Herpetology: the Biology of Tetrapods (BIOEE 470 and 472). • See the Center for North American Herpetology ( http://www.cnah.org ) for undergrad summer internships, free publications, and much more of interest…. Calling male leaf rog ( Phyllomedusa sauvagii ) Photo:H.W.Greene.
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• See the Center for North American Herpetology (http://www.cnah.org) for undergrad summer internships, free publications, and much more of interest…
Calling male leaf rog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii)
Course website: www.eeb.cornell.edu/herpetology/index.html
Sirenidae (2 genera/4 species)
*salamanders, newts, etc.
* * unresolved polytomy
(Andrias japonicus, Cryptobranchidae, photo:A.Savitzky)
(Pseudoeurycea bellii, Plethodontidae, photo:J.Sigala)
• no aquatic larval stage
• terrestrial eggs
• many plethodontids
• live birth of larvae or young
• with or without maternal nutrition
• only in a few Old World salamandrids
Upper: Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra (Salamandridae, photo:H.W.Greene); lower, Alpine Black Salamander (S. atra, photo:M.H.Wake)
• 90 nights of field work, 98 hrs of observations of nest A and 25 hrs of nest B, 103 salamanders were identified individually
• A single extra large den master monopolized each nest, but up to 9 females and 17 other males visited his site
• Females at a site ate the eggs of other females, and small males attempting to intrude on the nest site were sometimes eaten by the den masters
• “All den masters aggressively guarded against attempts by the researchers to collect their eggs…” (T. Kawamichi and H. Ueda, 1998, J. Herpetology 32:133-136)
• Male Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) place their spermatophores on top of those of other males in dense breeding aggregations
• Some male Jordan’s Salamanders (Plethodon jordani) mimic a following female so that the lead male regards the intervening male as a female, and the intervening male then deposits a spermatophore in front of the real following female
• More on this in an upcoming lecture by Kelly Zamudio
• Larval and adult salamanders are carnivores
• suction feeding (all larvae, cryptobranchids, proteiids)
• simple tongue projection (e.g., ambystomatids, most salamandrids)
• go see Steve Deban’s incredible feeding movies (www.autodax.net)—don’t miss them!!
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum, Ambystomatidae, photo:H.W.Greene)
• Facilitated by lunglessness and direct development
• Hyoid apparatus, skeletal elements freed from primitive roles in larval feeding and adult respiration
• Subarcualis rectus and rectus cervicus: what are they?
• Functional morphology: how does the whole system work?
• Note groove along flank of salamander… and really, go to www.autodax.net
Web-toed salamander (Hyrdromantes sp., Plethodontidae, photo:S.Deban)
• High diversity (13 genera, ca. 56 species; diverse morphology, ecology, behavior)
• Dramatic seasonal changes in male external morphology
• Diverse, even bizarre antipredator mechanisms (bright colors, skin toxins, spines)
Asian newt (Tylototriton andersoni, photo:A.H.Savitzky)
• Taricha (3 species) in the West, Notophthalmus (3 species) in the East
• “Hyper complex” life cycle of the Eastern Red-spotted Newt Notopthalmus viridescens
••Aquatic eggs and larvae, terrestrial efts, aquatic adults
••Eft skin toxins, aposematic coloration, mimicry
••Adults, red efts, and mimics in your field guide
• Can you see a parallel to the morphological complexities of the Notopthalmus life cycle with those of Taricha and Old World newts? Which is actually more complex?
• At least 3 species in western North America, sister taxon to Notopthalmus
• Terrestriality, diurnal vulnerability and defense (tarichotoxin)
• Male transformation for breeding season
Rough-skinned Newts (T. granulosa, Salamandridae, photos:H.W.Greene
•Environmental uncertainty and small clutch size
California Newts (Taricha torosa, Salamandridae, top photo:M.K.Colbert, bottom photos:M.F.Benard)
Males perch like lizards, ambush migrating females…
• Terrestrial vulnerability and defense
• Terrestrial courtship and seasonality of activity
• Direct development and parental care
• Escaping environmental uncertainty
Ensatina eschescholtzi (Plethodontidae, photos:H.Greene)
Arboreal Salamander (Plethodontiade, Aneides lugubris)
• Climbs, jumps and bites
• Terrestrial direct development
• Burrows among rocks and gravel in streams
• Larvae grow quite large before metamorphosis
• Adult weighs ≥20 g (2 pens)!
• Eats dusky salamanders (Desmognathus)
• Locally common!