Thursday, April 14, 2016

Neotropical Treefrog, Boana xerophylla (Family Hylidae)

The AMNH Amphibians of the World summarize the name change of Hypsiboas crepitans to Boana xerophyla in the following explanation:


Removed from the synonymy of Hypsiboas crepitans by Orrico, Nunes, Mattedi, Fouquet, Lemos, Rivera-Correa, Lyra, Loebmann, Pimenta, Caramaschi, Rodrigues, and Haddad, 2017, Salamandra, 53: 107, where it had been placed by Guibé, 1950 "1948", Cat. Types Amph. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat.: 24. See account (as Hyla fuentei) for Surinam population by Ouboter and Jairam, 2012, Amph. Suriname: 148-150. In the Hyla boans group of Duellman, 2001, Hylid Frogs Middle Am., Ed. 2: 859 (who also noted that the previous record for this species in Honduras was erroneous). This taxon (as Hyla crepitans) considered to be a composite of several species; see Kluge, 1979, Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 688: 1–24 (see Hyla pugnax). Kenny, 1969, Stud. Fauna Curaçao and other Caribb. Is., 29: 38-40, and Murphy, 1997, Amph. Rept. Trinidad Tobago: 66–67, provided accounts for the Trinidad and Tobago populations (as Hyla crepitans). Lescure and Marty, 2000, Collect. Patrimoines Nat., Paris, 45: 118–119, provided a brief account (as Hyla crepitans) and photo (although this photo is of an undescribed cryptic rainforest species according to Barrio-Amorós, personal commun.). Lynch and Suárez-Mayorga, 2001, Caldasia, 23: 491–507, discussed the Colombian range of the species (as Hyla crepitans) and suggested that the nominal species is a composite of cryptic species, mirrored by comments by Barrio-Amorós, 1999 "1998", Acta Biol. Venezuelica, 18: 29. See comment regarding geographic differentiation (as Hyla crepitans) in Venezuela by Gorzula and Señaris, 1999 "1998", Scient. Guaianae, 8: 29-30. In the Hypsiboas faber group of Faivovich, Haddad, Garcia, Frost, Campbell, and Wheeler, 2005, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 294: 87. Martins, Silva, and Giaretta, 2009, Salamandra, 45: 106–109, suggested on the basis of call structure that the two allopatric populations were probably distinct species; these were formally diagnosed (as Hypsiboas xerophylla and Hypsiboas crepitans) and revised by Orrico, Nunes, Mattedi, Fouquet, Lemos, Rivera-Correa, Lyra, Loebmann, Pimenta, Caramaschi, Rodrigues, and Haddad, 2017, Salamandra, 53: 99–113. See account for Surinam population (as Hypsiboas fuentei and Hypsiboas crepitans) by Ouboter and Jairam, 2012, Amph. Suriname: 140–143. See Cole, Townsend, Reynolds, MacCulloch, and Lathrop, 2013, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 125: 404, for brief account (as Hypsiboas crepitans) and records for Guyana. Köhler, 2011, Amph. Cent. Am.: 232–235, provided a brief summary of natural history for the species of Hypsiboas in Central America and provided a range map and photograph for this species, as Hypsiboas crepitans. Vanzolini and Myers, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 395: 72, doubted that the populations in Panama and Colombia (now Hypsiboas xerophylla) are conspecific with the Brazilian species (now Hypsiboas crepitans). Guarnizo, Paz, Muñoz-Ortiz, Flechas, Méndez-Narváez, and Crawford, 2016, PLoS One, 10(5: e0127312): 1–20, suggested on the basis of molecular evidence that two species may exist in Colombia (as Hypsiboas crepitans). 



Hyla xerophylla Duméril and Bibron, 1841, Erp. Gen., 8:549. Holotype: MNHNP 652.Type locality: "Cayenne", French Guiana.

Hyla levaillantii Duméril and Bibron, 1841, Erp. Gen., 8:550. Holotype: MNHNP 764. Type locality: "Surinam".

Hyla doumercii Duméril and Bibron, 1841, Erp. Gen., 8: 551. Holotype: MNHNP 766. Type locality: "Surinam".
Hypsiboas (Hypsipsophus) xerophyllum — Fitzinger, 1843, Syst. Rept.:30.

Hypsiboas levaillantii — Cope, 1867, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 6:200.

Hypsiboas doumericii — Cope, 1867, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 6:200.

Hypsiboas xerophyllum — Cope, 1867, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 6:200.

Hypsiboas indris Cope, 1867, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 6: 201. Holotype: KM 1009, according to Duellman, 1977, Das Tierreich, 95: 49. Type locality: "Surinam".

Hyla indris — Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 353.

Hyla fuentei Goin and Goin, 1968, Copeia, 1968: 581. Holotype: CM 44218, by original designation. Type locality: "Suriname, Suriname District. Powakka".

Hyla fuentei — Faivovich, Haddad, Garcia, Frost, Campbell, and Wheeler, 2005, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 294: 89.

Hypsiboas xerophylla — Orrico, Nunes, Mattedi, Fouquet, Lemos, Rivera-Correa, Lyra, Loebmann, Pimenta, Caramaschi, Rodrigues, and Haddad, 2017, Salamandra, 53: 99.

Boana fuentei — Dubois, 2017, Bionomina, 11: 28.

Boana xerophylla — Dubois, 2017, Bionomina, 11: 28. 

Other Common Names: The Rattle-voice Treefrog, Gladiator Frog, Flying Frog, Emerald Eye Treefrog.

Males reach 61 mm, females 73 mm.

A widespread species with a disjunctive distribution. One population ranges from Panama to northern Colombia, Venezuela and into northern Brazil, occurs on both Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Guianas. The other population is in Brazil's Atlantic Forest.

The Neotropical Treefrog uses a variety of habitats, ranging from humid tropical forests, semi- arid environments, grasslands, pastures and lower montane forests. It is an arboreal and nocturnal using trees, on shrubs and other vegetation near water. The species breeds in temporary pools or along permanent streams early in the rainy season. During the day this frog can be found in bushes, sitting on leaves, it is bright white in color. Some populations lay eggs in rafts that float on the water, other seem to have basins in gravel that forms nests. While this is considered a common widespread frog, in reality, it is a complex of cryptic species in need of systematic revision.

Males engage in combat for calling stations and are sometimes referred to as gladiator frogs. Males may call from the edge of the water or while floating on water. They will call after rains but also call less frequently well into the dry season.


Lehtinen, R.M., 2014. Confirmation of nest building in a population of the gladiator frog Hypsiboas crepitans (Anura, Hylidae) from the island of Tobago (West Indies). Herpetology Notes, 7, pp.227-229.





Giant Treefrog, Hypsiboas boans (Family Hylidae)

Rana boans Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., Ed. 10, 1: 213. Type locality: "America".

Rana maxima Laurenti, 1768, Spec. Med. Exhib. Synops. Rept.: 32.

Hyla boans — Daudin, 1800, Hist. Nat. Quad. Ovip., Livr. 1: 11;

Hypsiboas boans — Faivovich, Haddad, Garcia, Frost, Campbell, and Wheeler, 2005, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 294: 89.

Type locality: "America.” Distribution. Eastern Panama to Trinidad, upper Orinoco, Lower Amazon Basin, the Magdalena Basins, Guianas, and Pacific lowlands of Colombia and adjacent Ecuador in South America.

T&T's largest treefrog. Males slightly larger than females, males 101-128 mm, females 91-123 mm. Commonly found in gallery forests along streams, often associated with stands of bamboo and other tall grasses. Males may construct nests in stream bed during dry season, and defend egg laying sites from other males. The dorsum is brown in males and orange-brown in females. The ventral surface is a uniform cream to white in both sexes. Transverse darker bars occur on the sides of the body and legs. The membrane between the fingers is complete to the start of the terminal segment of the finger. The iris is orange brown.

A highly arboreal frog that is nocturnal, reproduction occurs at the end of the dry season. Clutches of 1300-3000 eggs are deposited as a gelatinous film on the water surface in nest basins constructed by the male, nest basins usually streamside and flooded with rains. Male combat occurs over nesting sites. Males use an exposed bones on their thumb to fight. The tadpoles are light brown and on sand or gravel bottom streams. Fish seem to avoid eating the tadpoles.









Barrio Amorós, C.L. 2004. Amphibians of Venezuela Systematic List, Distribution and References, An Update. Review of Ecology in Latin America 9(3): 1-48.

