Herpetological Highlights-logo

Herpetological Highlights

Podcasts >

More Information


033 Lost in Translocation

Translocation is a popular method for reducing human-wildlife conflict, but does it work for snakes? We delve into a couple of new papers about translocation in venomous species. Our Species of the Bi-week is a viper with an unusual appetite. Main paper references: Devan-Song, A., Martelli, P., Dudgeon, D., Crow, P., Ades, G., & Karraker, N. E. (2016). Is long-distance translocation an effective mitigation tool for white-lipped pit vipers (Trimeresurus albolabris) in South China?....


032 Duplicitous Dendrobatids

Frogs come in loads of crazy colours - but the reasons why can be quite complicated. We try to get to grips with some fascinating new research which suggests frogs can be both cryptic and shockingly obvious. Of course we have an amphibian Species of the Bi-Week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Barnett, JB, C Michalis, NE Scott-Samuel, and IC Cuthill. 2018. “Distance-Dependent Defensive Coloration in the Poison Frog Dendrobates...


031 From Tortoise Brutality to Snail-eating Snakes

Another News Niche episode! We talk about all sorts of things this fortnight: Anolis rebuttals, tortoise criminality, mollusc munching snakes and a little about the snakebite crisis. Naturally the Species of the Bi-week is not neglected, with this week hosting more species than you can snake a slug at. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Bush, JM, and D Simberloff. 2018. “A Case for Anole Territoriality.” Behavioral Ecology and...


030 Attack of the Toxic Toads

Generally speaking, toads are laid back, easy-going creatures. But every so often a species will find itself an invader in a new land and wreak total havoc. We discuss one such toad (but not necessarily the one you might think). Of course there is a toad which is brand new to science as well, in our Species of the Bi-Week. Main Paper References: Moore, M, JFSN Fidy, and D Edmonds. 2015. “The New Toad in Town: Distribution of the Asian Toad, Duttaphrynus Melanostictus, in the...


029 Striking Snakes

Vipers, sedentary and slow, until it matters most. But how fast can vipers strike? And how do other snakes compare? We check out a couple of papers answering these questions this fortnight as well as checking in on another Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Higham, TE, RW Clark, CE Collins, MD Whitford, and GA Freymiller. 2017. “Rattlesnakes Are Extremely Fast and Variable When Striking at Kangaroo Rats in Nature:...


028 Indigo Snakes

Some snakes are equal parts impressive and mysterious. The indigo snakes are one such group. In this episode we talk about Drymarchon conservation controversies, and what they like to have for their lunch. Finally, we do an unintended Species of the Bi-week mash up. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Folta, B, J Bauder, S Spear, D Stevenson, M Hoffman, J Oaks, C Jenkins, D Steen, and C Guyer. 2018. “Phylogenetic, Population Genetic, and...


027 The Curious Case of the Collapsed Chelonian

Back to the news niche! This fortnight we’re talking about a collection of papers ranging from crocodile colours to frog personalities, as well as the mysterious death of a tortoise. We finish up with a meta-chat about science podcasting and a brief mention of the crazy future world of in-field laboratories. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com References: Kelleher, S. R., Silla, A. J., & Byrne, P. G. (2018). Animal personality and behavioral syndromes in...


026 Assortment of Anoles

Long-time friends of herpetologists, anoles have proven a fruitful area of research for decades. This bi-week we discuss a couple of papers examining anole behaviour and colouration before highlighting a newly discovered (and rather spectacular) species. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Kamath, A, and JB Losos. 2018. “Estimating Encounter Rates as the First Step of Sexual Selection in the Lizard Anolis Sagrei.” Proceedings of the...


024 News Niche - Crabs and p-values

This bi-week we decided to do things a little differently. No main theme, we just read random stuff and chatted about it. Featuring some exciting new developments in the crab vs snake continuum, and some methodological issues to keep an eye on. Huge thank you to our Patreons - if you enjoy the podcast please consider donating at www.patreon.com/herphighlights FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com References: Akçakaya, H. Resit, Elizabeth L. Bennett, Thomas M....


023 Some smooth, some grassy, all hungry

We kick off this episode with the announcement of our move onto Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/herphighlights . Research chat this time is all British snakes. We may not have the most extensive array of snake-life in the Britain, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some exciting herpetofaunal research. This fortnight we are looking at a couple of papers on smooth and grass snakes. And a slight change to the Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT:...


