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Olive House Snake
Boaedon olivaceus (Lamprophiidae) is a species of House snake native to west and central Africa, with a complex taxonomic history, which until 2011 was assigned to the widespread genus Lamprophis.
Olive House Snakes are small, non venomous colubrids sexually dimorphic in that females grow significantly larger than males (Males 50 - 70cm and females 70 - 100cm). The name “House Snake” was given as they are often found around houses and other buildings looking for food.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Konrad Mebert | Locality: Banalia-Longala, Democratic Republic of the Congo

libutron:

Olive House Snake

Boaedon olivaceus (Lamprophiidae) is a species of House snake native to west and central Africa, with a complex taxonomic history, which until 2011 was assigned to the widespread genus Lamprophis.

Olive House Snakes are small, non venomous colubrids sexually dimorphic in that females grow significantly larger than males (Males 50 - 70cm and females 70 - 100cm). The name “House Snake” was given as they are often found around houses and other buildings looking for food.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Konrad Mebert | Locality: Banalia-Longala, Democratic Republic of the Congo

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle
The small and agile narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus) is endemic to southern Mexico and northern Central America. Its relatively large head has very powerful jaws and pointed beak making it well adapted for its varied diet. An opportunistic carnivore, it eats all kinds of accessible prey types including fish, frogs, newts, snails, earthworms, insects and larvae. With its long neck and hooked lower jaw, the narrow-bridged mud turtle is a formidable hunter! 
Photo by James Harding
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle

The small and agile narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus) is endemic to southern Mexico and northern Central America. Its relatively large head has very powerful jaws and pointed beak making it well adapted for its varied diet. An opportunistic carnivore, it eats all kinds of accessible prey types including fish, frogs, newts, snails, earthworms, insects and larvae. With its long neck and hooked lower jaw, the narrow-bridged mud turtle is a formidable hunter!

Photo by James Harding

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

Cleveland Metropark Zoo Working to Help Threatened Spotted Turtles
by Jean Bonechak
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a Northeast Ohio park district are working in tandem to ensure the limited spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) population in Ohio doesn’t disappear.
The reptile is on the state’s threatened species list and without intervention might become endangered.
“If we don’t do something about it they may disappear in 10 years,” said Paul Pira, a Geauga Park District biologist.
Though not threatened in other areas of the U.S., the prevalence of spotted turtles in the northeastern states and Canada is extremely limited.
The species, which is naturally slow to mature and reproduce, also is the victim of predators, especially raccoons. A loss of its preferred wetlands habitat coupled with an illegal pet trade adds to the creatures’ scarcity…
(read more: Morning Journal)

Cleveland Metropark Zoo Working to Help Threatened Spotted Turtles

by Jean Bonechak

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a Northeast Ohio park district are working in tandem to ensure the limited spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) population in Ohio doesn’t disappear.

The reptile is on the state’s threatened species list and without intervention might become endangered.

“If we don’t do something about it they may disappear in 10 years,” said Paul Pira, a Geauga Park District biologist.

Though not threatened in other areas of the U.S., the prevalence of spotted turtles in the northeastern states and Canada is extremely limited.

The species, which is naturally slow to mature and reproduce, also is the victim of predators, especially raccoons. A loss of its preferred wetlands habitat coupled with an illegal pet trade adds to the creatures’ scarcity…

(read more: Morning Journal)

reptilefacts
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Black-headed python
The distinctive Black-headed python, Aspidites melanocephalus (Pythonidae), does indeed have a black head and neck, which contrasts strongly with the brown banding along its body. The banding is light to dark brown or orange-brown on a base that can be creamy white, light brown and occasionally even yellow (as shown in the photo).
It is a large python (up to 250 cm length), endemic to Australia, found in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.
Etymology: Aspidites means ‘shield-bearer’, referring to the large scales on the head; and melanocephalus means ’black-headed’.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Jordan Vos
Locality: Australia

libutron:

Black-headed python

The distinctive Black-headed python, Aspidites melanocephalus (Pythonidae), does indeed have a black head and neck, which contrasts strongly with the brown banding along its body. The banding is light to dark brown or orange-brown on a base that can be creamy white, light brown and occasionally even yellow (as shown in the photo).

