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Reptiles

We’re mad about Madagascar.

We’re mad about Madagascar.



How much research flows out of Madagascar, on the lemurs, chameleons and frogs alone. We have to preserve this island and sustain its people in their struggles with nature, including climate change. The age of introspection is over. This is one planet and we all are one with it – just investigate the biodiversity and the climate change conferences mushrooming in response to popular demands.

Geckos crossed the line and got bigger

Geckos crossed the line and got bigger

To find evidence of how speciation can happen when there is an obvious bio-geographical boundary should be simple. This represents a first, however, for a group colonising New Guinea and evolving a greater size in several instances. The ancestry of these New Guinea geckos, large and small, has been well-traced.

Old crocs never die, except when it's cold

Old crocs never die, except when it's cold

The diverse, and maritime, history of crocodile relatives compares badly with their landlubber relatives, but at last we have 23 species still alive today.

Cats control lizard populations but the reptiles adapt well

Cats control lizard populations but the reptiles adapt well

Why and how do island species suffer so much from cats, rats and dogs, and the rest of the invasive species? A few hundred years too late, we might finally be getting around to countering the effects of predators on the most vulnerable of animal species. There are also the native predators to consider, of course.

Rare crocodile increasing with grassroots conservation

Rare crocodile increasing with grassroots conservation

The rare animals of this word need government legal protection and local people involved in their conservation and that of their habitats. Tourism is only one of the benefits that comes from successful work, there’s also the huge pride in being the only people to have such a beast!

Spider sociability

Spider sociability

How did social behaviour evolve, and why do we see it in so many animals, no matter what level of taxonomy they are found? Spiders, sticklebacks and insects, birds, mammals and reptiles are all involved in complex social interaction.

Camels lynx and eagles invade?

Camels lynx and eagles invade?



When is an alien species really alien? Maybe only when it is a critical danger to another species. A new book from a popular author puts forward persuasive and alarming arguments. Camels, eagles, snakes, spiders and influenza virus, wrapped up in invasive packaging.

Chameleon aggressive display change

Chameleon aggressive display change



The way in which cephalopods and chameleons communicate is colour-based. More study is needed on how much information is passed on. The physiology, the status and the “drive” can be explained now by rate change and colour brightness in different parts of the anatomy

Cuckoos mimic hawks

Cuckoos mimic hawks

We normally regard Batesian mimics as butterflies that pretend to be poisonous, or even snakes. The cuckoo now reveals its subtle disguise as a dangerous predator of small birds, but of course, it's fooling these small birds into letting it lay an egg in their nest.

Romanian reptiles rule their ''hotspots''

Romanian reptiles rule their ''hotspots''

Romania isn’t the first country in the EU to come to mind for conservation, but they are extremely rich in species, habitats and environment. Ask the reptiles!

Origins of turtle shells

Origins of turtle shells

The turtle is a fantastic design, unequalled among other vertebrates for its adaptable protective shell and its endurance through time. Here is a breakthrough paper that tells us just how the reptiles managed to produce such an endearing and successful creature.

Skinks and other Squamates - Sorted!

Skinks and other Squamates - Sorted!

The snakes and lizards have unrecognised importance in world ecosystems. Often predatory, they fit into food webs in some strange ways too.

Reptiles finished off by habitat loss and so-called 'harvesting'

Reptiles finished off by habitat loss and so-called 'harvesting'



The Zoological Society of London, in collaboration with the essential International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission, have consulted 200 relevant experts. They have compiled the essentials for reptilian species risks. The findings: 19% are at risk of total extinction!

Tree Frogs and their adhesive addiction!

Tree Frogs and their adhesive addiction!

The tree frog, like the gecko requires extraordinary adhesion from its toes.

'Orca-saurs' used to rule the Atlantic as orcas do now

'Orca-saurs' used to rule the Atlantic as orcas do now



Two dolphin-like Jurassic crocodiles ruled the sea like orcas do now. Whale-like reptiles have been recognised by several generations of fossil hunters as parallel to modern mammals.

