Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lab 7: Reptiles of the World (Paluh and Harrington)

Lab 7 Reptiles of the World

In this lab, we went to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to examine global reptile diversity. Bold signifies Order and blue signifies Family due to indenting issues.

Order Testudines:

Family Carretochelyidae:

Carettochelys insculpta (Fly River Pignosed Turtle; northern Australia and New Guinea): These turtles lack scales or epidermal scutes, and superficially resemble members of Trionychidae. They are almost completely aquatic, and have flipper-like limbs that they use to swim using a motion intermediate between the rowing motion of trionychids and flying motion of cheloniids and Dermochelys.

Family Chelidae:

Chelodina mccordi (Rotti Island Snake-necked Turtle, Rotti Island, Indonesia): This critically endangered species is found in swamps, rice fields, and lakes. This pleurodiran turtle has been over collected for the pet trade.

Emydura subglobosa (Red-bellided Short-neck Turtle, Northern Australia and New Guinea): This pleurodiran turtle is a common carnivore species that lives in freshwater environments, rarely leaving the water except for basking and laying eggs. It has yellow markings on its temporal region of the head.

Phrynops hilarii (Spot-bellied Side-neck Turtle; Brazil, Buenos Aires through Uruguay and Argentina): This pleurodiran turtle species has black spots on its plastron and are often seen basking for long periods. When threatened, these turtles dive into the water and hide in mud.

Family Geoemydidae:

Batagur affinis (Southern River Terrapin, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia): These large turtles can have a carapace length of up to two feet. Their diet consists of mostly vegetation. Their numbers are decreasing in the wild due to local people using their large eggs as a food source.

Batagur borneoensis (Painted River Terrapin; Southeast Asia): These turtles are critically endangered. They are mainly aquatic, leaving water to bask and nest in sandy areas. Juveniles inhabit freshwater and adults inhabit estuarine areas.

Cuora galbinifrons (Indochinese Box Turtle, China, Laos, Vietnam): This critically endangered species is threatened by habit loss and collection for oriental medicines. They can completely seal their shell shut due to hinges on the plastron.

Geoclemys hamiltonii (Spotted Pond Turtle, Southern Pakistan, North-eastern India, Bangladesh): This species is black with cream colored spots. It can be found basking in the sun in streams, bogs, and ponds. It is threatened due to habitat loss and overcollection of food

Family Podocnemididae

Podocnemis unifilis (Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle, Amazon basin): This species of pleurodiran turtle can be identified by having yellow spots on its head and a black or brown carapace with low keels on the second and third scutes. This species is considered vulnerable.

Family Testudinidae:

Chelonoidis carbonaria (Red-footed Tortoise, Northern South America): These tortoises have red and yellow facial markings, as well as red scales on their limbs. This species is very popular in the pet trade, and is considered threatened in the wild.

Pyxis arachnoides (Spider Tortoise; Madagascar): These tortoises are critically endangered. Rather than laying a large clutch of small eggs, females lay a single, large egg at a time. They tend to live in coastal, sandy areas.

Order Squamata (Sauria/Lacertilia)

Family Chamaeleonidae:

Furcifer pardalis (Panther Chameleon; Madagascar): These are arboreal lizards that exhibit the xygodactyl condition and independently moveable eyes seen in all chamaeleonids. Males are typically much larger than females, often roughly twice as large. They consume insect prey, which they capture using their highly extensible tongue.

Family Gekkonidae:

Phelsuma standingi (Standing’s Day Gecko; Madagascar): These are small to medium-sized arboreal lizards, which are the largest extant day geckos. Unlike most geckos, they are diurnal. They are omnivorous, consuming a variety of insect prey as well as vegetation.

Uroplatus henkeli (Madagascar Leaf Tail Gecko; Madagascar): These are highly arboreal geckos that only come down from the trees to lay eggs. They have a flattened tail and mottled coloration that makes them highly cryptic when perched on the sides of trees.

Family Iguanidae:

Brachylophus fasciatus (Fiji Island Banded Iguana; Fiji Islands): These are diurnal, arboreal lizards that live in habitats ranging from upland could forests to lowland swamps. They have a short crest of spines running down the neck and back.

Family Scincidae

Corucia zebrata (Prehensile-tailed Skink, Solomon Islands): This is the largest extant species of skink and is primarily arboreal. C. zebrata is viviparous, meaning it gives live birth. They are primarily herbivores.

Family Varanidae:

Varanus prasinus (Green Tree Monitor; New Guinea): These are medium-sized, arboreal lizards. Coloration ranges from bright green to turquoise. They prey primarily upon insects, but will also consume small mammals.

Order Squamata (Serpentes/Ophidia):

Family Boidae:

Boa constrictor (Red-tailed Boa; southern North America through northern South America): These are nocturnal, fairly large, heavy-bodied snakes without labial pits. They are primarily ambush predators that consume a variety of endothermic prey.

Corallus caninus (Emerald Tree Boa; northern South America): These are highly arboreal snakes with well-developed labial pits. Although it was previously though that they preyed mainly on birds, much of their diet seems to be made up of mammals. Whereas adults are a characteristic green, juveniles are brick-red.

Family Colubridae:

Orthriophis taeniurus (Beauty Ratsnake; Southeast Asia): These are diurnal, semi-arboreal snakes that lack labial pits. They range from yellowish-brown to olive in coloration.

Philodryas baroni (Baron’s Racer; Central South America): These are highly arboreal snakes that lack labial pits. Coloration is somewhat variable and ranges from green or blue to brown. They have characteristically extended rostral scales, which protrude from the front of the snout. They possess opisthoglyphous fangs, and are mildly venomous.

Spilotes pullatus (Tiger Ratsnake; Central America and northern South America): These are arboreal snakes that lack labial pits. Coloration is somewhat variable, although the general pattern is black with yellow to white bands. They prey on a wide variety of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, and lizards.

Family Pythonidae

Broghammerus reticulatus (Reticulated Python; Southeast Asia): These are mainly terrestrial, large, heavy-bodied snakes with labial pits. They are the longest extant snakes, and can grow to over 6 meters in length. They primarily prey on mammals.

Morelia viridis (Green Tree Boa; New Guinea, Indonesia, and northern Australia): These are highly arboreal snakes with well-developed labial pits. They superficially resemble the Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus), although in M. viridis, the labial pits are set in the labial scales, whereas they are between the labial scales in C. caninus. Adults are a characteristic green, and juveniles (which are more terrestrial and live at the forest edge) are red or yellow until they assume their arboreal lifestyle.

Order Crocodylia:

Family Crocodylidae:

Osteolaemus tetraspis (Dwarf Crocodile; western central Africa): These crocodiles are the smallest members of Crocodylidae, reaching roughly 1.5 meters as adults. They tend to live swamps and areas with small, slow streams. They are nocturnal, and will frequently spend the day in a burrow they have dug. Like most crocodylians, Osteolaemus demonstrates maternal care of eggs and hatchlings.

Family Gavialidae:

Gavialis gaqngeticus (Gharial; India & Nepal): Gharials have the longest and narrowest jaws of any crocodylians, and are also the most aquatic. They tend to live in deep, fast-flowing rivers where they specialize on fish. Like most crocodylians, Gavialis demonstrates maternal care of eggs and hatchlings.

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