Wildlife CSI – Using Forensics to Find Frog’s Foes

This is the story of PhD research carried out by Bastian Egeter, an Irish herpetologist and molecular ecologist who, until recently, was studying and working in New Zealand. I arrived in New Zealand in 2008 to undertake a postgraduate diploma in wildlife management at the University of Otago and became enamoured by the country’s incredible endemic amphibians. Incredible, not … More Wildlife CSI – Using Forensics to Find Frog’s Foes

Salamander Expansion On Ice, As Climate Heats Up

The last glacial maximum in Ireland made the island inhospitable to the common frog (Rana temporaria). As the ice retreated about 12,000 years ago, a population of common frogs was able to slowly recolonise the island from ice-free refugia to the south. This pattern of distribution shift, typifies the model applied to most reptiles and … More Salamander Expansion On Ice, As Climate Heats Up

Amphibian-Killing Fungus Found In Madagascar

The amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) has been found in some populations of Malagasy amphibians. The fungus is responsible for the disease Chytridiomycosis, which has devastated amphibian populations worldwide. Madagascar was thought to be a safe haven from the disease, which makes the news especially disheartening for conservationists. The outbreak was documented in a recent report published in … More Amphibian-Killing Fungus Found In Madagascar

HSI Project: Documenting Predation During Amphibian Reproductive Events.

The global crash in amphibian populations has created a strong focus on protecting these species from extinction. Efforts to protect these species are often borne from a desire to protect these charismatic animals from harm and to ensure they remain an integral part of a nation’s natural heritage for future generations. However, it is also important … More HSI Project: Documenting Predation During Amphibian Reproductive Events.

Progress In The Fight Against Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus

Rufous Foam-Nest Tree Frog. Credit: brian.gratwicke It ain’t easy being green. Sadly, frogs and other amphibians are facing unprecedented population declines, and local extinctions, on a global scale. These precipitous declines have been attributed to a myriad of factors, including habitat destruction, pollution, pesticides, invasive species and the spread of infectious diseases. While habitat destruction … More Progress In The Fight Against Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus

Crocodile Scales Contain Sensory Micro-Organs.

You could be forgiven for thinking that crocodiles aren’t sensitive. With that thick keratinous skin it’s difficult to imagine they could feel much, but as it turns out, they can feel a great deal more than we realised. Research published today in EvoDevoreveals that crocodilians have sense organs in their skin that are sensitive to … More Crocodile Scales Contain Sensory Micro-Organs.

Herpetologist Profile: Anthony Rafferty

Anthony Rafferty is an Irish scientist based in Melbourne Australia. In the course of his career he has studied several species of turtle, with particular emphasis on their embryonic development. His body of work includes a fascinating study, published earlier this year in the American Society of Naturalists journal, in which he describes some of … More Herpetologist Profile: Anthony Rafferty

Premature Evacuation: Skinks Hatch Early to Escape Predators

If you handle the egg of a delicate skink, you’ll quickly end up with a sticky mess on your hands (That’s the last double entendre I’m using today I swear). You see, delicate skinks (Lampropholis delicata) have a really cool adaptation: If they are disturbed in-ovum by a would-be predator, they hatch early and make a bolt for … More Premature Evacuation: Skinks Hatch Early to Escape Predators

Croc Scales: Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be….

This post was originally posted on Dar-Winning. Reused with permission. A crocodile’s facial scales are in fact, not scales at all according to a study performed by Dr. Michel Milinkovitch of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. The study, published in Science, has revealed that the characteristic patterning on the face of crocodilians is actually the result of the animal’s skin physically … More Croc Scales: Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be….