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					RAT HERPETOLOGY LAB - 3/21/02

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS HERPETOLOGY LAB - BIOL A346 - SPRING 2002 LABORATORY GUIDE Professor: Dr. Robert A. Thomas ( THE GOAL: To give you a serious and long-lasting case of herpetitis. LAB TIME: Each Tuesday, after lecture, 45 minutes will be used to introduce the following laboratory. The wet lab will be held each Thursday from 2-4:45 pm. CLASS COMMUNICATION (REQUIRED): I will often communicate with the class via email. You must have an email account and it must be updated (the one you are actually using on a day-to-day basis) on LORA so that I can batch email the class. Check often (daily) or you will definitely miss important information. Not getting the messages is not a valid excuse. CLASS LISTSERV: You are required to subscribe to the class listserv. All announcements and changes as the course progresses will be shared via this listserv. To subscribe, visit the following for instructions: BLACKBOARD: Many elements of this course will be available to you on the class Blackboard site ( You may find announcements, corrections to the syllabus (including due dates), clarifications, references, etc. You are well advised to check it often. The “I didn’t know” excuse won’t work. To access Blackboard for the first time, go to, click on Login, then give your username (the one for your Loyola email) and password (6 digits made up of your birth year [4 digits] and month of birth [2 digits]). Once in, you may (and should) change your password. HERP LAB SCHEDULE I. II. Jan 17 Jan 22 Jan 24 Jan 29 Jan 31 Feb 5 Feb 7 Feb 12 Feb 14 Feb 19 Feb 21 Feb 26 Feb 28 Mar 5 Mar 7 Introduction, local venomous snakes Lab Intro Caecilians, salamanders (part) Lab Intro Salamanders (part) Lab Intro, frog calls Frogs (part), key construction due No class, Mardi Gras (catch herp throws from floats) Frogs (part), tadpoles and salamander larvae Review Review Review Exam I, snakes (part) Lab Intro Snakes (part)







IX. X.

Mar 12 Lab Intro Mar 14 Snake (part) Mar 19 Lab Intro Mar 21 Amphisbaenids, lizards (part) Mar 26 No lass, spring break (go collecting!) Mar 28 No class, spring break (keep collecting!) Apr 2 Apr 4 Lab Intro Lizards (part)




Apr 9 Lab Intro Apr 11 Turtles (part) Apr 16 Lab Intro Apr 18 Turtles (part), Crocodilians Apr 23 Review Apr 25 Review; Field Notes due in lab. Apr 30 Frog call test Exam II, Lab clean up



XVII. May 2

What you must know about the specimens on the lab lists: For Louisiana specimens (unmarked): scientific name, habitat, distribution within and outside the state. You should also learn common names, but you will not be tested on that material. For U.S. species (marked "+"): genus, habitat, general distribution. For foreign species (marked "++"): family, habitat, general distribution. Those marked "+++" must be recognized to order and/or suborder only. Those marked "D" are demonstration only. They will be used for extra points on the lab exams. Do not remove them from the bottle. Know all structures and terms given in lab.

HERP LAB I Terms: You will be learning new terms all semester. To understand the following you have to know a few terms now.    Herps - this is a collective term referring to reptiles and amphibians. Herpers - this is you, people who love herps and seek them out. Snake or herp stick - anything used to turn stuff over while looking for herps.

The collection: The specimens used in this course are part of a Teaching Collection. Few of the


specimens have research value, but all are very valuable for their purpose: to serve as examples for students to learn about identifying taxa and morphology. Handle these specimens carefully and with respect. If specimens are damaged, new specimens must be collected to replace them. We try to do that as infrequently as possible. Where do the teaching specimens come from? These specimens are available to you through a number of sources: some were collected for this collection, others donated by interested people, but most were donated by herpetologists from other institutions (e.g., University of New Orleans, L.S.U. Museum of Natural Sciences, University of Louisiana Lafayette, University of Louisiana Monroe, Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection (Texas A&M University), University of Texas El Paso, American Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), California Academy of Sciences, Sonora-Desert Museum, University of Florida, University of Missouri, Pine Jog Environmental Science Center, Louisiana Nature Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Australia Museum, and many more). Handling specimens: Specimens should be kept moist, with alcohol or water - never let them dry out. Hold them by the body, never by a limb or tail. Be sure they are returned to the proper bottle. When possible, specimens should be placed in the bottle head down. Preservatives: Specimens are set in 10% formalin. They are then soaked in water to remove the formalin and then stored in 50% isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the specimens are always covered by the proper concentration of alcohol when you close the jar. Data tags: The tags tied to some specimens’ legs are very important in that they contain information about where, when, and by whom the specimens were collected. Never hold the specimen by its tag, and if a tag comes off, take it and the specimen to the instructor immediately so it can be reattached. Dichotomous keys: You are given “dichotomous keys” that will help you identify most specimens in lab. Learn to use them. How to study in lab: You all have different learning styles (see the hand-out in your lecture notes on this topic), so these suggestions are generic, but tried and true.  Study the specimens with one or more partners. Say the names to one another constantly, thus reinforcing them in your mind. When you see one another on campus or the local pub, call out a few scientific names (this really impresses your non-herp friends - they’ll want to be like you!).  Group the specimens into assemblages that are in some way related (this will be done in lab). Once you have learned a group, move to the next group. Once you’ve studied all groups, compare groups that you think have similarities.  Use the keys to identify specimens.  For each species, sketch your impression of what it looks like (this does not have to be of high artistic quality). Make notes on characters that you see that help you distinguish it from other species. Write down its range, habitat, and other interesting notes. By consulting a field guide, you might note its color in life.  Discuss with others how they recognize various taxa.  Find all structures and concepts listed under “terms” for each category  Use mnemonics (a technique used to enhance remembering something: using the first letters to produce a phrase, use of rhyme, etc.).  Look up the Latin, Greek, or other origins of the names.  Repetition, repetition, repetition! Lab exams: Exams will be the typical form used in labs. There will be individual stations with questions. The class will move from station to station, have about one minute at each station, and be allowed to return to difficult stations at the end, as time allows. Questions will include the type of information you are told to learn: scientific name, genus, family, other taxonomic categories, habitat, distribution, how many species


in the pile, what character is used to diagnose two taxa, name the structure (that the pin is in), and the like. FIELD TRIPS ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT: You must have a current basic fishing license or a “Wild Louisiana Stamp.” These may be obtained at any sporting goods store, Walmart, K Mart, etc. Equipment: For general herping, the best tool is a potato rake (to be called your snake stick or rake). What you need is something with which to turn things over and to dig around with. In aquatic situations, use dip nets, seines, etc. For night work, a headlight keeps your hands free. Specimens may be carried in many different types of containers. The norm is a cloth snake bag (see article on how to sew them), but some like to use other containers (jars, zip-lock plastic bags, etc.). Above all, keep the specimens moist and never let them get too hot or cold. It is a death sentence to leave herps in the sun or a car during hot or cold weather (hot is more dangerous than cold). Also, be careful who you store with whom! One may eat the other, or its secretions may kill the other. If you go on a field trip and do not have a good snake stick and containers in which to place herps, you will be considered absent and not get credit for the trip. If you do not work hard looking for herps on the field trips, you will also lose credit for attendance. When in doubt, mimic me! Where to find herps: Sometimes herps can be found moving about in the open. This is especially true on rainy days and at night. Good field herpetologists learn about a species’ habits and then exploit that information when searching for them. When in the field, always keep your eyes open for movement. Don’t just look immediately around you. Glance in the distance (you might see something sunning on a log or tree). Your ears will be very important. Rustling in the leaves often reveals a herp moving. Look under everything: logs, rocks, loose bark, piles of leaves, boards, all types of trash, etc. Try not to destroy logs and stumps (once gone, they’re gone and it may take years for newly fallen trees to rot enough to support herps and their friends). If you turn anything over, turn it back (it takes a long time for the microhabitat underneath to develop, so we need to protect it - so you can look again the next time you visit).

