Reptile News
Mosques Support Sea Turtle Conservation in Malaysia
This week almost 500 mosques around the Malaysian state of Terengganu will present sermons on turtle conservation, reported the New Strait Times.
Rare rhino rat snake hatches in London zoo
With its characteristic horn, the endangered rhino rat snake has been bred in a European zoo for the first time.
New gecko species discovered
A previously unknown species of gecko has been discovered in the South Pacific by French scientists, reports the Associated Press.
Two new species of gecko discovered in Australia
Two species of gecko have been discovered in the southern deserts of Western Australia and South Australia, report researchers from the Western Australian Museum.
Deer enhance biodiversity of reptiles and amphibians in forest areas
The presence of deer affects the number of reptiles, amphibians and insects found in forest areas, suggests a new study by researchers at Ohio State University and National Park Service. A higher abundance of deer is associated with greater biodiversity.
Thousands of endangered sea turtles killed as fishing bycatch in Mexico
Thousands of endangered loggerhead sea turtles are being killed as bycatch in the Mexican fishing industry, reports a new study published in the journal Endangered Species Research.
Unknown but critically endangered iguana species discovered in Fiji
Researchers have discovered a third species of iguana in the Fiji. It is believed to be critically endangered, with a population of a "few hundred".
Photo: commonly-kept gecko was thought to be extinct in the wild
The Crested Gecko is endemic to South Province, New Caledonia in the South Pacific. While the species is widely kept in the pet trade, the species was long believed extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 1994. It is now known to have three distinct populations and its conservation status is currently being evaluated by the IUCN. Trade in wild-caught individuals is presently banned.
Komodo dragon conservation efforts prove controversial in Indonesia
Efforts to conserve the world's largest lizard — the Komodo dragon — are proving controversial, and potentially dangerous to villagers, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Photo: World's oldest Fly River Turtle turns 50
Last Saturday "Freddy", a Fly River Turtle, turned 50. He is the oldest known individual of his species.
Cane toads are killing crocodiles in Australia
The cane toad has been a scourge to Australian wildlife for decades. An invasive species, the cane toad competes with local endemic frog species and due to its high toxicity kills any predator who preys on it, including snakes, raptors, lizards, and the carnivorous marsupial, northern quoll. New research has uncovered another victim of the toad. The freshwater crocodile has suffered massive population declines due to consuming the irascible toad.
Volunteering with Leatherback Sea Turtles in Galibi, Suriname
The northern coast of Suriname is one of the best places in the world to view the largest turtle, the marine Leatherback. Watching the turtle rise out of the tides onto the beach gives one the sense of meeting something ancient, rare, and more sea-monster than marine turtle. Yet, if I call it a sea-monster, I do not mean that it is frightening or ugly: far from it. But it is mysterious, terrible, and wondrous.
Chameleon has shortest life span of any four-legged animal
A newly discovered species of chameleon lives a cicada-like existence, spending the bulk of its short year-long life in its egg, report researchers writing in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Geriatric turtle sex only hope for world's rarest reptile
With only four individuals of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle left on Earth—one in the wild and three in captivity—conservationists have launched a desperate attempt to save the species from extinction.
Marauding kangaroos may drive extinction of earless dragons in Australia
A plague of kangaroos overgrazing sensitive grasslands near Australia's capital city Canberra is jeopardizing habitat critical for the survival of endangered species including the golden sun moth (Synemon plana) and the grassland earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla), one of the world's rarest lizards, according to German and Australian. Culling the kangaroos may be the only option for saving some of these grassland species from extinction.
Photos of newly discovered species in Brazil's Cerrado
An expedition to Brazil's Cerrado has turned up more than a dozen undiscovered species. conservationists say the discoveries add urgency to protecting the grassland habitat which is rapidly being converted for agriculture.
New map sets conservation priorities for Madagascar
Compiling data on thousands of endemic species of ants, butterflies, frogs, geckos, lemurs and plants, an international team of researchers has developed a comprehensive biodiversity map of Madagascar that will help determine determine future reserve placement and conservation planning on the Indian Ocean island and beyond.
How falling a gecko lands on its feet
According to new research the gecko may have the most dynamic tail in the natural world. Two researchers from UC Berkley have discovered that the gecko uses its tail to keep itself from falling off slippery vertical surfaces and when falling to rapidly right itself. So, like a cat, it always lands on four feet.
Deforestation causes snake invasion in the Amazon
An official with Brazil's environmental protection agency Ibama claims that snakes are invading the city of Belem due to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Rainforest logging threatens endangered sea turtles
Logging is having an unexpected impact on endangered sea turtles in Central Africa, reports a new study published in Oryx. Aerial surveys in Gabon reveal that logs lost during transport are clogging beaches, preventing critically endangered leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) from nesting.
