Smooth green question mark
SD biologists wonder what’s become of an uncommon, common snake
by Lance Nixon
On paper they’re as common as grass.
But outside the textbooks, the smooth green snake, Opheodrys vernalis – or “grass snake,” as some people in South Dakota call it – might not be as common as even scientists believe.

That’s the concern that Black Hills State University biologist Brian Smith and his graduate student, Brian Blais, share.
“My thesis is focusing on the genetic diversity across the species range,” Blais said.” We suspect that there may be genetically distinct populations scattered across its range – including differentiation of the Black Hills vs. the Prairie Pothole Region within South Dakota – and my study should shed light on that issue. Identifying these fragile populations could offer recommendations to wildlife managers.”…
(read more: Capital Journal)
photograph by Brian Blais

Smooth green question mark

SD biologists wonder what’s become of an uncommon, common snake

by Lance Nixon

On paper they’re as common as grass.

But outside the textbooks, the smooth green snake, Opheodrys vernalis – or “grass snake,” as some people in South Dakota call it – might not be as common as even scientists believe.

That’s the concern that Black Hills State University biologist Brian Smith and his graduate student, Brian Blais, share.

“My thesis is focusing on the genetic diversity across the species range,” Blais said.” We suspect that there may be genetically distinct populations scattered across its range – including differentiation of the Black Hills vs. the Prairie Pothole Region within South Dakota – and my study should shed light on that issue. Identifying these fragile populations could offer recommendations to wildlife managers.”…

(read more: Capital Journal)

photograph by Brian Blais

explosionsoflife
explosionsoflife:

The blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata) is sometimes colloquially referred to as the “100-pace snake” because it is said that a human can make it 100 paces away after sustaining a bite from this animal before they die. However, there are not many recorded cases of human fatalities due to this snake, which hints that the snake gets a worse reputation than it deserves. Its typical prey is other snakes.
(Photo © Tom Charlton)

explosionsoflife:

The blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata) is sometimes colloquially referred to as the “100-pace snake” because it is said that a human can make it 100 paces away after sustaining a bite from this animal before they die. However, there are not many recorded cases of human fatalities due to this snake, which hints that the snake gets a worse reputation than it deserves. Its typical prey is other snakes.

(Photo © Tom Charlton)

The search for an Eastern fox snake

by Richard Bartlett

Kenny wanted to see an Eastern fox snake, Pantherophis vulpina gloydi, because it would be a lifer for him and I wanted to see it just because I wanted to see it.

I had seen this species before, but I never tire of seeing herps in the wild, so we were somewhere along the southern shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio. We walked through a beautiful park where the Eastern fox snake was said to be common. We failed to find one there. We were now walking a breakwater that had jumbles of boulders for its entire length and a fairly dense tree canopy for most of its length…

(read more: Kingsnake.com)

photographs by Richard Bartlett

amnhnyc
amnhnyc:

Celebrate #FossilFriday with Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis! 
Pachycephalosaurus, meaning “thick-headed reptile,” lived 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period and was the largest bone-headed dinosaur ever found, with 10 inches of bone crowning its rather small brain. This specimen was found in 1940 in Carter County, Montana. 
This fossil is located in the Museum’s Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs. 

amnhnyc:

Celebrate #FossilFriday with Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis

Pachycephalosaurus, meaning “thick-headed reptile,” lived 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period and was the largest bone-headed dinosaur ever found, with 10 inches of bone crowning its rather small brain. This specimen was found in 1940 in Carter County, Montana. 

This fossil is located in the Museum’s Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs. 

usfwspacific

Cold-blooded reptile smugglers feel the heat: Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Agents break up international animal trafficking ring

usfwspacific:

Nathaniel Swanson thought that he had it all figured out. His Everett, Washington reptile store provided the perfect cover. His contacts in China were trustworthy and reliable. His customers were discreet. He had a system, a ring of effective black market animal traffickers that brought him hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal profit.

But one moment of laziness on the part of his Hong Kong partners, one alert delivery service package handler, and timely intervention by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s special agents brought his ring down. His illegal wildlife trafficking activities cost him a year of time in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.  

image

Wood turtles, threatened in the United States, were among the reptiles sent to China by Swanson’s smuggling ring. Credit: Colin Osborn/USFWS

Read More

amnhnyc

amnhnyc:

Expedition Report: Susan Perkins in Saba

In this episode, Associate Curator Susan Perkins describes her long-term study of malarial parasites and their host lizards, work that draws her back again and again to Saba Island—a relatively unspoiled paradise in the Caribbean.

Dr. Perkins is a microbiologist who studies malarial parasites, symbiotic bacteria, and even RNA viruses. Her research includes multiple ways of approaching questions about these microbes, from their evolutionary histories to their genomics.

Listen to more in our Expedition Report series.

reptilefacts

libutron:

Knysna Dwarf Chameleon

Within the Bradypodion genus of dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion damaranum (Chamaeleonidae) is one of the larger species, reaching a maximum length to over 18 cm. Ant it is also one of the most colorful chameleon species.

These forest dwellers chameleons are endemic to the Cape Province in South Africa. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Tyrone Ping | Locality: George, Western Cape, South Africa - [Top] - [Bottom]

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Indian Tent Turtle 
The Indian Tent Turtle (Pangshura tentoria) gets its name from the tent-like appearance of its shell. They can be found in Central and Northern India, Western Bangladesh and Southern Nepal. Young turtles start out eating an omnivorous diet and lean more towards herbivores as adults. They prefer large rivers and their tributaries, spending a great deal of time basking on banks, rocks and logs during the day. (A juvenile is pictured.)
(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Indian Tent Turtle

The Indian Tent Turtle (Pangshura tentoria) gets its name from the tent-like appearance of its shell. They can be found in Central and Northern India, Western Bangladesh and Southern Nepal. Young turtles start out eating an omnivorous diet and lean more towards herbivores as adults. They prefer large rivers and their tributaries, spending a great deal of time basking on banks, rocks and logs during the day. (A juvenile is pictured.)

