Carettochelyidae

Papua New Guinea Prson With Nose Pircere

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Suborder Cryptodira Family Carettochelyidae A turtle of moderate size with paddle-like forelimbs, a rough, leathery shell, and a pig-nose snout Up to 22 in (56 cm) and 50 lb (22.5 kg) 1 genus 1 species (Carettochelys insculpta) Southern New Guinea and northern Australia Southern New Guinea and northern Australia Although pig-nose turtles represent a very distinctive family, they are most closely related to the softshell turtles (Tri-onychidae). This turtle is...

Significance to humans

Chinese Alligator Tail

Although the benefit is difficult to quantify, some species of alligatorids play an important role in the tourism industry. American alligators in the southeastern United States, for example, have become tourist attractions, drawing visitors to the Everglades of southern Florida and the bayous of Louisiana. Several members of this family are hunted, especially for their skin, which is used as leather for shoes, bags, and various accessories. Humans also hunt these animals for meat and,...

Dermochelyidae

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Suborder Cryptodira Family Dermochelyidae A huge marine turtle with a smooth, leathery, black, teardrop-shaped carapace, with scattered small white or yellow blotches Up to 96 in (244 cm) and 1,911 lb (867 kg) The leatherback seaturtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is most closely related to the other marine turtles of the family Che-loniidae. The family Dermochelyidae is known from the Eocene to the Pliocene in Africa, Europe, Japan, Antarctica, Peru, and North...

Species accounts

Testudo caretta Linnaeus, 1758, Insulas Americanas (American islands). No subspecies are currently recognized, although the Pacific and Atlantic populations have been considered different races by some authors. English Loggerhead French Caouanne German Unechte Karettschildkrote Spanish Caguama, tortuga boba. The loggerhead seaturtle is the largest species in this family, reaching 84 in (213 cm) carapace length and weights up to 1,000 lb (454 kg). The head is quite broad posteriorly and short...

Rhombic night adder

Causus rhombeatus Lichtenstein, 1823, type locality not specified. OTHER COMMON NAMES English Common night adder, demon adder French Vip re nocturne, vip re-d mon German Kr tenotter, Pfeilotter, Nachtadder, Nachtotter. The night adder is a rather small, stout viper with a distinct rounded head covered by nine larger shields. The pupil is round. The dorsal scales are weakly keeled, and the body is cylindrical. The tail is short. The maximum size of this viper is less than 3.3 ft (1 m), but the...

Physical characteristics

Certain features of bipedids are common to most or all amphisbaenians. These include reduction or absence of the right lung an enlarged, medial, premaxillary tooth the peri odic shedding of the skin in a single piece a heavily ossified and robust skull absence of eyelids a forked tongue and the absence of external ear openings. The family Bipedidae includes three species that attain a body length of 4.5-9.4 in (115-240 mm) and a body width of 0.27-0.39 in (7-10 mm). The most striking feature of...

Common sagebrush lizard

Urosaurus graciosus Baird and Girard, 1852, Southern California. Two subspecies are recognized. English Long-tailed uta, western sagebrush lizard, northern sagebrush lizard, southern sagebrush lizard, brush lizard, Arizona brush lizard Spanish Lagartija de Matorral, cachora coluda. Sagebrush lizards are light grayish brown lizards with a very long tail. They have a series of thin, dark lines branching across the head and running down the back and sides. The lizards are generally darker in color...

Calabar boa

Charina reinhardtii Schlegel, 1848, originally designated as Old Calabar, West Africa and now annotated to Gold Coast. English Burrowing python, Calabar ground python German Erdpython. The Calabar boa is a small species that only rarely grows longer than 30 in (80 cm). The head is small and not distinguished from the neck. The body is round, the skin is soft, the scales are smooth, and the tail is blunt. Individuals are dark brown or black with red or orange scales randomly scattered on the...

Bismarck blindsnake

Acutotyphlops subocularis Waite, 1897, Duke of York Island (Bismarck Archipelago). No subspecies are recognized. This species has a total length of 7.5-15.5 in (19.1-39.4 cm). The tail is 3.0-4.5 of total length in females, but may be as long as 6.3 of total length in males. Males also have a greater number of subcaudal scales (22-31) than females (14-23). In both sexes, the tail terminates in a relatively large, thornlike apical spine. Aspect ratios range from 23 to 44, but average...

Reproductive biology

All species studied are viviparous with many species having small litter sizes ranging from one to three offspring however, X. grandis from a population in Veracruz, Mexico, has larger litters ranging up to six. Females likely give birth between June and August. A knob-scaled lizard (Xenosaurus grandis). (Photo by R. Wayne Van De-vender. Reproduced by permission.) A knob-scaled lizard (Xenosaurus grandis). (Photo by R. Wayne Van De-vender. Reproduced by permission.)

