Acta Herpetologica 2019-11-05T13:59:57+00:00 Marco Mangiacotti Open Journal Systems <div> <p><em>Acta Herpetologica</em>, a journal open to academics all over the world, offers itself as a new site for the presentation and discussion of the most recent results in the field of research on Amphibians and Reptiles, both living and extinct. The official journal of the&nbsp;<em>Societas Herpetologica Italica</em>&nbsp;(S.H.I.), Acta Herpetologica publishes original works – extended articles, short notes and book reviews – mostly in English, dealing with the biology and diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles.</p> </div> <p><br><strong>Editor in Chief</strong><br>Marco Mangiacotti, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy</p> Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve: a unique hotspot for reptiles in Tanzania 2019-11-05T13:59:55+00:00 John Lyakurwa Kim Howell Linus Munishi Anna Treydte <p>While knowledge of African vertebrate biodiversity has increased dramatically in recent years, the field of herpetology which encompasses many threatened and endemic species, has lagged behind, and many areas have not been adequately explored. Intensive field work was conducted during the rainy season from December 2017 to April 2018 to assess reptile occurrence mostly in previously unexplored areas of the Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve (USNFR) which is part of the Udzungwa Mountain ranges in the Eastern Arc Mountains (EAM), and adjacent agricultural areas. Bucket pitfall traps, funnel traps, night transects and opportunistic search methods were used to sample reptiles across four zones: in lowland, submontane and montane forests of the USNFR, and in neighboring farmlands. Forty-five reptile species across 14 families were recorded, mostly concentrated on the lowland and submontane forests. The number of endemic and threatened species in the USNFR reaches 20 and 14 respectively, and most are found in the submontane forest. Nineteen species were new records for the USNFR, five of them representing range extensions. Reptile species richness, abundance and diversity differed significantly across the four zones, except between montane and farmland zones and between lowland and submontane. However, farmland zone was discordant from other zones in terms of species composition. This study adds to the importance of the EAM not only in harbouring large numbers of species but also as an important hotspot for endemic and threatened reptiles. It also calls for proper land-use practices in farms adjacent to protected areas for sustainable conservation of biodiversity.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Experience of predacious cues and accessibility to refuge minimize mortality of Hylarana temporalis tadpoles 2019-11-05T13:59:53+00:00 Santosh Mogali Bhagyashri Shanbhag Srinivas Saidapur <p>We explored the effect of a prior experience of predation threat and access to the refuge sites on larval mortality in <em>Hylarana temporalis</em> with a 2 × 2 factorial design. The design included predator-naïve or predator experienced prey subjects, and presence or absence of a natural shelter. Water scorpion adult individuals (<em>Laccotrephes</em> species) provided predation threat and also an opportunity to the prey to experience a direct danger of predation. Both previous experience with predators and availability of shelters affected larval survival independently and not conjointly. A prior encounter with predators enabled prey tadpoles to escape predation more effectively with a significant increase in their survival in comparison to the predator-naïve subjects. Similarly, access to refuge sites significantly increased survival of predator-naïve as well as predator experienced tadpoles compared to that in the absence of shelters. Clearly, ability to sense water borne predacious cues in the vicinity and use refuge sites plays a key role in escaping from predation in the bronze frog tadpoles.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Tonal calls as a bioacoustic novelty in two Atlantic Forest species of Physalaemus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) 2019-11-05T13:59:51+00:00 Thiago Carvalho Célio Haddad Marcos Gridi-Papp <p>The frog genus <em>Physalaemus</em> has almost 50 species with vocalizations that are mostly composed of a single note. This note tends to have a broad harmonic structure or a pulsed structure. The sister species <em>P. lateristriga</em> and <em>P. olfersii</em> have pulsed advertisement calls that have been described as a noisy and long-lasting warbling sound. We provide the first account of inclusion of tonal sounds as part of the vocal repertoire of these species. Pure tones can (1) be long and form the entire call; (2) form prefixes of variable length separated by silence from the advertisement call; (3) be brief and form the onset or the offset of the regular advertisement call. Tonal calls may be an evolutionary novelty and they are not known from other populations of <em>P. olfersii</em> and <em>P. lateristriga</em>. Identification of the mechanism of sound production and of the behavioural role of these unique calls may help elucidate the evolution of call complexity in frogs.