Barrio, C. 1998. Sistemática y Biogeografía de los Anfibios (Amphibia) de Venezuela.Acta Biologica Venezuelica: 1-93.

Barrio, C.L. 1999. Geographic Distribution: Hyla boans. Herpetological Review: 230.

Barrio, C.L. 2001. Geographic Distribution: Hyla boans. Herpetological Review: 113-114.

Cisneros-Heredia, D.F. 2003. La herpetofauna de la Estación de Biodiversidad Tiputini, Provincia de Orellana, Amazonia Ecuador. Mem. 1er Congreso Ecuatatoriano de Ecologia and Ambeinte, Univ. San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador.

Duellman, W.E. 1971. The nomenclatural status of the names Hyla boans (Linnaeus) andHyla maxima (Laurenti) (Anura: Hylidae). Herpetologica: 397-405.

Duellman, W.E. 1997. Amphibians of La Escalera region, Southeastern Venezuela: Taxonomy, Ecology, and Biogeography. Scientific papers of the Natural History Museum of the University of Kansas: 1-52.

Duellman, W.E. 2001. The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Ernst, R., Rödel, M-O. and Arjoon, D. 2005. On the cutting edge – The anuran fauna of the Mabura Hill Forest Reserve, Central Guyana. Salamandra 41(4): 179-194.

Faivovich, J., Haddad, C.F.B., Garcia, P.C.O., Frost, D.R., Campbell, J.A. and Wheeler, W.C. 2005. Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae: Phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 294: 1-240.

Gascon, C. 1996. Amphibian litter fauna as river barrier in flooded and non flooded Amazonian rainforest. Biotropica: 136-140.

Hero, J.-M. 1990. An illustrated key to tadpoles occurring in the Central Amazon rainforest, Manaus, Amazonas, Brasil. Amazoniana: 201-262.

Hoogmoed, M.S. 1990. Resurrection of Hyla wavrini Parker (Amphibia: Anura: Hylidae), a gladiator frog from northern South America. Zool. Meded. Leiden: 71-93.

Ibañez, R., Rand, A.S. and Jaramillo, C.A. 1999. Los anfibios del Monumento Natural Barro Colorado, Parque Nacional Soberanía y áreas adyacentes. Mizrachi, E. and Pujol, S.A., Santa Fe de Bogota.

Ibáñez, R., Solís, F., Jaramillo, C. and Rand, S. 2000. An overview of the herpetology of Panama. In: J.D. Johnson, R.G. Webb and O.A. Flores-Villela (eds), Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography and Conservation, pp. 159-170. The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at:http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

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La Marca, E. 1997. Lista actualizada de los anfibios de Venezuela. In: La Marca, E. (ed.),Vertebrados Actuales y Fosiles de Venezuela, pp. 103-120. Museo de Ciencias y Tecnología de Mérida, Mérida.

Lescure, J. 1976. Contribution a l'étude des amphibiens de Guyane francaise. VI. Liste préliminaire des anoures. Bulletin du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France, 3 serie: 475-524.

Lescure, J. and Marty, C. 2000. Atlas des Amphibiens de Guyane. Patrimoines Naturels, Paris.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.

Lutz, B. 1973. Brazilian species of Hyla. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Lynch, J.D. 2006. The amphibian fauna in the Villavicencio region of Eastern Colombia.Caldasia 28(1): 135-155.

Moreira, G.R., Gordo, M., Martins, M., Galatti, U. and Oda, W.Y. 1997. Relatório Final da Área Temática Herpetofauna. Macrozoneamento Sócio-Econômico-Ecológico do Estado de Rondônia. Planafloro report, pp. 1-57. Planafloro, Porto Velho.

Murphy, J.C. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of Trinidad and Tobago. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.

Parker, H.W. 1933. A list of the frogs and toads of Trinidad. Tropical Agriculture 10(1): 8-12.

Rodríguez, L.O. and Duellman, W.E. 1994. Guide to the frogs of the Iquitos region, Amazonian Peru. Asocacion de Ecologia y Conservacion, Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research and Natural History Museum, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

Ruiz-Carranza, P.M., Ardila-Robayo, M.C. and Lynch, J.D. 1996. Lista actualizada de la fauna de Amphibia de Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales 20(77): 365-415.

Souza, M.B. 2003. Diversidade de Anfíbios nas Unidades de Conservação Ambiental: Reservas Extrativista do Alto Juruá (REAJ) e Parque Nacional da Serra do Divisor (PNSD), Acre, Brasil. PhD Thesis, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Instituto de Biociências de Rio Claro.

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Vitt, L.J. and Caldwell, J.P. 1998. Inventário e Ecologia da herpetofauna da Amazônia: Rio Ajanari, Roraima, Brasil. Report Proj. NSF Project DEB-9505518 (not published).



Oriental Glass Frog, Hyalinobatrachium orientale tobagoense (Family Centrolenidae)


Centrolenella orientalis Rivero, 1968, Mem. Soc. Cienc. Nat. La Salle, 28: 308. Type locality: "Cerro Turumiquire, 1.200 m, Estados Sucre-Monagas, Venezuela".
Centrolenella orientalis orientalis — Hardy, 1984, Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 20: 165.
Centrolenella orientalis tobagoensis Hardy, 1984, Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 20: 165. Type locality: "along the Roxborough--Partatuvier Road in the vicinity of Bloody Bay, St. John Parish, Tobago". 
Hyalinobatrachium orientale tobagoensis — Murphy, 1997, Amph. Rept. Trinidad Tobago: 61.
Hyalinobatrachium orientale tobagoense — Frost, 2004, Amph. Spec. World, vers. 3.0. 

Found only in streams that drain the Main Ridge of Tobago and the coastal ranges of Venezuela. It is closely associated with fast flowing streams where it lays its eggs on the underside of leaves overhanging the water. When the tadpoles hatch they drop into the water.

Downie et al. (2015) described the tadpole of the Tobago glass frog Hyalinobatrachium orientale tobagoense. Similar to other Hyalinobatrachium species tadpoles described to date, it lives hidden in sand and gravel at the bottom of stream beds. They have relatively long tails and slender lightly pigmented bodies with tiny eyes. They appear to grow very slowly and hindlimb buds were not developed in the sixth week.

Males also call from the underside of leaves (below) and attend the eggs in some cases they may have four or five clutches of eggs on a single leaf, attended by a single male.







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Hardy, Jr, J.D. 1984. A new subspecies of Centrolenella orientalis (Anura: Centrolenidae) from Tobago, West Indies. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society: 165-173.

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Lehtinen RM, Georgiadis AP. Observations on parental care in the glass frog Hyalinobatrachium orientale (Anura: Centrolenidae) from Tobago, with comments on its natural history. Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology. 2012 Jun 18;11(1):75-7.

Jowers MJ, Lehtinen RM, Downie RJ, Georgiadis AP, Murphy JC. Molecular phylogenetics of the glass frog Hyalinobatrachium orientale (Anura: Centrolenidae): evidence for Pliocene connections between mainland Venezuela and the island of Tobago. Mitochondrial DNA. 2015 Jul 4;26(4):613-8.

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Tungara Frog, Engystomops pustulosus (Family Leptodactyldae)

Above. Foam nest of Engystomops pustulosus.
Paludicola pustulosa Cope, 1864, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 16:180. Type locality. "New Grenada, on the River Truando", Colombia.

Engystomops pustulosus — Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 276.

Eupemphix trinitatis Boulenger, 1889, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 6, 3: 307. Type locality. "Trinidad . . . in the Gardens".

Eupemphix pustulosa trinitatis — Parker, 1933, Trop. Agric., Trinidad, 10: 8-12.

Type locality: New Grenada, on the River Truando, Colombia. It ranges from Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela, and is usually an abundant lowland species (although it can be found as high as 900 m ASL) that uses savanna as well as disturbed and natural forest. It occurs in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

Males reach at least 30 mm, females are slightly larger. The skin is brown-grey and warty, making it likely to be mistaken for a toad. It is often in the vicinity of ponds, including puddles that accumulate in roadside ditches and tire tracks. Males call after dark while they float in the water. Eggs are deposited in foam nests, often under vegetation or debris, in pools. Foam nests prevent egg desiccation and protect the tadpoles. This is one of the most common amphibians in the islands.