WHY DO HERPERS FIND SECRETIVE CRITTERS UNDER ROCKS AND LOGS IN CERTAIN HABITATS? (mostly from Gans, 1974:130-131) A rock or log lying on the surface represent a break in the homogeniety of the soil. When a burrowing critter bumps into one, it must change direction of movement. When one flips a rock or log, one often sees a myriad of tunnels exposed. The reason: the object served as the top of each tunnel and was quite beneficial to the critter in that it would not collapse as soil roofs might. Additional benefits from the rock or log include:  preventing tunnel erosion from wind, rain, or flood.  uneven margins of the object allowing protected entrances to the tunnel system.  provides a protected place for tunnels to intersect and for larger chambers to be formed (act as meeting places for the critters for socializing, mating, exchanging cooties, etc.).  if the object is in a sunny area, it may allow critters to rest in a tunnel and absorb heat form the sun (thus not being obvious and vulnerable to predators).  if the object is a log, it may regulate the humidity in the tunnel system and contribute nutrients as it decays.  the object will buffer the microenvironment: keep it from drying too quickly, minimize temperture changes, etc.  the somewhat constant set of environmental conditions and stable tunnels and chambers become attractive sites for nesting for the herps and other critters, with some of the latter being herp food.


All of these add up to the tunnels under rocks and logs being places that have microenvironmental qualities that attract the critters, their prey, and, consequently, their predators (including herp students). Since they hold moisture from recent rains, heat during the day, etc., they are attractive locations for fossorial critters to take advantage of surface conditions without exposing themselves to terrestrial predation. These aggregations are seldom found under logs and rocks in the tropics. This may be due to 1) the reduced need to acquire heat to thermoregulate and 2) the high predation pressure in such environs. Isn't it neat that Mother Nature's complexities of the microenvironment provide us with this window into the fossorial habitat? Don't forget about the aquatic habitat. Look for larvae amongst leaves on the bottom of a pool. One of the best techniques for finding herps is to drive along roads at night. You will find herps simply crossing the road or sitting there soaking up warmth. This can be combined with simply looking and listening for evidence of herps, especially choruses of frogs. Smashed specimens (DORs: dead on road) should be collected and preserved; they have the same scientific value as specimens caught live and preserved. Walking at night with a headlight works well, too. When to find herps: The greatest diversity of herps is out and about during the spring. However, there are some species that are only found during particular seasons (e.g., Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs, and ambystomatid salamanders during the winter months). Diversity increases into the spring, then declines until the winter months when it is lowest. What you can and cannot collect: It is your responsibility to know what you can and cannot collect. You may not touch a venomous snake with your hands (see below). You may not collect species that are protected by law (sea turtles, gopher tortoises, diamondback terrapins, alligators, etc. See the chart in the Conservation section of the lecture notes). Field notes: See the example "Field Data Sheet" (can be downloaded from Blackboard). For each collecting stop on each field trip, you must fill out one of the Field Data Sheets provided. All blanks must be filled with succinct data. Fill in the data at the time of each stop - don’t rely on memory (which fades rapidly)! The Herpetology Lab Folder has several articles on how to take field notes. Be sure to read them before the first field trip! Field notes are extremely important in field biology; take them seriously with impeccable ethics!

Venomous snakes: Never, ever pick them up with your hands (or other parts of your body)! If you do, you will fail this course!
Snake bite: See "First Aid for Snakebite" by the American Red Cross (in your lecture notes) for the method we will hopefully not have to use in the field. Here are the seven (7) most important things that one must always remember if a bite occurs: 1. Put the victim at rest and keep him/her warm. 2. Remove all rings and jewelry. 3. Give the victim reassurance.


4. If possible, immobilize the bitten area at or below heart level. 5. If no signs of envenomation are present, take the victim to a medical facility. 6. Use suction over the site of the fang marks as soon as possible. The best on the market appears to be the "Extractor”," which applies a high pressure suction from a syringe-type applicator (available from most sporting goods stores for about $15). 7. If envenomation has occurred, place a lymph band (one inch wide and loose enough that a finger can easily be inserted underneath) 2-4 inches above the bite (toward the trunk). Take victim to a medical facility or get medical help as quickly as possible. First choice is to have an ambulance come to the victim; second is to get the victim to a hospital. Medical experts (that I trust, not the "experts" that are kooks) maintain that it is best to get the victim to a hospital (after doing the above) where antivenin can be administered if necessary. Antivenin is basically antibodies that have been produced by injecting venom into a horse until it produces copious quantities antibodies that can be removed from the blood. In the U.S., antivenin is always a horse serum. For pit viper bites, the antivenin used is a "polyvalent" antivenin, meaning that it is composed of antibodies to more than one species (usually copperhead, cottonmouth, and rattlers). Humans often have allergies to horse serum, and fully 75% of all people that are injected with our antivenin have some form of serum sickness. The worst type is anaphylactic shock, where the blood complement clumps up and the victim runs a good chance of dying. For this reason, physicians always give a scratch test before injecting the antivenin, but this does not always work. Because of this serum problem, it is most advisable to always have antivenin administered in a hospital. I have never carried it in the field, and I probably never will. Now, for the critters!

LOCAL VENOMOUS SNAKES TERMS TO HELP UNDERSTAND THESE SNAKES Ventrals - scales across the venter of the animal. (all snakes) Subcaudals - scales across the venter of the tail; may be single or in two rows. (all snakes) Dorsal scale rows - the scales on the sides and dorsum of a snake. (all snakes) Keeled scales - scales with a ridge down the middle. (Nerodia, Agkistrodon) Smooth scales - scales with no ridge down the middle. (Lampropeltis, Micrurus) Loreal pit - infrared sensory pits in the loreal region of pit vipers. (Agkistrodon, Crotalus, Sistrurus) Dentition: Aglyphous - without fangs (non-venomous snakes) Opisthoglyphous - with enlarged fangs on the rear of the maxilla; with or without a groove; usually with smaller non-fang teeth anterior to them; when they bite, the whole maxilla is rotated upward and the fangs are pushed into the victim. (xenodontines) Proteroglyphous - fixed fangs at the front of the maxilla, usually with smaller non-fang teeth posterior to them; cross-section of the fang shows that it is hollow, but fused at the rear: (elapids and hydrophiids)


Solenoglyphous - movable fangs located on the maxilla, without other teeth being present; they fold back when the maxilla is rotated; cross section of the fang shows that it is hollow: (viperids)


Micrurus fulvius - Eastern Coral Snake; a tricolor with every other ring yellow; rings completely encircle the body; head rather blunt, and black at snout. Micrurus tener - Texas Coral Snake - black neck band extends forward to include rear tips of parietal scales.


Agkistrodon contortrix - Copperhead; dark hour-glasses on a tan body; margins of hourglass bands smooth; head with no strong pattern. Agkistrodon piscivorus - Cottonmouth; in younger specimens, bands are shades of brown, but margins are jagged; head with light stripes down side. Crotalus adamanteus - Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake; dorsal blotches bordered with light scales. Crotalus horridus - Timber (Canebrake) Rattlesnake; with black chevrons and a copper stripe down the back; tail black (some northern timber rattlers are entirely black, but in Louisiana, where they are called Canebrakes, they are light with the described pattern). Sistrurus miliarus - Pygmy Rattlesnake; our smallest rattler; gray, with darker vertebral blotches and lateral spots; rattle very small.


Heterodon platirhinos - Eastern Hognose Snake; rostral turned up, with a keel immediately behind; body heavy, but "soft." Only mildly venomous, and only very rarely bites when handled.

HERP LAB II ORDER GYMNOPHIONA (=APODA) - Caecilians GYMNOPHIONANA TERMS Primary annuli - rings that entirely encircle the body; they represent the margins of folds in which there may be scales. Secondary annuli - rings, as above, that do not entirely encircle the body. Tentacles - extend from the brain forward; sensory in nature.

Ichthyophiidae +++ Epicrionops bicolor (South America) Caeciliidae +++ Dermophis mexicanus (Middle America) Typhlonectidae +++Typhlonectes compressicauda - South America, totally aquatic.

