No common name

Agamodon anguliceps Peters, 1882, Barava (African orientalis) Brava, Somali Republic. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS This wormlizard has a steep, wedge-shaped head with sharp, raised edges. Its average body length is 4-8 in (100-180 mm). The tail is approximately 8 of total length. The species is pink ventrally, and it has dark blotches on a yellow background dorsally. Its dentition is acrodont, with a semifused row of teeth on both upper and lower jaws. The median premaxillary tooth is usually...

Maternal behavior

Little or no interaction occurs between male and female after coitus. With rare exception (male western diamondback rattlesnakes have been observed to remain with females for some days before and after copulation), there have been no scientific reports of long-term pair bonds between males and females in any species of reptile. Females of some species exhibit maternal behavior. Building of nests with attendance of eggs has been reported among king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), Great Plains...

Reproductive biology

Males are larger than females and will defend territories and compete for mates. Males mate with as many females as possible during the fixed breeding seasons. Crocodiles use a variety of social signals, especially at mating time. These include jawslaps, roaring, dominance, and subordination displays. Females initiate courtship in some species. All crocodiles lay eggs. Females lay their eggs 40-70 days after mating. The incubation period depends on nest tem...

Physical characteristics

Uropeltids display a surprising diversity of external features despite their superficial resemblance. All are relatively small snakes, most having adult sizes below 12 in (30 cm) total length. A few species (e.g., Rhinophis oxyrhynchus, Uropeltis ocellatus) attain sizes nearly twice this length. In all uropeltids the eye is covered by an ocular shield with no separate spectacle. Instead, the region of the ocular shield overlying the eye is transparent. In species other than Platyplectrurus, the...

Twolegged wormlizard

Bipes biporus Cope, 1894, Cape San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico. English Mole lizard French Bipedides German ZweifussDoppelschleichen Spanish Ajolote. The two-legged wormlizard has an average body length of 7.5-8.3 in (190-210 mm). Its tail is approximately 10 of total length. It has a midbody diameter of 0.23-0.27 in (6-7 mm). It is typically pink or flesh-colored uniformly, but some specimens are white ventrally. It has five claw-bearing digits on each limb and two preanal pores. It has a...

Patagonian lancehead

Bothrops ammodytoides Leybold, 1873, Mendoza Province, northern Argentina. German Argentinische Jararaca Spanish Cenicienta. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Adults range from 1.5 ft (45 cm) to 3.3 ft (1 m) in total length. The dorsal ground color is light brown or gray with dark brown blotches. The snout is elevated. Eight to 11 supralabial, 147-160 ventral, 30-41 subcaudal, and 23-25 midbody scale rows have been recorded for this species. The species occurs in Argentina, from sea level to 6,560 ft...

Tropidophiidae

Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Serpentes Family Tropidophiidae Small constricting snakes possessing tracheal lung and without functional left lung in most species males possess cloacal spurs and vestige of pelvic girdle 4-41 in (10-106 cm) 1-16 oz (30-450 g) Open woodland, forest, cloud forest, palm groves, dry scrub forest, rocky hillsides, cliff faces, and caves Northwestern South America in Colombia and Ecuador Amazonian Ecuador, Peru, and northwestern Brazil southeastern Brazil...

Night lizards

Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Scincomorpha Family Xantusiidae Small to medium-sized lizards lacking eyelids and having enlarged plates on the dorsal surface of the head and transverse rows of enlarged scales on the belly 1.5-5 in (3.7-12.7 cm) snout-vent length North America, Central America, Cuba North America, Central America, Cuba

Energy metabolism and ectothermy

Energy is used by organisms to maintain living processes, power locomotion and other activities, and fuel the synthesis of tissue in growth and reproduction. All vertebrates derive their usable energy from the oxidation of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in the food they eat. Reptiles do not expend large amounts of energy to maintain high levels of body temperature as do birds and mammals, which are en-dothermic. The latter maintain high body temperature with internal heat production...

Evolution and systematics

These primitive cryptodires are most closely related to the Carettochelyidae of New Guinea and Australia. The oldest softshell fossil is from the late Jurassic. The recent revision of the phylogenetic arrangement proposed by Meylan has yet to gain universal acceptance and use, but it is generally supported by both morphological and molecular evidence. Two subfamilies are recognized Trionychinae (without flexible flaps on plastron below hind limbs) and Cyclanorbinae (with flexible flaps on...