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Hoogmoed, M.S. and Gorzula, S. 1979. Checklist of the savanna inhabiting frogs of the El Manteco region with notes on their ecology and the description of a new species of tree frog (Hylidae, Anura). Zoologischer Mededelinger Leiden: 183-216.

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Mertens, R. 1972. Herpetofauna tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde aus dem Staatlichen Museum fur Naturkunde in Stuttgart 252: 1-11.

Michael, R. 1985. The túngara frog: A study in sexual selection and communication. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Mole, R.R. and Urich, F.W. 1894. A preliminary list of the reptiles and batrachians of the island of Tobago. Journal of the Trinidad Field Naturalists’ Club: 77-90.

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Ron, S.R., Coloma, L.A. and Cannatella, D.C. 2005. A new, cryptic species ofPhysalaemus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from western Ecuador with comments on the call structure of the P. pustulosus species group. Herpetologica: 178-198.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Double-lined Water Snake, Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi (Family Dipsadidae)

Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi Manzanilla & Sánchez 2005

Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi — Bailey & Thomas 2007





Size: 600 mm TL. Identification: The only Trinidad snake with 19 rows of smooth scales, light and dark dorsolateral stripes and a venter flecked with brown pigment. Rostral barely visible from above; nasals entire; one preocular; two postoculars; two primary temporals; eight upper labials, with the fourth and fifth entering orbit; eight lower labials with the first four contacting the anterior chin shields; smooth dorsal scales in 19 rows at mid-body, reduce to 17 posteriorly; ventrals 137–153; cloacal plate divided; paired subcaudals 59–75. Distribution: Coastal Suriname through eastern Venezuela (both uplands and the Orinoco Delta) and southwest Trinidad. Habitat: Semi-aquatic, in secondary forest and agricultural areas in southwest Trinidad. Biology: Nocturnal. Diet includes fish and tadpoles.

The following is adapted from Bailey and Thomas (2006)

Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi ranges from near sea level to at least 1750 m on Mt. Turumiquire on the Sucre-Monagas-Anzoategui border in Venezuela. The upland and coastal populations differ somewhat. The only Brazilian specimen, from the alto Rio Catrimany (MNRJ 668), Rio Branco, was long believed to be the only apparent specimen of Thamnodynastes strigatusfrom the north, some 3000 km from the nearest conspecific; but there was no other reason to question its provenance. In fact, Franco and Ferreira (2003) recently cited this specimen and another as evidence for a northern population of T. strigatus. With the discovery of T. ramonriveroi as a valid species, the identity of MNRJ 668 is solved, as it compares perfectly with the type series; however, it’s locality lies 930 km south of Mt. Turumiquire and 650 km from the closest Guiana records. Boos (1984) reported the first known specimen from Trinidad (there are now three existing from that island – see Murphy 1997, Boos 2001); he called it Thamnodynastes strigatus. The only congener sympatric with Thamnodynastes ramonriveroi is T. pallidus, both of which are recorded from Nieuw Nickerie and Paramaribo, Suriname, and from Demerara (Georgetown), Guayana. All localities are in areas of original forest. The species is semi-aquatic. An Elvécia specimen was noted by Netting: “Caught crawling in a small pool. Swam easily and well. Flattened the entire first half of body and when tormented opened mouth very widely; played possum when struck with a light stick” (the flattening behavior is shown in Manzanilla and Sánchez 2005. His field notes for another specimen give the local name as ”mapanare del agua”. A preserved specimen from Guyana had a small cyprinodontid fish in its mouth, and one from Suriname had eaten a metamorphosing tadpole. Three gravid females have been examined: CM 7977, 337 mm SVL, with five embryos, was taken January 13, 1930; RMNH 990, 365mm SVL, contained four embryos; and in AMNH 36119, 348mm SVL, two eggs were observe.

Diagnosis. A northern dwarfed relative of Thamnodynastes strigatus, from which it differs chiefly in its smaller size, lesser development of para-cloacal tubercles in males, a higher modal maxillary tooth count, and in possessing enlarged basal hooks on the hemipenis. Description of a typical specimen. An adult male (CM 7981), collected by M.G. Netting on January 14, 1930, at Elvécia, Sucre State, Venezuela.

A medium-sized, rather stocky snake with smooth dorsal scales in the formula 19- 19-15, reducing twice by the loss of the fourth lateral row opposite ventrals 69 and 84, respectively; a single scale pit is distinct on most of the scales that have not slipped; ventrals 147; cloacal plate divided; subcaudals 62 plus a terminal spine; supralabials 8- 8, third (very narrowly) to fifth entering the orbit; infralabials 9-9, the anterior five in contact with the genials; one pre and two postoculars on each side; nasal divided below nostril; loreal with its lower margin nearly twice as long as the upper; two temporals contact the postoculars; paracloacal tubercles scarcely evident; TL 492mm; tail 112mm; tail/SVL ratio 22.8%; HL 18.5mm; orbit 3.3mm, projecting to front of nostril; maxillary teeth 16+2G. Nuchal pale stripe about 13 scales long before being interrupted into a series of mid-dorsal pale spots about the size of the eye; ground color slate gray where scales have slipped and brown where they are present; scales between and on either side of pale dorsal spots are edged with black on the anterior part of the body becoming inconspicuous posteriorly; a dark lateral stripe follows the fourth lateral row; the top of the head is gray with darker mottling; the eye to angle of jaw stripe is well developed, meeting the orbit on the postocular suture and continuing anteriorly from orbit to nostril; five pale centered dark spots on the supralabials, the largest on the fifth, plus a few irregular smaller markings; chin bars and scattered dark spots present on the throat; five rows of dark spots with paler centers on the ventrals with additional pigment between the rows, the outermost pair of which are much the darkest and separated from the dorsal color by a narrow pale line, which is not sharply demarcated. CM 7981 is described in Netting’s field notes as follows: “greenish above with dark blackish spots and light greenish between markings below, iris light brown.”

Bailey J.R, R.A Thomas 2007. A revision of the South American snake genus Thamnodynastes Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Tachymenini). II. Three new species from northern South America, with further descriptions of Thamnodynastes gambotensis Pérez-Santos and Moreno and Tha Memoria de la Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 166: 7-27 [2006]

Cole, CJ,CR Townsend, RP. Reynolds, RD MacCulloch, & A Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620

Manzanilla, J. & Sánchez 2005. Una nueva especie de Thamnodynastes (Serpentes: Colubridae) del macizo del Turimiquire, noreste de Venezuela. Memorias de la Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 161-162: 61-75 [2004]

Natera-Mumaw, M; LF Esqueda-González & M Castelaín-Fernández 2015. Atlas Serpientes de Venezuela Santiago de Chile, Dimacofi Negocios Avanzados S.A., 456 pp.

Rivas, GA.; CR Molina, G N Ugueto, TR. Barros, CL. Barrio-Amorós & PJK Kok 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64

Ocellated Gecko, Gonatodes ocellatus (Family Sphaerodactylidae)


Cyrtodactylus ocellatus Gray 1831: 51.

Gonatodes ocellatus: Boulenger 1885: 60.

Type locality not given by Gray but stated as Tobago by Boulenger 1885. Distribution. Known only from Tobago and Little Tobago.

Size: 43−48 mm SVL, tail 47% of SVL, hatchlings 19−23 mm SVL. Identification: A small brightly colored lizard with a cylindrical body and tail; male’s head yellow with red-brown stripes, dorsum cinnamon brown with large blue ocelli bordered with black on the shoulder, the ocelli may be present in one or two pairs on each side of the body; females less colorful, faint vertebral stripe; lamellae on fourth toe 25−26. Snout pointed from above, round in profile; canthus rounded and indistinct; dorsum covered in small granular scales; ventrals larger than dorsal scales and imbricate. Similar species: The only other Gonatodes on Tobago is G. vittatus, a species with a vertebral stripe in both sexes; the blue ocelli on the shoulder will readily separate it from G. ceciliae (found only in Trinidad and the Bocas) as will the 25−26 lamellae on the fourth toe (ceciliae has 18-20). Distribution: Tobago and Little Tobago Island. Reports of it on other islands (Trinidad and the Isla de Margarita) are the result of confusing it with other species. Habitat: Primary and secondary forests; on trunks of large trees growing near streams; deserted buildings; on Little Tobago common in stands of the palm Coccothrinax australis. It can also be found in trash piles that are wet and shaded. Natural History: Like other Gonatodes this species appears to be a diurnal, ambush predator. Males maybe territorial and defend an area inhabited by one or more females. Diet includes insects and land snails. Communal nests containing more than 30 eggs under bark have been reported. Clutch size is a single egg.