ORDER MEANTES (most consider them members of the ORDER CAUDATA) - sirens


SIREN AND SALAMANDER TERMS Toes 4-5 - means "four toes on front feet and five toes on hind feet." Others have 4-4. Costal grooves - vertical groves on the sides of some salamanders; coincide with ribs and vertebrae, so they say something important about anatomy. Costal folds (= intercostal spaces) - the space between costal grooves. Adpressed limbs - holding the body straight, a forelimb and hindlimb on one side are held straightened toward the center of the body; the purpose is usually to count "costal grooves between adpressed limbs." (used with Ambystoma and others) Nasolabial grooves - a groove that runs between the nasal opening and the mouth; functions in allowing, by capillary action, scents to move from the substrate to the nose. (plethodontids) Cirrus (plural = cirri) - a projection originating at the junction of the nasolabial groove and the lower margin of the upper lip; occurs during the breeding season in male Eurycea and allows them to trail females better; disappears when not breeding. Boletoid tongue - a mushroom-shaped tongue. (Eurycea) Primary tongue - an immovable tongue. (Necturus) Plicae - the ridges of tissue between the grooves on the tongue of some salamanders. (ambystomatids) Canthus rostralis - a recognizable ridge running down the canthal region of the head (a line between the eye and nasal). (Notophthalmus, Gyrinophilus) Parasphenoid teeth - teeth on the parasphenoid bone. (Plethodontids) Vomerine teeth - teeth on the vomer bone. (all) Snout-vent length - straight-line distance between the tip of the snout and the rear of the cloacal opening. Palmar tubercles - tubercles on the palm of the hand. (various species) Gularis muscle - an enlarged muscle on each side of the rear of the lower surface of the head. (Desmognathus, Leurognathus, Phaeognathus) Gular fold - a fold across the rear of the lower surface of the head. (Desmognathus) Mental gland - a gland on the tip of the chin that functions in finding a mate via following a scent trail. (Desmognathus) Parotoid gland - enlarged gland on each side of the dorsum just behind the head; exudes toxic, white milky substance for defense; note the tiny dark dots (depressions) where the toxins exit the gland. (Salamandra) Paedogenesis (= obligate neoteny; adj. is paedogenic) - retaining larval characteristics when sexually mature, and not being capable of metamorphosis; larval characteristics genetically fixed. (Typhlomolge, Necturus)


Neoteny (= facultative neoteny; adj. is neotenic) - retaining larval characteristics when sexually mature, but, with the capability of metamorphosing. (Ambystoma, Dicamptodon) Axolotyl - Common name for theobligate neotenic form of Ambystoma mexicanum,. (see our neotenic Ambystoma tigrinum) Basal tail constriction - a constriction in the tail just to the rear of the legs. (Ensatina, Hemidactylium)


Siren intermedia - Lesser Siren; four toes; body gray; three gill slits. + Pseudobranchus striatus - Dwarf Siren; three toes; body with dark stripes; one gill slit.

ORDER CAUDATA (=URODELA) - salamanders Cryptobranchidae + Cryptobranchus alleganiensis - Hellbender; this genus is paedogenic and fully aquatic, preferring clear streams; it occurs in the central eastern US, from N Arkansas and N Alabama to S New York, west of the Appalachians; note its flattened form which allows it to hide under rocks on the bottom of the stream; it has a spiracle on each side of the head. Proteidae (=Necturidae) + Necturus beyeri - Gulf Coast Waterdog + Necturus maculosus - Mudpuppy Necturus is fully paedogenic, aquatic (preferring clear streams). It has toes 4-4 and a squared snout. The species are difficult to tell apart. The genus ranges in the eastern U.S. Hynobiidae D Hynobius chinensis - Eurasia Simply note the general body form. These salamanders have the appearance of our plethodontids.

HERP LAB III ORDER CAUDATA (cont.) Ambystomatidae Ambystoma talpoideum - Mole Salamander Ambystoma opacum - Marbled Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum - Tiger Salamander (plus neotenic form) Ambystoma texanum - Small-mouthed Salamander Ambystoma maculatum - Spotted Salamander Note that A. talpoideum and A. texanum are unicolored, yet they are easily differentiated by their head shape and relative width. A. maculatum has two rows of very round spots down the back, while A. tirginum is more mottled, with its "spots" being less well defined. Note its neotenic form; one of the metamorphosed specimens is so recent that it still has a flattened tail and is mostly tan with only a faint pattern.


Dicamptodontidae D Rhyacotriton olympicus - Olympic Salamander (W US) D Dicamptodon ensatus - Pacific Giant Salamander (W US) These are the western equivalent of ambystomatids in our area. Neoteny is common. Plethodontidae - Lungless Salamanders These salamanders are lungless, have nasolabial grooves, and are highly adapted to a variety of habitats. There are two subfamilies. Desmognathinae - This subfamily is characterized by having large gularis muscles, a light stripe from the eye to the rear corner of the mouth, the head cocks down when preserved, the hind legs are larger than the front legs, and there is frequently a mottled pattern on the back with a wavey band down the tail. Desmognathus species may be difficult to identify, especially in preservative.

Desmognathus auriculatus - Southern Dusky Salamander D Desmognathus fuscus - Northern Dusky Salamander D other desmog species D Leurognathus marmoratus - Shovelnose Salamander (W North Carolina and adjoining states) D Phaeognathus hubrichti - Red Hills Salamander (S Alabama) Plethodontinae - This subfamily is characterized by having a generalized salamander form. That is, their heads are well defined by a neck, fore and rear legs are roughly the same size, and they are variously patterned. Pseudotriton ruber - Red Salamander + Pseudotriton montanus - Mud Salamander Eurycea longicauda (=guttolineata)- Three-striped Salamander Eurycea cirrigera (= bislineata) - Two-lined Salamander; look for cirri in males. Eurycea quadridigitata (= Manculus)- Dwarf Salamander (SE US); toes 4-4. + Ensatina escholtzii - (W US); note the basal tail constriction. + Batrachoseps sp. - Slender Salamander (W US); note the very long tail that has costal grooves. + Aneides lugubris - Arboreal Salamander (W US); note the square tips of the toes. + Gyrinophilus porphyriticus - Spring Salamander; note the well defined canthus rostralis. Plethodon mississippi (= glutinosus) - Slimy Salamander (Florida parishes of LA); P. kisatchie is in central LA. Plethodon serratus (=cinereus) - Southern Redback Salamander D other plethodons D Hemidactylium scutatum - Four-toe Salamander; note the basal tail constriction. D Stereochilus marginatus - Many-lined Salamander (U.S. mid Atlantic coast) D Thorius macdougalli - smallest known salamander species in the World.



The following are all cave salamanders and are highly adapted to that environment.

D Typhlotriton spelaeus - Grotto Salamander (Ozarks) D Haideotriton wallacei - Georgia Blind Salamander (northern Florida and southern Georgia) D Typhlomolge rathbuni - Texas Blind Salamander (central Texas)


Amphiuma means - Two-toed Amphiuma (SE US); two toes. Amphiuma tridactylum - Three-toed Amphiuma (SE US); three toes. Amphiuma tridactylum young and eggs


Notophthalmus viridescens (efts and newts) - Central Newt (E US); see the canthus rostralis. + Taricha torosa - California Newt (W US) D Salamandra salamandra - Fire Salamander (Europe); note parotoid glands, which make them easily separable from Ambystoma.

HERP LAB IV ORDER ANURA (=SALIENTIA) FROG TERMS Palmar tubercles - turbercles on the palms; especially developed in some species during breeding. Plantar tubercles - turbercles on the sole of the feet. (Bufo and many others) Nuptial pads - a special type of palmar tubercles that functions in helping the male hold on to the female during amplexus. (see reproduction frogs, especially Bufo) Metatarsal tubercles - tubercles on the underside of toes (over the metatarsal bones) in toads; not very good for identification as once thought. (Bufo) Vocal pouch - the pouch that expands during vocalization in male frogs; may be thin and single (who would argue?) (Hyla), thick and single (Rana catesbeiana),and double (Rana sphenocephala, Smilisca, and others). Vocal slits - slits at the lower rear margins of the mouth that allow air to pass from the mouth to the vocal pouch; obviously in males only. Transverse fold - a fold of skin across the rear of the head; may stretch flat in preserved specimens. (Gastrophryne) Tympanum - the ear drum; located just behind the eye on the side of the head; in some frogs (Rana especially) the males have a tympanum much larger than the eye and females have one the same size or smaller. Tympanic fold - a fold of skin just to the rear of the tympanum.