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Scientific publication of georeferenced molecular data as an adequate guide to delimit the range of Korean Hynobius salamanders through citizen science 2019-11-05T13:59:49+00:00 Amaël Borzée Hae Jun Baek Chang Hoon Lee Dong Yoon Kim Jae-Young Song Jae-Hwa Suh Yikweon Jang Mi-Sook Min <p>Despite the importance of clearly assessing the distribution boundaries of species, it is not possible for scientists to acquire genetic information and conduct molecular analysis for all populations. Consequently, citizen science is of increasing importance for large scale data collection. In this study, we described the range boundaries of the four <em>Hynobius </em>species occurring in Korea based on genetic identification and refined their distribution through citizen science data. The genetic identification of individuals was extracted from the literature, while the citizen science data were extracted from iNaturalist through GBIF. Distribution boundary lines were drawn from the genetic data and consistency with citizen science datapoints was assessed through a comparative analysis with the points found beyond the established boundary lines. Depending on the species, 1.43 to 25.00% of the observations extracted from the citizen science data were located beyond the boundaries suggested by the molecular analyses, with average distances ranging from 3.51 ± 2.97 to 51.47 ± 30.87 km (mean ± SD). We considered these variations negligible in the view of the whole distribution of these species. In general, the distributions extracted from iNaturalist were accurate and adequately representative of the distribution of the species, with the exception of the recently split <em>H. quelpaertensis</em>. Additionally, citizen science data highlighted the absence of gaps in the distribution of these species. In conclusion, given the good accuracy of citizen science data, we recommend the publication of molecular based data so that citizen science platforms could help define accurately the range of species for which data is missing or outdated.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Mirrored images but not silicone models trigger aggressive responses in male Common wall lizards 2019-11-05T13:59:46+00:00 Stefano Scali Roberto Sacchi Mattia Falaschi Alan Coladonato Sara Pozzi Marco Zuffi Marco Mangiacotti <p>Disentangling the effects of single releasers in animal communication is a demanding task because a releaser often consists of a combination of different key stimuli. Territorial communication in reptiles usually depends on visual, chemical, and acoustic stimuli, but the role of each of them depends on phylogeny. Lacertids are modern lizards that rely mainly on chemical cues for their communication, but they also use aggressive displays based on visual recognition. We experimentally tested the visual stimuli that release an aggressive response in the males of a typical lacertid, the common wall lizard (<em>Podarcis muralis</em>), testing the effects of silicone models and mirrored images in captivity. The response to models and control (a blank sheet) was not significantly different and these stimuli did not release any aggressive behaviour. On the contrary, the reflected image in a mirror caused overt aggression (i.e., bites against it) in 63% of tested individuals. The results clearly demonstrate the role of visual stimuli in territorial communication, but only as a combined effect of shape and motion, differently from other lizard families for which shape is enough to stimulate aggressive responses. Mirrors can be useful tools to investigate aggression related to physiological and morphological aspects in lacertid lizards.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Using an in-situ infra-red camera system for sea turtle hatchling emergence monitoring 2019-11-05T13:59:44+00:00 Fatıma Oğul Franziska Huber Sinem Cihan Kumsal Düzgün Ahmet Kideyş Korhan Özkan <p>We tested for the first time the efficiency of the use of infra-red (IR) cameras for sea turtle hatchling monitoring. The cameras were installed on one green turtle (<em>Chelonia mydas</em>) and four loggerhead turtle (<em>Caretta caretta</em>) nests during 2014 and 2015 nesting season in the south-east Mediterranean, Turkey. The camera monitoring, even with the limited sample size, have successfully corroborated the previous observations and provided further insights on hatchling emergence behavior. The analysis of the camera recordings revealed that hatchlings emerged from the nests asynchronously in varying numbers of groups and different group sizes, while c. 60% hatchlings emerged during the first 5 days of emergence activity. 