022 The Ebb and Flow of Water Snakes

Unsurprisingly, water snakes love water. But what happens when this precious resource dries out? This week we discuss the effects of drought on various American water snakes, and pay homage to a newly described Mesoamerican snake. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Rose, JP, and BD Todd. 2017. “Demographic Effects of Prolonged Drought on a Nascent Introduction of a Semi-Aquatic Snake.” Biological Invasions 19 (10): 2885–98....


021 Frugivorous Monitors

Monitors lizards are reknown savengers… or so is widely thought. There are a few species that have cast aside the scavenger ways of thier compariates, opting for more relaxed arboreal lifestyles, spending their days high in the tree tops foraging for only the best fruit. These frugivrous monitor lizards are the subject of this epsiode and are joined by a sperpentine Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Bennett, D....


020 The Magnificent Vipers

Vipers, vipers everywhere. In this episode we muddle our way through some venom research, and learn about the methods employed working out how widespread bushmasters are. Species of the bi-week is a frankly outstanding forest dweller from Costa Rica. If you enjoy our podcast please vote for us for Reader’s Radio Show of the Year on the Reptile Report! http://awards.thereptilereport.com/radio-show-of-the-year-2017/ FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper...


019 Invertebrates Strike Back

We usually think of invertebrates as a frog’s favourite meal. But in this episode we explore the times when the tables turn and frogs fall victim to mighty invertebrates. Except for the Accra snake-necked frog, they have an ingenious way of avoiding invertebrate conflict. Species of the Bi-week features a double-bill of tree frogs. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Jablonski, Daniel. 2015. “Predation on Pristimantis ridens (Cope, 1866)...



This week’s episode is all about the bulkiest snake beast of them all – the ANACONDA. First we look into what neonate anacondas get up to. Then move onto a paper that investigates the human-anaconda conflict across South America (spoiler: people don’t like monster snakes). In lieu of a newly discovered anaconda we discuss a snake with a strange tail in Species of Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Rivas, Jesús A., Cesar R....


016 Slimy Salamander Sociality

Salamanders feature in episode 16, especially North American ones. We chat about the unusual inheritance strategies of Ambystoma, and territorial behaviour and polmorphism (multiple colour patterns) of red-backed salamanders. There will of course be a slippery surprise in our Species of the Bi-week. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Bogart, James P., Jessica E. Linton, and Al Sandilands. 2017. “A Population in Limbo: Unisexual...


The Interviews 002 - Steve Allain

Tom caught up with renowned amphibian man and Imperial College master’s student Steve Allain at Venom Day 2017 at Bangor University. Steve’s midwife toad project features heavily, along with his upcoming master’s research and general amphibian happenings. Steve’s twitter: https://twitter.com/stevoallain Steve’s blog: http://bioweb.ie/author/steven/


015 Serpents of the Sea

Snakes of the sea. Yellow, striped, you name it. We look into some factors changing their colours, and how has the yellow-bellied sea snake become so widespread? Another Species of the Bi-week that’s entirely yellow but not entirely a species. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Brischoux, François, Cédric Cotté, Harvey B. Lillywhite, Frédéric Bailleul, Maxime Lalire, and Philippe Gaspar. 2016. “Oceanic Circulation Models Help to Predict...


013 Frog Fungus

Everyone’s favourite fungus is the topic of this week’s episode – Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, otherwise known as Bd or Chytrid. We discuss some of the ways it spreads and a little about the frogs it affects. Species of the Bi-week is back and this time coming out of Amazonia. FULL REFERENCE LIST AVAILABLE AT: herphighlights.podbean.com Main Paper References: Kolby, Jonathan E., Sara D. Ramirez, Lee Berger, Kathryn L. Richards-Hrdlicka, Merlijn Jocque, and Lee F. Skerratt. 2015....


The Interviews 001 - John ‘Gecko Wrangler’ McGrath

In our first ever interview episode we talk to John McGrath, publisher of digital magazine iHerp Australia. We chat about his experiences in the magazine and publishing industry, and his history with reptiles and amphibians. Read iHerp Magazine FREE here: https://iherpaustralia.com.au/magazine/#id-bookcase iHerp facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iherpaustralia/ iHerp twitter: https://twitter.com/iHerpAustralia Music: Treehouse by Ed Nelson