Bicornuate tongue - a tongue that is attached in front and has two extensions from the rear. (Rana) Parotoid gland - enlarged gland on each side of the dorsum just behind the head; exudes toxic, white milky substance for defense; note the tiny dark dots (depressions) where the toxins exit the gland. (Bufo) Pectoral gland - two glands on the chest of certain frogs; look like little mammary glands. (Scaphiopus holbrooki) Interorbital boss - a raised harden "bump" between the eyes of certain frogs. (Scaphiopus bombifrons, which you won’t see in lab) Intercalary bone (or cartilage) - a cartilage located between the ultimate and penultimate phalanx; allows the toe pad that is present on these types of toes to bend more easily. (Hyla) Vomerine teeth - teeth on the vomer bones. Abdominal disc - a circular mass of tissue on the abdomen of certain frogs. (Hylactophryne and some other leptodactylids) Toe disc (or pad) - an expanded pad at the tip of the toe; usually functions in grasping the surface, often with the use of mucus. (Hyla: round; Eleutherodactylus: triangular) Dorsolateral fold - a fold of skin running down the dorsolateral surface. (Rana sphenocephala, R. clamitans) Firmisternal pectoral girdle - a type of pectoral girdle where the cartilage, usually the epicorocoids, abutts, and are thus firmly attached and allow little movement. (Ranidae, Pipidae, Microhylidae, Dendrobatidae, and some Bufonidae) Arciferal pectoral girdle - a type of pectoral girdle where the bones and/or cartilage (usually the epicorocoids) overlap one another, thus allowing for movement. (Hylidae, Leptodactylidae, Myobatrachidae, Pseudidae, Rhinodermatidae, Ascaphidae, Discoglossidae, Pelobatidae and some Bufonidae) Sacral hump - when some frogs sit, there appears on rounded hump caused by the articulation of the vertebrae, pelvic girdle, and urostyle. (many Rana’s) Prepollex - a vestigial digit on the inner side of the first digit on the hand of some frogs. Prehallux - a vestigial digit on the inner side of the first digit on the feet of some frogs; modified as a digging instrument in some species.



Cranial crest:


+ Ascaphus truei - Tailed Frog (W US); in fast running streams in mountains; the tail of the male is characteristic and is used as an intromittent organ.


+ Xenopus laevis - African Clawed Frog (W US and Africa); note the "claws". ++ Pipa pipa - Pipa (South America).

Rhinophrynidae + Rhinophrynus dorsalis - Mexican Burrowing Frog (Mexico and extreme S Texas); note the adapatations for burrowing. Pelobatidae Scaphiopus holbrooki - Eastern Spadefoot Toad (SE US, including E Texas; note the digging spades). D Pelobates syriacus - Eastern Spadefoot (E&S Balkans)

Leptodactylidae: Many species of this family have triangular toe pads that don’t have an intercalary cartilage. D Leptodactylus fragilis (=labialis) - White-lipped Frog (extreme S Texas and adjacent Mexico) D Leptodactylus pentadactylus - South American Bullfrog (Central and South America); this is their "bullfrog", which is widely eaten. Eleutherodactylus plantirostris (=recordi) - Greenhouse Frog (New Orleans area, S Florida, and nearby Gulf/Caribbean islands); breed on land; dark triangle between eyes; snout pointed; dark line across snout; throat pales without pattern; like Acris but with no defined stripes on the thighs and not warts. Syrrhophus cystignathoides (=campi)- Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Shreveport; also Houston and S Texas); no dark triangle between eyes; snout blunt; head very dark with little or no pattern; throat with narrow dark band. D Hylactophryne augusti - Barking Frog - Mainly in Texas in the U.S. Very secretive; usually calls with a single bark from under a boulder. The individuals are widely spaced for territories (often in canyons or


ravines), and only make single call notes occasionally, so they are very difficult to find in the field. D Telmatobius culeus - (Lake Titicaca, Bolivia); note, on this poor specimen, the many flaps that are adaptations for a fully aquatic life (allow for efficient absorbtion of oxygen). D Ceratophrys calcarata and C. inornata - Horned Frog - Common as pets in the U.S., but from South America. Eat other frogs and virtually any thing they can get in their mouths. One of the few frogs that will bite humans. Myobatrachidae This is a very diverse family that is restricted to Australasia. Note the convergence in body form of these species to US species (examples shown). This family is sometimes lumped into the Leptodactylidae. D Limnodynastes tasmaniensis - Spotted Grass Frog = Pseudacris streckeri D Uperoleia inundata = Gastrophryne D Notaden nichollsi - Desert Spadefoot Toad = Scaphiopus D Notaden bennettii - Crucifix Toad = Scaphiopus D Pseudophryne corroboree - Corroboree Frog = Dendrobates Microhylidae Gastrophryne carolinensis - Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (SE US) + Hypopachus variolosus (=cuneus) - Sheep Toad (S Texas and Mexico)

HERP LAB V Bufonidae This group is characterized by having plump bodies, warts, parotoid glands, and cranial crests. Important characters are the shape and size of cranial crests, shape of parotoid glands, and (in some species) number of warts in dorsal spots. Look for well defined nuptial pads in reproductive males. Bufo terrestris - Southern Toad; note the large knobs on the parietal cranial crests. Bufo woodhousei - Woodhouse’s Toad; usually very low cranial crests; back with large dark spots, each containing several warts. Bufo americanus - American Toad; cranial crests usually very thick; back with smaller black spots, usually with only one wart per spot. Bufo nebulifer (= valliceps) - Gulf Coast Toad; triangular parotoids; very characteristic cranial crests. Bufo quercicus - Oak Toad; very small; not easy to identify. Bufo marinus - Giant (Marine, Cane) Toad; not established in Louisiana; enormous parotoids; cranial crests like B. valliceps. Bombinidae D Bombina bombina - Fire Belly Toad (Europe); this is the species that performs the unken reflex. D Pseudis paradoxa - Paradox Frog (South America); the larva of this species gets 6" long, and gets smaller as it metamorphoses, thus the "paradox." D Hyalinobatrachium fleichmanni - Glass Frog - Costa Rica. Transparent skin colored green by biliverdin. Forward facing eyes; rounded head. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to learn this name?

Pseudidae Centrolenidae



Hyla gratiosa - Barking Tree Frog; this is Louisiana’s largest hylid. Hyla squirella - Squirrel Tree Frog; this species can turn green or brown. It is diagnosed from H. cinerea in having a poorly defined white stripe from the axilla to the groin; it is best identified by process of elimination - it is rather non-descript. Hyla cinerea - Green Tree Frog; the state amphibian. Note the well defined white lateral stripe that ends well before the groin. Hyla versicolor and/or chrysoscelis - Gray Tree Frog; these species are mixed because they cannot be differentiated when preserved. They are identical morphologically, even though one is a tetraploid and has a much slower trill rate in its call (H. versicolor). In life, they have yellow on the concealed surface of the thighs. Hyla femoralis - Pine Woods Tree Frog; though very hard to distinguish in preservative, this species has very light spots on the concealed portion of the thigh (these are always present, though possibly faint; this helps distinguish it from H. squirella). Hyla avivoca - Bird-voiced Tree Frog; this species is very similar to H. versicolor and H. chrysoscelis, but it is smaller and, in life, has greenish color on the concealed surface of the thighs. The calls are quite different. D Osteopilus septentrionalis - Cuban Tree Frog; North America’s largest hylid. Now well established in south Florida. Pseudacris (=Hyla) crucifer - Spring Peeper; "X" marks on the back. Pseudacris feriarum (= triseriata) - Upland Chorus Frog; bullet-shaped body with longitudinal stripes (often broken). D Pseudacris nigrita - Southern Chorus Frog - If in the state, then barely in eastern St. Tammany Parish. D Pseudacris streckeri - Strecker’s Chorus Frog; this is a fat-bodied member of the genus. Acris crepitans - Northern Cricket Frog; ragged-edged dark stripe on the rear of the thigh. Acris gryllus - Southern Cricket Frog; smooth-edged dark stripe on the rear of the thigh (if there is any doubt that it is ragged, then it is smooth). + Smilisca baudini - Mexican Tree Frog; note the two vocal sacs. D Agalychnis callidryas - Red-eyed Tree Frog (Mexico to Panama) D Pternohyla foidens - Northern Casque-headed Frog; note how tightly the skin adheres to the skull of this species. Like the myobatrachids, this family is very diverse in morphology, with many members showing convergence to many unrelated species in other parts of the world. Examples are given. It is often lumped with the Hylidae. D Litoria (several species) Australia L. copelandi - Saxicoline Tree Frog = looks like a large Syrrhophus L. chloris - Red-eyed Tree Frog = looks like Hyla cinerea L. pearsoniana = looks like Hyla squirella L. nasuta - Rocket Frog = looks like Rana sphenocephala or Leptodactylus fragilis D Cyclorana australis = looks like Rana clamitans



D Chiromantis xerampelina - Gray Foam-nesting Tree Frog (Africa). These are the frogs that nest in arid areas, like the Serengetti, and create the large foam nests in trees often seen in nature movies.