No common name

Gymnophthalmus underwoodi Grant, 1958, Barbados. Gymnoph-thalmus underwoodi is actually a complex of species, or independent evolutionary units. Some populations of Gymnophthalmus underwoodi are bisexual, and others are unisexual, all-female species (parthenogens). The species was described from a series of female specimens from Barbados no males were found. It was later proved that the Caribbean populations and some South American populations are parthenogenetic, reproducing without males or...

Madagascan bigheaded turtle

Dumerilia madagascariensis Grandidier, 1867, Mouroundava Tsidsibouque flumina in occidentali insulae Madagascar lit-tore (Morondava and Tsidibou rivers on the western coast of Madagascar). No subspecies are recognized. Madagascan big-headed turtles are medium-sized, sideneck turtles, with a maximum shell length of 19.7 in (50 cm), and a flattened oval carapace that lacks keels. The connection of the pelvis to the carapace contacts the suprapygals. These turtles occur only in the western...

Feeding ecology and diet

Direct examination and field studies of feeding in amphis-baenians are almost nonexistent, since these animals are so secretive. Therefore, we must rely mainly on indirect studies and on studies of captive animals. Laboratory studies based on dissections of wild-caught animals and examination of stomach contents indicate that bipedids feed primarily on small invertebrates such as termites, beetle larvae, and ants. Bipes biporus fits the pattern of a generalist predator that exploits prey items...

Evolution and systematics

Most recent phylogenetic analyses have placed Leptotyphlopidae together with Anomalepididae (early blindsnakes) and Typhlopidae (blindsnakes) in Scolecophidia, one of two infraorders recognized within Serpentes (the clade that includes all living snakes). However, the interrelationships among the three groups of blindsnakes are poorly understood. The unusual form and position of the hyoid in Leptoty-phlopidae and Typhlopidae are suggestive of a close relationship between these two families....

Anatomical illustrations

While the encyclopedia attempts to minimize scientific jargon, readers will encounter numerous technical terms related to anatomy and physiology throughout the volume. To assist readers in placing physiological terms in their proper context, we have created a number of detailed anatomical drawings. These can be found on pages 65-70, 159-161, 191, and 199-201. Readers are urged to make heavy use of these drawings. In addition, terms are defined in the Glossary at the back of the book.

Afro American river turtles

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Family Podocnemididae Large sideneck turtles with four claws on the hind feet, a complete series of seven neural bones posterior to which the pleurals meet at the midline, mesoplastral bones present, and the pelvis is fused to the plastron Up to 42.1 in (107 cm) carapace length Freshwater rivers, streams, flooded forests, lakes, and ponds Endangered 2 species Vulnerable 4 species Lower Risk Conservation Dependent 1 species

Archosauria

Eudimorphodon Had Fangs

The archosaurs, or ruling reptiles, branched into an impressive array of important groups, including the pseudo-suchians, crocodilians, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. The archosaur clade may be defined by two temporal openings in the skull, one (antorbital fenestra) between the eye and the nostril and another (mandibular fenestra) in the hind part of the lower jaw. Many of the other archosaur characters reflect skeletal changes associated with a more upright posture and front-to-back motion in the...

Phipsons shieldtail snake

Uropeltis phipsonii Mason, 1888, Bombay Ghats. No subspecies are recognized. One of the larger species of uropeltids, reaching over 11.8 in (30 cm) in length. These snakes are dark brown above, paler below, with yellow stripes on the tail that meet ven-trally at the anal scales and a variable number of yellowish triangles that extend upward from the ventral scales in the anterior trunk. The ventral and adjacent scale rows have dark brown bases (anterior half) and yellow edges. The ventrals are...

Behaviors guided by chemical senses

Chemical guidance of predatory behavior has been extensively studied in snakes and lizards. Many species exhibit attack and ingestive behaviors on presentation of chemical cues derived from prey. In these experiments, the chemicals typically are presented on cotton-tipped applicators in the absence of any visual or tactile cues associated with prey. Therefore we can be certain that chemicals alone are responsible for triggering the predatory actions. This does not mean that garter snakes...

Minor chameleon

Furcifer minor Gonther, 1879, Fianarantsoa, Betsileo, southeastern Madagascar. English Lesser chameleon Malagasy Sakosotoha. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The species is 6-10 in (140-254 mm) in length, half of which is tail. Males have paired rostral horns, and females are hornless. Coloration in nongravid females is green with faint yellow and pink markings. Gravid females are spectacularly colored with vivid yellow bands and spots against a dark green or black background, with two purple spots...