Rainforest fragmentation affects reptiles and amphibians
Deforestation of tropical ecosystems is one of the major threats to biological diversity. Anthropogenic activities transform tropical environments into semi-natural landscapes generating a great amount of forest edge that limits with pastures and agricultural lands.
Gecko-inspired adhesive tape could improve recovery from surgery
Researchers are close to developing a biodegradable surgical adhesive based on biomimicry of gecko feet. Geckos are famous for their ability to walk on ceilings and vertical surfaces.
Madagascar's tortoises at high risk of extinction
Madagascar's rare and unique turtles and tortoises face high risk of extinction in the wild if conservation measures are not rapidly put into place, warned a group of scientists meeting to discuss the fate of Madagascar's most threatened repitles.
Sea turtle makes record migration - 12,774 miles
Satellite-tagging has revealed that a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) swam a total distance of 20,558 kilometers (12,774 miles) over 647 days from Jamursba-Medi, Indonesia to the coast of Oregon. The results are published in The State of the World's Sea Turtles magazine, a publication launched by conservation International and the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group.
Scientists discover four species of anole lizards in 24 hours in Panama
In January of 2006 a biological expedition uncovered four anole species in a single day. Dr. Gunther Koehler, a member of the expedition, described the discoveries as "a once in a life time experience; during expeditions before, we had found new species, one at a time--but four species within 24 hours, that was incredible!"
Study shows that sea turtles can recover
conservation of sea turtle nesting sites is paying off for the endangered reptiles, reports a new study published this week in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography. A team of researchers led researchers from IUCN and conservation International found that green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting on four beaches in the Pacific and two beaches in the Atlantic have increased by an four to fourteen percent annually over the past two to three decades as a result of beach protection efforts.
World's largest spitting cobra discovered in Kenya
The world's largest spitting cobra has been discovered in Kenya, according to WildlifeDirect, a conservation group.
Photo of the Venomous Gila Monster Getting an X-ray
Dr. Tim Georoff, a veterinarian for the Wildlife conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, handles this venomous lizard with great care as he prepares this female for an radiograph (X-ray).
86% of sea turtle species threatened with extinction
Marine turtles have thrived for more than 100 million years. But only the last few hundred years have given the huge, spectacular, prehistoric amphibians serious trouble.
Iguanas listen to birds to avoid predators
As the world's only sea-feeding lizard, Galapagos Marine Iguanas have long held a unique place in the animal kingdom. While most of their life is spent on land, these lizards forage the seas for their staple food: algae. Now, new research has provided this species with another distinction: although the Galapagos Marine Iguana is mute, it recognizes and utilizes the alarm call of the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is the first instance of a non-vocal species eavesdropping on another species' calls. Both the iguana and mockingbird fall prey to the Galapagos hawk, so by recognizing the mockingbird's warning the iguanas gain important information on avoiding predation.
Mexican fishing villages work to change practices to preserve loggerhead turtles
Industrial fishing operations take plenty of blame for both depleting fish stocks and inadvertently catching innocent bystanders such as dolphins, sharks, seabirds, and sea turtles--a phenomenon known as "bycatch.".
How do snakes survive starvation?
Starving snakes employ novel survival strategies not seen before in vertebrates, according to research conducted by a University of Arkansas biologist. These findings could be used in conservation strategies to determine the health of snake populations.
Legless lizard retracts eyes to avoid retaliatory prey bites
For creatures without legs, snakes are remarkable predators. Pythons can capture and eat animals well over twice their size, while a mere drop of venom injected by an Australian death adder can kill a person. Scientists believe the main purpose for these adaptations is to help snakes avoid injury when pursuing and eating prey. However, snakes are not the only legless reptiles -- there are more than a dozen species of legless lizard distributed around the world. A new paper examines how these reptiles subdue their prey without venom or constriction.
Squirrels communicate with rattlesnakes using heated tail
Ground squirrels heat their tails to defend their young against predatory rattlesnakes, reports a study published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Gecko + mussels = biomimetic underwater adhesive
Scientists have developed a new adhesive material based on the properties of mussels and gecko lizard. The researchers say the biomimetic design could produce more durable and longer-lasting bandages, patches, and surgical materials.
Forest disturbance reduces biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest
Two new studies in the Amazon rainforest show that plantation forests and second-growth forests have lower species counts for butterflies, reptiles, and amphibians than adjacent primary forest areas. The research has important implications for conservation of tropical biodiversity in a world where old-growth forest is increasingly replaced by secondary forests, industrial plantations, and agricultural landscapes.