American crocodile

Crocodylus acutus Cuvier, 1807 Antilles. OTHER COMMON NAMES English American saltwater crocodile French Crocodile americain German Mittelamerikanisches Krokodil Spanish Cocodrilo americano. The American crocodile has a somewhat narrow snout and slender build. Adults average 10-11 ft (3-3.5 m) in length, but males can grow to 20 ft (6 m). Females average 8-10 ft (2.5-3 m). A distinctive hump on the skull of adults just in front of the eyes is diagnostic of the species. Yellowish to gray with...

Texas blindsnake

Leptotyphlops dulcis (Baird and Girard, 1853), between San Pedro and Camanche Comanche Springs, Texas. Five subspecies are recognized. English Texas threadsnake, Texas wormsnake French Leptotyphlops du Texas German Texas-Schlankblindschlange Spanish Serpiente-lombriz texana. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 2.6-10.7 in (6.6-27 cm) in total length. Tail 5-6 of total length. Midbody diameter 0.06-0.22 in (0.15-0.5 cm). Adult aspect ratio of approximately 50. Pink or reddish brown dorsally, light pink or...

Feeding ecology and diet

Crocodilians are renowned for their ability to acquire food, often violently. All species are carnivorous, and mostly generalist. A wide range of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, fishes, and insects are taken readily by adults of most species. There are various restrictions, however. Young juveniles are limited to small prey that enter or approach water, primarily insects, spiders, crustaceans, fishes, small reptiles, and amphibians. Juveniles eat regularly, each day...

Behavior

Teiids are classic examples of actively foraging lizards. Teiids generally live in burrows they excavate themselves or that are made by other animals. A typical macroteiid day begins with the lizard basking in direct sun to raise its body temperature. Whiptails, especially Cnemidophorus and Ameiva, prefer relatively high body temperatures for activity, commonly measured in the field at 98.6 F-140 F (37 C-40 C). Once activity temperatures are achieved, a macroteiid embarks on long foraging or...

Appendices and index

In addition to the main text and the aforementioned Glossary, the volume contains numerous other elements. For further reading directs readers to additional sources of information about reptiles. Valuable contact information for Organizations is also included in an appendix. An exhaustive Reptiles species list records all known species of amphibians as of November 2002, based on information in the EMBL Reptile Database (http www.reptiliaweb.org) and organized according to Herpetology, 2nd...

Dinosauria

Dinosaurs fascinate more people than any other reptile group. The achievement of great size and diversity and the long domination of the earth by dinosaurs form a large part of this fascination. As is true for the great gray apparition in Mozart's Don Giovanni or the Frankenstein monster, people love things that are terrible and wonderful at the same time. In fact, the name dinosaur comes from roots meaning terrible lizard. Unique evolutionary features are evident in the hands of some...

Habitat

Iguanids are almost all land-dwelling lizards. Many species, including most of the iguanines, crotaphytines, and phrynoso-matines, prefer arid areas. These desert dwellers often seek sites with at least some vegetation, rocks, or other cover to provide escape routes from predators. Other iguanids seek a wooded habitat, with some, like many corytophanines, living in rainforests. Within these varied habitats, iguanids may be either terrestrial or arboreal, with some switching between the two...

Iguanidae

Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Iguanidae Small to large lizards, the majority of which are terrestrial and oviparous, that are marked by pleurodont teeth, which lie in inner-jaw grooves rather than in sockets 1.6-30 in (30-750 cm) in snout-vent length (svl), and some have tails reaching twice the svl 69 genera approximately 900 species Diverse, with most species occurring either in arid locales or wooded habitats Extinct 2 species Critically Endangered 6 species Endangered...

Subject advisors

Volume 1 Lower Metazoans and Lesser Deuterostomes Director, Marine Laboratory & Facilities Director, Marine Laboratory & Facilities Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Humboldt State University Arcata, California Art Evans, PhD Entomologist Richmond, Virginia Systematic Entomologist, Los Angeles County Paul Loiselle, PhD Curator, Freshwater Fishes New York Aquarium Brooklyn, New York Director, Marine Laboratory & Facilities Humboldt State University Arcata,...

