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Eastern Hognose Snake. Green Tree Frog. Amphibians and Reptiles: An Introduction to Herpetofauna. Compiled by the Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory. Edited for Virginia by Mike Clifford, Virginia Herpetological Society. Amphibians and Reptiles. Ectothermic

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Amphibians and Reptiles: An Introduction to Herpetofauna

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    1. Eastern Hognose Snake Green Tree Frog Amphibians and Reptiles: An Introduction to Herpetofauna Compiled by the Davidson College Herpetology Laboratory Edited for Virginia by Mike Clifford, Virginia Herpetological Society

    2. Amphibians and Reptiles • Ectothermic • Regulate temperature from outside sources • Water temperature • Basking Yellow-bellied Slider Northern Watersnake

    3. Timber Rattlesnake Timber Rattlesnake Amphibians and Reptiles • Cryptic • Very abundant but their presence is largely unknown Northern Copperhead

    4. Spring Peeper Spring Salamander Green Salamander Amphibians and Reptiles • Important to the ecosystem • An important prey item for: • Raccoons, opossums, birds • An important predator of: • Mice, rats, insects Ringneck Snake

    5. Amphibians • 78 Species in Virginia (51 salamanders & 27 frogs & toads) • SE U.S. - greatest salamander diversity in the world! • Huge Biomass • Biomass: Total weight of all amphibians in an area • One isolated wetland produced 3 tons of amphibians Spotted Salamander Three-lined Salamander Southern Leopard Frog

    6. Green Frog Spring Salamander Amphibian Characteristics • Permeable skin • Permeable: allows the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide to allow respiration • Can allow the uptake of chemicals in the environment • Good olfaction • Olfaction: Sense of smell • Prey upon: • Insects, other amphibians, anything small enough to fit into their mouths, even mice

    7. Spring Peeper Metamorph Bronze Frog Green Tree Frog Grey Tree Frog Frogs • Tadpoles when they are born • Lose their tails as adults • Two main types: • True Frogs • Tree Frogs • Toe-pads Upland Chrous Frog Pickerel Frog

    8. Toads • Similar to frogs • Tail-less as adults • Warty skin • Have large glands behind each eye that secretes toxin American Toad Fowler’s Toad

    9. Spring Salamander Marbled Salamander Two-lined Salamander Salamanders • Plethodontids: Don’t have lungs and must breathe entirely through their skin • Ambystomatids: Have lungs, but can also breathe through their skin • Salamanders can lay eggs in: • Streams • Wetlands • Soil

    10. Caecilian Caecilian Caecilians • Live in the tropics • Leg-less and blind • Look very similar to a worm

    11. Upland Chrous Frog Frog Eggs Pine Woods Tree Frog Tadpole Spring Peeper Cricket Frog Spring Peeper Metamorph Amphibian Life Cycle

    12. Green Frog Tadpole Amphibian Defense Mechanisms American Toad • Poison in skin • Toads and Newts • Producing large numbers of offspring • Producing noisy squawks when attacked Red-Spotted Newt

    13. Eastern Painted Turtle Reptiles Copperhead • 62 species in Virginia from 3 groups (30 snakes, 10 lizards including one introduced, 22 turtles) • Antarctica the only continent without reptiles • Snakes have no legs, but still tetrapods • Evolutionary loss of legs • Boas still maintain a pelvic girdle Five-lined Skink

    14. Reptile Characteristics • Ectothermic behavior • Maintain a narrow temperature range • Maintained through behavioral activities such as basking or burrowing • Brummation • Hibernation in ectotherms River Cooters Fence Lizard

    15. Crocodilians • American Alligator – not native to Virginia but is found just to the south in North Carolina American Alligators

    16. Box Turtle Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Turtles Snapping Turtle • Vertebrae incorporated into shell • Have a beak instead of teeth • Omnivorous • Temperature sex determination • Found in a variety of habitats: • Marine • Freshwater • Terrestrial Eastern Painted Turtle

    17. Fence Lizard Slender Glass Lizard Lizards Broadhead Skink • Extremely diverse and variable • Many islands have endemic species • Endemic: Species found in one location but no where else • Do they all have legs? • Glass Lizards/Leg-less lizards/Jointed Snakes • How do you tell Glass Lizards from Snakes? • Ear openings, eyelids, tail length Slender Glass Lizard

    18. Snakes • 30 species in Virginia • 3 venomous species • Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Timber Rattlesnake. • Most species are non-venomous Scarlet Kingsnake – non-venomous Ringneck Snake – non-venomous Copperhead - venomous Black Rat Snake – non-venomous

    19. Snakes • All lack legs • Lack ear openings • Hear vibrations through the ground • Shed their skin to grow Eastern Hognose Snake Ringneck Snake Timber Rattlesnake Black Racer Redbelly Watersnake

    20. Snake Feeding • Entirely carnivorous • Swallow prey whole • Can eat prey much larger than themselves • Some use venom to immobilize prey • Some constrict their prey • Some actively forage for prey • Some sit and wait for prey to approach them Eastern Cottonmouth eating a mouse Northern Watersnake eating a fish

    21. Cottonmouth Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Eastern Hognose Snake Brown Watersnake Snake Defense Mechanisms • Crypsis: Staying camouflaged • When detected: • Flee, musk, gape, rattle • When these do not work, snakes may strike • This occurs only when a snake feels threatened and has no other option to protect itself

    22. Conservation Grey Tree Frog • Many amphibians are in decline • 32% of amphibians endangered versus 12% of birds or 23% of mammals • 43% of amphibian populations are declining • Few populations are known to be increasing Red Salamander Eastern Kingsnake

    23. Causes of Decline • Habitat destruction • Disease • Pollution • Over-exploitation • Climate change • Invasive species • How many are human caused? Photos by Steve Price

    24. What can you do? • Enjoy finding and observing amphibians and reptiles • Don’t keep wild amphibians and reptiles as pets • Don’t kill snakes • Make sure you know a venomous species looks like before handling snakes, and NEVER touch or threaten a venomous snake • Don’t release any amphibian or reptile pet into the wild

    25. Questions? Corn Snake