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  Supporting the Sustainable Management of Amphibian and Reptile Biodiversity

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --Anon.




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The herpetofuana of South America has suffered a greater loss of species than perhaps any other region. Consequently, research and conservation concerning amphibian and reptile conservation in this region makes a major contribution to global amphibian and reptile conservation. We appreciate authors contributions to this field of research.

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Rediscovery of Andinophryne olallai Hoogmoed, 1985 (Anura, Bufonidae), an enigmatic and endangered Andean toad. 2014. Ryan L. Lynch, Sebastian Kohn, Fernando Ayala-Varela, Paul S. Hamilton, Santiago R. Special Section: pages 1-7. High Res PDF   Low Res PDF

Summary: We report the rediscovery of Andinophryne olallai, an endangered species only known from a single specimen, collected in 1970. At the type locality, Tandayapa, Pichincha Province, numerous follow-up surveys after 1970 failed to record the species suggesting that the population is extinct. The rediscovery of A. olallai took place in 2012 at Río Manduriacu, Imbabura Province, Ecuador. Two surveys suggest that a healthy population of A. olallai survives at the site, with observations of froglets, juveniles, and adults across numerous stream systems. However, the extent of known occupancy of the population is small (<1 km2). Further data are presented to update knowledge of the distribution, ontogeny, morphology, and conservation status of the species. The population at Río Manduriacu is surrounded by logging, mining, and hydroelectric developments that could compromise its future survival. There is an urgent need to establish a monitoring program and to protect its remaining population and habitat in the region.>

Dactyloa clade (Squamata: Iguanidae) from western Ecuador. 2014. Fernando P. Ayala-Varela, Diana Troya-Rodríguez, Xiomara Talero-Rodríguez, Omar Torres-Carvajal. Special Section: pages 8-24. Download: High Res PDF  Low Res PDF

Summary: We describe a new species of Anolis from the western slopes of the Andes of Ecuador, province of Bolívar. It is referred to (1) the aequatorialis series based on its moderate size and narrow toe lamellae, and (2) the eulaemus sub-group based on having a typical Anolis digit, in which the distal lamellae of phalanx III distinctly overlap the proximal subdigital scales of phalanx II. The new species is most similar morphologically to A. otongae and A. gemmosus, both from similar elevations on the western Andean slopes of Ecuador, but differs from these species in morphology and color patterns. We present a phylogeny based on DNA sequence data as additional evidence supporting delimitation of the new species. The new species and A. gemmosus are sister taxa within the “western Dactyloa clade.”>

The importance of enrichment for advancing amphibian welfare and conservation goals::A review of a neglected topic. 2014. Christopher J. Michaels , J. Roger Downie, Roisin Campbell-Palmer. High Res PDF  Low Res PDF

Summary: Enrichment, broadly the provision of stimuli to improve the welfare of captive animals, is known to be important in husbandry practice and in the success of ex situ conservation and reintroduction programs. We review the existing body of research on enrichment for amphibians, as well as that for fish and reptiles, which may be regarded as behaviorally and neurologically broadly similar to amphibians. Our review supports the contention that there may be important consequences of enrichment for both captive welfare and ex situ conservation success in amphibians and that amphibian enrichment effects may be highly variable taxonomically. 

Caatinga Ethnoherpetology: Relationships between herpetofauna and people in a semiarid region of northeastern Brazil. 2014. Lívia Emanuelle Tavares Mendonça, 2Washington Luiz Silva Vieira, Rômulo Romeu Nóbrega Alves. High Res PDF  Low Res PDF

Summary: We investigated the interactions between humans and herpetofauna in the semiarid region of Paraíba State, Brazil. Data were obtained by means of interviews with 124 hunters or ex-hunters using semi-structured questionnaires, complemented by informal conversations. We recorded 18 species (17 reptiles and one amphibian) that local human populations interact with because they have some utilitarian value or because of conflicting relations with local inhabitants. Implementation of conservation measures aimed at the herpetofauna in this region is particularly difficult due to the aversion that local people hold toward many of these species. Therefore, environmental education strategies should be adopted. These efforts should not be solely directed at species subject to hunting, but should be all-inclusive and take into consideration the cultural, social, and utilitarian role that governs the interactions of human populations and the herpetofauna of the Caatinga.

Reproduction and spawning behavior in the frog, Engystomops pustulatus (Shreve 1941). 2014. Santiago R. Ron, Andrea E. Narváez, Giovanna E. Romero. High Res PDF  Low Res PDF

Summary: The study of reproductive strategies is central to understand the demography of populations and the energetic relationships of the species with their ecosystem. We describe the reproductive ecology and spawning behavior of the leptodactylid frog Engystomops pustulatus. In addition, we report observations that suggest the existence of an alternative mating strategy. Our results show that reproduction in E. pustulatus is characterized by high maternal investment (15% egg mass relative to body mass). We found evidence of size-assortative mating with a tendency of larger females to mate with larger males. Clutch size was correlated with female weight, female condition and male size. Larger females showed a tendency to lay larger foam nests and larger nests contained more eggs. At reproductive choruses, there was a male-biased operational sex ratio, indicative of high variance in male reproductive success. We observed an amplectant couple spawning while an additional male was embedded in the foam. We hypothesize that this behavior is evidence of an alternative mating strategy where a small non-amplectant male attempts to fertilize the eggs that are extruded by the amplectant female.

High prevalence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in an Andean frog community (Reserva Las Gralarias, Ecuador). 2014. Juan M. Guayasamin, Ángela María Mendoza, Ana V. Longo, Kelly R. Zamudio, Elisa Bonaccorso. High Res PDF  Low Res PDF

Summary: We report patterns of infection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in a cloud forest amphibian community in the Andean Western Cordillera of Ecuador (Reserva Las Gralarias). Data were obtained during the rainy seasons of two consecutive years, using qPCR (year 2012) and endpoint PCR (year 2013). We show that average Bd prevalence in this amphibian community is high (2012: 35–49%; 2013: 14–32%), but found no evidence of population declines or that Bd is negatively affecting host populations. We found a significant correlation between Bd prevalence and taxonomy, reproductive mode, and habitat, but no correlation between Bd infection intensity and the same three variables. Contrary to our expectations, frog species with aquatic reproductive modes (glassfrogs, treefrogs) showed lower Bd prevalence than direct-developing frogs (Pristimantis spp.). Although further monitoring is needed to determine long-term population trends, our two-year dataset on disease and population size support the hypothesis that frogs are tolerant to infection, a condition that could potentially have resulted from exposure to previous Bd epidemic outbreaks.


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 Dr Robert Browne

Dr. Robert Browne Chairperson

Dr. Browne established the Internet based ARC in 2011 and expanded it globally in 2013. Robert is committed to achieving the ARC's goal to provide for the sustainable management of amphibians and reptiles. He has a wide international experience in herpetological conservation and has published over 40 scientific articles on amphibian and reptile conservation. see Biography