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Wood Turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) are a state threatened species at the western edge of their geographic distribution in Minnesota, United States. There is currently little published information regarding habitat use of western populations to assist with conservation initiatives. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate habitat use of a population of Wood Turtles in northeastern Minnesota to determine if habitat-use patterns were similar to other regions. In addition, we assessed the efficacy of two land-cover data sets (National Land Cover Dataset and LANDFIRE Existing Vegetation Type), relative to an aerial-photo–based habitat layer, for assessing habitat use and delineating preferred or avoided habitat classes. We performed this analysis to gauge the value of widely used habitat layers for Wood Turtle management and research. We used radio telemetry data collected on 8 males and 14 females between May and November 1990 to assess habitat associations and space-use patterns. We found that Wood Turtles heavily used and generally remained within 100 m of flowing water. Individuals also appeared to prefer other aquatic and semiaquatic habitats when not in or adjacent to flowing water. Despite this population inhabiting a primarily forested landscape, we found little evidence that forest habitat classes were preferred by this species; however, forest age could be an important variable, with younger, more open forest types being used more frequently. We found that neither NLCD nor LANDFIRE were adequate for assessing habitat associations or delineating habitat classes at the scale at which Wood Turtles use the landscape.
The movement of riverine animals can greatly impact the distribution of genetic variation among populations. The limited dispersal of reptiles and amphibians can produce significant genetic differentiation among geographically proximate populations. Studying the factors that contribute to genetic variation at the poleward edge of species' ranges may be particularly important as ranges shift in response to climate change. We examined physical movement and the distribution of genetic variation among populations of two riverine softshell turtle species, Apalone spinifera and Apalone mutica in Minnesota. We sequenced the mitochondrial control region and genotyped six variable microsatellite loci for 220 turtles across three river systems. Using radiotelemetry, we monitored aquatic movement and tested for sex differences in movements among 19 turtles. We found no evidence of genetic differentiation at geographic scales yielding significant differentiation in other freshwater turtles, a trend that may be attributed to high motility of Apalone turtles. The presence of dams separating several sites was not associated with genetic differentiation, likely owing to the young age of the dams relative to the generation times of Apalone. Although we found no directional gene flow toward peripheral populations, we observed the highest genetic variation in the populations closest to the range center in both species. Our findings highlight the role of physical movement on the distribution of genetic variation in riverine turtles, a relationship that may impact adaptability to climate change and other anthropogenic alterations.
Delineating a species range is challenging because many factors interact at multiple spatial scales to affect a species distribution. Species distribution models (SDM) can be used to identify factors most associated with a species presence and, therefore, potentially define a range edge. We evaluated the utility of two popular SDM approaches, maximum entropy models (e.g., MaxEnt) and generalized linear models (GLM), for determining the range edge for the threatened Blanding's Turtles, Emydoidea blandingii, in northeastern New York, USA. Using the mapping and analysis software ArcGIS, we constructed and validated SDMs using presence/absence records (GLM) and presence/background records (MaxEnt) with 11 environmental predictor variables. Because of the limits imposed by the low number of absences, we found that GLM was not as successful as MaxEnt at predicting habitat suitability for rare and cryptic species like E. blandingii. Our results also indicated that a distinct environmentally induced range edge is associated with factors related to elevation. Both GLM and MaxEnt models also projected the presence of suitable habitat outside of the current range, including locations with known disjunct populations. We conclude that a presence/background SDM approach such as MaxEnt is valid when accurate data on locational absences are lacking, as is typical for rare, cryptic species. Using SDM to understand factors that shape the range edge can aid in planning habitat conservation and management of threatened species such as E. blandingii.
Most existing studies on the White-lipped Mud Turtle, Kinosternon leucostomum, have been based on northern Central American populations, leaving a lack of information on populations from southern Central America and South America. Herein we studied morphology, diet, and population structure of a population of the southern Kinosternon leucostomum postinguinale inhabiting four creeks in Colombia. Observed habitats used were highly variable, ranging from relatively clean waters to streams used for sewage disposal of wastewater from a human settlement. Body size was smaller than that of other populations of southern K. l. postinguinale and also than that of the northern K. l. leucostomum. Sexual dimorphism was evident, with males heavier, longer, and wider than females. Body size was associated with the habitat of origin, with Barrio Nuevo individuals being the largest. The main components of the diet were plant material, insects, snails, and algae. We did not find evidence of sexual differences in the diet, but we found geographic differences in the body size. The population with the largest individuals, from Barrio Nuevo Creek, consumed more snails while those from Totumo Creek, the population with the smallest individuals, consumed more ants and plant material as compared to the other creeks. Additionally, we found a highly male-biased sex ratio, with 2.5 adult males per female, very few juveniles, and no nests, which suggests a dangerous risk of population decline. We suggest continued monitoring of the demography of this population, emphasizing its reproductive biology.