Prehensiletailed skink

Corucia zebrata Gray, 1855, Makira Island (San Cristobal), Solomon Islands. This big skink has a large head, well-developed and strongly clawed limbs, a robust body, and a prehensile tail. The lower eyelid is scaly. It has no supranasals the prefrontals are narrowly separated or in contact, and the parietals are widely separated. The dorsal ground color varies, ranging from khaki to H Mabuya striata H Scincus scincus H Typhlosaurus lineatus gray-green to pale olive green, with lighter and...

Reptiles as food

There is no doubt that many reptiles have the necessary skills and physical characteristics to protect themselves, but generally they are more sedentary and lethargic and less intelligent and aggressive than large birds and mammals. From prehistoric times these qualities have made them vulnerable to human predation. Reptiles remain important food items for isolated tribes in developing countries throughout the world. Human foragers fulfill their need for scarce animal protein with reptiles when...

Emydidae

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Suborder Cryptodira Family Emydidae Small- to medium-sized turtles carapace may be depressed, domed, or strongly keeled plastron may or may not be hinged double articulation found between the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae Freshwater rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds other species are semiaquatic to fully terrestrial still other species frequent estuaries and coastal waters Endangered 6 species Vulnerable 7 species Lower Risk Near Threatened 14 species...

Chelidae

South America, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia South America, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia Fossils of these turtles are known from the Miocene of Australia and South America. They are most closely related to the other pleurodiran families the Pelomedusidae of Africa and the Podocnemididae of South America and Africa. Their subfamilial relationships remain poorly understood. Molecular evidence suggests that the Chelidae can be further divided into three subfamilies the...

Veiled chameleon

Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) calyptratus Dumeril & Bibron, 1851, Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia. One subspecies is recognized. English Cone-head chameleon, Yemen or Yemeni chameleon German Jemen-Cham leon. The species grows to 10-24 in (254-610 mm) in length. The most prominent feature is a high, prominent casque that is much larger in males than females and the tallest of any chameleon species. Male coloration is shades of green, turquoise, yellow, orange, white, and black with bold stripes...

Feeding

Feeding in a water medium among vertebrates can take several forms ranging from detritus feeding (ingestion of decaying organic matter on the substrate) to neuston feeding (ingestion of tiny organisms residing in the surface film). Probably the most common mechanism of obtaining food is suction feeding, whereby the predator creates a current by sucking water into the expanded buccal cavity and out through gills, causing prey to be captured in the mouth. Most fish rely on suction feeding, and...

Common platetailed gecko

Stenodactylus scincus Schlegel, 1858, I-li River, Kazakhstan. OTHER COMMON NAMES English Frog-eyed gecko, wonder gecko German Wundergecko. This species reaches 4.6 in (116 mm) in snout-vent length. The head is large, with prominent eyes. The digits are straight, without pads. The body is covered with large cycloid, imbricate scales (which is uncommon for geckos) extending along the dorsum of the tail. There are no precloacal glands. The color and pattern of these geckos vary, but they usually...

Sandfish

Scincus scincus Linnaeus, 1759, North Africa. Four subspecies are recognized. French Poisson des sables, Scinque des sables German Apothekerskink, Sandfisch. These medium-size, pale-colored, banded, fusiform skinks have shovel-shaped snouts, countersunk lower jaws, short tails, and enlarged toe lamellae forming fringes along the toes that enhance traction on loose sand. The sandfish occurs in the Sahara of northern Africa, from Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya to Egypt and the Mediterranean coast....

Yellowspotted river turtle

Podocnemis unifilis Troschel, 1848, im Rupununi und Takutu (rivers in Guyana). No subspecies are recognized. English Terecay, yellow-headed sideneck, yellow-spotted Amazon turtle Spanish Tracaja. Yellow-spotted river turtles are large sideneck turtles, with a maximum shell length of 26.8 in (68 cm), an oval carapace bearing a low keel on the second and third vertebral scutes, and a slight medial indentation anteriorly. Only a single barbel is usually present under the chin. Juveniles have...

Armored chameleon

Brookesia perarmata Angel, 1933, Antsingy at an elevation of 984 ft (300 m), Province du Menabe, Madagascar. OTHER COMMON NAMES English Antsingy leaf chameleon. At 4-6 in (102-152 mm), this is the largest and most easily identifiable member of the genus Brookesia. It is reddish brown, brown, and tan in coloration. The most remarkable physical feature is a row of pointed scales projecting outward from the spine that continue onto the tail, diminishing in size. The remainder of the body and tail...