Literature

Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. 
Gray, J. E. 1831. A synopsis of the species of Class Reptilia. In: Griffith, E & E. Pidgeon: The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier with additional descriptions of all the species hither named, and of many before noticed Whittaker, Treacher and Co., London: 481 + 110 pp. [1830].

Ghost Anole, Anolis cf. lemurinus (Family Dactyloidae)


Boulenger (1885, 2:88) reported Anolis biporcatus from Trinidad based upon a British Museum specimen received from a Mr. C. Taylor in 1863. Werner (1900) listed this specimen as being from Port of Spain. Mole and Urich (1894a) retained this species on Trinidad based upon Boulenger’s account. Barbour (1930c) considered Mole and Urich’s record to be based upon Anolis aeneus. Parker (1935b) stated some authors have accepted this as a valid record, but noted that no other specimens have been forthcoming, and the specimen is present in the British Museum is not A. aeneus, but that it is closely allied to, if not conspecific with A. biporcatus. Parker listed this species in a section titled “Species Probably Incorrectly Reported from Trinidad.” Subsequently, someone suggested it be cataloged as Anolis lemurinus. My examination confirms this specimen is conspecific with, or very close to, A. lemurinus, a species known from Veracruz, Mexico, southward to Colombia. It occurs on both the Caribbean and Pacific versants of Central America, Its presence on Trinidad seems unlikely in the absence of additional specimens. But it may have extended along the northern forests of South America to Trinidad in the past. Description: The single Trinidad specimen, BMNH 63.6.18.3, is a male, SVL 69 mm, tail 144 mm. Hind limbs are 26 mm, 38% of the SVL. It seems likely that a lizard with these habits would have been discovered on Trinidad if it was present, but there is nothing to indicate the locality data is in error, and it may represent a population extirpated by habitat alteration in the last century.



Barbour's Hexagonal Scaled Bachia, Bachia trinitatis (Family Gymnophthalmidae)



Bachia alleni Barbour 1914:315
Bachia alleni — Mertens 1972.
Bachia heteropa alleni Dixon, 1973:32.
Bachia heteropus alleni Schwartz and Thomas 1975:109.
Scolecosaurus trinitatis Barbour 1914
Bachia alleni trinitatis — Donoso-Barros 1968

Dixon (1973) considered populations in northern Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, Gre­nada and the Grenadines Bachia heteropa despite dramatic variation in numerous morphological traits: 5–12 longitudinal rows of hexagonal, imbricate, smooth scales on the dorsum; 16–22 longitudinal rows of quadrangular, juxtaposed, lateral and ventral scales; 24 –31 scale rows around mid-body, 24–36 transverse ventral rows, some have prefrontal scales some do not. Perhaps most telling was the number of digits. Bachia heteropa could have two, three, or four toes on each hind foot and the number of digits is geographically concordant. Dixon positioned Scoleocosaurus trinitatis Barbour, S. alleni Barbour, B. lineata Boulenger, B. marcelae Donoso-Barrios and Garrido, as subspecies of B. heteropa. Most recently Rivas et al. (2012) wrote, “Bachia heteropa is a polytypic species composed of five subspecies, four of which are present in Venezuela.” The literature on Bachia heteropa was summarized by John et al. (2012) they followed Dixon’s (1973) arrangement of subspecies and noted B. anomala Roux, placed in the synonymy of B. lineata by Burt and Burt (1933), may be a valid species as noted by Shreve (1947).


Above. Bachia trinitatis from Tobago.

Bachia heteropa
(sensu Dixon 1973) is composed of two morphological groups, species with prefrontal scales (mostly island species) and species without prefrontal scales (mostly mainland species). The mainland species Dixon synonymized under B. heteropa Ruthven are B. lineata Boulenger, B. anomala Roux, and B. marcelae Donoso-Barros and Garrido. Morphologically the mainland and island groups are readily distinguished. Mainland species usually have no prefrontals, two or three supraocular scales (as opposed to four in island species), two or three toes on the feet (as opposed to four in eastern Caribbean species); and quadrangular scales on the tail (as opposed to hexagonal tail scales in the island species).

Given the molecular evidence (Kohlsdorf & Wagner 2006; Kohlsdorf et al, 2010) Bachia heteropa (sensu Dixon, 1973) is polyphyletic.

Bachia alleni is found in Grenada, the Grenadines. Bachia trinitatis occurs on Trinidad, Tobago, Little Tobago, and in the Bocas. It inhabits the leaf litter and moves using a side to side motion of its body and tail.

Barbour T. 1914. A Contribution to the Zoögeography of the West Indies, with Especial Reference to Amphibians and Reptiles. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 44 (2): 205-359

Barbour T. 1933. Notes on Scolecosaurus. Copeia 1933 (2): 74-77.

Dixon, J.R. (1973) A systematic review of the teiid lizards, genus Bachia, with remarks on Heterodactylus and Anotosaura. Miscellaneous Publications of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, 57, 1–47.

John, R.R., Bentz, E.J., Rivera Rodriguez, M.J., Bauer, A.M., & Powell, R. (2012) Bachia heteropa (Lichtenstein and von Martens). Earless Worm Lizard. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles, 894:1–9.


Chacachacare Shiny Lizard, Gymnophthalmus sp. (Family Gymnophthalmidae)

Size: 40 mm SVL, tail about 1.7x SVL. The dorsum is shiny bronze-brown with pale dorsolateral lines extending from the snout to base of the tail. Lateral scales only slightly smaller than dorsals. Ventral scales 23–27. G. underwoodii has 21–24 ventrals, and a dorsolateral stripe that fades at mid body. G. sp. is a bisexual species.  Both species of Gymnophthalmus have well developed limbs with four fingers and five toes. Both species of skinks have imbricate, cycloid scales and well developed limbs with five fingers and five toes. Distribution: In the broadest sense this group of cryptic species ranges from Mexico through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.  Habitat: Inhabits open, sunny areas on lawns and at the forest edge, seems to prefer habitats without leaves. Most often seen in bright sunlight. Biology. Diurnal. Diet has not been studied, but it most likely feeds on insects and other arthropods.  Reproduction: Both sexes present in the population. Gymnophthalmus contains a cluster of cryptic species, species that look similar to each other but are genetically distinct. Two of these species are known from Trinidad, Tobago, and their satellites. Gymnophthalmus sp. is widespread in Venezuela, as well as Chacachacare Island in the Bocas. A second species, G. cryptus occurs in western Venezuela and the middle Rio Orinoco drainage system. And, a third species, G. underwoodii occurs in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, northern Brazil, and the West Indies as far north as Antigua. Gymnophthalmus cryptus is not morphologically distinct from G. speciosus, but they are genetically distinct. The third species G. underwoodii is an asexual clone formed by the hybridization of G. cryptus and G. sp. The clone species probably originated in the middle Orinoco drainage and dispersed downstream during flooding. It was then able to colonize Trinidad and the islands to the north as well as coastal Guyana. 

Quadrangular Scaled Bachia, Bachia cf. flavescens (Family Gymnophthalmidae)





This lizard is known from four specimens from Tobago. It, or something like it, is also known from Guyana and it is probably a complex of species as currently recognized. It can be distinguished from the other Bachia in T&T by its quadrangular scales on the dorsum, The other Bachia have hexagonal scales on the dorsum. This lizard also differs from Bachia trinitatis in its ability to use its tail as a spring to propel it body upward. 