Resumen.—La información existente sobre la Tortuga Tapaculo, Kinosternon leucostomum, ha sido generalmente basada en las poblaciones del norte de Centro América, dejando un desconocimiento sobre las poblaciones del sur de Centro América y Sur América. En este trabajo nosotros documentamos la morfología, dieta, y estructura de una población de la subespecie del sur K. l. postinguinale que habita en 4 quebradas en Colombia. Los hábitats observados fueron muy variables, desde quebradas relativamente limpias hasta quebradas que reciben aguas negras de asentamientos humanos. El tamaño corporal fue menor a lo reportado por otras poblaciones de la misma subespecie e incluso de la subespecie del norte, K. l. leucostomum. El dimorfismo sexual fue evidente, con machos más pesados, largos, y anchos que las hembras. El tamaño corporal estuvo asociado al hábitat de origen, siendo las tortugas de Barrio Nuevo las más grandes. La dieta estuvo compuesta de material vegetal, insectos, caracoles, y algas. Nosotros no encontramos diferencias sexuales en la dieta pero si diferencias geográficas en el tamaño. Las tortugas de Barrio Nuevo que fueron las más grandes consumieron más caracoles, mientras que las tortugas más pequeñas de El Totumo consumieron más plantas y hormigas en comparación con los otras quebradas. Adicionalmente, encontramos una proporción sexual sesgada hacia los machos, con 2.5 machos por hembra, muy pocos juveniles y ningún nido, lo que sugiere un riesgo peligroso de disminución poblacional. Recomendamos un monitoreo continuo de la demografía de esta población y sobre su biología reproductiva en particular.
Topographical features and environmental variables form geographic range boundaries and limit species' distributions. Studies of Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) limitations in the northern reaches of their geographic range are fairly well documented; however, few studies exist that investigate ecological factors that affect distribution at the southern extent of their range. Our objectives were to 1) determine aquatic and terrestrial habitat characteristics relevant to Wood Turtle presence or absence and 2) determine the approximate southern geographic boundary of Wood Turtles in the Cacapon River Watershed, West Virginia, USA. We conducted random surveys of 100 sites along the Lost and North rivers during summer 2010, and 64% contained Wood Turtles. Proximity to the Cacapon River, elevation, soil pH, canopy cover, and slope influenced the presence of Wood Turtles. In addition, Wood Turtles occurred at sites with higher herbaceous species richness and diversity, especially in locations along the North River. Vegetative community composition differed between terrestrial sites associated with these two rivers in the field and shrub layers (regardless of turtle presence), and differed in the site × river interaction in the tree layer. Wood Turtles on the Lost and North rivers, at their southern range limits in West Virginia, are associated with lower elevation, gentler slopes, higher soil pH, and higher tree canopy cover, and also are located closer to the confluence of the Cacapon River. We recommend creating and managing riparian buffers along waterways where Wood Turtles occur to provide essential terrestrial habitat and to promote adult survivorship and population stability.
Interference competition is frequently observed in sexually mature adults as they defend breeding territories. However, it remains unclear in many taxa whether juveniles respond aggressively to other juveniles or if they defend resources. To test whether postmetamorphic juveniles of a pond-breeding amphibian were aggressive towards other juveniles or were defending resources, we staged terrestrial encounters between three species of sympatric Ambystoma salamanders. We observed biting and other aggressive behaviors by juvenile Spotted (Ambystoma maculatum) and Marbled Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum). However, we did not observe aggressive behaviors by Ringed Salamanders (Ambystoma annulatum). In addition to species-level variations in aggression, these three species also differed in whether aggression was targeted primarily intra- or interspecifically. This study suggests that juveniles of pond-breeding amphibians of some species may defend essential habitat with agonistic behavior.
