Herp note 4: Miami


Snapping a photo of A. carolinensis (photo by Renata B)

~Welcome to the city where the heat is on….
This past weekend, I was very fortunate to have a chance to spend time looking for herps in Miami (Florida, USA) with my colleagues Josh, Tim, and Renata. Our main objective was to collect some brown anoles (A. sagrei) for Josh’s egg incubation thermal spike experiment, and to survey possible location to set up another experiment I will conduct this summer on maternal nest-site behavior of Puerto Rican crested anoles (A. cristatellus).

A. cristatellus perching at Matheson Hammock


Nonetheless, we had some time to survey for herpetofauna at multiple spots including Pinecrest, Matheson Hammock, Coral Gables and Key Biscayne.

Pinecrest – along Red Road and Snapper Creek Canal
We spent almost four hours here and found:
Brown anole, Crested anole, bark anole, Green anole, brown basilisk, Knight anole, African rock agama, and a Green iguana (respectively: Anolis sagrei, Anolis cristatellus, Anolis distichus, Anolis carolinensis, Basillicus vittatus, Anolis equestris, Agama agama, and Iguna iguana).

Matheson Hammock
A. cristatellus and a lot of Agama agama living in the rock wall in the parking lot.

Key Biscayne – Crandon Park and downtown
A. cristatellus, A. distichus, A. carolinensis and Ctenosaura similis (black spiny tail iguana). It was very windy by the beach!

Coral Gables – Peacock Park
A. sagrei, A. cristatellus, and Leiocephalus carinatus (Northern curly-tail lizard). This park was quite busy with people.

Overall, we saw 13 species of herpetofauna (a snake and turtle not listed) despite the windy condition and overcast sky. It was a very fun and productive weekend, and I look forward to spending more time down in Miami over the summer!

If you would like detailed field notes, please feel free to contact me!

juvenile Ctenosaurus similis



Herp note 2: the frogs are calling, and we must go

P. websteri

It’s the second week of February and what can be more romantic that the sweet sounds of frogs calling for a mate at night? The rain we got here (Auburn, AL, USA) the last couple days only seems to encourage all the *peeps* and *wonk wonks* among other sounds. Continue reading

Tortoise remembers

Photo by: H. Zell

A team of researchers showed that the red-footed tortoise were able to remember how to associate colour with food after 18 months they were first taught to do so.

The results from this paper suggest that reptiles may be capable more long-term memory than what we previously believed.



วิทยาสัตว์: มดเดินถอยหลัง?


เห็นๆ กันอยู่ทุกวันว่ามดตามบ้านตามช่องเดินหน้าและถอยหลังได้  แต่เคยสังเกตไหมว่าเวลามดต้องลากของหนักๆ มันจะดึงและเดินถอยหลัง   เอ้า! แล้วมันหาทางกลับบ้านได้ไง ? Continue reading


Herp Note 1: Salamanders and anole in Tuskegee National Forest.

Ambystoma opacum

This weekend I had a chance to go search for some lizards and salamander in Tuskegee National Forest. Given that Alabama is one of the biological hotspots for reptiles and amphibians in the US, I was hoping to see some animals I’ve never seen before. It was a clear cold morning (0-10°C). Continue reading


Patch size getting smaller in the Collared flycatcher, 15 years of study shows.

Photo by: Stefan Berdtsson (flickr)

See the small white forehead patch of the male Collared flycatcher in the photo? They are getting smaller and smaller. Continue reading


Old dancing feet…the case of old male blue-footed boobies

Photo by: Etai Adam (flickr)

Dance is like wine; it matures with every performance.
– Alarmel Valli (classical Indian dancer)

Unfortunately, this is not the case for male blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii). In their world, males show off their extravagant blue feet and “dance” to attract females. The more brighter the blue on your foot, the more attractive you are because this shows that you know how to take care of yourself.
A study by Torres and Velando (2007) showed that older males, while more experienced, are not as attractive because they cannot keep their bright coloured blue foot. Unfortunately, as the birds age, their immune system gets weaker and their body can not dedicate so much energy into making their feet look nice as much as they want to.

Here’s a great video of what the dance looks like!

Fun fact: The name “booby” comes from the Spanish word “bobo” which means clown!