Significance to humans

Helodermatids are the only lizards known to be venomous. Their venom apparatus consists of multilobed glands that empty through ducts at the base of grooved, venom-conducting teeth. In contrast to snakes, the venom glands of Gila monsters and beaded lizards are housed in the lower jaw rather than the upper jaw. Their venom is used primarily for defense. A bite from a Gila monster or a beaded lizard causes excruciating pain, swelling, and, in more severe bites, a rapid drop in blood pressure,...

Organizations

American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists donnelly fiu.edu Phone (305) 919-5651 < http 199.245.200.110 > American Zoo and Aquarium Association 8403 Colesville Road, Suite 710 Silver Spring, MD 20910 < http www.aza.org> Asociaci n Herpetol gica Espa ola Apartado de Correos 191 28911 Legan s Madrid Spain Australian Society of Herpetologists c - CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology PO Box 84 Lyneham, ACT2602 Australia ash frameintro.html> The Center for North American Herpetology The...

Burtons snake lizard

Lialis burtonis Gray, 1834, Round Hill Fauna Reserve, New South Wales, Australia. English Burton's legless lizard French Lialis de Burton German Spitzkopf-Flossenfufi. The species reaches 10 in (250 mm) in snout-vent length. It is elongate, with no forelimbs and with hind limbs reduced to small flaps. The tail is longer than the body. The head is long, with a very elongate snout, and the pupils are vertical. It is brown or gray, with or without a pattern of regular spots or stripes. The species...

Resources

Red Data Book on Mediterranean Chelonians. Bologna, Italy Edagricole, 1995. Pritchard, Peter C. H., and Pedro Trebbau. The Turtles of Venezuela. Athens, OH Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Oxford, OH, 1984. Moll, D., and M. W. Klemens. Ecological Characteristics of the Pancake Tortoise, Malacochersus tornieri, in Tanzania. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2, no. 1 (1996) 26-35. Pritchard, Peter C. H. The Gal pagos Tortoises Nomenclatural and Survival Status....

Painted terrapin

Emys borneoensis Schlegel and M ller, 1844, Borneo. No subspecies are recognized. English Painted batagur, saw-jawed turtle, three-stripe batagur, Sungei tuntong. This is a large geoemydid turtle (up to 30 in 76 cm carapace length) with a rigid plastron and bridge (i.e., no plastral hinge) a fourth vertebral scute that is wider than long crushing surfaces of the upper jaw that are broad along their entire length and bear a single, well-developed medial ridge five claws on the forefeet and no...

Trionychidae

Class Reptilia Order Testudines Suborder Cryptodira Family Trionychidae Medium to very large aquatic turtles with a rounded, flattened carapace covered with leathery skin fleshy skin on the head that covers the jaws and streamlined forelimbs with three pronounced claws Rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, and temporary ponds Critically Endangered 5 species Endangered 5 species Vulnerable 6 species North America, Africa, Asia, Indo-Australian archipelago North America, Africa, Asia, Indo-Australian...

Acknowledgements

Gale would like to thank several individuals for their important contributions to the volume. Dr. James B. Murphy, topic editor for the Reptiles volume, oversaw all phases of the volume, including creation of the topic list, chapter review, and compilation of the appendices. Neil Schlager, project manager for the Reptiles volume, coordinated the writing and editing of the text. Dr. Michael Hutchins, chief consulting editor for the series, and Michael Souza, program assistant, Department of...

Central netted dragon

Ctenophorus inermis (sometimes called C. nuchalis) Ctenophorus inermis De Vis, 1884, Delta Station, Bogantungan, Queensland, Australia. These are medium-size yellowish brown terrestrial desert lizards with relatively short legs, a low crest along the top of the neck, a narrow vertebral stripe, and a blunt snout. Breeding males have orange to reddish heads and throats. The species occurs in desert regions of central Australia. disturbed in their burrows, they dash off and hide in another nearby...