98.6% of hatchlings emerged at night with a peak activity between 21:00 and 00:00. The day of first emergence varied between 38 and 64 days since egg deposition, while the day of last emergence varied only between 60 and 65 days. Total emergence activity continued up to maximum of 22 days, which is longer than that of previous records. Overall, the present study showed that IR camera monitoring is a promising tool for sea turtle monitoring and can provide detailed insights on sea turtle hatchling behavior.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Descriptive osteology of an imperiled amphibian, the Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri, Amphibia: Salamandridae) 2019-11-05T13:59:41+00:00 Hadi Khoshnamvand Mansoureh Malekian Yazdan Keivany Mazaher Zamani-Faradonbe Mohsen Amiri <p>Osteological structures are important biological features which provide valuable biological and ecological information. Luristan newt (<em>Neurergus kaiseri</em>), is an endemic salamander, inhabiting the southern part of Zagros Mountains of Iran. The current study was conducted to describe the osteological characteristics of the Luristan newt which might be important in understanding the evolutionary process of newt species. The skull of <em>N. kaiseri</em> has a dense structure, severely ossified elements and a low amount of cartilaginous elements, only in mobile facets. Vertebral number in the axial skeleton of the species equals 50. The cervical, abdominal and caudal parts of the vertebral column have two, 16 and 32 vertebrae, respectively. Each hand and foot consisted of four fingers, having three or four phalanxes. The metacarpal includes seven bones and the number of metatarsus bones is eight. Hands are connected to humur through ulnare and radius and then connected to scapulocoracoid. Each leg includes two bones (fibula and tibia) which are connected to femur. The head of the femur articulates with the acetabulum in the pelvic bone, while the distal part of the<strong> </strong>femur articulates with the tibia.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Does color polymorphism affect the predation risk on Phalotris lemniscatus (Duméril, Bibron and Duméril, 1854) (Serpentes, Dipsadidae)? 2019-11-05T13:59:57+00:00 Fernanda de Avila Juliano Oliveira Mateus de Oliveira Marcio Borges-Martins Victor Hugo Valiati Alexandro Tozetti <p>The snake <em>Phalotris lemniscatus</em> is a polymorphic species regarding color, which varies between light shades with a yellow predominance (pale yellow-brown) to darker shades with a red predominance (red-dark). Pale yellow-brown individuals are more frequent in coastal populations while there is a tendency of increasing the frequency of red-dark morphs in inland areas. Considering the variation in substrate color along the species distribution (light/sandy on the coast to reddish and dark/argillaceous in inland areas), we raise the hypothesis that the predation rate of each morph would be lower in sites were its crypsis potential is higher. If correct, this hypothesis would reinforce the idea that the predation risk is one of the factors influencing the spatial structuring in morph frequency distributions in populations of <em>P. lemniscatus</em>. To test this hypothesis, we performed a field experiment using plasticine <em>P. lemniscatus</em> artificial models that represent two morphs: red-dark and pale yellow-brown. The models were distributed in three localities where the following substrate types predominate: light (Coastal Site), intermediary (Lowland Site) and reddish dark (Highland Site). Our predictions were corroborated only at the coastal site, where the less cryptic morph was the most preyed one. We verified that there is a regional variation in the predation risk on different morphs. Thus, the possibility that the selective pressure by predators is a relevant element in the structuring of the frequencies of different morph populations of this species cannot be completely excluded.</p> 2019-05-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Age structure of a population of Discoglossus scovazzi Camerano, 1878 (Anura - Discoglossidae) in extreme environmental conditions (High Atlas, Morocco) 2019-11-05T13:59:40+00:00 Mohamed Amine Samlali Abderrahim S’khifa Tahar Slimani <p>The age structure and growth of the Moroccan Painted Frog (<em>Discoglossus scovazzi</em> Camerano, 1878) in a population living in the High Atlas at the upper altitudinal limit of the species’ range was estimated for the first time by skeletochronology. Individual age was determined by counting the lines of arrested growth (LAGs) from cross-sections of the phalanges. Both males and females reached sexual maturity at 3-4 years of age at which point the speed of osteogenesis and body growth slow down<strong>. </strong>Males and females have maximum lifespans of six and five years, and average sizes of 47. 50 mm (n = 21, SD = 1.40) and 39.70 mm (n = 53, SD = 0.90) respectively. We detected a positive relationship between age and size, suggesting that the oldest individuals are always bigger and heavier.<strong> </strong>Sizes corresponding to the same age class are very heterogeneous reflecting divergent conditions and growth strategies.</p> 2019-06-30T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c)