Lounging lizards and snake bytes

Lounging lizards and snake bytes

Lizard and snake evolution. How did the squamate reptile entrepreneurs evolve from each other and their ancestral forms?

The memory of squamates is better than you think

The memory of squamates is better than you think

A new study investigates spatial memory possibilities in squamate reptiles, with researchers looking specifically at the side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana).

Monitoring lizard dispersal and evolution

Monitoring lizard dispersal and evolution



A new study looks at the origin and evolution of varanid lizards. Many lizards originated in Laurasia but the varanids or monitor lizards have a disputed origins.

The bumblebee gecko from Papua New Guinea - Nactus kunan

The bumblebee gecko from Papua New Guinea - Nactus kunan



Papua New Guinea is lizard heaven. A new species of gecko has been discovered in Papua New Guinea, the bumblebee gecko (Nactus kunan) named after the geckos bee-like colouring.

Fungal infection kills rare rattlesnakes

Fungal infection kills rare rattlesnakes

Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes are being killed by a rare fungal infection seldom found in wild animals, says a wildlife vet. Chrysosporium is killing the endangered snake in America.

New Species of Miniature Chameleon Discovered in Madagascar

New Species of Miniature Chameleon Discovered in Madagascar



Cute chameleons created in genetic isolation. New Species of Miniature Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia micra) discovered in Northern Madagascar. On a small islet to the north of Madagascar, four new species of chameleons have followed the Malagasy trend and gone miniature.

Most ancient crocodile discovered, Aegisuchus witmeri

Most ancient crocodile discovered, Aegisuchus witmeri

Crocodiles and their relatives the crocodyliforms, go back a long way. A skull has been discovered from 95 million years ago. This new species find, Aegisuchus witmeri (Shieldcroc) seems to suggest the real origin of the ancient crocodiles was the Tethys Sea between northern Laurasia and Gondwanaland.

Invasive Burmese Pythons vs. The Everglades

Invasive Burmese Pythons vs. The Everglades

The Burmese python is an invasive species with established populations in the Everglades National Park in Florida. The pythons are having a devastating effect on native mammal populations.

Leaping Lizards and Self-righting Robots

Leaping Lizards and Self-righting Robots

A multidisciplinary team of researchers have investigated how lizards use their tails to improve their ability to jump successfully. The separation between biology and engineering has been ignored in an interdisciplinary research project carried out at UC Berkeley.

Oldest North American Beaver Remains Found in the Beaver State

Oldest North American Beaver Remains Found in the Beaver State

Paleontologists working in northern Oregon's Rattlesnake Formation have identified fossilized beaver teeth believed to be about 7 million years old, which is at least 2 million years older than any previously discovered beaver remains. The finding sheds new light on our understanding of when modern beavers first came to North America and diverged from the Eurasian beaver.

Twenty critically endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Lao PDR

Twenty critically endangered Siamese crocodiles hatch in Lao PDR



Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have good news about one of the world's rarest crocodiles. Twenty critically endangered Siamese crocodiles have hatched in a zoo in Lao PDR, representing a significant step in the successful conservation of this species.

New age for ice spotters as satellites map Antarctic

New age for ice spotters as satellites map Antarctic

A NASA project has for the first time mapped the glacial flows of Antarctica, providing vital information in the monitoring of climate change. The map they have created shows glaciers as they snake their way from the desolate Antarctic interior to the southern oceans.

Invasive species continue to affect ecosystems after removal

Invasive species continue to affect ecosystems after removal

Scientists from the University of California have thrown new light on how invasive species can affect local ecosystems, even after their removal from the environment. The Kudzu Vine, Brown Tree Snake, the Common Carp, Garlic Mustard and the Blue Mussel - just a few of hundreds of invasive species threatening ecosystems across the planet.

Dams damned by court ruling on saving Snake River salmon

Dams damned by court ruling on saving Snake River salmon



An endangered species of salmon are not being given adequate protection by the American government a court has ruled. Delighted conservation, fishing and tribal groups now want action they say will save the salmon species and provide thousands of jobs.

