amphibians and reptiles b herpetology c science olympiad 2008 l.
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Amphibians and Reptiles (B) Herpetology (C) Science Olympiad 2008. Judy Jones East Chapel Hill High. You May Bring to the Event. Unaltered Official National List of Amphibians and Reptiles (posted on NSO site) One published field guide which may be written in or tagged

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you may bring to the event
You May Bring to the Event
  • Unaltered Official National List of Amphibians and Reptiles (posted on NSO site)
  • One published field

guide which may be

written in or tagged

with Post-its or

other tabs.

(No electronics

No printed labels)

suggested field guides
Suggested Field Guides
  • A Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central NA by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins (1998)
  • A Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians by Robert C Stebbins (2003)
good websites
Good Websites

(Sounds on above three sites)

the event
The Event
  • Work in teams of two
  • Stations with numbered or lettered specimens with one or more questions
  • Specimens can be live, preserved, skeletal recordings of songs, and slides or pictures.
  • No more than 50% will require common or scientific names (class, order, genus)
  • Official List is used for taxonomy questions

“There will be a balance between amphibian, turtle, and reptile questions with some questions on crocodilians.”

All questions restricted to specimens on Official National List:

what do you need to know
What do You Need to Know
  • Life history
  • Distribution
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Reproduction
  • Habitat characteristics
  • Ecology
  • Diet
  • Behavior
  • Conservation
  • Biogeogrphy
sample question one
Sample Question One



  • Give the common names of both snake A and snake B.
  • Give the family names for both snake A and snake B.
  • Which snake is venomous?
  • How can you tell?
  • What type of venom does this snake produce?
  • Where in North Carolina would you find Snake A? Snake B?
answers to question one
Answers to Question One
  • Snake A is a Scarlet King Snake (Colubridae)
  • Snake B is a Coral Snake (Elaphidae)
  • Snake B is venomous (neurotoxin)
  • Colors are different – coral (red, yellow, black); king – (red, black, yellow)
  • Coral snake has grooved fangs in fixed position on front of upper jaw; scarlet king snake – bands do not circle body; nose pointed and red. Etc.
  • Neurotoxin
  • Scarlet – all over NC; coral – SE NC
sample question two
Sample Question Two
  • What is the family group of this specimen?
  • What are the red structures?
  • What is the function of the red structures?
  • How would the red structures vary in cold clear water versus warm, cloudy water? Explain the reason for your answer.
  • 5. What kind of food does this creature eat?
answers to question two
Answers to Question Two
  • (O) Caudata, (F) Proteidae (Necturus maculosus) (Mudpuppy)
  • Gills
  • Function of gills is to extract oxygen gas from the water.
  • In cold, clear water, gills would be shorter than in warm, muddy water because cold water can hold more oxygen, hence less need for gill surface area.
  • Worms, crayfish, insects, small fish
sample question three
Sample Question Three
  • What are the order, family, and genus of this specimen?
  • What is the gender of the organism in this picture?
  • How can you tell?
  • What is another way you could tell the gender?
  • Members of this species mate rarely. Why are there so many of them?
answers to question three
Answers to Question Three
  • (O)Testudines, (F)Emydidae, (G)Terrapene (Terrapene carolina)
  • Male
  • Red eyes
  • Depression in rear of plastron
  • Female can store sperm from a single mating and still produce fertile eggs several years later
sample question four
Sample Question Four



  • What is the common name of specimen A?
  • What is the common name of specimen B?
  • What are the most important differences between these two specimens?
  • What suborder order does specimen A belong to?
  • What suborder does specimen B belong to?
  • How do the ranges of these two specimens vary?
  • Which one of these can regenerate its tail?
answers to question four
Answers to Question Four
  • Eastern glass lizard (O)Squamata (SO) Lacertila (F) Anguidae (G) Ophisaurus
  • Florida (common) kingsnake – (O) Squamata (SO) Serpentes (F) Colubridae (G) Lampropeltis
  • Glass lizard has external ear openings, movable eyelids, flexible groove down sides of body, and feel more stiff; snake does not.
  • Specimen A can regenerate its tail.
  • Range of glass lizard is NC to FL to LA
  • Range of snake is FL to GA
sample question five
Sample Question Five


  • What is the order for both of these specimens?
  • What is the common name of specimen A?


  • What is the common name of specimen B?
  • What features distinguish these two specimens?
  • Which of these species guards its nests?
  • How is specimen B important to the ecology of an area during droughts?
answers to question five
Answers to Question Five
  • (O) Crocodylia for both (F) Crocodylidae and Alligatoridae
  • A is American crocodile
  • B is American alligator
  • A has long narrow snout, B has broadly rounded snout; A has prominent tooth evident when jaw is closed, B does not; etc.
  • Alligator females guard the nest.
  • Alligators dig deep holes (dens) which provide water for other wildlife.
sample question six
Sample Question Six



  • What is the family of specimen A?
  • What is the family of specimen B?
  • Give at least three differences between the family of specimen A and the family of specimen B.
  • Which has irritating skin-gland secretions?
  • What is the tympanum and how can it be used to tell gender in B?
answers to question six
Answers to Question Six
  • (O) Anura A – (F) Bufonidae

B – (F) Ranidae

  • A – dry, warty skin, hopping, no webs on hind feet
  • B – smooth moist skin, leaping, webbed hind feet
  • Tympanum is ear drum – larger than eye in males, size of eye or smaller in females.
sample question seven
Sample Question Seven

1. What is the order and family of this specimen?

2. What is the diet of the young of this species?

3. What is the diet of the adults?

4. How long from egg to hatchling?

5. Why do humans kill these organisms?

answers to question seven
Answers to Question Seven
  • (O) Testudines (F) Chelydridae
  • Snails, worms, leeches, insects, larvae, small fish, water plants, organic waste
  • Frogs, fish, newts, tadpoles, snakes, small turtles, small mammals, young birds, and water plants (1/3 of diet!)
  • 80-90 days
  • For food, killed by fishermen
sample question eight
Sample Question Eight

1. Give Order, Sub-

order, family and

genus of this species.

2. What is the

Geographic range of

These organisms?

3. What is the

function of the


4. What are main threats to iguana populations?

5. How do iguanas protect their clutches of eggs?

answers to question eight
Answers to Question Eight
  • (O) Squamata (SO) Lacertila (F) Iguanidae (G) Iguana
  • Mexico, Central and South America
  • Males raise the dewlap to appear bigger (to intimidate redators or to impress females).
  • Main threats are killing for food, habitat destruction, and pet trade.
  • They dig pretend burrows to confuse predators.
sample question nine
Sample Question Nine



  • What are the order, suborder, family, subfamily and genus of specimen A?
  • What are the order, suborder, family, subfamily and genus of specimen B?
  • What are the common names of both?
  • Describe the difference in the habitats of these two specimens.
  • Which is more likely to give a “dry bite”?
  • Describe the venom differences (in terms of danger) between these two species.
answers to question nine
Answers to Question Nine
  • For both: (O) Squamata (SO) Sperpentes (F) Viperidae (SF) Viperinae (G) Agkistrodon
  • Copperhead and Cottonmouth
  • Specimen B – near slow moving water – even the sea; Specimen A – forest, woodland, swampy areas
  • Copperhead will often bite with no venom.
  • Copperhead venom more potent but much less is released than from Cottonmouth.
sample question ten
Sample Question Ten

1. Give the Order, Family and Genus of this specimen?

2. What is the common name of this specimen?

3. What is the structure on the back foot used for?

4. How does this specimen differ from the Bufonidae?

5. How do they survive extreme drought?

answers to question ten
Answers to Question Ten
  • (O) Anura (F) Pelobatidae (G) Scaphiopus
  • spadefoot toad
  • Used to dig burrows
  • spadefoots are soft bodied and have smoother skin; pupils are vertical, true toads’ are horizontal, spadefoots lack parotid glands, which are present on the sides of the head in bufonid toads.
  • Burrow into the earth; avoid reproduction