SquaMates Ep. 5: The Pythons Strike Back

A totally serious herpetological podcast

SquaMates Ep. 5: The Pythons Strike Back

The fifth episode of the SquaMates podcast—with cool new papers, and a special surprise. The show is hosted by Mark D. Scherz, Gabriel Ugueto, and Ethan Kocak, and this week we’re joined by guest host, #HERper Helen Plylar!

In this fifth episode, we talk about amphibian genome size evolution, the speciation of dusky salamanders (Desmognathus), and the Great Anolis Debate. We talk with Helen about her experience as a #HERper, and our main topic of discussion is her research on heat ‘vision’ in snakes.

Episode notes sometimes get clipped on your device or by your podcast provider; for full (extensive) notes, go to http://www.squamatespod.com

Works in Frogress:

Mark has a new book:

Andreone, F., Crottini, A., Rosa, G.M., Rakotoarison, A., Scherz, M.D. & Raselimanana, A.P. (2018) Les Amphibiens du Nord de Madagascar. Association Vahatra, Antananarivo, Madagascar, 355 pp.

and two new papers:

Sentís, M., Chang, Y., Scherz, M.D., Prötzel, D. & Glaw, F. (2018) Rising from the ashes: resurrection of the Malagasy chameleons Furcifer monoceras and Furcifer voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on micro-CT analyses and external morphology. Zootaxa, 4483(3):549–566. 10.11646/zootaxa.4483.3.7

Rasolonjatovo, S.M., Scherz, M.D., Raselimanana, A.P. & Vences, M. (2018) Tadpole predation by Mantidactylus bellyi Mocquard, 1895 with brief description of the site and morphological measurements of the specimen. Herpetology Notes, 11:747–750. [pdf]

Gabriel is being featured in an exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

Museum’s Unique Fossil Collection & Paleoart Exhibit open for Paleontologists Convention in Albuquerque

Ethan is doing Skinktober

And True or Poo?, a sequel to Does it Fart?, written by Dani Rabaiotti (@DaniRabaiotti) and Nick Caruso (@PlethodoNick) and illustrated by our own Ethan Kocak, is out!

Breaking Newts References:

Jones, K.S. & Weisrock, D.W. (in press) Genomic data reject the hypothesis of sympatric ecological speciation in a clade of Desmognathus salamanders. Evolution. 10.1111/evo.13606

Liedtke, H.C., Gower, D.J., Wilkinson, M. & Gomez-Mestre, I. (in press) Macroevolutionary shift in the size of amphibian genomes and the role of life history and climate. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 10.1038/s41559-018-0674-4

Nori, J., Villalobos, F. & Loyola, R. (in press) Global priority areas for amphibian research. Journal of Biogeography. 10.1111/jbi.13435

Nori, J. & Loyola, R. (2015) On the Worrying Fate of Data Deficient Amphibians. PLoS ONE, 10, e0125055. 10.1371/journal.pone.0125055

Data deficiency and the plight of the unknown – a blog post by Mark on the Nori & Loyola (2015) paper when it first came out.

Amado, T.F., Bidau, C.J. & Olalla-Tárraga, M.Á. (in press) Geographic variation of body size in New World anurans: energy and water in a balance. Ecography. 10.1111/ecog.03889 — check out @amadotalita on twitter!

The great Anolis debate:

Nicholson, K.E., Crother, B.I., Guyer, C. & Savage, J.M. (2018) Translating a clade based classification into one that is valid under the international code of zoological nomenclature: the case of the lizards of the family Dactyloidae (Order Squamata). Zootaxa, 4461, 573-586. 10.11646/zootaxa.4461.4.7

in response to

Poe, S., Nieto-montes de oca, A., Torres-carvajal, O., De Queiroz, K., Velasco, J.A., Truett, B., Gray, L.N., Ryan, M.J., Köhler, G., Ayala-varela, F. & Latella, I. (2017) A phylogenetic, biogeographic, and taxonomic study of all extant species of Anolis (Squamata; Iguanidae). Systematic Biology, 66, 663–697. 10.1093/sysbio/syx029


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

in response to

Nicholson, K.E., Crother, B.I., Guyer, C. & Savage, J.M. (2012) It is time for a new classification of anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae). Zootaxa, 3477, 108.

and so on, and so forth.

Poll on AnoleAnnals suggests people don’t want to the adopt the alternative taxonomy

Pyron, R.A., Burbrink, F.T. & Wiens, J.J. (2013) A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13, 93. 10.1186/1471-2148-13-93 (Mark mistakenly referred to this as the ‘Pyron and Wiens paper’)

#HERpers and main discussion

Read an interview with Helen Bond Plylar!

Read the Wikipedia page about Infrared ‘Vision’ in snakes

Questions from lizardners shoutouts


Alex Hall, @allopatry

Nicholas Sly, @nickslybirdguy

Natalia Maass, @NatDoesScience

Follow the show and the hosts on social media!

SquaMates: website • twitter • instagram • facebook

Mark D. Scherz: website • twitter • instagram • tumblr • facebook • researchgate

Gabriel Ugueto: website • twitter • instagram • facebook • artwork prints

Ethan Kocak: website • twitter • tumblr • facebook

Helen Bond Plylar: twitter

4 Responses

  1. llewelly says:

    Thank you for spending time on my questions about rubber boas and calls.

    I apologize for not posting this comment weeks ago.

  2. llewelly says:

    Also, I appreciated Helen’s participation in the show. I sure hope she enjoys Logan – I spent parts of my childhood there, and it’s sure a beautiful area. Hopefully the winter inversions don’t get too bad.

  3. Kristin Bailey says:

    Helen’s twitter address needs an update, it should be @SssnakeySci but the link only has 2 S instead of 3. 🙂 Luckily I was able to search for her and follow her.

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