It is a large python (up to 250 cm length), endemic to Australia, found in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

Etymology: Aspidites means ‘shield-bearer’, referring to the large scales on the head; and melanocephalus means ’black-headed’.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Jordan Vos

Locality: Australia

paleobiology
ewilloughby:

Changyuraptor yangi is a newly-described microraptorine dromaeosaur dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Yixian formation) of Liaoning, China.
The animal would have been around 4 feet long in life, and its fossil shows that it was covered in feathers — including, as in its smaller cousin Microraptor, a pair of “leg wings” represented by long paired pennaceous feathers on the metatarsals and tibiotarsus. One of Changyuraptor's most unique features is its voluminous tail feathers, and these feathers constitute the longest of any known non-avian dinosaur, with the most distal retrices reaching around 30 cm in length.
Changyuraptor is also by far the largest “four-winged” dinosaur known, and while this might not be as big of a deal as it sounds (given that there aren’t very many “four-winged” dinosaurs), it does show that small size wasn’t necessarily the gatekeeper to certain volant adaptations. I personally doubt that this animal was doing anything approaching powered flight, but the long tail feathers and multiple sets of long, well-developed lifting surfaces may have been a boon to gliding and controlled descent. The exceptionally long tail feathers therefore might have been used as a sort of “pitch control” device, wherein a large, relatively heavy animal would have needed especially fine-tuned control over rapid falls onto prey or in safe landings from higher ground. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “This isn’t flying, it’s falling with style!”
—
Gouache paint on A3-size hot-pressed illustration board, approx. 5-6 hours.
Gang Han et al. 2014. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance”. Nature Communications. 5: 4382.

ewilloughby:

Changyuraptor yangi is a newly-described microraptorine dromaeosaur dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Yixian formation) of Liaoning, China.

The animal would have been around 4 feet long in life, and its fossil shows that it was covered in feathers — including, as in its smaller cousin Microraptor, a pair of “leg wings” represented by long paired pennaceous feathers on the metatarsals and tibiotarsus. One of Changyuraptor's most unique features is its voluminous tail feathers, and these feathers constitute the longest of any known non-avian dinosaur, with the most distal retrices reaching around 30 cm in length.

Changyuraptor is also by far the largest “four-winged” dinosaur known, and while this might not be as big of a deal as it sounds (given that there aren’t very many “four-winged” dinosaurs), it does show that small size wasn’t necessarily the gatekeeper to certain volant adaptations. I personally doubt that this animal was doing anything approaching powered flight, but the long tail feathers and multiple sets of long, well-developed lifting surfaces may have been a boon to gliding and controlled descent. The exceptionally long tail feathers therefore might have been used as a sort of “pitch control” device, wherein a large, relatively heavy animal would have needed especially fine-tuned control over rapid falls onto prey or in safe landings from higher ground. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “This isn’t flying, it’s falling with style!”

Gouache paint on A3-size hot-pressed illustration board, approx. 5-6 hours.

Gang Han et al. 2014. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance”. Nature Communications. 5: 4382.

libutron
libutron:

Asian Racer (Coin-Marked Snake)
Originally described from Egypt, Hemorrhois nummifer (Colubridae), the commonly named Asian Racer, has a wide distribution in Turkey, Cyprus, countries of the Near and Middle East such as Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, countries of central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan, E Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, and Sinai.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©cowyeow | Locality: Mount Carmel National Park, Haifa, Israel

libutron:

Asian Racer (Coin-Marked Snake)

Originally described from Egypt, Hemorrhois nummifer (Colubridae), the commonly named Asian Racer, has a wide distribution in Turkey, Cyprus, countries of the Near and Middle East such as Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, countries of central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan, E Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, and Sinai.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©cowyeow | Locality: Mount Carmel National Park, Haifa, Israel

After being stuck inside most of the day, because of the rains, I got to take the kids in my North American Wildlife camp outside today for a post-rain hike, in the park where I work in Houston, TX. Amongst other cool animals, we encountered this gorgeous male Three-toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) walking amongst the fallen leaves under a live oak. He’s got to be one of the biggest Three-toed box turtles I’ve seen in years. :3

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Yellow rat snake
Yellow rat snake is the common name given to the North American rat snake subspecies Pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittata (formerly Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata), whose distribution goes from the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, southward along the coast to include all of peninsular Florida except the northwestern part.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Kristian Bell | Locality: Florida, US

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Yellow rat snake

Yellow rat snake is the common name given to the North American rat snake subspecies Pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittata (formerly Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata), whose distribution goes from the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, southward along the coast to include all of peninsular Florida except the northwestern part.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Kristian Bell | Locality: Florida, US

New Long Tailed Microraptor Discovered in China
by James Morgan
A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and “hindwings”.

Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China. Its remarkable tail feathers - measuring up to 30cm - are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.
This unusual plumage helped the creature to slow down during flight and land safely, say scientists writing in Nature Communications. C. yangi is a new species of microraptorine, a group related to early avians.

These ancient creatures offer clues to the origin of flight - and the transition from feathered dinosaurs to birds…
(read more: BBC News)
illustration by C. Abramowicz

New Long Tailed Microraptor Discovered in China

by James Morgan

A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and “hindwings”.

Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China. Its remarkable tail feathers - measuring up to 30cm - are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.

This unusual plumage helped the creature to slow down during flight and land safely, say scientists writing in Nature Communications. C. yangi is a new species of microraptorine, a group related to early avians.

These ancient creatures offer clues to the origin of flight - and the transition from feathered dinosaurs to birds…

(read more: BBC News)

illustration by C. Abramowicz

reptilefacts
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Pueblan Milk Snake 
Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli (Colubridae), the Pueblan Milk Snake is a three color banded snake, found in Mexico (southern Puebla, eastern Morelos and northern Oaxaca). 
The band pattern of this nonvenomous snake is red-black-white-black. There are a number of color variations where the white may be replaced with apricot or tangerine, and the red may be replaced with orange. The head is black and usually has a light U-shape on the frontal scale The first white band starts on the back of the head. The bands extend partly onto the underside.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©Ricardo Ramírez
Locality: unknown (Mexico)

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Pueblan Milk Snake 

Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli (Colubridae), the Pueblan Milk Snake is a three color banded snake, found in Mexico (southern Puebla, eastern Morelos and northern Oaxaca).

The band pattern of this nonvenomous snake is red-black-white-black. There are a number of color variations where the white may be replaced with apricot or tangerine, and the red may be replaced with orange. The head is black and usually has a light U-shape on the frontal scale The first white band starts on the back of the head. The bands extend partly onto the underside.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Ricardo Ramírez

Locality: unknown (Mexico)

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Kimberley Rock Monitor  (Glauert’s Monitor)
This long-necked monitor lizard is commonly known as the Kimberley Rock Monitor, and has the scientific name of Varanus glauerti (Varanidae).
Varanus glauerti is a medium-sized monitor (up to 80 cm in length) which occupies rocky habitats, being both terrestrial or arboreal. Males and pairs often share the same tree, and even the same branch stub, with no evidence of agonistic behavior outside the breeding season. They are active foragers.  
This species is distributed from western Kimberley in Western Australia, to the northwestern tip of the Northern Territory (Australia).
References: [1] - [2]
Photo: ©Henry Cook
Locality: Kimberley, Western Australia

libutron:

Kimberley Rock Monitor  (Glauert’s Monitor)

This long-necked monitor lizard is commonly known as the Kimberley Rock Monitor, and has the scientific name of Varanus glauerti (Varanidae).

Varanus glauerti is a medium-sized monitor (up to 80 cm in length) which occupies rocky habitats, being both terrestrial or arboreal. Males and pairs often share the same tree, and even the same branch stub, with no evidence of agonistic behavior outside the breeding season. They are active foragers.  

This species is distributed from western Kimberley in Western Australia, to the northwestern tip of the Northern Territory (Australia).

References: [1] - [2]

Photo: ©Henry Cook

Locality: Kimberley, Western Australia

TSA Turtle Tuesday:  The Arrau or Giant River Turtle
The giant South American river turtle (Podocnemis expansa) is the largest river turtle in South America, with males reaching nearly 200 pounds! 
The large, aquatic species has a wide distribution and can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Known to be strong swimmers due to their size and powerful limbs, they are able to traverse deep rivers with strong currents. Their broad, dome-shaped shell allows them to be streamlined and move efficiently through the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers where they are found. 
 Photograph by Camila Ferrara
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Turtle Tuesday:  The Arrau or Giant River Turtle

The giant South American river turtle (Podocnemis expansa) is the largest river turtle in South America, with males reaching nearly 200 pounds!

The large, aquatic species has a wide distribution and can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. Known to be strong swimmers due to their size and powerful limbs, they are able to traverse deep rivers with strong currents. Their broad, dome-shaped shell allows them to be streamlined and move efficiently through the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers where they are found. 

Photograph by Camila Ferrara

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)