Herpetology Lab 1 – Gymnophiona/Caudata




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Herpetology Lab 1 – Gymnophiona/Caudata

Class Amphibia

Class Reptilia

Amphibians (Class Amphibia)

    • Gymnophiona (Caecilians)

    • Urodela (Caudata) (Salamanders and Newts)

    • Anura (Frogs and Toads)

Reptiles (Class Reptilia)

    • Testudines (Turtles and Tortoises)

    • Squamata (“Lizards,” Amphisbaenians, Snakes)

    • Rhynchocephalia (Tuataras)

    • Crocodylia (Alligators and Crocodilians)

    • Aves (Birds)

  • Ectotherms

  • Thermoregulation

Amphibia

  • Greek “amphibios”= a being with a double life.

  • Caecilians, Salamanders, Frogs and Toads

  • ~ 230 mya

  • 3 orders; 57 families

  • 434 genera; 6,182 species

  • Found on every continent except Antarctica.

  • Metamorphosis (Hormonal control)

  • Tadpolesà Frogs/ Toads (herbivorous/cannibalistic)

  • Salamander larvae (aquatic)à Eft (land-dwelling)à Adult Salamander(aquatic)

(carnivorous)

  • Juvenile features:

    • Larval tails

    • Tadpole “teeth”

    • External gills

    • Lateral-line sensory organs

    • Amphibia

  • Paedomorphosis

    • Reproductively mature individuals retain larval features.

Ex. Ambystomatids

Ambystoma mexicanum

  • Family Cryptobranchidae

        • Necturus

        • Amphiumidae

        • Sirenidae

All species are paedomorphic.

“Neotenic” forms are reproductively mature individuals that retain juvenile features



  • Heterochrony - rate/timing of developmental events.

  • Order Gymnophiona

- elongated bodies, limbless

- segmented (annuli)

- little/ no tail past cloaca

- fossorial (bony skulls)



- S. China, Ghana, C. America & radiated throughout tropics.

  • Cloaca

  • Snout-Vent Length (SVL)

  • Total Length (TL)

  • Tail Length (TL)

Gymnophiona

  • Smallest – Idiocranium russeli (W. Africa) (2.8 in)

  • Longest - Caecilia thompsoni (Colombia) (5.2ft)

  • Diet - Opportunistic feeders

    • Earthworms, termites, crickets..etc

    • “sit and wait” foraging mode

  • Family Typhlonectidae – Aquatic caecilians

-Typhlonectes sp.

Order Urodela (Caudata)

  • “Caudate”- having a tail or tail-like appendage.

  • Salamanders and Newts

  • 9 families, 64 genera, 556 species

  • Caudata

  • Aquatic, amphibious, or terrestrial

  • Body size ~ 2-6 in. à 4.6ft

  • Elongated bodies

  • Similar-sized limbs

  • Salamander - tailed amphibian in terrestrial habitats

  • Newt - refers to genera that return to water

to breed (Notopthalmus, Taricha)

  • Smooth, scale-less skin

  • Skin involved in gas exchange

  • All carnivorous (invertebrates)

  • Most have internal fertilization

  • Oviparous, ovoviviparous

  • Spermatophore

  • Ambystomatidae

  • Mole Salamanders (2 genera, 35 species)

    • Found only in N. America (New World)

    • Inhabit moist environments (rotten logs, animal burrows)

    • Aquatic larvae à terrestrial adults

    • Paedomorphic species

    • Stocky body form, costal grooves

    • Tail laterally compressed

    • 4 “fingers”, 5 “toes”

  • Rhyacotritonidae

  • Torrent Salamanders

    • 1 genus, 4 species

    • N. America (Pacific Northwest)

    • Inhabit cold streams/springs (aquatic, semi-aquatic)

    • Greatly reduced lungs

    • Small body size (9-12 cm), large eyes

    • 4 short well-developed limbs

    • 4 fingers, 5 toes

    • Costal grooves

  • Salamandridae

  • Newts (20 genera, 74 species)

    • N. America, Europe, Asia

    • Brightly colored (noxious secretions)

    • SVL (7-35 cm), slender, long tails

    • Lack costal grooves

    • Rough à smooth skin (environment)

    • Internal fertilization (spermatophore)

  • Plethodontidae

  • Lungless Salamanders (24 genera, 377 species)

    • New World distribution (N.,C.,S. America & Europe)

    • Inhabit woodlands, caves, mountain streams

    • (2.5-21 cm) SVL, cylindrical

    • Costal grooves present

    • Gas Exchange occurs via skin

    • Nasolabial grooves

  • Proteidae

  • Olms, Mudpuppies, and Waterdogs

    • 2 genera, 6 species

    • Balkans (olm) / East & Central N. America

    • Entirely aquatic, external feathery gills (paedomorphic)

    • (11-35 cm) SVL, stout body, tail laterally compressed, small limbs

    • Costal grooves

  • Cryptobranchidae

  • Giant Salamanders (2 genera, 3 species)

    • China, Japan & E/C USA (hellbender)

    • (60-160 cm) body length ~1.5 m = 5 ft

    • Massive head & body, short limbs

    • Nocturnal, cold mountain streams

    • Long-lived (52 years in captivity)

    • Lateral skin folds

  • Sirenidae

  • Sirens (2 genera, 4 species)

    • SE USA distribution

    • Shallow water, buried in mud/sand

    • (10-90 cm) length “eel-like” body

    • External gills, no hindlimbs, small forelimbs

    • Costal grooves, horny beak (suction feeding)

  • Amphiumidae

  • Amphiumas (1 genus, 3 species)

    • SE USA, Stagnant waters, swamps

    • Live in burrows, nocturnal , totally aquatic

    • Feed on frogs, snails & fish

    • (22-76 cm) length “eel-like” (Congo Eels)

    • Tiny limbs (1-3 fingers, toes)

    • Costal grooves, adults possess lungs and 1 gill slit





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