Chacachacare Shiny Lizard, Gymnophthalmus speciosus (Family Gymnophthalmidae)

Size: 40 mm SVL, tail about 1.7x SVL. The dorsum is shiny bronze-brown with pale dorsolateral lines extending from the snout to base of the tail. Lateral scales only slightly smaller than dorsals. Ventral scales 23–27. G. underwoodii has 21–24 ventrals, and a dorsolateral stripe that fades at mid body. G. speciosus is a bisexual species.  Both species of Gymnophthalmus have well developed limbs with four fingers and five toes. Both species of skinks have imbricate, cycloid scales and well developed limbs with five fingers and five toes. Distribution: In the broadest sense this group of cryptic species ranges from Mexico through Central America into Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.  Habitat: Inhabits open, sunny areas on lawns and at the forest edge, seems to prefer habitats without leaves. Most often seen in bright sunlight. Biology. Diurnal. Diet has not been studied, but it most likely feeds on insects and other arthropods.  Reproduction: Both sexes present in the population. Gymnophthalmus contains a cluster of cryptic species, species that look similar to each other but are genetically distinct. Two of these species are known from Trinidad, Tobago, and their satellites. Gymnophthalmus speciosus (or lizards that look like it) is widespread in Venezuela, as well as Chacachacare Island in the Bocas. A second species, G. cryptus occurs in western Venezuela and the middle Rio Orinoco drainage system. And, a third species, G. underwoodii occurs in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, northern Brazil, and the West Indies as far north as Antigua. Gymnophthalmus cryptus is not morphologically distinct from G. speciosus, but they are genetically distinct. The third species G. underwoodii is an asexual clone formed by the hybridization of G. cryptus and G. speciosus. The clone species probably originated in the middle Orinoco drainage and dispersed downstream during flooding. It was then able to colonize Trinidad and the islands to the north as well as coastal Guyana. 

Yellow-tailed Gecko, Gonatodes albogularis (Family Sphaerodactylidae)

The status of this lizard on Trinidad and Tobago is uncertain. There are museum specimens from both islands. It seems likely to use that these are misidentified Gonatodes humeralis. The specimens are either eggs or hatchlings and the only way to separate the two species is the number of lamellae on the fourth toe. The ranges for both species are continuous so it is likely the counts are wrong or the actual range of the number of lamellae overlap.

Shiny Lizard, Gymnophthalmus underwoodi (Family Gymnophthalmidae)


Gymnophthalmus underwoodi Grant 1958: 228. Type locality: Barbados.

Size. Adults reach 44 mm SVL, the tail 1.7x SVL, hind legs are 29% of the SVL. Diagnosis. G. underwoodi can be distinguished from all other Trinidad and Tobago lizards by having lateral scales which are only slightly smaller than the dorsal scales, it has a dorsolateral stripe that extends only to mid body, and it has 21–24 ventral scales. G. speciosus has 23–27 ventrals, a dorsolateral stripe that extends to the tail. Cole et al (1990) considers this unisexual species to have resulted from the hybridization of G. cryptus and G. speciosus. Distribution. In the Trinidad and Tobago area this lizard occurs on Trinidad and on most of the Boca Islands with the exception of Chacachacare Island. Otherwise it is known from Venezuela, Brazil (Amazonas), Guyana, Surinam, Barbados, Guadeloupe (incl. Les Saintes, Terre-de-Haut), St. Vincent, Martinique, Antigua, St. Kitts, Petit Cul-de-sac, Saint-Barthelme. Habits. Inhabits open, sunny areas on lawns and at the forest edge, seems to prefer habitats without leaves. This is an all-female species.

Literature

Cole CJ. Dessauer HC. Markezich AL 1993 Missing Link Found: The Second Ancestor of Gymnophthalmus underwoodi (Squamata: Teiidae), A South American Unisexual Lizard of Hybrid Origin. American Museum Novitates (3055): 1-13.

Grant C. 1958. A new Gymnophthalmus (Reptilia, Teiidae) from Barbados, B.W.I. Herpetologica 14: 227-228.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Spiny House Gecko, Hemidactylus palaichthus

Hemidactylus palaichthus Kluge 1969:39
Hemidactylus brooki palaichthus — Mertens 1972

Type locality - Guyana, Kurupukari, 4° 0' N 59° 25' 0" W
Adults reach 62 mm in body length, tail is 1.1x the body length. Diagnosis. Dorsum covered with small granular scales and 16-17 rows of longitudinal rows of trihedral tubercles. Ventral scales are large and overlapping. Males have 36-40 total pores. Three single lamellae at the base of fourth toe, followed by six paired lamellae, and the digits terminate with a single lamellae. Similar species. Hemidactylus mabouia has fewer rows of tubercles (6-14) and is less spiny in appearance. Distribution. The presence of this lizard on Trinidad and Tobago is relatively rare. It is more readily found on offshore islands and rocks (Monos Island, Chacachacare Island, and Little Tobago Island). The presence of two New World endemic Hemidactylus suggests an ancient ancestor that rafted from Africa. Gamble et al. (2011) suggest a divergence date between H. palaichthus and H. brasilianus between 7.4–21.9 mya.


Kluge, A. G. 1969. The evolution and geographical origin of the New World Hemidactylus mabouia-brooki complex (Gekkonidae, Sauria). Misc. PubI. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan 138:1-78.

Mertens R 1972 Herpetofauna tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitr. zur Naturkunde nr. 252 22 pp.

Powell R 1990 Hemidactylus palaichthus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 468.
Schwartz A & Henderson RW 1991 Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.

Vanzolini PE 1978 On South American Hemidactylus (Sauria, Gekkonidae). Papeis Avulosus de Zoologia 31(20) 1978:307-343 

Variegated Gecko, Gonatodes ceciliae (Family Sphaerodactylidae)

Gonatodes ceciliae Donoso-Barros 1966

Type locality - Cerro Azul, Cerca de Macuro, Peninsula de Paria, Estado Sucré, Venezuela.

Size: 51 mm SVL males, 39 mm SVL females; tail 46−48% SVL. Identification: Male dorsum red-brown with yellow spots, streaks or mottling; yellow collar bordered with black extends onto arm; venter cinnamon. Female dorsum mottled with a mid-dorsal stripe and pale venter. Snout pointed from above, rounded in profile; 2−5 enlarged horn-like ciliaries; all scales on anterior orbit margin enlarged; canthus indistinct, rounded; dorsal scales small juxtaposed granules; ventral scales imbricate and larger than dorsals; 18−20 lamellae on fourth toe.

Similar species are other Gonatodes and coloration will readily distinguish them separate this lizard from other Trinidad; Gonatodes humeralis shares the same habitat with G. ceciliae but has a distinct spot on its nose.

Distribution: Cloud forest of Paria, Venezuela; the premontane and montane rainforests of Trinidad, and deciduous seasonal forests in the Bocas islands. Habitat: Tree trunks and other vertical surfaces in deep forest shade; often in pairs. Prefers cool damp forests; direct sunlight maybe lethal. This species is a diurnal, ambush predator.  The diet has not been studied but undoubtedly includes small invertebrates. Females deposit eggs under bark.

Referenes
Donoso-Barros R 1966. Dos nuevos Gonatodes de Venezuela. Publ. Ocas. Mus. Hist. Nat., Santiago de Chile, 11: 1-32.

McBee K,  Bickham JW & Dixon JR 1987 Male heterogamety and chromosomal variation in Caribbean lizards. Journal of Herpetology 21 (1): 68-71. 

Greater Windward Skink, Copeoglossum aurae (Family Scincidae)


Size.  98.5 mm SVL in males; 109 mm SVL in females. Diagnosis. Differs from all T&T lizards in having five digits on each hand and foot, overlapping head scales, 28-32 mid-body scale rows, the only exception is the Lesser Windward skink. This species differs from Lesser Windward skink, Marisora aurulae by not having the parietal in contact, or rarely just touching, (in M. aurulae they are in contact);Copeoglossum has no chin scales in contact with infralabials between postmental and first sublabial, Marisora aurulae has  2–4 in .  In coloration, Copeoglossum usually has a distinctly spotted dorsum and dark lateral stripes that extend to the hindlimbs and onto the tail. Marisora aurulae’s pattern is faded with smaller dorsal spots and dark lateral stripes that fade posteriorly into ground color. Distribution. Copeoglossum is known from Grenada, St. Vincent, the Grenadines (Bequia, Carriacou, Mustique, Petit Martinique, and Union Islands), Trinidad (including Huevos Island), and Tobago. Life History. This lizard is mostly arboreal, it has been reported from 0.5 to 3 m off the ground, it has been observed mating on a tree trunk, and preyed upon by the arboreal vine snake Oxybelis aeneus. Two females (93.0 and 95.3 mm SVL) collected in May and March contained one and three developing young.

