Bewdley, United Kingdom
Bewdley, United Kingdom

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Kaiser H.,Victor Valley College | Carvalho V.L.,Timor University | Ceballos J.,Victor Valley College | Freed P.,14149 S. Butte Creek Road | And 8 more authors.
ZooKeys | Year: 2011

Fieldwork conducted throughout Timor-Leste in September 2004 and July 2009 resulted in a collection or recording of 263 herpetological specimens (100 amphibians, 163 reptiles), comprising at least seven species of frogs and toads, 20 species of lizards, seven species of snakes, two species of turtles, and one species of crocodile. Among the amphibians, the most frequently encountered species were toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), rice paddy frogs (genus Fejervarya), and rhacophorid treefrogs (Polypedates cf. leucomystax). All three variants of rice paddy frogs encountered represent undescribed species similar to F. verruculosa from neighboring Wetar Island. Records of F. cancrivora and F. limnocharis for Timor Island are apparently errors based on misidentification. We obtained voucher specimens for a total of 147 lizards and voucher photographs only for four specimens of Varanus timorensis. Aside from geckos frequently associated with human habitations (e.g., Gehyra mutilata, Gekko gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus, H. platyurus), we discovered an as yet undescribed species of bent-toed gecko, genus Cyrtodactylus, in the Same valley. Our specimens of H. platyurus are the first record of this species from Timor-Leste. Commonly encountered skinks included four-fingered skinks (genus Carlia), wedge skinks (genus Sphenomorphus), and night skinks (genus Eremiascincus). Notable among the 15 snakes collected was the frequency of pitvipers (Cryptelytrops insularis), which amounted to over 25% of all snakes. Our specimen of the wolfsnake Lycodon subcinctus is the first record of this species for Timor-Leste. Based on these findings, it appears that the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles in this remote corner of Wallacea is much greater than previously thought, particularly with respect to scincid lizards. The detail we provide in the species accounts is designed to allow the use of this report as a preliminary field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Timor-Leste. However, survey work is ongoing. © Hinrich Kaiser et al.

Sanchez C.,Victor Valley College | Carvalho V.L.,University of New South Wales | Kathriner A.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Kathriner A.,Villanova University | And 3 more authors.
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2012

During July 2010 we conducted what appears to be the first herpetofaunal survey in the Oecusse District, Timor-Leste. The amphibian fauna was characterized by the presence of rice paddy frogs (genus Fejervarya) and treefrogs (Polypedates cf. leucomystax), but the recently introduced Asian toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) was found to occur in large numbers in the paddy fields near the district's main town, Pante Macassar. The observed lizard fauna was more diverse, with four species of geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus, H. cf. tenkatei, Gekko gecko, Cyrtodactylus sp.) and three species of skinks (Carlia sp., Eutropis cf. multifasciata, Lamprolepis cf. smaragdina). We confirmed two species of snakes (Broghammerus reticulatus, Laticauda colubrina) and present anecdotal evidence of two others. With the exception of Cyrtodactylus, which most likely represents an undescribed species, the herpetofauna of Oecusse District identified so far appears to be a less diverse subset of species found in the other twelve, contiguous districts of mainland Timor-Leste.

Kaiser H.,Victor Valley College | Carvalho V.L.,Timor University | Freed P.,14149 S. Butte Creek Road | O'Shea M.,West Midland Safari Park | O'Shea M.,University of Melbourne
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2010

During a recent herpetological survey in Timor-Leste we discovered a specimen of the Chinese Pond Turtle (Mauremys reevesii) in the ornamental pond belonging to a hotel in Baucau, the country's second-largest city. The specimen was secured by the hotel's owner in 2008 in a banana grove at Becora near Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste, and kept as a pet. Several other sightings and anecdotal evidence confirm that this species has lived in the eastern part of Timor Island for at least two decades. In this paper, we validate the existence of this species by reporting the first specimen and we provide some additional information on the timing and possible purpose of its introduction into the country.

Kaiser H.,Victor Valley College | Lim J.,Sepilok Jungle Resort | O'Shea M.,West Midland Safari Park
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2012

We describe the first observations of courtship behavior and sexual dichromatism in the keel-bellied whipsnake, Dryophiops rubescens, from an encounter near Sandakan, eastern Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. During this behavior, two males and a female were longitudinally intertwined, with the males jockeying for position along the body of the female. This "mating braid" lasted for well over 1 h, with the entwined snakes moving a distance of over 10 m together. While polygynous mating is known from other snake species, direct observations of mating behaviors in Southeast Asian colubrids are extremely rare. These observations also revealed the presence of sexual dichromatism in D. rubescens, with darker head coloration present in the males.

Kaiser H.,Victor Valley College | Taylor D.,Victor Valley College | Heacox S.,Victor Valley College | Landry P.,Victor Valley College | And 6 more authors.
Salamandra | Year: 2013

As part of an on-going survey of herpetofaunal diversity in Timor-Leste, we documented our observations regarding encounters between local human inhabitants and their reptilian neighbours. Our interest in environmental and conservation education led to the detailed contemplation of five case studies involving reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), a saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), a monitor lizard (Varanus cf. salvator), and Chinese pond turtles (Mauremys reevesii). In each case, we initiated a conversation about the captive animals in order to identify their social, religious, or cultural significance, which allowed us to place the captive existence of the animals into their proper context. While the rationale for keeping reptiles captive has some roots in animist beliefs, most often ownership of a 'pet' relates to social status. There does not appear to be a serious problem with the exploitation of any one of these species as a diminishing resource, but the casual relationship with wildlife has led to the endangerment of humans in the past and could facilitate initiatives designed to turn a profit from wild-caught reptiles in the future. We here detail five instances of captive reptile ownership and present implications for conservation, case-by-case resolutions, and recommendations for how in such situations public education efforts may be key to developing a deeper, pro-environment stance on the part of the human population in Timor-Leste. © 2013 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT).

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