herpetology

Tetrapod Zoology

Category archives for herpetology

Having written (briefly) about the turtle-like shelled placodont Henodus chelyops, it’s as good a time as any to provide some more information. For starters, here’s a close-up photo (kindly provided by Markus B├╝hler) showing one of the grooves in the left lower jaw. These gutter-like structures (reportedly) contained a baleen-like apparatus, possibly used in filter-feeding…

Long-time readers will know that I’ve been planning to cover placodonts – a group of marine, armour-plated Triassic sauropterygian reptiles – for a long, long time. Still haven’t gotten round to it (though there is this one picture). But here’s something, at least: a piece of text on the weird, fascinating German placodont Henodus. The…

Mystery emo skinks of Tonga!

There are about 3800 lizard species living on the planet today; accordingly, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to keep track of them all. Furthermore, new species are described on a very regular basis, and there’s little doubt that many more species await discovery. Matty Smith (from New Zealand) recently encountered the lizard you…

Regular readers will know that I like covering obscure animals… with luck, really obscure animals. The problem with such animals is that nice images hardly ever – sometimes never – exist. When they do exist, they’re protected by copyright and are unavailable for use on a blog. I’m therefore eternally grateful when people are able…

Episode 2 of series 2 of Inside Nature’s Giants was devoted to pythons (for an article reviewing ep 1, go here). Specifically, to Burmese pythons Python molurus. And, quite right too. Snakes are among the weirdest and most phenomenally modified of tetrapods: in contrast to we boring tetrapodal tetrapods with our big limb girdles, long…

Once more, we return to those wonderful, phenomenally successful, charismatic beasts…. the toads. As you’ll know if you’ve read the previous articles in the toads series, it seems that most basal divergences within crown-Bufonidae happened in South America. So far as we can tell right now, crown-toads are ancestrally South American, and all of their…

In the previous Matamata article I discussed the very scary skull and hyoid anatomy of this singular South American turtle. The ‘ugly’ look of the Matamata is well known, but hopefully you now know that the Matamata should also be famous for its large size, for its massively thick, long neck, for its pivotal historical…

Lest we forget, one of my aims for 2009-2010 is TO GET THROUGH ALL THE TOADS OF THE WORLD. I don’t mean every single species (because there… like, over 540 of them), but all the ‘genera’ at least. If you need any of the background to this grand/crazy scheme, be sure to check out the…

Welcome to another article on the Matamata Chelus fimbriatus. Yay! In the previous episode we looked briefly at the Matamata’s long, thick neck and on a few aspects of Matamata evolution (a brief introduction to what the Matamata is, and where it lives, can be found here) [in the composite image shown above, the skull…

Some weeks ago I wrote a bit about the Matamata Chelus fimbriatus: a weird, flat-headed South American pleurodiran turtle. It’s one of the strangest creatures tetrapods on the planet, and there’s so much to say about it that the previous article ended up being nothing more than the briefest of introductions. Today we start looking…