Lesser Windward Skink, Marisora aurulae (Family Scincidae)


Size. 80.9 mm SVL in males, 89 mm SVL females. Differs from all T&T lizards in having five digits on each hand and foot, overlapping head scales, 30–32 mid-body scale rows, the only exception is the Greater Windward skink. This species differs from Greater Windward skink, Copeoglossum aurea by having the parietals in contact, 2-4 chin scales in contact with the infralabials between then postmental and first sublabial. This species also has a more faded pattern, few if any dorsal spots, and a dark lateral stripe that fades posteriorly. Distribution. The southern Lesser Antilles: Young's Island (a St. Vincent satellite), the Grenadines (Mayero Island, Carriacou, and Petit Bateau), Grenada, Trinidad, and Tobago.

The Rain Lizard, Kentropyx striata (Family Teiidae)

Size: Males 124 mm, females 84 mm SVL; hatchlings 31−34 mm SVL; tail is at least 2.2 times the SVL; hind legs about 63% SVL. Snout pointed from above, sloping in profile; rostral scale triangular, nasals in contact on the midline of crown; scales on crown large plates; eye diameter three-fourths of eye-nostril distance; ear opening slightly less than the eye's diameter; tympanum visible. Anterior and lateral neck scales granular and keeled; mid-dorsum with 14 rows of large, overlapping, heavily keeled scales; laterally are 16 rows of small keeled scales; ventral scales large, heavily keeled, overlapping and arranged in 14 longitudinal rows, distinguishing it from Cnemidophorus (with eight longitudinal rows) and Ameiva(8−10 longitudinal rows); tail completely covered with large, keeled scales; upper surface of the hind limbs with small keeled scales, anterior surface of limbs with very large keeled scales; forelimbs with large scales on dorsal and anterior surfaces; fourth finger with 15−19 lamellae, the fourth toe with 24−28 lamellae; femoral pores number 6−7 in both sexes; males are larger than females and have a pair of preanal spurs on each side of central preanal scales; dorsum green with tan to white dorsolateral stripes, and blue-white spotting on the flanks; and brown lateral stripes; orange venter in males, white venter in females; venter of tail orange in both sexes.

Habitat: Savanna wetlands and swamps.

A semi-aquatic lizard that climbs trees and shrubs; much of its distribution in Trinidad coincides with sugarcane and natural savanna, where it uses streamside (canals and ditches) trees and shrubs. It seeks refuge in water when approached while basking and during the rainy season it occupies small islands of vegetation until the water recedes; activity centered in early morning but can be seen mid-day; sleeping on tall grass. Diet: Insects and arachnids, also frogs and lizards. Reproduction: On Trinidad eggs laid in July-August and hatch in October-November. On the mainland, females reach sexual maturity at 74 mm SVL and produce 3−12 eggs per clutch, and produce more than one clutch per season; eggs laid at night in open, short, grassy fields; nest chamber about 3.5 cm deep with a 7 cm tunnel leading to a chamber at a 40° angle; eggs laid 10 October, hatched between 11−15 February, an incubation period of about 124 days.

Caribbean Treerunner, Plica caribena (Family Tropiduridae)


Size: 124 mm, tail twice SVL; smallest measured 57 mm SVL, probably about size at hatching. Identification: A brown-green lizard with heavily keeled, overlapping scales giving it a spiny appearance; snout rounded from above; rostral rectangular; canthus short and distinct; ear opening has anterior and ventral tufts of spiny scales, a character that will readily distinguish this lizard from all other Trinidad and Tobago lizards; mid-dorsal crest starts on posterior head with a few enlarged spines and extends onto tail; dorsal scales are keeled, overlapping, rhomboidal, and decrease in size laterally; ventral scales smooth, slightly larger than dorsal scales and overlap; well-developed lateral fold of spiny scales from axillary region to base of tail, a character that will separate it from all other Trinidad and Tobago lizards; front limbs well developed with long fingers; tail laterally compressed. Color green with red-brown transverse bands, each having black spots; limbs and tail banded; red-brown band from eye to ear; venter orange-yellow in males and orange-brown in females; males with white throat and black gular pouch, females with gray throat and brown gular pouch; has color change ability.

Forest and forest-edge using vertical surfaces of tree trunks, rock faces, and buildings, holes at the base of trees for escape.

Diurnal. Diet: Insectivorous but will feed on other invertebrates. Hatchlings are more terrestrial than adults; occur in colonies of 6−12 adults and juveniles, on trunks of large trees, stone walls, bridges, ruins, old houses, and caves; usually head down, but in whatever position they may be the head and forebody raised.

Murphy, J.C. and Jowers, M.J., 2013. Treerunners, cryptic lizards of the Plica plica group (Squamata, Sauria, Tropiduridae) of northern South America. ZooKeys, (355), p.49.

Multi-colored Tree Lizard, Polychrus marmoratus (Family Polychrotidae)

Polychrus marmoratus inhabits much of South America east of the Andes, including Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Amazonian Brazil, and Brazil’s Atlantic Forest; Paraguay. It also occurs on the Isla de Margarita. Court (1858) first reported it from Trinidad, and it was first reported from Tobago by Barbour (1916). Its presence on Trinidad, Tobago, and the nearby Bocas Islands of Gaspar Grande, Monos, and Chacachacare was confirmed and detailed by Boos (1984, 1990). The multi-colored tree lizard is arboreal, spending much of its time in understory bushes, and the forest canopy. It is often found in pairs.  The diet includes a variety of invertebrates as well as fruits. It will drink droplets of water off of leaves. 

Mole's Day Gecko, Sphaerodactylus molei (Family Spaerodactylidae)

Sphaerodactylus molei Boettger 1894: 80.
Sphaerodactylus buergeri Werner 1900: 264.
Sphaerodactylus venezuelanus Roux 1927: 254.
Sphaerodactylus boettgeri: Donoso-Barros 1968.

Type locality: Caparo, Trinidad. Distribution. Antilles, Guyana, Venezuela, Margarita Island (Venezuela), Trinidad, Tobago.

Adult males and females measure 20-28.0 mm and 20.8-27.7 mm respectively; smallest specimen 16.6 mm. Dorsal body scales strongly keeled, minute, homogeneous, 63-83 from groin-axilla. Ventrals 31-39. Scales around mid-body 65-81. Supra-nasals two; larger anterior ones separated by 1-3 small inter-nasals. Rostral deeply notched behind, filled by 1-3 small scales; median cleft short. Fourth supralabial lies below anterior half of' eye; fourth infralabial below center of eye. Subcaudal scales to three times width of supra-caudals, alternately arranged. Dorsal surfaces light brown with a light dorsolateral stripe, variously faded or accentuated on trunk, but never broken. These are the smallest lizards on Trinidad and Tobago and habitat is difficult to define. They are often in crevices in buildings, but probably also occur under tree bark.

References

Boettger O. 1894. A preliminary list of the reptiles and batrachians of the Island of Trinidad. With descriptions of two new species. J. Field Natural. Club, Trinidad, Port of-Spain, 2: 77-90

Cole CJ, Townsend CR, Reynolds RP, MacCulloch RD, Lathrop A, 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620.

Gorzula S & Senaris, JC. 1999. In: Contribution to the herpetofauna of the Venezuelan Guayana. I: a data base. Scientia Guaianae, Caracas, No. 8 [1998], 269.

Harris DM. The Sphaerodactylus (Sauria: Gekkonidae) of South America. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Occasional Papers (704):1-31.

Lynn WG. 1959. Some Reptiles and Amphibians from Trinidad. Herpetologica 15 (3): 113-117.

Mertens R. 1972. Herpetofauna tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitr. zur Naturkunde nr. 252 22 pp.

Rivas GA et al. 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64

Roux J. 1927. Contribution à l’erpétologie du Vénézuéla. Verhandlungen dem Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel 38: 252—261.

Werner F. 1900. Ueber Reptilien und Batrachier aus Columbien und Trinidad. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 50:262—272.

Luminous Lizard, Oreosaurus shrevei (Family Gymnophthalmidae)

Size: 42 mm SVL, but may exceed 50 mm. Tail is 1.7x SVL, hind legs 37–42% of SVL. Oreosaurus shrevei can be distinguished from all other Trinidad and Tobago microteiids by the separation of the nasal scales by the frontoparietal scale and the pattern of two lateral scale rows equaling the width of one dorsal row. Adult males have a single row of lateral ocelli. Fourth finger 9–13 lamellae; fourth toe 15–18 lamellae. Habitat: Lives along streams and is frequently found under rocks within a meter of the stream. Biology: Nocturnal, but may be active during the day; maybe semi-aquatic. Diet: small arthropods. Reproduction: deposits its eggs in arboreal situations. Females may use communal nesting sites. The lateral ocelli of males have been reported to be bioluminescent, but instead reflective. The species seems to be heat sensitive and uses cool microhabitats.

