Herpetology Blog

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Treefrog found on a farm in eastern Kansas.

We recently received the photograph above from Steven Hallstrom, who owns and operates a sustainable farm just north of Tonganoxie. These photographs are of a frog that Steven observed in abundance earlier this season. Steven notes this frogs apparent similarity with the Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii) and is wondering if this identification could be correct given that this species isn't known from anywhere even close to Kansas (it occurs only in a few isolated patches of pine barren habitat along the Gulf and eastern coasts of the United States). 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photographs of the two new species of Philippine monitor lizards in life.
A team of KU herpetologists and KU herpetology alumni have just described two new species of monitor lizards from the Philippines. These impressive new species were described using an integrative taxonomic approach that combines molecular genetic, morphological, and biogeographic data. Check out their full report in ZooTaxa.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Snake spotted on levee 4km S of downtown Lawrence.

A Lawrence resident spotted the snake seen above on a walk along a levee about 4km S of downtown Lawrence. In this resident's opinion, the pattern and headshape were somewhat atypical for a Kansas snake. Who knows what species it is?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Johnson County Salamander
[caption]

A resident of Gardner, in Johnson County, KS just sent us this image of a salamander. They photographed this salamander after catching it on their porch on Oct. 23, 2014 (which was a pretty cold night). Who knows the species and its life history?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Herpetologists and ornithologists unite
over beers at a reception for
visiting LSU professor Brant Faircloth.

Brant Faircloth, LSU Professor and co-inventor of the protocol for sequencing ultraconserved elements that is now widely used by KU researchers, is in town this week for a seminar and workshop. This afternoon (Wednesday, Oct. 22nd) at 4PM, Rob Moyle will be hosting a workshop by Brant on UCE probe set design. This workshop will be held in the 7th floor conference room of Dyche Hall. If you don't have access to the 7th floor of Dyche Hall, please contact someone in the BI for assistance or meet on the steps to the 7th floor at 4PM.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The sister of KU Herpetology student Karen Olsen took the photograph above at her house in Florida. Anybody know the species of snake that was in her mailbox?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We just received this report from undergraduate herper Kyle Atkins-Weltman about a recent snake encounter in Lawrence: "As I came back to my apartment from campus, someone from the maintenance crew saw me and asked me if I was the "snake guy," and when I said yes they told me they had found a snake while cleaning an empty apartment and asked if I could identify it. It turned out to be an absolutely BEAUTIFUL Pantherophis emoryi - cute little bugger, too! My guess is that it got in there to escape cold nights or perhaps there were some tasty vittles lying around. I'm going to release it back to the wild in a minute."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

PhD student Scott Travers just reported back from the Solomon Islands, where he is in the midst of a National Geographic funded expedition. As you can see from the image above, Scott has already seen one of earth's most amazing lizards - the prehensile tailed skink (Corucia zebrata). Because it is so unusual, Corucia is one of those species that just about every herpetologist knows about. They have amazing tails capable of movement in nearly any dimension, a topic that was the focus of one of my first scientific papers. To the right of Scott, you can see Rafe trying to recreate Scott's moment using a plastic lizard.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Johnson County basement snake

The 8-10" long snake pictured above was just found in a basement in rural Johnson County, Kansas. Anybody know what it is?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

herpetology lunch group

We are having a great start with our Friday Herpetology Lunch meetings for the Fall term. Our lunch on Friday, August 29th included 18 individuals representing seven countries (USA, Brazil, India, Malaysia, China/Tibet, Ecuador, Taiwan). Curator Rich Glor discussed how to assist with development of the division's new website and curatorial assistant Matt Buehler shared some examples of problematic specimens recovered during an assessment of the snake collection.