Mother lizards select color patterns of offspring
Mother lizards can induce different color patterns in their offspring in response to social cues, reports research published June 10 in the online early edition of the journal Ecology Letters. Female side-blotched lizards determine the patterns "most likely to ensure success under the conditions they will encounter as adults," according to scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
New snake-like lizard discovered in India
A previously unknown species of legless lizard as been discovered in a remote Indian forest, reports the Associated Press. Sushil Kumar Dutta, leader of a team of researchers from NGO Vasundhra and the North Orissa University, found the 7-inch long creature in the forests of Khandadhar near Raurkela in Orissa state, about 625 miles southeast of New Delhi.
Rare softshell turtle rediscovered in Cambodia
Scientists from conservation International have successfully hatched a clutch of eggs from one of the world's most endangered turtle species.
Sex differences fuel evolution
Some Caribbean lizards' strong sexual dimorphism allows them to colonize much larger niches and habitats than they might otherwise occupy, allowing males and females to avoid competing with each other for resources and setting the stage for the population as a whole to thrive. The finding, reported this week in the journal Nature, suggests sex differences may have fueled the evolutionary flourishing of the Earth's wildly diverse fauna in a way not previously appreciated by scientists.
Animals on islands more abundant than mainland
A comprehensive survey of lizards on islands around the world has confirmed what island biologists and seafaring explorers have long observed: Animals on islands are much more abundant than their counterparts on the mainland.
Stephen Colbert's sea turtle second in race to Galapagos
Nearing the end of Great Turtle Race, Stephen Colbert's sea turtle Stephanie Colburtle was in second place, 18 miles behind Billie, a turtle sponsored by Offield Center for Billfish Studies. Billie is just 31 miles from the finish line of the 500-mile race.
Stephen Colbert's sea turtle currently third in race
On the fourth day of the Great Turtle Race, 3 of the leatherback turtles have completed Stage One, passing the 200-mile marker of the 500-mile race from Costa Rica to the Galapagos. The Great Turtle Race is a unique sea turtle conservation event that has engaged tens of thousands of adults and children around the world since it began on April 16.
Neon green gecko key to preventing Mauritian plant extinction
A vibrantly colored gecko plays a key role in a highly threatened ecological community in Mauritius reports new research published in American Naturalist. Studying plant-animal interactions in Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island famous for its extinct dodo bird, researchers found that a rare plant, Trochetia blackburniana, benefits from its proximity to Pandanus plants because they house high densities of geckos responsible for pollination. The findings, which unusually identify a lizard as a key pollinator, are significant because they provide "valuable management insights for ongoing conservation efforts to save the highly endangered flora of Mauritius.
Bad news for frogs; amphibian decline worse than feared
Chilling new evidence suggests amphibians may be in worse shape than previously thought due to climate change. Further, the findings indicate that the 70 percent decline in amphibians over the past 35 years may have been exceeded by a sharp fall in reptile populations, even in otherwise pristine Costa Rican habitats. Ominously, the new research warns that protected areas strategies for biodiversity conservation will not be enough to stave off extinction. Frogs and their relatives are in big trouble.
Racing sea turtle named in honor of Stephen Colbert
An eleventh turtle named Stephanie Colburtle has joined competitors Yahoo!, Travelocity, Plantronics, West Marine, Dreyer's Ice Cream and other sponsors in The Great Turtle Race, a unique international sea turtle conservation event that will take place online from April 16 to April 29 in a global bid to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered leatherback turtle.
Pythons turn bones of prey into calcium
Burmese pythons don't eat very often, but when they do they like to pig out, ingesting the whole of their prey. There's very little waste as they are able to digest everything, apart from hair and feathers. Dr Jean-Herv Lignot (Louis Pasteur University) and Dr Robert K. Pope (Indiana University South Bend) will talk about the implications this has on the way these snakes digest food on Saturday 31st March at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting in Glasgow.
Sea turtles use Earth's magnetic field to return to nesting beaches
New research suggests that sea turtles use a 'relatively simple navigation system' involving the Earth's magnetic field to return to the same beaches to lay their eggs, even after venturing across thousands of miles of open ocean without visible landmarks.
Doctor performs kidney surgery on egg-eating snake
In early February Dr. Robert Moore performed microsurgery on an adult African egg-eating snake at the Bronx Zoo's Animal Health Center.
Blind pink snake discovered in Madagascar
A pink worm-like snake has been rediscovered in Madagascar more than 100 years after it was first found. The snake, which is blind and measures about ten inches long, is described in the February 1, 2007 edition of Zootaxa, a leading taxonomic journal.
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