In this week's lab we took a trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to explore the Global Reptile Diversity. Below you will find all of the species which we discovered at the CMZ arranged phylogenetically by Order and alphabetically by Family. Each species account contains the scientific name, the common name, a bit about the animal's biology and it's range, including a photo and a range map (just click the photo to see a larger view). In addition, each account has the link to the Reptile Database account for that species and a link to the CMZ webpage (if available). Enjoy!
--KJ, JZ, JT, & AC
Carettochelys insculpta (Fly river turtle)
The fly river turtle is a pig-nosed turtle with a leathery carapace. They are highly territorial and males have longer, narrower tails than females. There are no scutes on the shell, rather it is covered in cutaneous skin.
Papua New Guinea (Fly, Strickland, Morehead, Lorentz, Stekwa rivers, Lake Jamur), Australia (Northern Territory [Daly, Victoria, Alligator drainages])
Chelodina mccordi (McCord’s snake-necked turtle)
The McCord’s snake-necked turtle is one of the most endangered turtles in the world (IUCN). The neck of the McCord’s snake-necked turtle is approximately the same length as the carapace.
Indonesia (Roti Island)
Chelodina oblonga (Siebenrock’s snake-necked turtle)
Siebenrock’s snake-necked turtle is a side-necked turtle. They are carnivorous ambush gape predators known to eat invertebrates, fish and hatchling turtles. Males tend to have longer, narrower tails than females. They have round head in profile which helps to distinguish this species from other members of the genus
N Australia (from the Cape York Peninsula westward to the Kimberley District of W Australia; North Territory, Queensland, West Australia)
Emydura subglobosa (Red-bellied side-necked turtle)
Red-bellied side-necked turtles are highly aquatic and carnivorous. The male is smaller than the female and has a longer tail and they are oviparous.
S New Guinea, Australia (Jardine River at the northern tip of the Cape York Penisula, Queensland)
Phrynops hilarii (Spot-bellied side-necked turtle)
The spot-bellied side-necked turtle has black spots on its ventral surface. They are also carnivores, oviparous and spend much of their time basking near deep slow moving rivers.
Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay
Batagur affinis (Southern river terrapin)
The southern river terrapin are in danger as the eggs are eaten and used in traditional medicine in southeast Asia. The carapace can grow up to two feet in length. The diet of the southern river terrapin is vegetarian.
Myanmar (= Burma) (Irrawaddy River), S Thailand, S Vietnam, Cambodia, West Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra)
Batagur borneoensis (Painted terrapin)
One of the most endangered turtles (IUCN). Juveniles have medial and lateral keels on the pleural scutes which disappear with maturity. The painted terrapin has a pointed snout, a shallow medial notch on the upper jaw and small scales on the back of the head. Males are smaller than females and have longer, thicker tails. Additionally, during the mating season, males heads will become white with a red stripe between the eyes.
S Thailand, West Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo)
Cuora galbinifrons (Indochinese box turtle)
The Indochinese box turtle is not aquatic unlike many other species of the genus Cuora. The carapace has variable pattern with a light stripe down the midline. These turtles are carnivorous. There is also little difference between the sexes
Vietnam (Tonkin, Annam), China (Hainan Island, Guangxi)
Geoclemys hamiltonii (Spotted pond turtle)
The spotted pond turtle has white or yellow spots on the shell, neck and legs. The digits are webbed to the claws and the tail is short. The carapace is keeled with raised prominences.
S Pakistan (Indus and Ganges river drainages), N India (Assam), Bangladesh
Podocnemis erythrocephala (Yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle)
This turtle has yellow spots on the side of its head which fade with age. The yellow spotted Amazon river turtles are side-necked turtles. Females will lay two clutches of eggs per year.
Caribbean drainages of Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Colombia, Trinidad, Tobago, upper tributaries of the Amazon River in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, N Bolivia, S Venezuela, and Brazil, USA (introduced to Florida)
The red-footed tortoise has a domed carapace which is flat on top. These turtles also have elephantine limbs with red or yellow spots on the head and limbs.
SE Panama, Colombia (west of the Andes in Choco), east of the Andes in E Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, Surinam, E Brazil (south to Rio de Janeiro; seems absent from almost all but the eastern parts of the Amazon Basin: Rio Grande do Sul, Goias, Espírito Santo etc.), Peru, E Bolivia, Paraguay, N Argentina, Trinidad, Virgin Islands (St. Croix); introduced to a number of Carribean Islands (incl. Providencia, Grenadine islands), Nicaragua (Great Corn Island)
Pyxis arachnoides (Northern spider tortoise)
The norther spider tortoise has a spider web pattern on its carapace. The shell is curved and wider near the tail. The head is dark with yellow spots. Males have longer, thicker tails than females. They are mostly vegetarian, but are known to feed on cow droppings containing insect larvae.
Madagascar (along the S coast from the Mahajamba River southward around Cape Sainte-Marie almost to Fort-Dauphin)
Order Squamata (Sauria/Lacertilia)
Furcifer pardalis (Panther chameleon)
The Panther chameleon is foot is specialized for its arboreal lifestyle. Chameleon feet are zygodactyl, the five digits fusing into a group of two on the outside and a group of three on the inside. Panther chameleons also have prehensile tails as well as having the ability to rotate both eyes independently to search for prey. When prey is located both eyes are focused giving the chameleon sharp vision, which is important for hunting with their extremely long tongue. Chameleons also have arcrodont teeth.