Contributors to the first edition

The following individuals contributed chapters to the original edition of Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, which was edited by Dr. Bernhard Grzimek, Professor, Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Germany Director, Frankfurt Zoological Garden, Germany and Trustee, Tanzanian National Parks, Tanzania. Dr. Michael Abs Curator, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany Bombay Natural History Society Bombay, India Dr. Rudolph Altevogt Professor, Zoological Institute, University of M nster M nster, Germany...

Feas viper

Azemiops feae Boulenger, 1888, Kakhien Hills (Kachin Hills) Myanmar (Burma). OTHER COMMON NAMES German Fea-Vipern. Fea's viper has no facial pit between the nostrils and eyes. The head is white in color and covered by large symmetrical shields. The body and tail are black with about 18 short transverse orange to yellow bands laterally along each side. Fea's viper occurs in central and southern China from western Yunnan and Sichuan east to Zhejiang and south to Guangxi. It also inhabits northern...

Play learning and plasticity

Although play behavior occurs in a few species at least under captive conditions, most species do not exhibit this phenomenon. Play observed in reptiles has not been a social phenomenon. It has involved the deployment of foraging, feeding, or other behaviors in unusual, nonfunctional contexts, sometimes aimed at inanimate objects, sometimes at humans. The players have been adults, and their playful activities have been idiosyncratic rather than common among con-specifics. Exhibition of play...

For further reading

The Biology, Husbandry, and Health Care of Reptiles. 3 vol. Neptune City, NJ T. F. H. Publications, Inc., 1997. Adler, Kraig K A Brief History of Herpetology in North America before 1900. Milwaukee, WI Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1979. -, ed. Herpetology Current Research on the Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles Proceedings of the First World Congress of Herpetology. England Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1992. -, ed. Early...

Desert iguana

Dipsosaurus dorsalis Baird and Girard, 1852, Colorado Desert, California. Four subspecies are recognized. English Northern crested lizard, crested lizard, desert lizard French Iguane du d sert German Wustenleguan Spanish Iguana del desierto, cachoron guero. Desert iguanas are robust lizards with a crest of raised, enlarged scales along the top of the back. They have whitish bellies, slate-colored backs that are spotted with white, and striped tails. Males have reddish, posterior markings....

Indigo snake

Eight subspecies are recognized, and some workers believe that several separate species should be recognized. English Blacktail, cribo Spanish Cola sucia. This very large colubrid may reach almost 10 ft (3 m) in length. It has large, shiny, slightly oblique dorsal scales. Its color varies geographically. D. c. couperi, of the southeastern United States, is jet black with a reddish throat. Tropical subspecies may be black, gray, brown, or yellow, sometimes...

Jeweled chameleon

Furcifer campani Grandidier, 1872, Massif de l'Ankaratra, Madagascar. English Campan's chameleon Malagasy Kamora, soamaran-drana. This species attains a length of 4-5.5 in (107-133 mm). There are three longitudinal white or yellowish stripes on each flank, and rows of colored dots cover the body. Red markings outline the ridge above the eyes. The body color in calm females is green they are black when excited or stressed. Males are brown. The species inhabits the high plateaus south of...

Common eggeater

Dasypeltis Echis Carinatus

Coluber scaber Linnaeus, 1758, Indiis. Two subspecies are sometimes recognized. English African egg-eater, rhombic egg-eater. This snake is about 20-35 in (50-90 cm) in length. It is a very slender snake with a narrow head the dorsal scales are keeled, and the keels are serrated on the lower lateral scales. The color varies but is usually gray or brown, with prominent dark blotches down the center of the back and narrower ones on the sides. The jaws are nearly toothless, the skin of the neck is...

Anapsida

Hylonomus Skeleton

The earliest reptiles are known from the early Pennsyl-vanian (323-317 million years ago, or mya). They were quite small and lizardlike in appearance, and their skulls, jaws, and tooth structures strongly indicate that they were insectivorous. In fact, it is thought that they evolved in tandem with insect groups that were beginning to colonize the land. Some Pennsylvanian (323-290 mya) amphibians of the microsaur group also evolved into insectivores that were so superficially similar to early...

Helmeted turtle

Testudo subrufa Lacepede, 1788, Indes in error restricted to Cape of Good Hope . Three subspecies are recognized. English Cape terrapin, helmeted terrapin French Roussatre German Starrbrust-Pelomeduse Afrikaans Gewone water-skilpad. Small to medium turtles, with a maximum shell length of 13 in (33 cm), and a broad, flattened, brown to olive carapace. The plastron is rigid (i.e., unhinged), and firmly attached to the carapace. A pair of small triangular mesoplastral bones are present between the...