Fan-Throated Lizards (Sitana; Agamidae) are a widespread yet little-studied genus of lizards found in dry habitats throughout South Asia. Male lizards in this genus bear a fan-like structure under their throats that is displayed by rapid extension and retraction during the breeding season, particularly during courtship and male–male interactions. Throat-fans vary dramatically in both size and coloration across the genus, ranging from small and white to large and blue, black, and orange. In this paper, I investigate variation in throat-fan morphology and display behavior in eight populations of Fan-Throated Lizards. Displays of these lizards included partial and complete throat-fan extensions, changes in body position, rapid head-turning behavior, and occasional bipedality. Part of the variation in display behavior across these lizards was associated with throat-fan elaboration, and increased throat-fan size and coloration were associated with male-biased sexual size dimorphism but not with changes in habitat. These results suggest that sexual selection may underlie increases in both throat-fan size and coloration in the genus Sitana. Therefore, Fan-Throated Lizards are a promising system in which to further investigate the coevolution of different display components of a striking visual signal.
Pathogens can have a range of effects on organisms across environmental gradients; although lethal effects may receive greater attention, sublethal impacts can have important population- and community-level impacts. In this laboratory study, we examined the effects of exposure to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]) on Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) metamorphs that had been reared in the presence or absence of crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) predators in aquatic environments to determine whether prior predator exposure influenced the effect of Bd on terrestrial growth and survival of frogs. Although Bd exposure following metamorphosis did not impact Northern Leopard Frog survival, exposure did significantly reduce terrestrial growth, indicating that Bd exposure can have consequences that can indirectly impact populations, because size of amphibians is positively correlated with overwinter survival and fecundity. Exposure to predators during larval development, however, did not alter the impact of Bd exposure at metamorphosis on Northern Leopard Frogs. Our study suggests the Bd pathogen associated with global amphibian declines can have important sublethal impacts and play a role in population dynamics even when disease outbreaks do not occur.
Ostional Beach, Costa Rica, supports a large mass nesting (arribada) aggregation of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). A large number of egg clutches is lost to egg harvest and to nest destruction by nesting females after every arribada. Accordingly, the purpose of our study was to generate estimates of the net number of clutches left incubating from clutch densities with the use of a quadrat methodology, and to compare these data with nesting population estimates resulting from the strip transect in time methodology that is currently applied. After the conclusion of each arribada, we randomly performed 50 excavations in 1-m2 quadrats to count the number of clutches present. We extrapolated quadrat density data to the entire nesting area of the beach to estimate the total number of clutches remaining following each arribada and egg harvest. The mean total clutch density was 4.09 ± 0.18 SE nests/m2. Our results showed that quadrat and transect estimate differences ranged from 0.04 to 52.6%, with quadrat estimates typically being lower. Our results demonstrated that, in the rainy season, a large number of clutches (47.4–99.9%) was left incubating in the beach after every arribada and egg harvest. By omitting clutches that were harvested or destroyed throughout the arribada, we evaluated the reproductive potential and estimated the magnitude of clutch loss on Ostional Beach, both of which play important roles in the management of the egg harvest as a sustainable conservation strategy.
Playa Ostional, Costa Rica presenta el anidamiento masivo o arribada de la tortuga marina Lora (Lepidochelys olivacea). Un número elevado de huevos se pierde durante cada arribada debido a la cosecha de huevos y a la destrucción de nidos por parte de tortugas anidadoras. Así pues, el objetivo de este estudio fue el de generar estimados del número neto de nidos que permanecen incubándose a partir de la densidad de nidos utilizando una metodología de cuadrantes y la comparación de estos datos con los estimados poblacionales obtenidos con la metodología de transectos fijos sobre el tiempo que se está utilizando actualmente. Después de la conclusión de cada arribada, realizamos al azar 50 excavaciones en cuadrantes de 1m2 para contar el número de nidos presentes. Nosotros extrapolamos los datos de densidad de estos cuadrantes a la playa de anidación entera para estimar el número de nidos que quedan en la playa luego de cada arribada y de cada cosecha de huevos. La densidad promedio total de nidos fue de 4.09 ± 0.18 SE nidos por m2. Nuestros resultados mostraron que las diferencias entre los estimados transectos y de cuadrantes variaron de entre 0.04% a 52.6%, siendo los estimados de cuadrantes típicamente menores. Nuestros resultados demostraron que en la época lluviosa un gran número de nidos (entre el 47,4% y el 99,9%) permanecieron incubándose en la playa luego de cada arribada y cosecha de huevos. Al omitir los nidos que son destruidos por las tortugas durante cada arribada o cosechados, este nuevo procedimiento nos permitió hacer una evaluación del potencial reproductivo y de la magnitud de la destrucción de nidos en playa Ostional, ambos siendo factores que juegan un papel importante en el manejo de la cosecha de huevos como una estrategia de conservación sustentable.