Trade in snakes, macaques, sharks out of control, CITES affirms

Trade in snakes, macaques, sharks out of control, CITES affirms

CITES convention examines effects of trade on at-risk species like long-tailed macaques, sharks, and several snake species. Unsustainable wildlife trade not only devastates local ecosystems, it also causes great suffering to individual animals and can introduce invasive species that damage ecosystems abroad.

Protected species found on sale in Thai markets

Protected species found on sale in Thai markets



Madagascan species at risk of extinction are commonly found on sale in Thai markets says a WWF-backed body investigating the trade in endangered species. TRAFFIC surveyed sales for 15 days in Bangkok and eight of Thailand's provinces and found 591 Madagascan reptiles and amphibians available on sale.

Are rats and bees the solution to Africa's bushmeat problem?

Are rats and bees the solution to Africa's bushmeat problem?



With the bushmeat trade growing annually, experts recognise that innovative solutions are required to halt this illegal activity. Commercial trading in bushmeat - the meat and other parts of wild mammals, birds and reptiles - is a highly lucrative industry, particularly prevalent in central Africa. Bushmeat trading is on the rise within many central African countries

Climate Change Affects Animal Distribution

Climate Change Affects Animal Distribution

A research group from Brown University have discovered that rainfall distribution affected the chosen habitat of mammals over 200 million years ago. A team of scientists at Brown University have established that early mammals confined themselves to one area of the continent while early reptiles known as procolophonids lived in another section.

WSC wades in to stop US bog turtle decline

WSC wades in to stop US bog turtle decline



Bog turtles, tiny fen-dwelling reptiles found at scattered sites in the north-east and eastern US, are being hit by a mysterious decline in numbers. Now the Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) has partnered with other wildlife agencies to track the scope of the problem, and try and find out why North America's smallest turtle is coming under renewed threat.

New species of green pit viper snake discovered

New species of green pit viper snake discovered

A new green pit viper has been found by scientists working in the forests of Southeast Asia. An undiscovered species of snake, which has been called the ruby-eyed green pit viper, was found nestled into a tree branch by researchers studying snakes in Southeast Asia. They captured the stunning creature in a photograph which has been used to help identify it as a new species previously unknown to humans.

Forget cats - it's escaped pet snakes wreaking havoc in Florida Everglades

Forget cats - it's escaped pet snakes wreaking havoc in Florida Everglades



For the native birds of the Everglades, keeping an eye out for pythons is an increasing preoccupation. The burgeoning population of snakes, descended from pet-escapees, is seen as an increasing threat to some of the endangered species of Florida's National Park, says a study published in this month's BioOne. Filed in environmental isssues: florida/snakes/nature.

Danger signals for the future of turtles

Danger signals for the future of turtles

Human intervention is causing a serious decline in the world turtle population. 2011 has been designated 'The Year of the Turtle' by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC). Turtles are currently disappearing from the planet faster than any other kind of animal and although they have been around for about 220 million years.

Cocaine production spells doom for Colombia's rainforests

Cocaine production spells doom for Colombia's rainforests



Colombian rainforests under threat due to an increase in production of coca to meet world demand for cocaine. More than 1,821 species of birds, 623 species of amphibians, 467 species of mammals, 518 species of reptiles and 3,200 species of fish are found, mainly in the country's vast tracts of tropical forest.

New Research Suggests How Pterodactyls Really Flew

New Research Suggests How Pterodactyls Really Flew

Engineer provides new insight into pterodactyl flight by building epoxy resin and carbon fibre wings. Giant pterosaurs – ancient reptiles that flew over the heads of dinosaurs – were at their best in gentle tropical breezes, soaring over hillsides and coastlines or floating over land and sea on thermally driven air currents, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

New species of lizard being served up in Vietnamese restaurant

New species of lizard being served up in Vietnamese restaurant

Scientists recently dining at a restaurant in Vietnam have come across an undiscovered species of lizard being cooked up for dinner, Leiolepis ngovantrii.