Common lesser earless lizard

Holbrookia maculata Girard, 1851, opposite Grand Island, Platte River, Nebraska. Nine subspecies are recognized. English Mountain earless lizard, speckled earless lizard, band-tailed earless lizard, bleached earless lizard, Bunker's earless lizard, Huachuca earless lizard, eastern earless lizard, northern earless lizard, western earless lizard, spotted lizard Spanish Lagartija. Common lesser earless lizards are gray, with rather regular dark blotches down the back and onto the sides and tail....

Hundredpace pitviper

Deinagkistrodon acutus G nther, 1888, Wusueh, Hupeh Province, China. No subspecies are recognized. English Long-nosed pitviper, sharp-nosed pitviper German Chinesische Nasenotter. This is a large, stout-bodied pitviper, sometimes exceeding 5 ft (1.5 m) in total length. Distinctive features of this species include a protuberant snout and tuberculate keels on the dorsal scales. Nine symmetrical plates cover the crown, although some fragmentation of these plates is evident in many specimens....

Schlegels blindsnake

Rhinotyphlops schlegelii Bianconi, 1847, Inhambane, Mozambique. Four subspecies are recognized although some or all of these may represent distinct species . English Schlegel's beaked snake, giant blindsnake French Ty-phlops de Schlegel German Afrikanische Blindschlange. This species ranges between 4.5-37.4 in 11.5-95.0 cm in total length and between 0.14-1.1 in 3.5-28.1 mm in midbody diameter. The tail is short, usually 1-2 of total length. Aspect ratios range from less than 20 to more than...

Conservation

Reptiles are frequently secretive, and knowledge of their biological status often is based on anecdotal information rather than on precise scientific data. Nonetheless, scientists have identified certain characteristics, which make some reptiles particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment. Species that are large island dwelling restricted in distribution, habitat, or ecological specialists require large home ranges are migratory or are valued as food or medicine or for their skin...

Chinese alligator

Chinese Alligator Belly

Alligator sinensis Fauvel, 1879, Chinkiang Zhenjiang Chinkjang Chenchiang , Kiangsu Province, People's Republic of China. No subspecies are recognized. English Yangtze alligator, Tou lung, Yow lung, T'o, China alligator French Alligator de Chine German China-Alligator Spanish Alligator de China. A yellowish gray alligator with osteoderms on the belly as well as on the back and a heavy snout that tapers toward its vaguely upturned end. This is a small alligator that has an average total length...

Contributing writers

Chameleon Information Network San Diego, California Patrick J. Baker, MS Miami University Oxford, Ohio David G. Barker, MS Vida Preciosa International Boerne, Texas Tracy M. Barker, MS Vida Preciosa International Boerne, Texas Aaron Matthew Bauer, PhD Villanova University Villanova, Pennsylvania Daniel D. Beck, PhD Central Washington University Ellensburg, Washington Robert L. Bezy, PhD Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Los Angeles, California Bill Branch, PhD Port Elizabeth Museum...

Resources

Crocodiles and Alligators of the World. New York Facts on File, 1991. Behler, J. L., and D. A. Behler. Alligators and Crocodiles. Stillwater, MN Voyager Press, 1998. Campbell, G., and A. L. Winterbotham. Jaws Too The Natural History of Crocodilians with Emphasis on Sanibel Island's Alligators. Ft. Myers, FL Sutherland Publishing, 1985. Grigg, G., F. Seebacher, and C. E. Franklin. Crocodilian Biology and Evolution. Sydney Surrey Beatty and Sons, 2001. Guggisberg, C. A. W. Crocodiles...

New Caledonian giant gecko

Images New Caldonia Anamals

Ascalabotes leachianus Cuvier, 1829, type locality unknown. OTHER COMMON NAMES English Leach's giant gecko French gecko g ant de Leach, cam l on g ant German Neukaledonischer Riesengecko. I Coleonyx variegatus I Gonatodes albogularis H Gekko gecko H Lialis burtonis H Rhacodactylus leachianus The species grows to 10 in 255 mm in snout-vent length and is considered the largest living gecko. It is heavy-bodied, with extensive skin folds on the flanks and legs and partially webbed digits. The head...

Cobras kraits seasnakes death adders and relatives

Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Serpentes Family Elapidae Highly variable depending on species desert, savanna, rainforest, fully arboreal to fully marine Vulnerable 7 species Lower Risk Near Threatened 2 species Southern United States to Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific and Indian Oceans Southern United States to Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific and Indian Oceans

Postorbital Squamosal Jugal

Crocodile Internal Anatomy

Illustration by Brian Cressman recorded in several species. Changes in mood, such as those caused by stress, and environmental temperature can dull skin color. Long-term change can be effected by the environment, with individuals from shaded areas becoming darker as black pigment melanin accumulates in the skin. The crocodilian head always draws attention. The skull, although massive and sturdy, is infiltrated with air spaces. These spaces reduce weight without compromising...

