Other Amphibian of the Week

Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)

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leastconcern
Common Name: Eastern Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
Family:  Ambystomatidae
Location: United States, Canada, and Mexico
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin
Size: around 8 inches

The Eastern Tiger Salamander is the most widespread salamander in North America, found from southern Canada down to northern Mexico, but it is hardly seen. The Tiger Salamander usually spends most of its life underground in burrows. The best options to see a wild one is either during / after rain or when they are breeding in water bodies. There are some Eastern Tiger Salamanders that are fully aquatic and neotenic, meaning they kept their larval features such as gills.

 

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Other Amphibian of the Week

Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)


leastconcern

Common Name: Greater Siren
Scientific Name: Siren lacertina
Family: Sirenidae
Location: United State – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 3.2 feet or 98 cm

The Greater Siren (and all Sirens) is found in the Southeastern United States. It is the largest of all the sirens, with some reaching over 3 feet long. Just like all sirens, they lack hind legs but they still retain their gills into adulthood. Not much is known about the biology of the Greater Siren because of their secretive nature as they hide in burrows during the day and are slightly more active during the night.

 

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

photo by photo by V31S70

nearthreatened
Common Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: Japan
Size: around 5 feet long

The Japanese Giant Salamander is the 2nd largest salamander in the world. It can reach around 5 feet long and can reach over 50 pounds. The salamander can live over 50 years old. The habitat of the Japanese Giant Salamander is threatened by dams and other projects so their numbers are dropping.

Spawning takes place during early fall. It can take 10 years for salamanders to reach reproductive maturity. Male Japanese Giant Salamanders try to find the best nesting sites and then will sit and protect them from other males. Females select the best nesting sites for their eggs and lay them there. The females can lay between 400 to 600 eggs at a time. The male then protects the eggs for up to 7 months.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Banna Caecilian (Ichthyophis bannanicus)

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leastconcern
Common Name: Banna Caecilian
Scientific Name: Ichthyophis bannanicus
Family: Ichthyophiidae
Location: China, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar
Size: 14.9 inches / 38 mm long

Like most caecilians, not that much is known about the Banna Caecilian because of their secret, burrowing life style. The adult form of the Banna Caecilian is terrestrial while the larval form is aquatic. The adults spend their time digging in the dirt on the forest floor. Females dig a hole near water in April and May and lay 30ish eggs in there. The eggs hatch and the larva moves over to the water to live until they reach adulthood.

Frogs of the World

Blyth’s River Frog (Limnonectes blythii)

Limnonectes_blythii_from_Thailand
photo by Psumuseum

nearthreatened
Common Name: Blyth’s River Frog, Giant Asian River Frog, or Blyth’s Wart Frog
Scientific Name: Limnonectes blythii
Family: Dicroglossidae
Location: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam
Size: females can real 10.2 inches / 25.9 cm while males only reach 4.9 inches / 12.4 cm long

The Blyth’s River Frog is the largest frog in all of Asia. Their large size has its downsides, as people over harvested them for food as they can weigh more than 2 pounds.

The courtship behavior of Blyth’s River Frog is different. Instead of males calling for the females, the females call. The male also creates a hollow in the stream for the females to lay their eggs.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Helen Meredith

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Each week I select a “Herper” of the Week. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphbians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

This week’s Herper of the Week is Dr. Helen Meredith, the Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA). She earned her Ph.D from the  Institute of Zoology (ZSL) and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. Her thesis was focused on developing evidence-based conservation decision making practices.

Before becoming the Executive Director of the ASA, she coordinated the EDGE Amphibians initiative at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). EDGE is a global conservation initiative that focuses on threatened species that have unique evolutionary histories. It is a wonderful program.

 

 

Family Friday

Rhinatrematidae – American Tailed Caecilians

Epicrionops_sp
photo from Leandro J.C.L. Moraes, Alexandre P. de Almeida, Rafael de Fraga, Rommel R. Zamora, Renata M. Pirani, Ariane A.A. Silva, Vinícius T. de Carvalho, Marcelo Gordo, Fernanda P. Werneck.

Number of Genera: 2 – Epicrionops and Rhinatrema
Number of Species: 11

The family Rhinatrematidae is one of the most ancient families of caecilians. Members of the species still have ancient traits such as true tails and terminal positioned mouth. They are found in northern South America.

The members of the genus Epicrionops is known as the beaked caecilians while the members of the genus Rhinatrema is known as the two lined caecilians.

Frog of the Week

Muller’s Termite Frog (Dermatonotus muelleri)

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photo by Diogo B. Provete

leastconcern

Common Name: Muller’s Termite Frog
Scientific Name: Dermatonotus muelleri
Family: Microhylidae
Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay
Max Size: 2 inches, 50 mm

Muller’s Termite Frog is a burrowing (fossorial) frog found in South America.  It is the only species in its genus. Their diet consists of termites. When they come to the surface to breed during the rainy season, thousands of males can be heard calling. They reproduce and lay their eggs in water bodies that are shallow. These frogs can be found in the pet trade.

New Species

New Frogs Species of February 2018

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New Marsupial Frog species Fritziana izecksohni from Brazil. Journal Article

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Two new species of frogs (Anomaloglossus blanci and Anomaloglossus dewynteri) found in French Guiana.  Journal Article

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Red-eyed Snouted Treefrog (Scinax ruberoculatus) is found in Brazil. Article – https://peerj.com/articles/4321/

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New Microhylid species (Uperodon rohani) from Sri Lanka. Journal Article

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Four new species of Mongrel Frogs (Nothophryne baylissi, Nothophryne inagoensis, Nothophryne ribauensis, Nothophryne unilurio) found in Mozambique. Journal Article

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New species of Nurse Frog (Allobates juami) from the Amazon. Journal Article

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Tenasserim Cave Frog (Siamophryne troglodytes) is a new Microhylid frog from Thailand. The researchers who discovered the species suggest it to be listed as endangered already. Journal Article

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New frog species (Physalaemus carrizorum) from Argentina. Journal Article

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New frog species (Psychrophrynella glauca) from the Andes in Peru. Journal Article

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New species of frog, named after Jodi Rowley, Rowley’s Litter Frog (Leptolalax rowleyae) found in Vietnam. Journal Article
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New Tree Frog species (Hyperolius stictus) from Colombia and Venezuela. Journal Article

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New Reed Frog (Hyloscirtus japreria) from Mozambique. Journal Article 

 

Two new species of stream toads (Ansonia phuketensis and Ansonia pilokensis) from Thailand Journal Article

Other Amphibian of the Week

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

AxolotlBE
photo by wikiuser th1098

CR

Common Name: Axolotl, Mexican Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum
Family: Ambystomatidae
Location: Mexico
Max Size: around a foot, 12 inches

The Axolotl is a fully aquatic and cute salamander which makes it a common animal in the pet trade. It will also be extinct in the wild soon if nothing happens.

The Axolotl is able to be fully aquatic because it can reach sex maturity with out undergoing metamorphosis. This is called neoteny.

The Axolotl is only found in two series of lakes near Mexico City. These lakes have been mostly destroyed because of draining of the lakes, pollution, and introduction of invasive fishes.

The Axolotl is often studied for its reproduction powers. It is able to regrow limbs if something happens to them. Also its genome was recently published, it has a 32 billion base pair long sequence which is the longest genome found so far.

image by LoKiLeCh