Rana sphenocephala (=utricularia) - Southern Leopard Frog; use the key provided for


this and the next two species. Note the differences in their dorsolateral folds. + Rana blairi - Plains Leopard Frog + Rana berlandieri - Rio Grande Leopard Frog

Key to Some Members of the Rana pipiens Complex 1. Dorsolateral folds continuous to groin area. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Dorsolateral folds discontinuous and displaced at rear. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Dorsolateral folds broad, not distinctly raised; light tympanum spot nearly always absent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. pipiens Dorsolateral folds usually narrow and distinctly raised; light tympanum spot usually present . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. sphenocephala Dorsolateral folds broad, not usually distinctly raised; light tympanum spot usually absent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. berlandieri Dorsolateral folds usually narrow and distinctly raised; light tympanum spot usually present. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. blairi



Rana palustris - Pickerel Frog; note that the spots on the back are squarish, and generally in two rows. Rana catesbeiana - Bullfrog; use the key provided for this and the next species. They are very easy to distinguish by their calls. Generally speaking, this species is more of a bayou/lake/pond animal; R. grylio is more of a marsh species. Rana grylio - Pig Frog

Key to Rana catesbeiana and R. grylio 1. Pale stripe across the rear of the thighs; dorsolateral light stripes present (in young specimens); webs reach the tips of all toes on the rear feet; when rear toes 4&5 are adpressed, tip of 5th toe equal to or beyond second joint of 4th toe. . . . . R. grylio No pale stripe on the rear of the thighs; no dorsolateral light stripes; webbing does not reach the tip of the longest toe on rear foot; when rear toes 4&5 are adpressed, tip of 5th toe does not reach level of second joint of 4th toe . . . . . . R. catesbeiana Rana areolata - Crawfish Frog; note the light circles around the dorsal spots; also note the two vocal pouches; winter breeder; rarely encountered. Rana clamitans - Bronze Frog; a brown frog with dorsolateral folds ending before the groin. D Conraua goliath - Giant (Goliath) Frog (West Africa); the world’s largest frog. Dendrobatidae These are the "dart poison frogs" of Latin America. Not all are toxic. D Epipedobates trivittatus - Three-striped Poison Dart Frog (N South America); black with yellow stripes.


Tadpoles & Salamander larvae - Refer to the handouts "Characters of salamander larva and frog tadpole," "Tadpole Morphology," and "Tadpole Miscellanea." Key demonstration material and be able to identify the structures. There is much variation regarding the length of time it takes tadpoles to develop through metamorphosis. "Normal" time is up to several months (for most local hylids, microhylids, etc.). Scaphiopus, a genus adapted for desert life, can make the transition from egg to metamorphosed juvenile within two weeks (S. couchi takes 8 days, S. multiplicatus takes 21 days), and shorter under certain circumstances (in other parts of the world, there are distantly related genera and species that have adapted to xeric life in the same way). Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) and Pig Frogs (Rana grylio) may take up to two years in northern areas, but only one year in Louisiana.



SNAKE TERMS All head scales No loreal vs. no preocular - in general, if the scale touching the front of the eye is higher than long, it is a preocular; if it is longer than high, it is a loreal. (no loreal - Storeria; no preocular - Virginia). Lorilabials - scale between the loreal and the supralabials. (Trimorphodon). Includes scales between supralabials and other scales above them, but you won’t see these in class. Brille (spectacle) - clear scale over the eye; protects an eye with no eyelid. (all snakes) Ventrals - scales across the venter of the animal. (all snakes) Subcaudals - scales across the venter of the tail; may be single or in two rows. (all snakes) Dorsal scale rows - the scales on the sides and dorsum of a snake. (all snakes) Keeled scales - scales with a ridge down the middle. (Nerodia, Agkistrodon) Smooth scales - scales with no ridge down the middle. (Lampropeltis, Micrurus) Apical pits - one or two small spots on the distal end of a dorsal scale. Labial pits - infrared sensory pits in the lips of some boas. (Pythonidae and Boidae) Loreal pit - infrared sensory pits in the loreal region of pit vipers. (Agkistrodon, Crotalus, Sistrurus)


Divided anal (cloacal) plate (scale) - two scales that cover the cloacal opening. (Nerodia) Single (entire) anal (cloacal) plate (scale) - one scale covering the cloacal opening. (Lampropeltis) Hemipenes - double intromittant organ in squamates. Spurs - externally visible vestigial remnant of hind legs in male boids and pythonids. LBS - Little Brown Snakes, the students’ nemesis. (Storeria, Virginia, Rhadinaea etc.) Dentition: Aglyphous - without fangs (non-venomous snakes) Opisthoglyphous - with enlarged fangs on the rear of the maxilla; with or without a groove; usually with smaller non-fang teeth anterior to them; when they bite, the whole maxilla is rotated upward and the fangs are pushed into the victim. (xenodontines) Proteroglyphous - fixed fangs at the front of the maxilla, usually with smaller non-fang teeth posterior to them; cross-section of the fang shows that it is hollow, but fused at the rear: (elapids and hydrophiids) Solenoglyphous - movable fangs located on the maxilla, without other teeth being present; they fold back when the maxilla is rotated; cross section of the fang shows that it is hollow: (viperids)


Micrurus fulvius - Eastern Coral Snake; a tricolor with every other ring yellow; rings completely encircle the body; head rather blunt, and black at snout. Micrurus tener - Texas Coral Snake - black neck band extends forward to include rear tips of parietal scales. D Micruroides euryxanthus - Western Coral Snake - SW New Mexico and S Arizona. D Naja naja - Indian Cobra (SE Asia); note the hood.. D Acanthophis antarcticus - Death Adder (Australia); note convergence with our pitvipers. ++ Pelamis platurus - Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Pacific Ocean); note the adaptations for life in the sea (flattened tail, small ventrals); note small dorsal scales. Agkistrodon contortrix - Copperhead; dark hour-glasses on a tan body; margins of hourglass bands smooth; head with no strong pattern. Agkistrodon piscivorus - Cottonmouth; in younger specimens, bands are shades of brown, but margins are jagged; head with light stripes down side. Crotalus adamanteus - Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake; dorsal blotches margined with light scales. Crotalus horridus - Timber (Canebrake) Rattlesnake; with black chevrons and a copper stripe down the back; tail black (some northern timber rattlers are entirely black, but in Louisiana, where they are called Canebrakes, they are light with the described pattern). Sistrurus miliarus - Pigmy Rattlesnake; our smallest rattler; gray, with darker vertebral blotches and lateral spots; rattle very small. D Daboia (=Vipera) russelli - Russell’s Viper (Ticpalonga) (SE Asia) - note the characteristic pattern; note the absence of a loreal pit.




D Bitis nasicornis - Rhinocerous Viper (Africa) - note the intricate pattern and the nasal appendages; this also lacks a loreal pit.


Nerodia erythrogaster - Yellow-bellied Water Snake; adults with plain belly; dorsum drab green, sometimes with blotches down center; juveniles with blotches and/or bands on dorsum, venter with dark bars along the margins of the ventrals; juveniles have a lark edge across the ventrals; this species seems to prefer the land more than other water snakes. Nerodia cyclopion - Mississippi Green Water Snake; greenish dorsally with a poorly defined pattern; best character is the row of scales separating the eye from the supralabials; juveniles with white half moons on venter. Nerodia rhombifer - Diamondback Water Snake; dorsal pattern is best character; juveniles with dark half moons on venter. Nerodia fasciata confluens - Broad-banded Water Snake; best character for this species is the dark bar extending from behind the eye downward to the rear margin of the mouth; in all species, dorsum banded and venter heavily patterned;. Nerodia clarkii - Gulf Salt Marsh Water Snake; venter with light stripes; venter with two longitudinal red stripes; found in coastal, usually salty marshes. Nerodia sipedon - Midland Water Snake; dorsum banded, venter patterned; no dark bar from rear of eye to rear margin of mouth; usually lighter colored than N. fasciata; juveniles with suffuse venter. Regina rigida - Glossy Crawfish Snake; in life, dorsum very shiny dark brown; solid black morph known from eastern New Orleans; in normal morph, there are two longitudinal rows of very dark spots on the venter. Regina grahamii - Graham’s Crawfish Snake; light tan above, often with light stripes visible; venter cream with a light longitudinal series of dots down the middle; eat softshell crawfish. Thamnophis proximus - Western Ribbon Snake; in life, dorsum black or olive-brown with greenish yellow stripes; venter greenish; lateral light stripes on dorsal scale rows 3 & 4; spots on parietal scales large, bold, and touching one another (doesn’t always work); tail about 1/4 total length of snake (best character in preserved specimens). Thamnophis sauritus - Eastern Ribbon Snake; in life, body brown with yellowish stripes; venter, at least outer edges, light brown; lateral light stripes on dorsal scale rows 3 & 4; spots on the parietal scales often absent, when present, very faint and never touch one another (doesn’t always work); tail long, about 1/3 total length of snake (best character in preserved specimens); not found south of Lake Pontchartrain. Thamnophis sirtalis - Eastern Garter Snake; heavier bodied than the above two species; body striped, but the stripes are often less well defined; lateral light stripes on dorsal scale rows 2 & 3; often with checkered pattern. Storeria dekayi - Brown Snake; very small, dorsum brown with dark flecks; head may be dark, longitudinal row of dark dots along margins of ventrals; this genus has no loreal; 17 dorsal scale rows around body. Storeria occipitomaculata - Red-bellied Snake; very small, dorsum brown to reddish; light ring around the neck; this genus has no loreal; 15 dorsal scale rows around body. Virginia striatula - Rough Earth Snake; no preocular, loreal touches eye; pointy nose; 5 supralabials, single internasal; keeled dorsal scales; gray to brown. Virginia valeriae - Smooth Earth Snake; no preocular, loreal touches eye; pointy nose; 6 supralabials, 2 internasals; smooth or weakly keeled dorsal scales; gray to brown. D Seminatrix pygaea - Black Swamp Snake; shiny black dorsum with smooth scales. D Tropidoclonion lineatum - Lined Snake; striped; double row of half moon dark spots on venter; cloacal plate single. D Clonophis kirtlandi - Kirtland’s Snake; back with dark spots or blotches; two


