crenulated cells which we do not think are artifacts. Aggregation of erythrocytes was observed throughout the developmental period analyzed. Out of five types of leukocytes that were clearly identified, neutrophil granulocytes and lymphocytes were comparatively numerous during the early larval stages, whereas monocytes and eosinophil granulocytes were more numerous in advanced stages of larval development. Percentage of basophil granulocytes increased gradually during the larval development. Blood platelets were found in clusters which is not classified as artifact, just as erythrocyte aggregation and irregular forms. The present study is the first to provide information on the blood cell profile of tadpoles of P. maculatus.
 
In Iran, Ablepharus bivittatus (MENETRIES, 1832) is known from the northwest and some isolated records in the Central Elburz and Kopet Dagh Mountains. MaxEnt software was selected to predict its potential distribution in this country and find the most important climatic factors that influence the species' distribution pattern. Four variables were most determinative for the species' distribution: (i) quantity of precipitation of the coldest quarter, (ii) mean temperature of the coldest quarter, (iii) slope of the habitat and (iv) temperature seasonality (= range of annual temperature variation), where winter precipitation and temperature plus habitat slope were the main determinants. In addition, competition with Ablepharus pannonicus (FITZLNGER, 1824), is suggested to restrict the dispersion of A. bivittatus towards the east and south along the Elburz and Zagros Mountains, respectively.
 
A. A sticky trap in use, hung from a tree; B. The first sticky trap found on the ground with a trapped dead adult Ablepharus kitaibelii (notice the arrow).
(A.-I.) Dead individuals of Ablepharus kitaibelii on several sticky traps.
Terrestrial reptiles are threatened by numerous anthropogenic activities, including agriculture. Many agricultural methods and techniques affect the herpetofauna located in the oldest known tree crops in the Mediterranean Basin, olive trees. For the first time, we present a case of unintentional capture (and killing) of 12 snake-eyed skinks Ablepharus kitaibelii (Bibron & Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1833) on an insect control sticky trap in an olive grove in central Greece.
 
The distribution of the Balkan Pond Turtle in the Aegean region is presented by means of the author's observations and information from references, including a comparison of historical records and current data. Within its vast range across southeast Europe and western Asia Minor, a considerable local decline of this turtle's populations, chiefly due to the loss of wetland habitats, was observed over the last decades. Mauremys rivulata (VALENCIENNES, 1833), is a species of reptile whose distribution does not correspond to the geological graben system, i.e. it is to be found throughout the Aegean archipelago. To date, the species' occurrence is known from 29 Greek and two Turkish islands. In this paper, the turtle's present situation on Kea (Cyclades) is used as an example to discuss the distribution and ecological requirements of M. rivulata and the threats to its survival. Its preferred habitats are to be found in the estuaries of streams and rivers, which are threatened by increasingly intensified forms of use (e.g. tourism, construction, intensive agriculture). According to an inventory drawn up by WWF Greece, wetland structures on Aegean islands tend to be small in scale. That makes them all the more vulnerable to damage and destruction. Refugial, populations of the Balkan Terrapin are to be found along some of the middle and upper reaches of streams and rivers on the biggest islands, but normally these populations are small. In the interior of the islands, more and more reservoirs are being built, which can be colonized by the Balkan Terrapin. The Greek islands are in urgent need of a targeted nature protection strategy to ensure preservation of their natural assets, the last remaining wetlands in particular. They are so important to the hygrophilic herpetofauna and other specialized species of the flora and fauna, e.g. as stepping stones for migratory species.
 
Adult-juvenile aggression (A; white dots are artificial paint-markings), copulation bite marks on females (B, C) and physical injuries (D-I) in Ablepharus kitaibelii from Bulgaria. White arrows point to bites or missing extremities.
The Snake-eyed Skink’s intra- and inter-specific interactions and their impacts on the individual (e.g. injuries) have received little attention so far. As part of copulation, male lizards bite the females; observations confirm an old report that bites occur in the fore side of the body, along with more recently published information about the back side. Additionally, out of 435 individuals observed in situ , 10 had missing extremities (toes, ankles, etc.); however, further studies should identify the causes of such injury, e.g. male-male combat, predators. For the first time, an adult male was observed biting a juvenile ex situ ; the specific reasons, however, remain unknown. This report should generate further interest in ecological and behavioral studies, assessing the costs and benefits to potential territorial defense, intra-specific combat, and predator pressure and escape mechanisms.
 
Adult specimens of Philodryas chamissonis. A male. B female. C, D Incubator with Philodryas eggs.
Hatching of Philodryas chamissonis eggs. A Neonates breaking the eggs. Red arrowheads indicate the cuts done with hatching tooth. B First neonate sticking his head (green arrowhead), called P1 in this work. C P5 neonate with yolk sac.
Biometric data of Philodryas chamissonis specimens recorded during four ecdysis. Data shown represent the mean ± SD (N=7).
The long-tailed snake Philodryas chamissonis is an oviparous rear-fanged species endemic to Chile, whose reproductive biology is currently based on anecdotic reports. The characteristics of the eggs, incubation time, and hatching are still unknown. This work describes for the first time the oviposition of 16 eggs by a female in captivity at Zoológico Nacional in Chile. After an incubation period of 59 days, seven neonates were born. We recorded data of biometry and ecdysis of these neonates for 9 months. In addition, a review about parameters of egg incubation and hatching for Philodryas species is provided.
 
The present study examined the effect of microhabitat air temperature on the escape behavior of Gonatodes albogularis (DumERIL & BRIBON, 1836) in a tropical dry forest relict of Colombia, South America. Results showed negative correlation between both microhabitat air temperature and distance between lizards and predators at the moment in which escape is triggered and between temperature and distance of lizards to the closest shelter.
 
Top-cited authors
Luca Luiselli
  • Rivers State University of Science and Technology
Oscar Arribas
  • IES Castilla. Junta de Castilla y León
Massimo Capula
  • Museo Civico di Zoologia di Roma
Mark-Oliver Rödel
  • Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity
Stéphane Grosjean
  • Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle