A couple weeks ago during the “super moon”, I found four Spea bombifrons at our field site in Wyoming. There have been regular herp surveys at the refuge for over 20 years, and apparently no record for a Spea! I couldn’t believe it! I guess not many people survey there at 1am during the full (super) moon! Actually this site is the edge of their range, bordering with Spea intermontana. Distinguishing between the two species can be difficult even when it is “in hand”. Many morphological characteristics are highly variable in both species such as skin color, skin texture, stripping, etc. In fact, talking with the Wyoming Natural History Database, there many be several records in the state that are misidentified. Usually they are distinguished by range…but in this case it is a bit of a toss up.
First reported in 1976, the African red headed agama (Agama agama) has been established in South Florida for quite some time. They feed on mostly small insects and are found in populations scattered across several counties. Like many invasive herps in Florida, some of the populations (such as the the agama population in Hollywood, FL) is located suspiciously close to nearby exotic pet stores selling reptiles.
These pictures where taken at Fairchild Botanical garden, which hosts a large population of the lizard. Interestingly, they seem concentrated near the ‘desert’ biome portion of the garden. It must seem like home!
Justin, Kelsey and Mo published the following article in Journal of Tropical Ecology. The link and abstract are below:
Full citation: Darvé Robinson, Adrienne Warmsley, A. Justin Nowakowski, Kelsey E. Reider and Maureen A. Donnelly (2013). The value of remnant trees in pastures for a neotropical poison frog. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 29, pp 345-352.
ABSTRACT: Conversion of natural habitats to anthropogenic land uses is a primary cause of amphibian declines in species-rich tropical regions. However, agricultural lands are frequently used by a subset of forest-associated species, and the habitat value of a given land use is likely modified by the presence and characteristics of remnant trees. Here we used mark–recapture methods to examine abundances and movement probability of the poison frog, Oophaga pumilio, at individual trees in forest-fragment edges and adjacent pastures in north-eastern Costa Rica. One hundred and forty-seven trees were surveyed at three replicate sites that each included a forest fragment and adjacent pasture. Trees were sampled at distances of ≤30 m into forest and ≤150 m into pastures for Oophaga pumilio, and local environmental characteristics were measured at each tree. We also measured indices of physical condition (size and endurance) of frogs captured in forest edges and in nearby pastures. Analyses of 167 marked individuals showed no difference in per-tree abundances or sex ratios between pasture and forest edges. We found significant interactions between habitat type and leaf-litter cover, tree dbh and number of logs, indicating greater influence of local variables on abundances in pastures. Movement among trees was infrequent and not predicted by sex, size, habitat type or environmental variables. While results of endurance tests did not differ for individuals from the two habitats, frogs captured in pastures were, on average, larger than frogs captured in forest edges. These data indicate that remnant trees are important habitat features for O. pumilio in pastures and corroborate research in other systems that suggests that large relictual trees should be retained to maximize the potential for altered landscapes to provide habitat for native species.