Predation among potential competitors, or intraguild predation (IGP), is dependent on size disparities between competing predators and prey and strongly influences the ecology of larval amphibians in ephemeral ponds. Although intraguild prey are hypothesized to exhibit faster growth rates than intraguild predators and, therefore, outgrow predation risk through time, intraguild predation also is associated with significant increases in predator growth rates that are hypothesized to increase the potential for future predation. Given these conflicting hypotheses, how predation among amphibian larvae early in development should influence size disparities and ontogenetic shifts in predation risk is unclear. To clarify the effects of intraguild predation on predator and prey growth, we quantified size variation among larval salamanders (Ambystomatidae) in forested ephemeral ponds while concurrently monitoring seasonal patterns of intraguild predation through gut content analyses. Intraguild predation had no discernible effect on either interspecific size disparities between intraguild predators and prey, or intraspecific size variation within predator populations, and factors of larval density, tadpole density, and pond area were more important than larval size variation in predicting IGP. Our results do not support previous assertions regarding the consequences of intraguild predation for predator–prey size disparities, because top predators not actively engaging in IGP appeared to maintain growth rates equivalent to successful conspecific IG predators, and the frequency of intraguild predation did not significantly change during larval ontogeny. The lack of consistent increases or decreases in predator–prey size disparities suggests that intraguild prey may not experience predictable ontogenetic shifts in intraguild predation risk.
Rapid urbanization is a growing threat to biodiversity, causing wide-scale extirpation of species from their natural habitats. Some species such as rock agamas, Psammophilus dorsalis, seem to be sufficiently tolerant and continue to persist in urban environments. Given that urbanization alters species composition at multiple trophic levels, we expect a shift in the diet composition and hunting modes of populations across rural and urban areas. Based on identified contents from stomach flushes, we found that P. dorsalis are generally myrmecophagous, and their diet is mainly composed of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Diet of males and females in each area overlapped highly (80–91%), even though males were significantly larger than females. Dietary overlap between urban and rural populations also was high (80.3%). Surprisingly, rural lizards had lower body mass indices than did urban lizards, despite the greater diversity of prey types and the larger volume of food consumed. This species uses a sit-and-wait hunting strategy, but we found that the rate of movement of males was higher in rural areas compared to urban areas, which likely results in higher energy expenditure. Individuals of P. dorsalis do not seem to be negatively affected by urbanization but instead manage to hunt in and around the small patches of vegetation that remain, enabling them to maintain a higher body condition than that of lizards in undisturbed rural habitats.
We used radiotracking to study the home range and use of space by Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards (Gambelia sila) in the Lokern Natural Area in the San Joaquin Desert of California. The average home-range size of males, based on the fixed kernal local convex hull method, was 6.21 ha in 2003 and 7.62 ha in 2004, which differed significantly from the average size for females, which was 2.85 ha in 2003 and 3.17 ha in 2004. Average home-range size did not differ significantly between years or with the interaction of sex and year. Home ranges of nine lizards with collars were in about the same locations between 2003 and 2004. There were no significant differences in either the percentage or number of home-range overlaps among adjacent pairs. Males moved an average of ∼100 m daily, significantly farther than the 65-m average daily movements of females, but there were no significant differences for the average greatest distance moved in 1 day by sex or year, or their interaction. The longest distance moved in a day for a male was 615 m and for a female was 642 m. We found that home ranges of Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards contained more area of saltbush (Atriplex spp.) than expected based on proportion of area, but home-range sizes and distances moved did not differ significantly based on shrub presence.
Urbanization creates drastic changes in habitat and presents considerable challenges and new sources of predation to urban-dwelling herpetofauna. Research on lizards has documented increased rates of mortality in urban areas due to generalist predators such as raccoons, feral cats, and domestic animals. Caudal autotomy (self-amputation of the tail) is a defense mechanism used to escape predation in a wide range and large number of lizard species. The tail is autotomized to evade capture, and in most species with autotomy, the tail is regenerated partially or completely. Caudal autotomy can be used as an indirect measure of predation environment; however, few prior studies have used lizard caudal autotomy to measure the predation environment of urban areas. We compared caudal autotomy rates in the Puerto Rican crested anole, Anolis cristatellus, between urban and natural sites in four Puerto Rican municipalities. Across all municipalities, we found the frequency of caudal autotomy and regeneration to be consistently, significantly higher in urban than in natural areas. Our findings suggest that differences exist in the predation regime experienced by lizards in urban and natural habitats across the island of Puerto Rico. At this time, however, we are not able to identify the specific nature of the difference in predation regime between sites. The difference in autotomy rate that we found may be driven by higher predation pressure in urban areas, differences in the predator assemblage between sites, or simply lower predator efficiency in urban habitats.
