October Herping in Costa Rica!

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Herping in Costa Rica. Left to right: Michelle Thompson, James Stroud, Alex Belisario, and Luke Linhoff

FIU PhD candidate Michelle Thompson has been working extensively in Costa Rica for several years. James, Alex, and mysel gave Michelle a visit at La Selva Biology Station. We had some great times and solid hikes. Below is a beautiful Phyllobates lugubris, Michelle found us. One of three species of poison frog found at LSBS, and by far the hardest of the three species to find! Thanks Michelle for being a great guide and showing us your field sites!

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Phyllobates lugubris (photo by Michelle Thompson)

 

FIU herpetology shows strong conference representation for summer 2016

 

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A few of us at ESA 2016!  Front Row: Michelle E. Thompson,  Lilly M. Eluvathingal, Dr. Robert Hegna (MS FIU 2009). Back Row: Maureen A. Donnelly, Dr. Kristie E. Wendelberger (PhD FIU, 2016), Luke Linhoff, Michael R. Britton, Dr. James I. Watling (MS FIU 2000, PhD 2005), Kelsey E. Reider , Julia Laterza (a MS student with James Watling

FIU herpetologists have been very busy this summer with numerous presentations at multiple academic conferences (13 in the last two months?). In case you missed us, here are the titles of some of our work presented this summer by current FIU herpetology members. There were numerous other talks from previous FIU herpetology grads that are not listed. Congrats to all!!

 

*note* co-authors on contributed presentations are not listed below, only the presenter.

 

Conservation Asia 2016 (Singapore) 29 June – 2 July 2016

Luke Linhoff – Oral talk:  “Developing best practice guidelines for amphibians ex situ conservation and translocations”

Luke Linhoff  – Poster + 5 min speed talk:  “Captive versus wild: The spatial ecology of critically endangered Wyoming toads following reintroduction”

 

Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists  (New Orleans, LA)  JULY 6-10, 2016

Maureen Donnelly – oral talk (30 min): “ASIH through the Secretary’s Prism – 100 years of work laying a foundation for the next 100 years”

Michelle E. Thompson- oral talk: “Recovery of Amphibian Communities in Regenerating Forest: Two Case Studies in Riparian and Upland Habitats of Secondary Forest, Costa Rica”

Luke Linhoff – oral talk: “Developing the new IUCN Amphibian Conservation Translocations and Reintroduction Guidelines”

Luke Linhoff – poster:  “Captive versus wild: The spatial ecology of critically endangered Wyoming toads following reintroduction”

James Stroud – oral talk:  “Social networks and species coexistence of Anolis lizards”

 

Ecology Society of America (Fort Lauderdale, Fl) August 7 -12, 2016

Maureen Donnelly – oral talk: “Community engagement in amphibian and reptile research as a path for the new century”

Lilly Eluvathingal – oral talk: “Conservation activities in tropical plantations: A case study of tea plantations from the Southern Western Ghats”

Kelsey Reider – oral talk: “Climate change, rapid deglaciation, and amphibians at extreme elevations in the tropical Andes”

James Stroud – oral talk: “Lizards on the Loose”: Harnessing the citizen science power of high school students to conduct herpetofauna surveys

James Stroud – oral talk: “Exploring the importance of priority effects on range dynamics and community assembly patterns”

Luke Linhoff – oral talk: Captive versus wild: The spatial ecology of critically endangered Wyoming toads following reintroduction

Best talk award at JMIH!

FIU PhD candidate Michelle Thompson was awarded best student presentation at the 2016 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists!

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Her excellent talk was titled:  Recovery of Amphibian Communities in Regenerating Forest: Two Case Studies in Riparian and Upland Habitats of Secondary Forest, Costa Rica

Congratulations Michelle!

Back in Singapore! Species profile: Forest Greenback (Hydrophylax raniceps)

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I am back in Singapore, and once again, in the forest every night! I am very excited for the research going on here, and I didn’t realize how much I missed being in the tropics! Singapore has surprisingly good herp diversity. It makes every night a treat with good chances of seeing many different species.

Here is a very cute frog, the Forest Greenback (Hydrophylax raniceps). Greenbacks are a small Ranid that happens to be semi-arboreal. In some areas within the Central Catchment area of Singapore, this species may be the most common species encountered on a wet night when away from the edge of streams. They usually perch on low foliage about 70-100cm off the ground. Greenbacks are also not very skittish and can be easily approached and photographed. In some areas I have viewed two possible forms of the species and some authors (e.g. Baker and Lim 2008) have also suspected that it may in fact be two species. The last couple nights out I did not find the other form, but it is slightly larger and it can be darker? Initially I thought they were just large adults and not another spp? However, in some areas I have never found the larger form, but the smaller variety was plentiful. It is always amazing that even in Singapore, a techno-savvy city state, there are still major questions of taxonomy and ecology on species “right across the street” that haven’t even been approached.

Some secret Spea bombifrons

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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.