longitudinal rows of dark spots down venter.

HERP LAB VIII ORDER SQUAMATA, SUBORDER SERPENTES (cont.) Dipsadidae + Coniophanes imperialis - Black-striped Snake; dark stripes alternating with light stripes; a light line running from the snout through the top of the eye, terminating at the rear of the head. + Hypsiglena torquata - Night Snake; a spotted snake with dark nape blotches. + Leptodeira frenatus - Cat-eyed Snake; a thin snake; head much broader than neck. D Contia tenuis - Sharp-tailed Snake - w California to Washington. Similar in ecology to Storeria. Lampropeltis triangulum - Milk Snake; a "tricolor", every other ring being black; others cream to yellow and red; several subspecies, each a little different. Lampropeltis getula - Speckled Kingsnake; Louisiana subspecies is black with small yellow dots in each dorsal scale; other subspecies very different. Lampropeltis calligaster - Prairie Kingsnake; blotched, looking like an Elaphe, but with a single cloacal scale. D Arizona elegans - Glossy Snake; a blotched snake with a plain belly, smooth scales, and a single cloacal; snout pointed. D Rhinocheilus lecontei - Long-nosed Snake; a tricolor with black blotches; snout rather pointed; subcaudals single. Opheodrys aestivus - Rough Green Snake; green in life (blue-gray in preservative), with no pattern; dorsal scales keeled. + Liochlorophis (=Opheodrys) vernalis - Smooth Green Snake; same as above, except dorsal scales smooth. Cemophora coccinea - Scarlet Snake; another tricolor, with a generally plain belly; snout red and pointed; scales smooth and cloacal single. Elaphe guttata - Corn Snake; blotches down back; belly with black checker-board pattern; dark stripe behind eye crosses the rear margin of the mouth; dark band crossing frontal forms a point. Elaphe obsoleta - Rat (Chicken) Snake; the subspecies in Louisiana has dorsal blotches, light areas in between with some red in life; if dark stripe behind the eye is visible (as it always is in juveniles); it never crosses the rear margin of the mouth; dark band crossing frontal runs straight across, not pointed. D Bogertophis subocularis - Trans-Pecos Rat Snake; head without pattern; body tan, with a series of mid-dorsal black H"s. Tantilla gracilis - Flathead Snake; this genus lacks a loreal; the second supralabial touches or almost touches the prefrontal; this species is a plain brown snake with the crown only slightly dark, the crown being concave in the rear. Tantilla coronata - Southeastern Crown Snake; tan snake with light collar between black head and black nuchal band. Masticophis flagellum - Coachwhip; a thin snake that becomes tan toward the rear. Coluber constrictor - Racer; also a thin snake; the subspecies are very different; south of the lake, it is slate-gray with a dark mask; north of the lake, it is jet black with a white chin. Pituophis melanoleucus - Bullsnake; a generally heavy bodied snake, tan with dark blotches; 4 prefrontals. D Ficimia streckeri - Mexican Hooknose Snake; small, rostral upturned and in contact with frontal; snout flat or concave behind the "hook", not keeled. D Gyalopion quadroangularis - Thorn-scrub Hooknose Snake (western U.S.) - small,



rostral upturned and in contact with prefrontals; snout as above. + Salvadora grahamiae - Patchnose Snake; rostral upturned, with lateral margins free and notched below; light mid-dorsal stripe with dark stripes lateral to it. + Oxybelis aeneus - Brown Vine Snake (southern Arizona & south) - long and skinny; brown with no pattern. + Sonora semiannulata - Ground Snake (western U.S.) - a variable species (some solid tan to banded on a red background); loreal present. + Chilomeniscus cinctus - Banded Sand Snake (southwestern U.S.) - a small superb sand swimmer; dark bands; rostral separates the internasals. + Chionactis occipitalis - Western Shovelnose Snake (western U.S.) - a small sand swimmer; dark bands; rostral normal, does not separate the internasals. + Phyllorhynchus decuratus - Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (southwestern U.S.). A sand burrower. Note the enlarged rostral. + Drymobius margaritiferus - Speckled Racer; a slender racer, with yellow dots in the center of each black dorsal scale. + Drymarchon corais - Indigo Snake; body mostly black, smooth; dark lines on supralabials below eye (in western subspecies). + Trimorphodon biscutatus - Lyre Snake; a gray snake with darker saddles on the back; only snake in our area with lorilabials (in our specimen, note that on the left side, the lorilabial is fused with the adjacent supralabial; right side is typical). Xenodontidae (or -inae) Carphophis amoenus - Eastern Worm Snake; a small burrowing snake; dorsum brown, venter pinkish; line of demarcation a discrete line running about 2 dorsal rows from the ventrals. Heterodon platirhinos - Eastern Hognose Snake; rostral turned up, with a keel immediately behind; body heavy, but "soft." Diadophis punctatus - Ringnecked Snake; small snake, dark on back with a light ring behind the head; venter yellow with black dots. Farancia abacura - Mud Snake; large; shiny black on dorsum and red on venter; pointed scale on tip of tail. Farancia erytrogramma - Rainbow Snake; large; shiny dark with red stripes; tail as above. Rhadinaea flavilata - Pine Woods (Yellow-lipped) Snake (SE U.S.); dark stripe through eye; dorsal scales smooth. HERP LAB IX Erycidae + Charina bottae - Rubber Boa (western U.S.) + Lichanura roseofusca - Rosy Boa (western U.S.) D Eryx johni - Sand Boa (Iran toBengal) D Corallus enhydris - Garden Tree Boa (South America) D Python reticulatus - Reticulated Python (SE Asia)

Boidae Pythonidae


D Typhlops pusilla (Hispaniola) - note that the eyes are below scales and ventral scales are about the same size as dorsal scales. Ramphotyphlops braminus - Brahminy Blind Snake - Now known in LA; this burrowing snake is originally from SE Asia. It has traveled around the world in flower pots (probably got here from Florida). It is a parthenogenetic species, so wide spread distribution should be expected. Leptotyphlopidae +Leptotyphlops dulcis - Texas Blind Snake; as above.