For gape-limited predators, investment in larger heads should occur when larger prey items are more profitable or are the only prey option available. This may result in evolutionary or within-lifetime (plastic) increases in gape size in animals exposed to larger prey. This phenomenon has been well documented in larval but not adult caudates (salamanders and newts). We report here evidence of greater gape size in populations of a newt that co-occur with energetically profitable, large prey. We collected morphological data from populations of Red-Spotted Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) that occupied nearby ponds that varied in the presence of eggs and tadpoles of Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). Newts were larger in ponds occupied by Wood Frogs, suggesting a potential energetic advantage to this prey. Newts syntopic with Wood Frogs had relatively wider heads, which we interpret as a potential adaptation for consuming seasonally abundant Wood Frog eggs and tadpoles. Male newts had wider heads than did females, suggesting sexual selection also may act on head or gape width in newts. Our findings suggest that adult newts exhibit either phenotypic plasticity in gape width or microgeographic local adaptation in response to variation in food resources. Additional work examining this in other caudates may reveal it to be a phenomenon widespread in adults as well as larvae.
We analyzed the prevalence of tail autotomy and regeneration in Teius teyou with the use of 640 museum specimens. There is a marked difference in the prevalence of tail autotomy between juveniles (5.4%) and adults (23.9%); we found no significant differences in the prevalence between males and females. In contrast with the trends observed in other families, there exists an inverse relationship between the average size and the prevalence of autotomy among teiid species. We suggest that this could be explained by the important role played by the tail in locomotion, courtship, and defense of teiids. Alternatively, being a large species, these teiids may have an enhanced capacity for repelling attacks without losing their tails. Finally, we report a specimen that presented a bifid regenerated tail.
Analizamos la prevalencia de la autotomía caudal y regeneración en Teius teyou utilizando 640 especímenes de museo. Hay una notoria diferencia en la prevalencia de la autotomía caudal entre juveniles (5.4%) y adultos (23.9%); no encontramos diferencias significativas en la prevalencia entre machos y hembras. En contraposición con lo observado en otras familias de saurios, hay una relación inversa entre el tamaño medio y la prevalencia de la autotomía entre las especies de teiidos. Sugerimos que esto podría deberse a que la cola de los teiidos juega un papel importante en la locomoción, el cortejo y la defensa. Alternativamente, al tratarse de especies grandes, pueden tener capacidad de repeler ataques sin sacrificar la cola. También encontramos un espécimen con la cola bifurcada.
Many isolated wetlands in the southeastern United States are naturally ephemeral, productive habitats that can support a high diversity of aquatic reptiles. As wetlands begin to dry, reptile species exhibit different behavioral responses including overland dispersal and terrestrial aestivation. Regardless of strategy, one of the greatest risks to individual survival is desiccation. We measured evaporative water loss rates (EWL; % body mass lost per hour) and total % body mass lost over 24 h in four species of semiaquatic turtles that frequent isolated wetlands in the southeastern United States: Chicken Turtles (Deirochelys reticularia), Eastern Mud Turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum), Common Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus), and Yellow-Bellied Sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta). Mean percent body mass lost over 24 h ranged from 4.44–10.26% among individuals, was negatively correlated with body mass and varied among species, with higher EWL rates occurring in species with reduced shell robustness (the amount of the body covered by the shell). Mean EWL rates were highest in S. odoratus, lowest in K. subrubrum, and intermediate in D. reticularia and T. scripta. The EWL rates corresponded to species' natural history traits and behavioral adaptations to drought. Species with higher EWL rates could be more vulnerable to increased drought duration and frequency resulting from either climate change or anthropogenic modification of wetland hydrology, and easily measured traits such as shell robustness and body mass may be useful in predicting EWL rates and desiccation risk for particular age classes and other species of turtles.
