SquaMates Ep. 9: The Herpetologist’s Guide to the Galaxy

A totally serious herpetological podcast

SquaMates Ep. 9: The Herpetologist’s Guide to the Galaxy

What? Another episode? So soon after the last? yes indeed! Episode nine is here, with the Mates, Mark D. Scherz, Gabriel Ugueto, and Ethan Kocak, talking about the hottest new research in herpetology since December 2018!

In this ninth episode, we talk about Eleutherodactylus, yellow anacondas, painting with snake pee, and blind snakes in a great deal of detail! Our featured #HERper is Joan Beauchamp Procter, a visionary woman of the early 20th century!

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

Missed Snakes/Follow-up:

Sherratt, E., Coutts, F.J., Rasmussen, A.R. & Sanders, K.L. (in press) Vertebral evolution and ontogenetic allometry: The developmental basis of extreme body shape divergence in microcephalic sea snakes. Evolution & Development. Evolution and Development, 1–10. 10.1111/ede.12284

Works in Frogress:

Mark has submitted his thesis!!! With cover artwork done by Gabriel.

Gabriel’s rendition of Tyrannosaurus rex!

Ethan received his amazing new acquisitions: two species of caecilians!

Breaking Newts:

Marshall JC, Bastiaans E, Caccone A, Camargo A, Morando M, Niemiller ML, Pabijan M, Russello MA, Sinervo B, Sites, Jr. JW, Vences M, Werneck FP, Wollenberg Valero KC, Steinfartz S. 2018. Mechanisms of speciation in reptiles and amphibians: a synopsis. PeerJ Preprints 6, e27279v1 10.7287/peerj.preprints.27279v1

Cunningham, A.A., Smith, F., McKinley, T.J., Perkins, M.W., Fitzpatrick, L.D., Wright, O.N. & Lawson, B. (2019) Apparent absence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in wild urodeles in the United Kingdom. Scientific Reports, 9, 2831. 10.1038/s41598-019-39338-4

Fitzpatrick, L.D., Pasmans, F., Martel, A. & Cunningham, A.A. (2018) Epidemiological tracing of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans identifies widespread infection and associated mortalities in private amphibian collections. Scientific Reports, 8, 13845. 10.1038/s41598-018-31800-z

Kriss, D., Howe, E., Levinson, J., Rizzo, A., Carò, F. & DeLeonardis, L. (2018) A material and technical study of Paracas painted ceramics. Antiquity, 92, 1492–1510. 10.15184/aqy.2018.164

Camera, B.F., Miranda, E.B.P., Ribeiro, R.P., Barros, M., Draque, J., Waller, T., Micucci, P.A., Dambros, C.S. & Strüssmann, C. (2019) Historical assumptions about the predation patterns of yellow anacondas (Eunectes notaeus): are they infrequent feeders? Journal of Herpetology, 53, 47–52. 10.1670/18-089

Dugo-Cota, Á., Vilà, C., Rodríguez, A. & Gonzalez-Voyer, A. (in press) Ecomorphological convergence in Eleutherodactylus frogs: a case of replicate radiations in the Caribbean. Ecology Letters. 10.1111/ele.13246

Frishkoff, L.O., Gabot, E., Sandler, G., Marte, C. & Mahler, D.L. (in press) Elevation shapes the reassembly of Anthropocene lizard communities. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 10.1038/s41559-019-0819-0

Kueneman, J.G., Bletz, M.C., McKenzie, V.J., Becker, C.G., Joseph, M.B., Abarca, J.G., Archer, H., Arellano, A.L., Bataille, A., Becker, M., Belden, L.K., Crottini, A., Geffers, R., Haddad, C.F.B., Harris, R.N., Holden, W.M., Hughey, M., Jarek, M., Kearns, P.J., Kerby, J.L., Kielgast, J., Kurabayashi, A., Longo, A.V., Loudon, A., Medina, D., Nuñez, J.J., Perl, R.G.B., Pinto-Tomás, A., Rabemananjara, F.C.E., Rebollar, E.A., Rodríguez, A., Rollins-Smith, L., Stevenson, R., Tebbe, C.C., Vargas Asensio, G., Waldman, B., Walke, J.B., Whitfield, S.M., Zamudio, K.R., Zúñiga Chaves, I., Woodhams, D.C. & Vences, M. (2019) Community richness of amphibian skin bacteria correlates with bioclimate at the global scale. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3, 381–389. 10.1038/s41559-019-0798-1

