Some tropical reptiles may be able to adapt quickly to climate change rather than go extinct as widely expected, a study finds. The research is the first direct measurement of climate-driven natural selection on the thermal physiology of a wildlife species — in other words, survival of the fittest in an increasingly warm world.

{ 0 comments }

Think again if you’ve always believed that events in the life cycle of animals happen consistently, almost rigidly, as part of the natural rhythm of nature. Studies show that Mother Nature is much more flexible than you might think.

{ 0 comments }

By understanding the secret of how lizards regenerate their tails, researchers may be able to develop ways to stimulate the regeneration of limbs in humans. Now, a team of researchers is one step closer to solving that mystery. The scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

{ 0 comments }

Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young. Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.

{ 0 comments }

Two giant Aldabra tortoises (Geochelone gigantean) are now grazing outside Zoo Center at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Both tortoises are males; one weighs approximately 400 pounds and the other tips the scales at around 600 pounds. Their exhibit is located at the iconic Zoo Center and resembles their natural habitat with a sandy substrate, lush vegetation, and a freshwater pool.

{ 0 comments }

Three doctoral students did a cross-country road trip survey of roadside ecology, and now report on a rare plant that thrives in the aftermath of wildfires, pine snakes and the impact of roads on their habitat and newborn pine snakes’ map-making ability.

{ 0 comments }

A recent survey of mountain yellow-legged frogs released into the wild by San Diego Zoo Global wildlife conservationists indicates that the populations are showing signs of stress related to drought conditions in California. The juvenile frogs, released into the San Jacinto mountains in two protected sites, are representatives of a species brought to the brink of extinction by the threat of wildfire, habitat destruction and chytrid fungus.

{ 0 comments }

Two look-alike frogs were shown by researchers to be separate species through genetic analysis. Recently, a Malaysian herpetologist puzzled over an unfamiliar orange-striped, yellow-speckled frog she’d live-caught in swampland on the Malay Peninsula. She showed the frog to a fellow herpetologist pursuing his doctorate in the United States. They wondered — was this striking frog with an appearance unlike others nearby in the central peninsula an unidentified species?

{ 0 comments }

Juvenile loggerhead turtles swim into oncoming ocean currents, instead of passively drifting with them. After loggerhead turtle hatchlings leave nesting beaches, they live in the ocean for 7-12 years before migrating to coastal habitats.

{ 0 comments }

Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens as part of a study which aimed to teach the animals navigational techniques. The brain structure of reptiles is very different to that of mammals, which use the hippocampus for spatial navigation.

{ 0 comments }

A professor has succeeded in constructing a first-of-its-kind comprehensive diagram of the geographic distribution of amphibians, showing the movement of 3,309 species between 12 global ecoregions. Armed with DNA sequence data, he sought to accurately piece together the 300-million-year storyline of their journey.

{ 0 comments }

Sea turtles are not a species one would normally associate with the United Kingdom. But on the remote UK overseas territory of Ascension Island, one of the world’s largest green turtle populations is undergoing something of a renaissance.

{ 0 comments }

Molecular analysis helps scientists discover and describe a tiny new species of narrow-mouthed frog from the genus Chiasmocleis. The news species, Chiasmocleis quilombola is named after the quilombos — communities constituted by and used as refuges for slaves who had the brevity to escape in colonial Brazil.

{ 0 comments }

As a result of the Slide Fire, the burned areas of Oak Creek were at risk for ash-filled flooding due to monsoon rains. When ash blankets the habitat, the fish that the gartersnakes feed on aren’t able to survive. The ash covers rocks and small holes making it difficult for the snake to hide while hunting. Though the snakes can survive for some time without food, they will eventually starve to death. Now a team has undertaken to save the narrow-headed gartersnake in the fire’s aftermath.

{ 0 comments }

“Alaska wood frogs spend more time freezing and thawing outside than a steak does in your freezer, and the frog comes back to life in the spring in better shape than the steak,” said the lead author on a recent paper demonstrating that freeze tolerance in Alaska wood frogs is more extreme than previously thought.

{ 0 comments }