Ecological and evolutionary processes commonly result in morphological variation among larval amphibians. Variation in head shape plays a critical role in both food capture and predation risk in gape-limited salamanders, yet in situ studies of head shape variability are rare outside of cannibal morph assessments. We examined allometry differences in larval head width (HW) and snout–vent length (SVL) among three sympatric species of ambystomatid salamanders from 166 ponds in Missouri, USA: Ringed Salamander (Ambystoma annulatum), Marbled Salamander (A. opacum), and Spotted Salamander (A. maculatum). We also tested whether several abiotic and biotic factors would predict HW after accounting for SVL. We found that larval HW and SVL were strongly correlated for all species but that the strength of this relationship varied among species. For early-stage larvae, Marbled Salamanders showed isometric scaling relationships, whereas both Spotted Salamanders and Ringed Salamanders were allometric. For late-stage larvae, all three species showed allometric patterns. At a small SVL, HW of small Ringed Salamanders was greater than the other species. As larvae increased in SVL, Marbled Salamander HW increased most rapidly and eventually exceeded both Ringed Salamanders and Spotted Salamanders of a similar size. We also found that both abiotic and biotic factors predicted significant differences in HW corrected for SVL among species, including predator density, competitor density, and hydroperiod. Overall, variability in scaling relationships may provide ecological advantages to each species at different points in ontogeny and different biotic and abiotic factors may induce such variation in asymmetric ways among species.
We tested the phylogenetic position of Anaxyrus kelloggi, a distinctive toad species from coastal northwestern Mexico, using a ~2.4-kilobase fragment of mitochondrial ribosomal RNA gene regions and maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses. The two approaches recovered nearly identical phylogenetic topologies, which provide strong support for placement of A. kellogi in the debilis group, as sister taxon to the clade formed by A. debilis and A. retiformis. Species relationships within the debilis group are also well supported and concordant with aspects of earlier, morphology-based hypotheses.
Evaluamos la posición filogenética de Anaxurus kelloggi, una especie de sapo distintivo de la costa noroeste de México utilizando ~2.4 kb de un fragmento de regiones del ARN ribosomal en el gen mitocondrial y análisis de máxima verosimilitud y bayesianos. Los dos criterios recobraron topologías filogenéticas casi idénticas, la cual provee alto soporte de la afiliación de A. kelloggi dentro del grupo debilis, como hermano al clado conformado por A. debilis y A. retiformis. Las relaciones de especies dentro del grupo debilis tienen alto apoyo y concuerdan con aspectos de las hipótesis previas basadas en morfología.
We studied for the first time a collection of 377 snakes assembled by Benoît Mys and Jan Swerts in Papua New Guinea (PNG) during 1982–85. The collection, stored at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), contains specimens collected in rapid assessments of 45 mainland and island localities in Madang, East Sepik, West Sepik, and Morobe Provinces, and 8 localities from West New Britain and Manus Provinces. Thirty-three species from six families (Acrochordidae, Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Pythonidae, Typhlopidae) were present in the collection, and we report a number of new morphological observations from unidentified Dendrelaphis, Tropidonophis, and Aspidomorphus, as well as from Stegonotus cf. parvus. We report 31 new island records for snakes. Combined with island distributional information extracted from literature and museum collections, we provide an updated overview of snake species occurrences on the islands off the north coast of PNG. The substantial contribution of a 30-yr-old museum collection to current knowledge of the snake fauna of northern PNG illustrates how poorly studied this region is and the extent of herpetofaunal work still required to uncover true snake diversity in PNG.
I describe two new endemic Eutropis species, with restricted distributions from the Central Hills and Lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. Both were previously identified as Eutropis macularia Blyth. Eutropis austini sp. nov. is a medium-sized skink immediately distinguished from E. macularia by coloration and in being larger, with only the upper pretemporal in contact with parietal, the first pair of chin shields in medial contact. Eutropis greeri sp. nov. is a medium-sized, spotted species that differs from E. macularia by coloration and is larger, with a heavily keeled dorsum and fragile skin. Eutropis greeri sp. nov. further differs from E. macularia in having only the upper pretemporal in contact with parietal and the first pair of chin shields in medial contact. Eutropis greeri sp. nov. is distinguished from E. austini sp. nov. in scalation, coloration, and having fragile skin. The identity of Eutropis madaraszi is stabilized through the designation of a neotype, and here is redescribed. Examination of the holotype of Euprepes maculariusBlyth, 1853 (=Eutropis macularia), shows this taxon is not conspecific with any of the Sri Lankan Eutropis. Eutropis madaraszi, E. austini, and E. greeri represent geographically, morphologically, and morphometrically discrete species. Eutropis greeri sp. nov. is confined to lowland wet zones, whereas E. austini sp. nov. is restricted to Central Hills (including Knuckles Range), and E. madaraszi to lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka.