SquaMates Ep. 7: The Frog Awakens

A totally serious herpetological podcast

SquaMates Ep. 7: The Frog Awakens

The seventh episode of the SquaMates podcast—more amazing news, including five new herp genomes and a new siren, and a discussion that focusses on taxonomy! The show is hosted by Mark D. Scherz, Gabriel Ugueto, and Ethan Kocak.

In this seventh episode, we talk about a selection of new and newsworthy papers, including a new siren, five new reptile genomes (Lonesome George and the high-quality tegu genome!), and lizards in the Andes. Our main discussion is all about taxonomy, which we have a lot of strong opinions about. Our #HERper is the amazing Dr. Helen Beulah Thompson Gaige, an instrumental woman in the establishment of the American Society for Ichthyology and Herpetology!

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

Works in Frogress:

Nothing to report for this episode! We are all working hard as always, but have nothing to show for this month. Tragic.

Breaking Newts References:

Graham, S.P., Kline, R., Steen, D.A. & Kelehear, C. (2018) Description of an extant salamander from the Gulf Coastal Plain of North America: The Reticulated Siren, Siren reticulata. 13, e0207460.

Esquerré D, Brennan IG, Catullo RA, Torres-Pérez F, Keogh JS (in press) How mountains shape biodiversity: the role of the Andes in biogeography, diversification and reproductive biology in South America’s most species rich lizard radiation (Squamata: Liolaemidae). Evolution. 10.1111/evo.13657

Kolora, S.R.R., Weigert, A., Saffari, A., Kehr, S., Costa, M.B.W., Spröer, C., Indrischek, H., Chintalapati, M., Lohse, K., Doose, G., Overmann, J., Bunk, B., Bleidorn, C., Grimm-Seyfarth, A., Henle, K., Nowick, K., Faria, R., Stadler, P.F. & Schlegel, M. (in press) Divergent evolution in the genomes of closely-related lacertids, Lacerta viridis and L. bilineata and implications for speciation. GigaScience, giy160. 10.1093/gigascience/giy160

Quesada, V., Freitas-Rodríguez, S., Miller, J., Pérez-Silva, J.G., Jiang, Z.-F., Tapia, W., Santiago-Fernández, O., Campos-Iglesias, D., Kuderna, L.F., Quinzin, M., Álvarez, M.G., Carrero, D., Beheregaray, L.B., Gibbs, J.P., Chiari, Y., Glaberman, S., Ciofi, C., Araujo-Voces, M., Myoral, P., Arango, J.R., Tamargo-Gómez, I., Roiz-Valle, D., Pascual-Torner, M., Evans, B.R., Edwards, D.L., Garrick, R.C., Russello, M.A., Poulakakis, N., Gaughran, S.J., Rueda, D.O., Bretones, G., Marquès-Bonet, T., White, K.P., Caccone, A. & López-Otín, C. (in press) Giant tortoise genomes provide insights into longevity and age-related disease. Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Roscito, J.G., Sameith, K., Pippel, M., Francoijs, K.-J., Winkler, S., Dahl, A., Papoutsoglou, G., Myers, G. & Hiller, M. (in press) The genome of the tegu lizard Salvator merianae: combining Illumina, PacBio, and optical mapping data to generate a highly contiguous assembly. GigaScience, giy141. 10.1093/gigascience/giy141

Roscito, J.G., Sameith, K., Parra, G., Langer, B.E., Petzold, A., Moebius, C., Bickle, M., Rodrigues, M.T. & Hiller, M. (2018) Phenotype loss is associated with widespread divergence of the gene regulatory landscape in evolution. Nature Communications, 9, 4737. 10.1038/s41467-018-07122-z

Bergmann, P.J. & Morinaga, G. (in press) The convergent evolution of snake-like forms by divergent evolutionary pathways in squamate reptiles. Evolution10.1111/evo.13651

Ali, J.R. & Meiri, S. (in press) Biodiversity growth on the volcanic ocean islands and the roles of in situ cladogenesis and immigration: case with the reptiles. Ecography. 10.1111/ecog.04024

Yuan, Z.-Y., Zhang, B.-L., Raxworthy, C.J., Weisrock, D.W., Hime, P.M., Jin, J.-Q., Lemmon, E.M., Lemmon, A.R., Holland, S.D., Kortyna, M.L., Zhou, W.-W., Peng, M.-S., Che, J. & Prendini, E. (2018) Natatanuran frogs used the Indian Plate to step-stone disperse and radiate across the Indian Ocean. National Science Review, 0, 1–5. 10.1093/nsr/nwy092

Correia, L.L., Nunes, P.M.S., Gamble, T., Maciel, A.O., Marques-Souza, S., Fouquet, A., Rodrigues, M.T. & Mott, T. (2018) A new species of Brasilotyphlus (Gymnophiona: Siphonopidae) and a contribution to the knowledge of the relationship between Microcaecilia and Brasilotyphlus. Zootaxa, 4527, 186–196.