D Acrochordus javanicus - Javan File (Elephant Trunk) Snake (SE Asia); note the very rough granular scales, ventrals narrow for a snake this size; in life, skin very loose on body; totally aquatic. D Erpeton (Herpeton) tentaculum - Tentacled Snake (SE Asia) - totally aquatic; note two tentacles projecting from front of head (assumed to be sensory, but may be behavioral or cryptic). Snakes with laterally compressed bodies: an adaptation for extending for large distances between branches. D Corallus enhydris - boid D Sibon nebulata - dipsadid D Dipsas catesbyi - dipsadid Snakes with angulate ventrals, an adaptation for crawling straight up a tree trunk. D Philodryas viridissimus - xenodontid Elaphe obsoleta - colubrid Elaphe guttata - colubrid


HERP LAB X ORDER SQUAMATA, SUBORDER AMPHISBAENIA Amphisbaenidae +++ Amphisbaenia alba - Red Worm Lizard (Trinidad and South America) - as in all amphisbaenians, note the rings of scales; note the adaptations for burrowing; this species lives in leaf-cutter ant colonies, where it feeds on the larvae of a beetle that inhabits the chambers. +++ Bipes biporus - Mole Lizard (Baja) - The only legged species. ORDER SQUAMATA, SUBORDER SAURIA LIZARD TERMS

All head scales on hand-out Brille (spectacle) - clear scale over the eye; protects an eye with no eyelid (most geckos, snakes) Granular scales - small, adjacent granules (Cnemidophorus, geckos) Mucronate scales - terminate in a sharp point (e.g., Sceloporus) Cycloid scales - smooth and overlapping; round at rear (Eumeces, Scincella) Keeled scales - with ridge down middle of scale (Sceloporus) Imbricate scales - scales overlapping like shingles on a roof; posterior tip of one overlapping the anterior edge of the next (Sceloporus) Preanal pores - pores anterior to the cloacal opening (geckos) Femoral pores - pores down the underside of the thigh (Sceloporus)


Gular fold - fold across the throat (Cnemidophorus) Penultimate - next to last Postfemoral pocket - a pocket behind the thigh; in preserved specimens, it is evidenced by having smaller scales than those around it (Sceloporus variabilis - not seen in lab) Belly patches - colorful patches on the edge of the belly, usually in reproductive males (Sceloporus undulatus - blue) Throat patches - colorful patches on the throat (same as above)

Dewlap - the throat fan, elevated by a bone of the hyoid apparatus (pink throat fan of Anolis carolinensis) Lamellae - soft, overlapping transverse flaps on the underside of lizard toes (Anolis, Hemidactylus) Cloacal spurs - laterally projecting bones seen in male Coleonyx on the tail just posterior to the legs. Enlarged post-anal scales - two enlarged transverse scales just posterior to the cloaca in male Sceloporus. Hemipenes - the double sex organ in squamates Mesoptychial scales - enlarged scales located on the gular fold or along the midline of the throat in lizards (a key character in some Cnemidophorus) Postantebranchial scales - scales on the rear of the forearm in lizards (a key character in some Cnemidophorus) Heterodont dentition - teeth with varying shapes (most agamids) Homodont dentition- all teeth shaped the same (most lizards and snakes) Zygodactyl - where the feet have two toes pointing forward and two backwards; an adaptation for walking along a twig (Chamaeleo) Syndactylous - where the feet have more toes pointing in one direction than another (most lizards)

Gekkonidae - Geckos are often best identified by their toe morphology (see the field guide). Hemidactylus turcicus - Mediterranean Gecko; these are the "pink geckos" found on local dwellings; note the large scales that appear as warts; originally from the Mediterranean region, now in U.S. below the latitude of about Dallas. D Sphaerodactylus elegans - Ashy Gecko; note pointed head. + Coleonyx brevis - Texas Banded Gecko +Phyllodactylus palmeus - Leaf-toed Gecko (western U.S.) - note the triangular toe tips. + Phyllodactylus xanti - Leaf-toed Gecko (S Calif. and Baja). D Gonatodes albogularis - Yellowheaded Gecko D Ptychozoan lionotum Gliding Gecko (SE Asia); this is the parachuting gecko; note the


many adaptations for gliding. D Gecko gecko - Tokay Gecko (SE Asia); best identified by its size and pattern; people in Florida release them in their houses to control roaches.

Anguidae - note the characteristic lateral fold. Ophisaurus attenuatus - Slender Glass Lizard; note obvious mid-dorsal stripe. Ophisaurus ventralis - Eastern Glass Lizard; note there is no middorsal stripe; green in life. D Elgaria coerulea - Northern Alligator Lizard (western U.S.); patternless or with dark splotches. + Gerrhonotus liocephalus - Texas Alligator Lizard; irregular light cross bars. Anniellidae Pygopodidae + Anniella pulchra - California Legless Lizard (western U.S.); no lateral fold; tail blunt. D Lialis burtonis - Burton’s Snake Lizard (Australia); all snake-like in appearance, some with tiny flaps for rear legs. D Shinisaurus crocodilurus - Crocodile Lizard (eastern China) - highly aquatic; sit on branches over water and dive in to escape predators; note the crocodilian-like tail.


Scincidae - smooth, shiny, cycloid scales. Eumeces fasciatus - Five-lined Skink; five stripes; scales on midline of venter of tail much wider than those on either side; 4 supralabials in front of subocular (this does not always work; some of our specimens key to E. fasciatus on one side of the head and E. laticeps on the other!); two postlabials touching ear opening. Eumeces inexpectatus - Southeastern Five-lined Skink; five stripes; scales on midline of venter of tail about same size as those on either side; labials as above. Eumeces laticeps - Broadhead Skink; large size of adults is important (males patternless tan with orange head; females striped); 5 supralabials in front of subocular (see comment under E. fasciatus); no large postlabials touching ear opening. Scincella lateralis - Ground Skink; small; back solid brown, sides very dark. D Mabuya sp. (foreign) Teiidae D Tupinambus tequixin - Tegu (South America) Cnemidophorus sexlineatus - Six-lined Racerunner; dorsal scales granular, ventrals rectangular; dorsum striped.

KEY TO SELECTED SPECIES OF CNEMIDOPHORUS 1. Numerous black bars on back between light dorsal stripes, which may be poorly defined; arrangement of bars sometimes giving appearance of cross bands. . . . . . 2 No black bars on back; usually 6-8 light dorsal stripes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3



Mesoptychial scales enlarged. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. tigris

Mesoptychial scales not enlarged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. tessellatus 3. Mesoptychial scales enlarged. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Mesoptychial scales not enlarged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. neomexicanus 4. .5 5. 7 or 8 light stripes or vestiges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. gularis No light spots or bars in dark fields between stripes . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. sexlineatus Light spots or bars present in dark fields between stripes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6 light stripes or vestiges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. exsanguis Lacertidae - Old World ecological equivalents of Teiids. Difficult, if not impossible, to easily differentiate. D Algyroides marchi - Spanish Algyroides (SE Spain). D Podarcis sicula - Italian Wall Lizard (Philadelphia, NY, KN, Italy). Varanidae - differentiate from teiids by having their ventral scales like the dorsals. D Varanus niloticus - Nile Monitor (Africa) D Varanus salvator - Water Monitor (SE Asia) Helodermatidae + Heloderma suspectum - Gila Monster (western U.S.) - the only U.S. venomous lizard. D Cordylus warreni - Warren’s Girdled Lizard (Africa); osteoderms in dorsal scales; to avoid predators, some species curl in a ball, some go down burrow and twirl tail like a blender. D Xantusia vigilis - Desert Night Lizard (western U.S.); granular scales dorsally; head rather flat.



HERP LAB XI - SPRING BREAK - GO COLLECTING HERP LAB XII ORDER SQUAMATA, SUBORDER SAURIA (cont.) Chamaeleonidae ++ Chamaeleo jacksoni - Jackson’s Chamaeleon (Africa); zygodactylus toes; laterally flattened body; prehensile tail. D Agama mutabilis (Africa); note heterodont teeth. D Draco dussumeiri - Flying Lizard (SE Asia); note the "wings" for parachuting. D Moloch horridus - Thorny Devil (Australia); ecological equivalent of our Phrynosoma. [This specimen is missing] Polychridae Anolis carolinensis - Green Anole (SE U.S.). Can change from green to brown. Anolis sagrei - Brown Anole (northern Caribbean, introduced into LA). Can’t change


colors. Phrynosomatidae Sceloporus undulatus - Eastern Fence Lizard (SE U.S.). Note that males have two enlarged scales on the underside of the tail just posterior to the vent. + Cophosaurus texanus - Texas Earless Lizard; no external ear opening; dark bars across tail. + Holbrookia propinqua - Keeled Earless Lizard; no external ear opening; smaller than above, and no dark bars across tail. + Urosaurus ornatus - Tree Lizard; note the row of enlarged scales down the middle of the back. + Uta stansburiana - Side-blotched Lizard; dark spot behind arms. Phrynosoma cornutum - Texas Horned Lizard; flat with spines on head, back, and sides of abdomen. D Phrynosoma coronatum - Coast Horned Lizard (west U.S. coast) D Phrynosoma platyrhinos - Desert Horned Lizard (SW U.S.) + Callisaurus draconoides - Zebra-tailed Lizard (western U.S.) - ear openings present; black bars on underside of tail. + Uma notata - Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (western U.S.); comb-like scales on rear of longest toe (an adaptation for running on sand). + Crotaphytus collaris - Collared Lizard; two black bands on neck; broad head. + Gambelia wislizenii - Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (SW U.S.); note the light lines across the back. + Gambelia sila - Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (SW U.S.); same, but nose blunt instead of pointed; also, without black spots. D Ctenosaura acanthura - Spinytail Lizard; small smooth scales on back, rings of very keeled scales around tail. + Dipsosaurus dorsalis - Desert Iguana (western U.S.); row of enlarged scales down middle of back. + Sauromalus obesus - Chuckawalla (western U.S.); smooth granular scales all over body; skin tough and wrinkled; no rostral. ++ Iguana iguana - Iguana (Mexico to South America)




D Leiocephalus carinatus - Northern Curlytail Lizard; mucronate scales; tail curls upward in life. Corytophanidae D Basiliscus vittatus - Jesus Lizard (Central America) - runs on water, hence the name.


ORDER TESTUDINES TURTLE TERMS Carapace - the upper shell, formed by the consolidation of bone between the ribs. Plastron - the lower shell. Bridge - the bones that unite the carapace and plastron. Barbels - fleshy appendages on the head, especially on the chin. (Kinosternon, Chelydra)


Symphysis - the point where two bones fuse; in turtles, this refers to the point where the dentaries fuse. Alveolar (=crushing) surface - in the upper surface of the turtle mouth, this is the ledge where the turtle positions food to crush it. Nasal septum - the tissue that separates the two nares. Stridulating (grasping) organs - cornified crescents on the legs that help the males hold onto the females; once thought to be used to make sounds, hence the name. Tomium - the cornified covering of the jaws. Epidermal laminae (=corneoscutes, horny plates, scutes) - the epidermal covering of the turtle shell. See handout entitled "Characteristics of Turtle Shells." Bones of the shell (see above handout) Interfemoral (etc.) suture - the point where the named bones touch Inframarginals - bones that are on the bridge of turtles that are independent of the carapace and plastron; typically, there is one in the axillary area and one in the inguinal area. Supramarginals - a row of laminae located between the marginals and costals. In Macroclemys, they are above marginals 5-8. Prefrontal scale(s) - scales over the prefrontal bones.

Infraorder Pleurodira - side-necked turtles -southern hemisphere -neck folds sideways under the carapace -transverse processes present on cervicals -pelvis fused to plastron and sutured to carapace -mesoplastra may be present -intergular scute present on plastron intergular gular humeral pectoral plastral scutes FOR THESE TWO FAMILIES, THEY ARE "D," BUT YOU MUST BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THEM AS MEMBERS OF THE PLEURODIRA. Pelomedusidae D Pelomedusa subrufa - Cape Terrapin (Africa)


D Chelus fimbriatus - Matamata (South America); this species feeds by suddenly sucking


in its prey with a mouthfull of water; it sits and waits for prey to swim by. D Chelodina rugosa - Northern Snake-necked Turtle (Australia); this is an example of the very long-necked chelyids from Australia. Cool, or what?

Infraorder Cryptodira -on temperate and tropical continents, but only sea turtles reach Australia -neck withdrawn into carapace via sigmoid flexure (be sure to examine the sagittal section of the Trachemys) -transverse processes on cervical vertebrae absent or greatly reduced -pelvis free, not fused to plastron or sutured to carapace -mesoplastra absent -intergular absent Cheloniidae Caretta caretta - Loggerhead Eretmochelys imbricata - Atlantic Hawksbill (stuffed specimen) Chelonia mydas - Green Turtle (stuffed and wet specimen) Lepidochelys kempii - Atlantic Ridley

Dermochelyidae Dermochelys coriacea - Leatherback Chelydridae Chelydra serpentina - Common Snapping Turtle; live specimens of this species are handled by picking them up by their tails and holding them at least a neck"s length from your body; if you pick one up of the shell, it will bite your hands; tail with two rows of scales underneath and one row of tubercles above; beak rather small. Macroclemys temminckii - Alligator Snapping Turtle (Loggerhead Snapper); large live specimens of this species are handled by placing one hand under its shell just above the head and another hand under the rear margin of the shell; it cannot pull its head in far enough to bite; if one is lifted by the tail, it will separate its vertebrae; this species attracts its prey by using a fleshy lure on its tongue; tail with many small scales underneath and three rows of tubercles above. Beak very pronounced.


Kinosternon subrubrum - Mud Turtle; note that the front and rear sections of the plastron are hinged (though this may not be obvious in preserved specimens), the plastron fills most of the space under the carapace, and that there is no or little skin showing between the plastral scutes. Sternotherus odoratus - Common Musk Turtle (Stinkpot); the plastron is not hinged, is small relative to the area beneath the carapace, and, as in all Sternotherus, there is quite a bit of exposed skin between the plastral scutes. Sternotherus carinatus - Keeled Musk Turtle; the keeled back is diagnostic. Apalone (= Trionyx) spinifera - Spiny Softshell Turtle; note the nasal septum has "crosshairs"; live Apalone are handled by holding onto the rear of the carapace with your thumb and forefinger; their necks are so long that they can bite your hand if you place your hands on the sides of the shell. + Apalone mutica - Smooth Softshell Turtle; note the absence of "cross-hairs" on the nasal septum.


Note the villi in the pharynx of the Apalone head/neck on display. What do you think is the purpose of these structures?



+ Gopherus berlandieri - Texas Tortoise (south Texas and Mexico); note the high dome; females have a sharper angle at the rear of the dome of the carapace, while males have a depression in their plastron to accommodate the angle during mating.

Turtle penes. Note the variation in the morphology of the turtle penes. George Zug, author of one of the Herpetology texts, developed a classification scheme for turtles based on their penes.

HERP LAB XIV ORDER TESTUDINES (cont.) Emydidae Terrapene carolina - Eastern Box Turtle; shell pattern and shape are important. Terrapene ornata - Ornate Box Turtle; note the flecks on the carapace; also, the rather flat top of the carapace. Malaclemys terrapin - Diamondback Terrapin; this is our only salt water emydid; note the ridges on the carapacial laminae and the white "mustache." Chrysemys picta - Southern Painted Turtle; the orange stripe down the carapace is diagnostic; note that the carapace is rather rounded and not flaired at the rear. Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii - Mississippi Map Turtle; note the head pattern, consisting of yellow crescents that cut off neck stripes from the eye; the knobs on the carapace are dark, but low; it has a typical Graptemys carapace. Graptemys pulchra - Alabama Map Turtle; has a broad spot behind the eye; longitudinal light bar on the chin, and broad, light bars on the borders of the marginals. Graptemys oculifera - Ringed Map Turtle; light rings on the costals. Graptemys ouachitensis - Ouachita Map Turtle; note large spot behind eye and knobs on shell. Trachemys (=Pseudemys, Chrysemys) scripta - Red-eared Turtle; this is our red-earred turtle; note the red stripe on the side of the head and the flaired rear of the carapace; old males will become very dark and the head and plastral patters will disappear. Pseudemys (=Chrysemys) concinna - River Cooter; this species is sometime difficult to discern from P. floridana. This species has a rear-facing "c" on its second costal; head has thin yellow stripes. Pseudemys (=Chrysemys) floridana - Cooter; look for a light line down the second costal (no "c"); head has thin yellow stripes. Deirochelys reticularia - Chicken Turtle; note the very long skull and neck, striped pants, and the shell being decidedly narrower at the front than at the rear. + Emydoidea blandingii - Blanding’s Turtle; this is an aquatic box turtle-looking critter; note the light flecks and unstriped head. Northeast-central U.S. + Clemmys guttata - Spotted Turtle (extreme eastern U.S.); easy to tell by its spots. D Clemmys insculpta - Wood Turtle (northeastern U.S.); a rough, sculptured shell.

ORDER CROCODYLIA Crocodylidae Alligator mississippiensis - American Alligator; note the rounded snout and black and yellow pattern; there are no peculiar markings on the ventral scales. + Caiman crocodilis - Spectacled Caiman (Central and South America); note the curved ridge between the eyes; on the skin, each scale has an osteoderm, and the dried skin


will be crinkled around the center of each ventral scale. ++ Melanosuchus niger - Black Caiman (South America); note the characteristic markings on the lower jaw and head. + Crocodylus moreletii - Morelet’s Crocodile (Central America); skin only; note the pore at the rear edge of each ventral scale (this is diagnostic for the genus). HERP LAB XV - REVIEW HERP LAB XVI - EXAM II, FIELD NOTES DUE, LAB CLEAN UP. ***