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Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Frog First – the Fang-Bearing Tadpoles of the Vampire Flying Frog

Rhacophorus malabaricusHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  The year 2011 has barely begun, but it is already supplying amphibian enthusiasts with exciting news items.  One of the most surprising is the discovery that the tadpoles of the newly-described Vampire Flying Frog, Rhacophorus vampyrus, sport hard, sharp fangs…a previously unknown amphibian adaptation.

A Surprise in the Treetops

Biologists from Australia, Vietnam and the USA (North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences) uncovered the new frog and its odd tadpoles while surveying montane forest canopies on the Langbian Plateau in southern Vietnam.  Their findings, published in the journal Zootaxa (please see article below), have left herpetologists wondering just why tadpoles might need such odd mouthparts…certainly not to puncture veins, as their common name suggests! Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Mertens’ Water Monitor – Part 1

Varanus mertensiHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Many lizard-keepers find Mertens’ Monitors, Varanus mertensi, to possess an ideal mix of large and small monitor qualities.  While large enough to satisfy the desires of aspiring Crocodile Monitor keepers, they can be comfortable in sizable, but less than room-sized, enclosures.

Description

Mertens’ Water Monitor (not to be confused with the larger Water Monitor, V. salvator – please see photo) is the most thoroughly aquatic Varanid and has a number of specialized adaptations for life in the water.  The tail is laterally compressed (as in Crocodiles) to assist in swimming and the nostrils, which can be sealed during dives, are located high on the snout.  Read More »

Paradise and Ornate Flying Snakes – New Research and Notes on Captive Care

Flying snakeHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Of all the gliding animals, Flying Snakes (Genus Chrysopelia) appear to me to be the most unlikely…they just don’t seem suited to moving through the air.  Yet they do, and quite well – not matching the abilities of flying squirrels, but certainly right up there with gliding geckos and frogs.  A recent study shed some light on their unique abilities, and suggests that they may serve as models for small, agile flying vehicles. Read More »

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation for Aquatic Frogs, Turtles & Newts – Part 2

Clawed Frog PairHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In Part 1 of this article we discussed vitamin/mineral supplements for aquatic animals that accept prepared/non-living foods; included among these are African Clawed Frogs, Sharp-Ribbed and many other newts, and most water-dwelling turtles.

Live Prey Specialists

Animals that take live prey only are especially troublesome when it comes to supplementation, as one cannot coat live aquatic food animals with powders.  Popular live food specialists include Dwarf African Clawed Frogs, Mata Mata Turtles, Surinam Toads, Mudpuppies and the larvae of most salamanders.  Read More »

2010’s Amphibian Discoveries – New Species and New Information – Part 1

 Heterixalus alboguttatusHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  In the wake of continuing amphibian extinctions, herpetologists made a special effort to study frogs and salamanders in 2010.  Their hard work resulted in the discovery of new species and others believed extinct, and in many surprising new findings about how they live.

Please note: the species described below are barely studied; the photos shown here are of close relatives.  Please see article below for actual photos.

“Back From Extinction”

Biologists participating in a program launched by Conservation International and the IUCN combed the globe in hopes of finding amphibians that have already been “written off” as gone forever.  Herp enthusiasts were pleased to learn that at least 3 of these, while very rare, do indeed continue to hold on. Read More »

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