Campbell, J.A., Smith, E.N. & Hall, A.S. (2018) Caudals and calyces: The curious case of a consumed Chiapan colubroid. Journal of Herpetology, 52, 458–471. 10.1670/18-042


Dr. Helen Beulah Thompson Gaige

Dr. Gaige on Wikipedia

Research career profile on list of Scientific and Common names of herps of North America

Parenti, L.R. & Wake, M.H. (2016) Evolution of the role of women in the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Copeia, 104, 594–601. 10.1643/OT-16-427

Ruthven, A.G. (1936) Helen Thompson Gaige. Herpetologica, 1, 1–3.

Main discussion: Taxonomy

Questions by:

Anna Davison — @amdecology

Mike Itgen — @itgenm

John Haas — @neotropical99

Charles — @IncogPollywog

Patrick Hennessey — @thepatrick_h

Ana C. Afonso Silva —@anacatarinaas

Owen Davies —@DrOwenDavies

Further reading:


Taxonomic vandalism and the Raymond Hoser problem—article by Darren Naish (@tetzoo)

Kaiser, H., Crother, B.I., Kelly, C.M.R., Luiselli, L., O’Shea, M., Ota, H., Passos, P., Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. (2013) Best practices: in the 21st century, taxonomic decisions in herpetology are acceptable only when supported by a body of evidence and published via peer-review. Herpetological Review, 44, 8–23.

Hawlitschek, O., Nagy, Z.T. & Glaw, F. (2012) Island evolution and systematic revision of Comoran snakes: Why and when subspecies still make sense. PLoS One, 7, e42970.

Scherz, M.D., Vences, M., Rakotoarison, A., Andreone, F., Köhler, J., Glaw, F. & Crottini, A. (2016) Reconciling molecular phylogeny, morphological divergence and classification of Madagascan narrow-mouthed frogs (Amphibia: Microhylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 100, 372–381. 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.04.019

Peloso, P.L.V., Raxworthy, C.J., Wheeler, W.C. & Frost, D.R. (2017) Nomenclatural stability does not justify recognition of paraphyletic taxa: A response to Scherz et al. (2016). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 111, 56–64. 10.1016/j.ympev.2017.03.016

Scherz, M.D., Vences, M., Rakotoarison, A., Andreone, F., Köhler, J., Glaw, F. & Crottini, A. (2017) Lumping or splitting in the Cophylinae (Anura: Microhylidae) and the need for a parsimony of taxonomic changes: a response to Peloso et al. (2017). Salamandra, 53, 479–483.

Prötzel, D., Vences, M., Scherz, M.D., Vieites, D.R. & Glaw, F. (2017) Splitting and lumping: An integrative taxonomic assessment of Malagasy chameleons in the Calumma guibei complex results in the new species C. gehringi sp. nov. Vertebrate Zoology, 67, 231–249.

The Phylocode—Mike Keesey () rumours of updates on this note coming next year

Hawlitschek, O., Scherz, M.D., Ruthensteiner, B., Crottini, A. & Glaw, F. (2018) Computational molecular species delimitation and taxonomic revision of the gecko genus Ebenavia Boettger, 1878. The Science of Nature, 105, 49. 10.1007/s00114-018-1574-9

Note: The lineages of Ebenavia are actually between 5 and 15 Ma old. The dated phylogeny is in:

Hawlitschek, O., Toussaint, E.F.A., Gehring, P.-S., Ratsoavina, F.M., Cole, N., Crottini, A., Nopper, J., Lam, A.W., Vences, M. & Glaw, F. (2016) Gecko phylogeography in the Western Indian Ocean region: the oldest clade of Ebenavia inunguis lives on the youngest island. Journal of Biogeography, 44, 409–420. 10.1111/jbi.12912

Bush, F.M. (1959) Foods of some Kentucky herptiles. Herpetologica, 15, 73–77.—friends don’t let friends use the term ‘herptile’


Dr. David Steen — @AlongsideWild. Alongsidewildlife grants!

Dr. Julian Roscito — @juroscito

Dr. Michael Hiller — @hillermich

Dr. Alex Hall — @allopatry

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

3 Responses

  1. llewelly says:

    Ethan’s mention of giraffes is a good reminder that while giraffes have proportionately long necks relative to *living* tetrapods, they’re not so long-necked when compared to fossil weirdos.

    Related: it’s also a reminder that while nearly all living mammals (with a few exceptions like sloths) have the same number of neck vertebrae (7), number of neck vertebrae in most non-mammalian tetrapods is highly variable, as Gabriel pointed out. A trait that’s highly conserved in one group may not be conserved at all in another. (viviparity vs oviparity would be another example.)

  2. llewelly says:

    Gabriel mentioned tegus. I for one know almost nothing about tegus, and would appreciate a discussion on tegus.

  3. llewelly says:

    Gabriel’s mention of the (fringe) theory that amniotes were originally viviparous reminded me of a paper that argues that squamates were originally viviparous (which might be just as fringe? I don’t know, but it’s sure interesting.) It was discussed in episode 34 of Herp Highlights.

    Pyron, R. A., & Burbrink, F. T. (2014). Early origin of viviparity and multiple reversions to oviparity in squamate reptiles. Ecology letters, 17(1), 13-21.

    (cite pasted from the herphighlights website )

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