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

libutron
libutron:

Brown House Snake 
Boaedon capensis (Colubridae), better known as Cape House Snake, is a non-venomous species endemic to Southern Africa, inhabiting a wide range of habitats. 
This species varies greatly in appearance and size throughout it’s range, and there are also several morphs in the pet trade. They are sexually dimorphic, males attain an overall length of around 60 cm and females as large as 120 cm.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©Tyrone Ping  | Locality: Vaalwater, Limpopo, South Africa

libutron:

Brown House Snake 

Boaedon capensis (Colubridae), better known as Cape House Snake, is a non-venomous species endemic to Southern Africa, inhabiting a wide range of habitats.

This species varies greatly in appearance and size throughout it’s range, and there are also several morphs in the pet trade. They are sexually dimorphic, males attain an overall length of around 60 cm and females as large as 120 cm.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Tyrone Ping  | Locality: Vaalwater, Limpopo, South Africa

prehistoric-birds
elijahshandseight:

Conchoraptor gracilis .
Among the theropods that I draw less frequently, Oviraptorids (and Oviraptorosauria in general) are among the most fascinating coelurosaurs. What amazes me is how much they resemble today’s parrots, especially at the level of the skull. An affinity that seemed even more pronounced when I decided to use the reconstruction by Jaime A. Headden of the oviraptorine Conchoraptor and give it a complete plumage: the resemblance to a lorikeet or a cockatiel is impressive. Because there aren’t any kind of developed cephalic crest, the animal in question seems more than anything else a real parrot  also taking into account the dutiful anatomical precautions.
The main difference between this picture and Headden's diagrams lies mainly in the positioning of the nostrils. As shown in the study by Lautenschlager et al. the greater extension of the beak of a large part of the rostrum, especially in the area of the premaxilla, involves a repositioning of some structures, like the nostrils, and a radical change in appearance. In this Conchoraptor such ’ innovation ’ is not so obvious, but in the future I will show you that the research in question involves evident iconographic changes on a large scale.
Like for Teratophoneus and Lythronax, because patience is the key to everything, this reconstruction will be undergoing gradual changes. First of all the plumage: even if I’m ‘able’ to paint scaly or bare skin in a more or less ‘passable’ way, with a thick layer of fur and/or feathers I still can not get the desired results. Fortunately, there are lots and lots of textbooks and online tutorials (I’ve already found some very good ones), and there’s nothing to do except making more and more exercise and practice.
Also, for the first time in my life, the scanning seems to have even improved the original design. I still can not believe it. It will be the usual fluke.
A Conch Plunderer, 2014.
Coloured with Tria Markers and pencils. Acrylics were used for some light effetcs.
Paper size: A4. Made on Letraset’s Bleedproof Marker Pad.
Loosely based on: brown lory and kea.
References: Jaime A. Headden & “Lautenschlager S, Witmer LM, Altangerel P, Rayfield EJ (2013) Edentulism, beaks and biomechanical innovations in the evolution of theropod dinosaurs. PNAS: 1310711110v1-201310711.”
Links: http://ktboundary-smnt2000.blogspot.it/2014/03/a-conch-plunderer.html, http://smnt2000.deviantart.com/art/A-Conch-Plunderer-442066832

elijahshandseight:

Conchoraptor gracilis .

Among the theropods that I draw less frequently, Oviraptorids (and Oviraptorosauria in general) are among the most fascinating coelurosaurs. What amazes me is how much they resemble today’s parrots, especially at the level of the skull. An affinity that seemed even more pronounced when I decided to use the reconstruction by Jaime A. Headden of the oviraptorine Conchoraptor and give it a complete plumage: the resemblance to a lorikeet or a cockatiel is impressive. Because there aren’t any kind of developed cephalic crest, the animal in question seems more than anything else a real parrot  also taking into account the dutiful anatomical precautions.

The main difference between this picture and Headden's diagrams lies mainly in the positioning of the nostrils. As shown in the study by Lautenschlager et al. the greater extension of the beak of a large part of the rostrum, especially in the area of the premaxilla, involves a repositioning of some structures, like the nostrils, and a radical change in appearance. In this Conchoraptor such ’ innovation ’ is not so obvious, but in the future I will show you that the research in question involves evident iconographic changes on a large scale.

Like for Teratophoneus and Lythronax, because patience is the key to everything, this reconstruction will be undergoing gradual changes. First of all the plumage: even if I’m ‘able’ to paint scaly or bare skin in a more or less ‘passable’ way, with a thick layer of fur and/or feathers I still can not get the desired results. Fortunately, there are lots and lots of textbooks and online tutorials (I’ve already found some very good ones), and there’s nothing to do except making more and more exercise and practice.

Also, for the first time in my life, the scanning seems to have even improved the original design. I still can not believe it. It will be the usual fluke.

A Conch Plunderer, 2014.

Coloured with Tria Markers and pencils. Acrylics were used for some light effetcs.

Paper size: A4. Made on Letraset’s Bleedproof Marker Pad.

Loosely based on: brown lory and kea.

References: Jaime A. Headden & “Lautenschlager S, Witmer LM, Altangerel P, Rayfield EJ (2013) Edentulism, beaks and biomechanical innovations in the evolution of theropod dinosaurs. PNAS: 1310711110v1-201310711.”

Links: http://ktboundary-smnt2000.blogspot.it/2014/03/a-conch-plunderer.htmlhttp://smnt2000.deviantart.com/art/A-Conch-Plunderer-442066832