Common Green Iguana, Iguana iguana (Family Iguanidae)


Size. Males 580 mm SVL, 2010 mm TL; females 410 mm SVL, 1440 mm TL. The largest lizard in T&T and the western hemisphere. Snout blunt, head rectangular, body robust, a large pendulous dewlap, and a vertebral crest with the tallest spines on the nape will readily distinguish it from all other lizards. The body is covered with small, quadrangular, imbricate, keeled scales; ventral scales larger than dorsals. Adults usually green but may be gray, red, tan, or blue with obscure transverse bands; pale green beneath. Juveniles may be confused with adult Polychrus, which has a pointed snout and large plate like scales on the top of its head and moves slowly, iguanas are very fast.

This lizard is relatively common in urban areas with large trees. Juvenile cohorts may stay together, terrestrial during the day, arboreal at night; adults may be solitary or in colonies, along streams or ponds; may use urban parks or tree plantations; also in secondary and primary forests. Escape response is to dive into water from perch when disturbed. Iguanas are strict herbivores and they have special chambers in their digestive system for processing difficult to digest plant material. Reproduction. Males turn gold or red-orange during breeding season. A month of courtship precedes copulation, usually in early dry season; females construct a nest burrow, these may be communal shared with each female depositing eggs in a separate camber, clutch sizes average about 35 eggs; incubation is 65 to 115 days; hatchlings 70-80 mm; maturity reached in the second or third year at about 250 mm SVL. Predators. Snakes, raptors, cats, coatis, tyra, and humans are predators. If restrained they will bite and lash tail.

Spot-nosed Gecko, Gonatodes humeralis (Family Sphaerodactylidae)

A small, slender lizard, moderately long tail. Scales on snout larger than those on the back of the head. Males usually have a dark brown or red-brown dorsum; two rows of spots on flanks may be present; with some gray, black, yellow mottling; light spot of yellow, orange or gray on snout, ante-humeral bar or stripe present in both sexes. Female's dorsum brown-gray, indistinct vertebral stripe; snout pointed from above, round in profile; canthus rounded and indistinct; dorsum covered in small granular scales; ventrals larger than dorsal scales and imbricate; 16−21 lamellae on fourth toe wider than digit.

Coloration will separate this species from other Trinidad Gonatodes, but it may be most easily confused with G. ceciliae which has tiny scales in the canthal region, about 15 scales occur between the eye and the nostril, while G. humeralis has only seven or eight scales in this region.

Distributed in Venezuela, the Guianas, Trinidad and Tobago and Amazonia (Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru).

Forest and forest edge habitats, usually low on tree trunks, rock walls, and in low vegetation as well as the canopy; male usually with several females. A diurnal, ambush predator. This lizard was studied at São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil. Its body temperature was strongly correlated with environmental temperatures (air and substrate), but air temperature had a greater effect on the males’ body temperatures after removing the effect of the substrate temperature; sexes differed in perch height, males perched higher, but the sexes did not differ in the tree trunk diameter used; both sexes use the largest tree trunks available in the environment; trunks with deeper leaf litter at the base were selected, deeper leaf litter is likely to provide a retreat from predators. It may also increase the humidity in the lizard’s microhabitat. Diet consists mostly of arthropods (isopods, spiders, pseudoscorpion, scorpions, millipedes, and insects) as well as land snails and annelid worms. Sexual maturity for both sexes is attained at 31 mm SVL. There is evidence of communal nesting in some populations with nest locations in ant nests, rotten palm trunks, rotten log, and a rotten liana; females produce a single egg per clutch and lay eggs in rapid succession, 52−110 day incubation period (longer for eggs laid in captivity).

House Gecko, Hemidactylus mabouia (Family Gekkonidae)



Gekko mabouia Moreau De Jonnès 1818: 138
Hemidactylus mabouia - Duméril & Bibron 1836: 362

Type locality: Restricted to St Vincent in the Lesser Antilles (Stejneger, 1904), but the type specimen apparently does not belong to the taxon to which this name is usually applied. Instead it is a H. angulatus, which is similar to those from the Greater Antilles and Colombia, particularly the latter (Kluge, 1969) [from Carranza & Arnold 2006].

Adults have a SVL up to 63 mm; hatchlings are about 20 mm SVL; tails are about 1.2x the body length. Diagnosis. Dorsum covered with small granular scales studded with trihedral; tubercles in 6–14 longitudinal rows. Ventral scales overlap and are large than dorsals. Upper labials 8–12, lower labials 7–9. Lamellae on fourth finger 7–9, lamellae on fourth toe 7–8. Total pores in males 29–33. Color change in this lizard can be dramatic. Similar species. It is most easily confused with Hemidactylus palaichthus which has a more spiny appearance and more lamellae on the base of toes four and five that extend to the base of the digit. Distribution. Probably occurs island wide and associated with human modified habitats, most often buildings and frequently near lights that attract insects. Other common names. House gecko, wall mabuia, African woodslave, twenty-four hours.

Duméril, A.M. C. and G. Bibron. 1836. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol.3. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 528 pp.

Kluge, A. G. 1969. The evolution and geographical origin of the New World Hemidactylus mabouia-brooki complex (Gekkonidae, Sauria). Misc. PubI. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan 138:1-78.

Moreau de Jonnès, A. 1818. Monographie du mabouja des murailles, on Gecko Mabouja des Antilles. Bull. Scient. Soc. Philomath. Paris, Ser. 3,5:138-139.


Stejneger, L. 1904. The herpetology of Porto Rico. Rept. United States Natl. Mus. 1902: 549-724.

Trinidad Anole, Anolis trinitatis (Family Dactyloidae)

Anolis trinitatis Reinhardt & Lütken 1862: 269.
Anolis vincenti Garman 1887: 46.
Anolis trinitatis trinitatis — Underwood In Williams et al. 1959: 212.
Anolis trinitatis vincentii — Underwood In Williams et al. 1959: 213.
Anolis trinitatis — Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 349.


Holotype: ZMUC (UZM) R.37145. Type locality: “Trinidad”. Revised to “Kingstown, St. Vincent” by Lazell 1972.

Distribution: Anolis trinitatis inhabits the Lesser Antilles (St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Chateaubelair Island) and it has been introduced to Trinidad (Lazell 1972). May be present in Venezuela’s Peninsula de Paria (Donoso-Barros 1968).

Anolis trinitatis hybridizes with Anolis aeneus on Trinidad (Lazell 1972). However, hybrids show greatly reduced reproductive fitness (Gorman et al. 1971). Males, which reach 74 mm snout-to-vent, are green to green-blue, with blue stippling on the head and anterior trunk. They have yellow coloring on the throat and ventral surface, and the area around the eye is dark. Males have a large dewlap that extends into the abdominal region. Females are duller and have a smaller dewlap.

Synonymy: Boulenger (1885) listed Anolis trinitatis (and Anolis aeneus) as synonyms of Anolis alligator, which is now A. roquet.


Karyotype: Gorman et al. (1968) reported Anolis trinitatis and Anolis aeneus have 36 and 34 chromosomes, respectively. Hybrids have 35 chromosomes.

Literature
Donoso-Barros, R. 1968. The lizards of Venezuela (checklist and key). Carib. J. Sci. 8 (3-4): 105-122

Gorman GC. 1969. The zoogeography of Lesser Antillean Anolis lizards; an analysis based upon chromosomes and lactic dehydrogenases. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 138 (3): 53-80.

Gorman GC, Atkins L. 1968. Natural hybridization between two sibling species of Anolis lizards: Chromosome cytology. Science 159 (March): 1358-1360

Gorman G, Licht P, Desshauser HC, Boos JO 1971. Reproductive failure among the hybridizing Anolis lizards of Trinidad. Syst. Zool. 20: 1–18

Lazell JD. 1972. The anoles (Sauria: Iguanidae) of the lesser Antilles. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 143 (1): 1-115

Poe S. 2004. Phylogeny of anoles. Herpetological Monographs 18: 37-89

Poe S. 2013. 1986 Redux: New genera of anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae) are unwarranted. Zootaxa 3626 (2): 295–299

Reinhardt J, Lütken CH 1862. Bidrag tii det vestindiske Öriges og navnligen tii de dansk-vestindiske Oers Herpetologie. Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. For. Kjöbenhavn (10-18): 153-291 [1862]

Schwartz A, Henderson RW. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.