Evolution of the reptiles

Malayan Box Turtle Hatchlings

The reptiles make up a huge group of fossil and living vertebrates, ranging in size from tiny thread snakes to sauropod dinosaurs, which are the largest animals ever to have lived on land. Through time reptiles have evolved into unique forms, such as turtles, snakes, and dinosaurs, but they also have taken on the appearance and habits of other vertebrate groups, such as sharks and dolphins. As with other animal classes, reptile groups that are thought to share a common ancestor are known as...

South American river turtle

Emys expansa Schweigger, 1812, America meridionali South America . No subspecies are recognized. English Arrau, giant South American river turtle French Podocn mide largie German Arrauschildkrote Spanish Arrau. South American river turtles are large sideneck turtles, up to 42.1 in 107 cm in shell length, with a broad, flat carapace that is wider posteriorly than anteriorly, usually having two barbels on the chin, a broad skull, and with the front of the upper jaw squared off as opposed to...

Circulation and respiration

Snake Anatomy Reproductive System

Reptiles have a well-developed blood circulation that plays a central role in transport of respiratory gases. In most species oxygen is acquired from the environment at the internal lung surfaces, which are ventilated by movements that alternately expand and contract the body compartment surrounding the lungs. Lung ventilation is intermittent, and the depth and frequency of breathing vary greatly among species and even among individual animals. Oxygen is transported in blood largely in chemical...

Folk medicine

Www Shesh Naga Oringale Photo

Shamans medicine men or women in developing countries claim uncountable natural sources for curing myriad maladies and diseases, from common colds to cancers. The efficacy of these curatives is suspect, but ethnobotanists and ethno-biologists often at the behest of pharmaceutical companies travel to the most remote parts of the world in an attempt to assess such sources as well as identify previously unknown natural chemical compounds. For the most part folk remedies are derived from plants....

Feeding and digestion

Rattlesnake Illustration Feeding

Many of the prominent and interesting adaptations of reptiles are related to the capture and digestion of food. Most reptiles seize prey as individual items, and feeding strategies can largely determine the shape of the head and characteristics of the skull and jaws. The reptilian skull varies in relation to feeding requirements. Skulls of turtles and crocodilians are comparatively rigid and compact. Those of lizards and especially snakes exhibit evolutionary reduction of structure and...

Skeleton muscle and movement

Reptiles evolved from limbed ancestors, and they have an axial skeleton consisting of the vertebral column, limbs, and central nervous system encased in bone. The loss of limbs in snakes and some lizards evolved secondarily from limbed ancestors. Many of the fundamental features of the reptilian skeletal system and its attached musculature reflect adaptations for support and locomotion in terrestrial environments where strong weight-bearing elements are essential for counteracting gravity. The...

Reproduction

Geoemyda Spengleri

The earliest reptile fossils known are from the Upper Carboniferous period, approximately 270 million years ago, but by this time several of the reptilian orders were already in evidence, including both anapsid cotylosaurs and synapsid pe-lycosaurs. This finding implies that reptile evolution began much earlier. Another implication is that temporal vacuities empty spaces and emarginations notches , although widely distributed in reptiles, are not defining characteristics of this class of...

Turtles and tortoises

Tortoise Terrapin And Turtle Difference

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Number of families 14 Number of genera, species About 99 genera at least 293 species Photo Eastern painted turtles Chrysemys picta picta basking in the sun in New York, USA. Photo by John M. Burnley Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. Class Reptilia Order Testudines Number of families 14 Number of genera, species About 99 genera at least 293 species Photo Eastern painted turtles Chrysemys picta picta basking in the sun in New York, USA. Photo by...

Quadrate suspensorium maxilla

Quadrate Snake Skull

Maxilla rotates forward when jaws open A. Spotted blindsnake Typhlops punctatus primitive B. Boa constrictor Boa constrictor fixed teeth C. Eastern hog-nosed snake Heterodon platirhinos moveable rear teeth D. Western diamondback rattlesnake Crotalus atrox front-fanged. Primitive skulls have no suspensorium bone, no elongated quadrate bone, and a solid, compact skull. Front-fanged skulls have a suspensorium that is angled up, elongated quadrate that is angled back allows jaws to open wider , and...

Integument and water exchange

Integument Animals

As in other vertebrates, the integument of reptiles serves as mechanical protection from the environment, shields the body from unwanted substances or toxins, and largely determines the nature and magnitude of mass and energy transfer between animals and their environment. The skin consists of a fibrous dermis overlain by an epidermis that has multiple layers of living or keratinized cells derived from an active germinative layer beneath. Thin layers of bone called osteoderms are deposited in...