Reticulated python

Python reticulatus Schneider, 1801, no type locality specified in original description but later designated as Java. English Regal python French Python r ticul German Netzpython. This is a giant python, one of the largest snake species. Hatch-lings measure 18-35 in (46-89 cm) in length. Most adults are 12-15 ft (3.7-4.6 m), and specimens of 20 ft (6.1 m) are not uncommon. This species occurs on the Nicobar Islands in India and throughout most of Southeast Asia from southeastern Bangladesh east...

East African black mud turtle

Testudo subnigra Lacepede, 1788, no type locality restricted to Tamatave, Madagascar . Two subspecies are recognized. English Pan hinged terrapin, pan terrapin Afrikaans Pan-waterskilpad. East African black mud turtles are small turtles, with a maximum shell length of 7.9 in (20 cm), and an elongate, oval, unkeeled, unserrated carapace. The medium-sized plastron is posteriorly notched, has a well-developed hinge between the pectoral and abdominal scutes, and the pair of meosplastral bones...

Exercise

Most snakes have only one lung (on the left). The heart has three chambers, two atria and one ventricle, except in crocodilians, in which a second ventricle is present, producing a four-chambered heart much like that of mammals. Even in reptiles with a three-chambered heart, a septum exists within the ventricle and minimizes mixing of oxygenated and nonoxygenated blood. Researchers have studied the physiological mechanisms associated with exhaustive locomotion...

Species accounts

Testudo serpentina Linnaeus, 1758, Calidus regionibus (warm regions). Two subspecies are recognized. English Common snapping turtle snapper French Ch lydre serpentine German Schnappschildkr te Spanish Tortuga-lagarto com n. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS The carapace of these large turtles, to 19.3 in (49 cm), bears three low, knobby keels (except in the oldest individuals). The shell is dark, although it may range from brown to olive to black. The head is large, the upper jaw is somewhat hooked...

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...

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...

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...

Yellowmargined box turtle

Cistoclemmys flavomarginata Gray, 1863, Mainland China and Taiwan. Two or three subspecies are recognized. OTHER COMMON NAMES Japanese Hakogame. A small turtle (up to 7 in 17 cm carapace length) with a high-domed carapace, unserrated posteriorly, with a distinct yellow vertebral stripe. The plastron is large and unnotched posteriorly, with a movable hinge between the pectoral and abdominal scutes, and the plastral lobes are capable of closing the shell opening completely. A single lemon-yellow...

Early blindsnakes

Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Serpentes Family Anomalepididae (Early blindsnakes) Thumbnail description Small, fossorial snakes with smooth, uniformly sized body scales highly reduced eyes small, ventrally placed mouth rounded snout and very short tail Southern Central America, northern South America, and east-central South America Southern Central America, northern South America, and east-central South America

Conservation status

Four of the 23 crocodilian species (Chinese alligator, Orinoco crocodile, Philippine crocodile, Siamese crocodile) are considered Critically Endangered, with a further three (Cuban crocodile, false gharial, Indian gharial) listed as Endangered and considered at risk of extinction. In what is considered the most dramatic recovery of any large vertebrae group, 16 of the 23 species went from Endangered to abundant or not threatened in the last 30 years of the twentieth century. These species'...

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...

Mussurana

Coluber clelia Daudin, 1826, Surinam. Three or four subspecies are recognized. OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish Culebrera, sumbadora. This is a large species, reaching over 6 ft (2 m) in length. Adults are uniform shiny black or dark gray dorsally, and lighter ventrally. Juveniles are very different, having a bright red body with black tips on the dorsal scales, a broad cream collar, and a black snout. Central and South America, from Guatemala and Belize to northern Argentina. The mussurana is an...

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...

Common garter snake

Coluber sirtalis Linnaeus, 1758, Canada. Eleven subspecies are recognized. French Couleuvre ray e, serpent-jarreti re German Gew hnliche Strumpfbandnatter Spanish Culebra-listonada com n. The common garter snake is a relatively slender snake generally reaching about 28 in (70 cm) in length. Color varies greatly across the wide geographic range of this species, but in most populations the snake exhibits three longitudinal yellow stripes. The ground color may be dark brown, olive green, or red,...

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.

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...

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...

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...

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...

Postorbital Squamosal Jugal

Crocodilian Dentary

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...

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

Photooanimals

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

Snakes With Vestigial Limbs

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...