Tropical regions of Northern and Eastern Madagascar
Uroplatus henkeli (Madagascar leaf-tailed gecko)
This is a nocturnal species of lizard that lives an arboreal lifestyle only coming down from trees to lay eggs in the leaf liter. This gecko has a large triangular head, flaps of skin around the edges of the head and body, a long, broad, flat tail These geckos also have well developed sub-digital lamellae and an absence of preanal or femoral pores. This species is listed as having a vulnerable conservation status.
Island of Nosy Bé; Main land Madagascar in Ankaranafantsika region
Brachylophus fasciatus (Fiji island banded iguana)
This dinural Iguana is said to be one of the most geographically isolated species within the family Iguanidae. This species is sexually dimorphic in that the males have two to three pale blue bands while the females are solid green. This is a herbivorous species feeding on leaves, fruit and flowers. The Fiji island banded iguana is listed as having an endangered conservation status.
Fiji Islands (Viti Levu, Wakaya, Ovalau, Moturiki, Gau, Beqa, Vatuele, Kandavu Ono, Dravuni, Taveuni, Nggamea, Vanua, Balavu, Avea, Vatu Vara,Lakeba, Aiwa, Oneata, Vanua Levu, Vanua Vatu, Totoya, Kabara, Fulaga), Tonga Islands (Tongatapu), New Hebrides (Efate), Iles Wallis
Corucia zebrata (Prehensile-tailed skink)
This is the largest species of extant skink. The Prehensile – tailed skink is completely arboreal and its large tail helps it move throughout the canopy. This species is completely herbivorous and most activity during the hours near dawn and dusk. Male skinks of this species have a “V – shaped” pattern of scales near the cloacal opening that is absent in females. These skinks rely heavily on sense of smell to identify food and territories of others.
Varanus prasinus (Green tree monitor)
This is an arboreal varanid lizard, which unlike other varanids does not whip its tail in defense but rather protects its tail by curling it up to the side. The tails of these lizards are prehensile allowing them to hang from branches. The Green tree monitor eats arboreal arthropods and does so by ripping off the limbs before eating the body.
Australia (Queensland), New Guinea
Order Squamata (Serpentes/Ophidia)
Family: Boidae (Boas)
Corallus caninus (Emerald tree boa)
Emerald tree boas are arboreal and active at night. These snakes also have conspicuous supralabial pits and infralabial pits that function in thermoreception of infared radiation. Boas can sense body heat cues of prey that differ from the surrounding environment using these special sensory organs.
Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, E/S Venezuela (Bolívar, Amazonas), NE Brazil (north of the Rio Amazonas and north and east of the Rio Negro: Amapá, Pará, Roraima, Amazonas); elevation 0-200 m.
Corallus hortulanus (Amazon tree boa)
The Amazon tree boa is an aggressive arboreal species that creates a coiled “s-shaped” defensive posture when threatened. These snakes are carnivores that consume a broad range terrestrial vertebrates like birds, lizards, and bats, and rodents.
S Colombia (east of the Andes), S Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil (Amazonas, Bahia, Sergipe, Ceará, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, DF), Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia;Trinidad, Tobago, Windward Islands.
Family: Colubridae (Common Snakes)
As their common name implies, Spilotes pullatus have distinctive tiger-like scale patterns of black and yellow. Tiger rat snakes are large, non-venomous, and arboreal.
S Mexico (Tamaulipas, Quéretaro etc.), Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad, Tobago, Isla Margarita, Colombia, Venezuela (Merida [HR 31: 57]), Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Goias, Pará, Sergipe, S Ceará), Ecuador, Peru, Argentina (Misiones, Chaco, Formosa, Salta), Bolivia, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana
[Same as Colubridae]
Philodryas baroni (Baron’s racer)
Baron’s racer snakes are opisthoglyphous, meaning that they have two or more large teeth near the rear of the maxilla. This species is known for rapid locomotion and a rostral projection. Males of P. baroni have slightly larger rostral extensions than females.
Argentina (Chaco, Córdoba, Santiago de Estero, Salta, Tucuman, Catamarca, Santa Fe [HR 30: 55]), Bolivia, Paraguay
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)
Morelia viridis (Green tree python)
The green tee python may be confused with the emerald tree boa due to superficial similarities in appearance, but the species can be differentiated by differences in head scalation (M. viridis has small, granular scales) and pit location. In M. viridis, the pits are located within the labial scales, while the pits of C. caninus reside between labial scales. Interestingly, these two species also exhibit similar ontogenetic shifts in coloration, with red or yellow juveniles developing into green adults.
Indonesia (Aru I, Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea, Island of Gag, Australia (NE Cape York Peninsula of Queensland)
Osteolaemus tetraspis (Dwarf crocodile)
At 2.5m TL, dwarf crocodiles are the smallest extant members of Crocodylidae. These solitary crocodiles forage in the water and spend time on land in excavated burrows adjacent to streams. O. tetrapsis will also leave the water for extended periods at night, particularly following precipitation events, but its terrestrial activities during this time are not well understood.
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Zaire
Gavialis gangeticus (Gharial)
As the most aquatic members of Order Crocodilia, gharials are piscivorous and use their specialized elongated snouts to snatch fish out of the water. Male gharials have a conspicuous bony structure on the tip of the snout called a boss. This species is extremely threatened.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar (= Burma), N India, Nepal, Pakistan