Earless monitor lizard

Dentary Teeth Varanids

Lanthanotus borneensis Steindachner, 1878, Sarawak, Borneo. One of the least known of all lizards, earless monitor lizards are medium-sized, with adults averaging 16.5-21.6 in 42-55 cm total length with a relatively long cylindrical body, long neck, and long tail. They have short legs but long, curved, sharp claws. They can wrap their muscular bodies and prehensile tails around a branch in a manner that suggests that they might climb. Most of their scales are small, but six longitudinal rows of...

East African serrated mud turtle

Sternotherus sinuatus Smith, 1838, rivers to the north of 25 south latitude South Africa . No subspecies are recognized. English Serrated hinged terrapin, serrated turtle Afrikaans Groot waterskilpad. These turtles are medium to large size, with a maximum shell length of 2.2 in 5.5 cm , and an elongate, oval, variably keeled, posteriorly serrated carapace. The large, posteriorly notched plastron has a well-developed hinge between the pectoral and abdominal scutes, and the pair of meosplastral...

Behaviors guided by tactile cues

Tactile cues are important contributors to social and reproductive behaviors. Although chemical cues usually guide males to females, once the individuals meet, tactile information comes into play. If several males are simultaneously attracted to the same female, male combat is likely in some species. The winner is the male that eventually mates with the female. In some species, many males are present simultaneously, all competing for one female. This process is called scramble competition...

Western banded gecko

Stenodactylus variegatus Baird, 1859, Rio Grande and Gila Valleys, Arizona, United States. Five subspecies are recognized. French Coleonyx vari German Geb nderter Krallengecko Spanish Salamanquesa de franjas. This species reaches 3 in 75 mm in snout-vent length. The body is covered in fine granules the digits are slender, without pads and the tail is constricted at the base. These geckos have movable eyelids and vertical pupils. They are pink to pale yellow, with brown bands, blotches, or...

Jacksons chameleon

Chamaeleo Trioceros jacksonii Boulenger, 1896, Uganda, later amended to Kikuyu, near Nairobi, Kenya. Two subspecies are recognized. English Mt. Meru chameleon, three-horned chameleon French Cam l on de Jackson German Ostafrikanisches Dreihorncham leon. This species grows to 6-14 in 152-356 mm in length. Ch. j. xantholophus is the largest, followed by Ch. j. jacksonii and then Ch. j. merumontanus. Males have three annulated composed of rings horns, two preorbital and one nasal in all three...

Shorttailed monitor

Varanus brevicauda Boulenger, 1898, Sherlock River, Nickol Bay, Western Australia. OTHER COMMON NAMES English Short-tailed pygmy monitor. The short-tailed monitor is the smallest varanid. Adult size is reached at a snout-vent length SVL of 3.5-4.3 in 90-110 mm and a weight of 0.35-0.6 oz 10-17 g . Hatchlings are about 1.8 in 45 mm SVL and weigh only 0.07-0.1 oz 2-3 g . Red sandy desert dominated by spinifex Triodia grasses. BEHAVIOR Short-tailed monitors are terrestrial, spending most of their...

Diapsida

Aside from having two openings in the temporal region of the skull, diapsids typically have hind limbs that are longer than the forelimbs. The oldest known diapsid was a small, lizardlike animal with a body length minus the long tail of about 8 in 20.3 cm . This slender animal, named Petrola-cosaurus, was collected from the late Pennsylvanian ca. 303-290 mya of Kansas. Evolution of the amniotoic egg. Illustration by Jacqueline Mahannah Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Two distinct clades, the...

Vertebrae Of Turtle

Ventral Carapace View Form Turtle

Bones and scutes of the plastron and carapace of Cryptodira and Pleurodira. Carapace bones nu nuchal, pe peripheral, ne neural, pl pleural, sp suprapygal, py pygal. Carapace scutes nu nuchal, m marginal, v vertebral, c costal. Plastron bones ep epiplastron, en entoplastron, hyo hyoplastron, hyp hypoplastron, x xiphiplastron. Plastron scutes i intergular, g gular, h humeral, p pectoral, ab abdominal, f femural, an anal, ax axial, in inguinal. Some pleurodires have mesoplastrons between the...

Kwa ZuluNatal Midlands dwarf chameleon

Photooanimals

Bradypodion thamnobates Raw, 1976, Nottingham Road, Natal, South Africa. OTHER COMMON NAMES Afrikaans Natalse Middelveld. This species is 6-7.5 in 152-191 mm in length. Females are marginally smaller than males. Male coloration is dark green or blue-green with white markings on the head and a prominent gular crest composed of lobed scales. There is also a spiky dorsal crest. Large conical or rounded scales, which are white, blue, or reddish in color, cover the body and legs. Female coloration...