Williams EE, Quesnel VC, Kenny JS, Underwood G. 1959. The anoles of the Eastern Caribbean (Sauria, Iguanidae) Part. I. Preface; Part II. Two sibling species of anoles in Trinidad; Part. III. Revisionary notes. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 121 (5): 185-226 + 1 plate

Anolis wattsi (Dactyloidae)

Anolis wattsi Boulenger 1894: 375. 
Type locality: Antigua. Restricted to St. John’s, St. John Parish, Antigua, by Lazell (1972). Syntypes: BMNH 1946.8.29.12-13. White and Hailey (2006) give a detailed account of this lizard from Trinidad. It is known from Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Eustatius, St. Christopher, Nevis, St. Lucia, and was discovered in Trinidad in 1992. See this web site: http://www.ahailey.f9.co.uk/anolis.htm.

Giant Crown Anole, Anolis richardi Duméril & Bibron

Anolis Richardi Duméril & Bibron 1837: 141
Ptychonotus (Ctenodeira) richardii — Fitzinger 1843: 66
Anolis richardii — Boulenger 1885: 37
Anolis trossulus Garman 1887: 38
Anolis trossulus — Barbour 1916
Anolis richardii richardii — Underwood In Williams et al. 1959



Holotype: MNHN Ig. 53 (fide Underwood 1959); MCZ Type locality: “Tortola”. Revised to “Crown Point, Tobago” by Lazell 1972.

Distribution Lesser Antilles: Grenadines, Grenada, Tobago, St. Vincent; Surinam (introduced according to Hoogmoed 1981: 281). The Tobago population seems to have been introduced from the Grenadines or Grenada.

This is large, morphologically variable anole, with males reaching 140 mm snout-to-vent. It is often seen sitting on tree trunks with its head down. It has a dark green or brown dorsal surface, with a green-gray to yellow ventral surface. Its dewlap is orange, yellow, or gray-green. Females and juveniles often have a yellow or cream-colored lateral stripe. This species reaches relatively high population densities along streams.

Barbour T. 1916. Amphibians and reptiles of Tobago. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 29: 221-224

Boulenger G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London.

Creer DA, Kevin de Queiroz, Todd R. Jackman, Jonathan B. Losos and Allan Larson 2001. Systematics of the Anolis roquet series of the southern Lesser Antillies. Journal of Herpetology 35 (3): 428-441.

Duméril AMC, Bibron G. 1837. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 4. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 570 pp.

Fitzinger L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp.

Garmam S. 1887. On West Indian reptiles. Iguanidae. Bull. Essex Inst. 19: 25-50.

Gorman GC, Atkins, L. 1968. The relationships of the Anolis of the roquet species group (Sauria: Iguanidae). III. Comparative study of display behavior. Breviora (284): 1-31

Hoogmoed MS. 1981. Introduced species of reptiles in Surinam. Notes on the herpetofauna of Surinam VIII. Amphibia-Reptilia 1: 277-285

Köhler G. 2014. Characters of external morphology used in Anolis taxonomy—Definition of terms, advice on usage, and illustrated examples. Zootaxa 3774 (2): 201–257

Lazell JD. 1972. The anoles (Sauria: Iguanidae) of the lesser Antilles. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 143 (1): 1-115

Malhotra A, Thorpe RS. 1999. Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. MacMillan, London & Oxford

Mertens R. 1972. Herpetofauna Tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitr. zur Naturkunde nr. 252 22 pp.

Poe S. 2004. Phylogeny of anoles. Herpetological Monographs 18: 37-89

Roughgarden J. 1995. Anolis Lizards of the Caribbean: Ecology, Evolution, and Plate Tectonics. Oxford University Press, 200 pp.

Schwartz A., Henderson RW. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.

Williams EE. Quesnel VC. Kenny JS, Underwood G. 1959. The anoles of the Eastern Caribbean (Sauria, Iguanidae) Part. I. Preface; Part II. Two sibling species of anoles in Trinidad; Part. III. Revisionary notes. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 121 (5): 185-226 + 1 plate

Leaf Anole, Anolis planiceps (Family Dactyloidae)

Anolis planiceps Troschel 1848: 649

Anolis chrysolepis planiceps - Vanzolini & Williams 1970: 85

Anolis nitens nitens - Avila-Pires 1995


Type locality: Caracas, Venezuela. Holotype: ZMB 529.

Distribution. E Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil (Roraima, Amazonas), Trinidad.

The leaf anole, Anolis planiceps, occurs in Venezuela, Guyana, and Trinidad . Trinidad localities include Tucker Valley; Port of Spain, Maracas Valley, Nariva Swamp, Chacachacare and Huevos, Aripo savannas, Arena Forest; southwestern peninsula near Bonasse. St. Augustine; Mt. St. Benedict; La Seita; Toco; Morgua; Guayaguayare; Mayaro; Chacachacare Island; and Huevos Island. This lizard is found on tree trunks, on the ground, and sleeping on leaves at night. It is a forest and forest edge species and
until now the only species of Anolis on Trinidad that is native to the island. All other species have been introduced. However we have recently found Anolis tigrinus on Tobago and seen photographic evidence that it is also present on Trinidad.








Based on specimens labeled Anolis planiceps in Vertnet

Zandolie, Jungle Runner, Giant Ameiva, Ameiva atrigularis (Family Teiidae)


Ameiva surinamensis var. atrigularis Garman 1887.
Ameiva ameiva ameiva — Marcuzzi 1950: 101 (part.)
Ameiva ameiva tobagana — Peters & Donoso-Barros 1970: 20.
Ameiva ameiva atrigularis — Tuck & Hardy 1973: 241
Ameiva ameiva — Murphy 1997: 152
Ameiva atrigularis — Ugueto & Harvey 2011

Taxonomy & Systematics. This account follows
 Ugueto and Harvey (2011).

Distribution. Northern Venezuela including the Distrito Capital, Vargas, Miranda, Sucre, Peninsula de Paria, Isla de Margarita), Trinidad, Tobago, Little Tobago and satellites.

Natural History. This is a giant species of Ameiva, with adults reaching a body size that may exceed 0.5 m. The Zandolie is omnivorous, feeding on insects, small vertebrates, and fruits. It is visible on bright sunny days when it is
searching for food and mates, at other times they
are
concealed in burrows. Females are oviparous and probably lay several clutches of eggs annually. Habitats used are deciduous tropical and premontane humid forest, forest-edge, as well as areas of forest with open undergrowth where patches of light reach the forest floor, scrub lands, secondary growth, suburban yards and gardens, roadsides, and beaches.



Barbour, T. and Noble G.K.. 1915. A revision of the lizards of the genus Ameiva. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 59: 417-479. - get paper here

Burt, C.E. & Burt, M.D. 1931. South American lizards in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. Bull. Amer. Mus. nat. Hist. 61 (7): 227-395

Garman, S. 1887. On the West Indian Teiids in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Bull. Essex Inst. 19: 1-12.

Gorzula, Stefan & Senaris, J. C. 1999. In: Contribution to the herpetofauna of the Venezuelan Guayana. I: a data base. Scientia Guaianae, Caracas, No. 8 [1998], 269+ pp.

Murphy, J.C. 1997. Amphibians & Reptiles of Trinidad & Tobago. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 304 pp.

Peters, James A. & Donoso-Barros, R. 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part II. Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 293 pp.

Rivas Fuenmayor, G. and Barrio Amorós C.L. 2005. New Amphibian and Reptile records from Cojedes State, Venezuela. Herpetological Review 36 (2):205-209.

Roze, J.A. 1964. La herpetologia de la Isla de Margarita, Venezuela. Soc. de Cienc. Natur. 'La Salle', Caracas, Mem. 24(69): 209-241.

Tuck, R. G., Hardy, J.D. 1973. Status of the Ober Tabago collection, Smithsonian Institution, and the proper allocation of Ameiva surinamensis tobaganus Cope (Sauria: Teiidae). Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 86 (19): 231-242

Ugueto, G. N. and Harvey M.B. 2011. Revision of Ameiva ameiva Linnaeus (Squamata: Teiidae) in Venezuela: Recognition of Four Species and Status of Introduced Populations in Southern Florida, USA. Herpetological Monographs 25 (1): 112-170.