Measey, J., Basson, A., Rebelo, A.D., Nunes, A.L., Vimercati, G., Louw, M. & Mohanty, N.P. (2019) Why have a pet amphibian? Insights from YouTube. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 52. 10.3389/fevo.2019.00052

#HERper: Joan Beauchamp Procter FZS FLS

Read about Joan on Wikipedia

A lovely article on Joan by the Linnean Society

An article on Joan by the Zoological Society of London

An obituary of Joan Procter was published in Nature by G. A. Boulenger

Main discussion references:

Miralles, A., Marin, J., Markus, D., Herrel, A., Hedges, S.B. & Vidal, N. (2018) Molecular evidence for the paraphyly of Scolecophidia and its evolutionary implications. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 31, 1782–1793. 10.1111/jeb.13373

Matsubara, K., Kumazawa, Y., Ota, H., Nishida, C. & Matsuda, Y. (2019) Karyotype analysis of four blind snake species (Reptilia: Squamata: Scolecophidia) and karyotypic changes in Serpentes. Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 157, 91–99. 10.1159/000496554

Chretien, J., Wang-Claypool, C.Y., Glaw, F. & Scherz, M.D. (2019) The bizarre skull of Xenotyphlops sheds light on synapomorphies of Typhlopoidea. Journal of Anatomy, Early View. DOI: 10.1111/joa.12952 [Request PDF]

The crazy skull of Xenotyphlops

Mizuno, T. & Kojima, Y. (2015) A blindsnake that decapitates its termite prey. Journal of Zoology, 297, 220–224. 10.1111/jzo.12268

Kley, N.J. (2001) Prey transport mechanisms in blindsnakes and the evolution of unilateral feeding systems in snakes. American Zoologist, 41, 1321–1337. 10.1093/icb/41.6.1321

A selection of skulls of species of the genera Xenotyphlops, Indotyphlops, and Madatyphlops

Kley, N.J. (2006) Morphology of the lower jaw and suspensorium in the Texas blindsnake, Leptotyphlops dulcis (Scolecophidia: Leptotyphlopidae). Journal of Morphology, 267, 494–515. 10.1002/jmor.10414

Vidal, N., Marin, J., Morini, M., Donnellan, S., Branch, W.R., Thomas, R., Vences, M., Wynn, A., Cruaud, C. & Hedges, S.B. (2010) Blindsnake evolutionary tree reveals long history on Gondwana. Biology Letters, 6, 558–561. 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0220

Kraus, F. (2017) New species of blindsnakes (Squamata: Gerrhopilidae) from the offshore islands of Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa, 4299, 75–94. 10.11646/zootaxa.4299.1.3

Cundall, D. & Irish, F.J. (2008) The snake skull. In: Gans, C., Gaunt, A.S. & Adler, K. (Eds.) Morphology H: The Skull of Lepidosauria. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York, pp. 349–692. — access the chapter here.


Emma Sherratt: @DrEmSherratt

Darren Naish: @tetzoo

Lorenzo Senici: @crazy.snakeman

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:

    here’s a preliminary list for the glossary. It may be too aggressive, but it is probably also missing some words.





    characters (as in morphological)


    derived ( in the evolutionary sense)









    paraphyly, polyphyly, etc


    radiation (in the sense of a clade increasing in diversity or disparity)

    stygiomorphic (or whatever that word Ethan brought up was)


    t-positive albino (where Ethan refers to the Australian “copper morph” )


  2. Emily says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the term “troglodytic” kinda sounds mildly derogatory? Like, “grow some melanin and expand your horizons, you blind troglodyte!”
    There’s probably something about Plato there too.

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