Mountain spiny lizard

Sceloporus jarrovii Cope, 1875, Southern Arizona. Eight subspecies are recognized. English Yarrow's spiny lizard French L zard pineux, l zard de palisades German Jarrov Zaunleguan Spanish Lagartija espinosa de Yarrow. Mountain spiny lizards are robust lizards with finely patterned skin. The dorsal body is dark gray to black and has large scales, each of which contains a central, white dot. The male's belly and sides range from blue to black to gray the female's belly is usually whitish. The...

Moroccan glass lizard

Moroccan Animals

Ophisaurus koellikeri G nther, 1873, North Africa, later restricted to Mogador, Morocco. English Koelliker's glass lizard French Ophisaure de Koel-liker, l'orvet du Maroc German Marokko-schleiche, T rkis-panzerschleiche Spanish Lagarto de cristal marroqu . This slender lizard with a long tail grows to 19.7 in 500 mm in length. Forelimbs are absent the greatly reduced hind limbs consist of small flaps near the cloaca. A ventrolateral fold is present, and the tail is extremely fragile. The dorsal...

Rattlesnake roundups

The rattlesnake roundup stands in contrast to these efforts at conservation. Rattlesnake roundups are unique in the United States in that they are permitted to continue regardless of the serious impact they inflict on habitat and snake populations. Although they are widely publicized, rattlesnake roundups are held in very few states. They are run each spring by private organizations in small, otherwise insignificant towns as a way of making money. The most harmful ones are staged by private...

Common chameleon

Chamaeleo Chamaeleo chamaeleon Linnaeus, 1758, Europe, Middle East, Greece, northern Africa, Egypt Sinai Peninsula , southwestern Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Two subspecies are recognized. English European chameleon, Mediterranean chameleon French Cam l on commun German Europ isches Cham leon, Gemeines Cham leon. The species attains a length of 8-15 in 200-400 mm . Females are often larger than males. Coloration varies but includes green, yellow, gray, and brown with numerous stripes and spots...

Flying lizard

Flying Lizards Habitat

Draco volans Linnaeus, 1758, Java, Indonesia. These are slender, long-legged, small lizards with folding ribs that expand to form a winglike structure. At rest, these dermal sails are folded along the body, giving the lizards a slim appearance. The species inhabits the Indonesian islands, including Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Timor. They also occur in Thailand, western Malaysia, and the Philippines. Their habitat is open forests and dense rainforests of both lowlands and highlands. I...

Indian flapshell turtle

Male Flapshell Image

Testudo punctata Lacepede, 1788, India. Two subspecies are recognized. This is a small turtle maximum carapace length 11 in 27.5 cm with a relatively deep oval shell. This species is unique among softshells because the posterior margin of the bony carapace is ringed by peripheral bones. The evolutionary origins primitive or derived of this feature are unresolved however, it provides additional protection for the hind limbs, which may be completely retracted when the plastral flaps are pulled...

Doy Ho

Lizard Cranial Kinesis

Illustration by Marguette Dongvillo manipulation of agile prey. Such jaws bend and better conform to prey, enhancing feeding success. This combination of skull and chemosensory modifications gave scleroglossans access to microhabitats and prey previously unavailable to iguanians and predisposed them to higher activity levels. For example, an ability to detect and discriminate prey chemically gave scleroglossans access to prey that could not be detected visually. No longer...

Skulls

Parapsid Euryapsid

The number and position of temporal openings have been used to classify reptiles into taxonomic groups, and the highlights of this classification system are reviewed here. Reptile skulls lacking temporal vacuities are said to be anapsid without openings . This group includes the fossil order Coty-losauria, also called stem reptiles because of their ancestral position to all higher reptiles and hence to birds and mammals. The turtles, order Testudines, also are anapsid. Synap-sid skulls have a...

Nervous system and sensory organs

Snake Vomeronasal Organ

The reptilian nervous system is organized into identifiable regions based on structure and function. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and contains most of the body's nerve cells or neurons. Collections of neurons that have similar function are called nuclei, and the bundles of axons that extend from the cell bodies and transmit messages are called tracts. The peripheral nervous system consists of sensory and motor nerves that communicate between the brain or...

Activity patterns and thermoregulation

Activity patterns influenced by seasonal, daily, or other rhythms probably have been the targets of more herpetolog-ical research than any other aspect of behavior except diet. This is partly a consequence of the development of miniaturized radiotelemetric equipment and partly the result of the simple fact that understanding any animal requires a sense of the actions it performs and when it performs them. Numerous investigators are interested in energy budgets and related phenomena, and...