arizonanature:

Gila Monster (by cameronrognan)

arizonanature:

Gila Monster (by cameronrognan)

This sea snake pictured above is a newly-discovered species of highly-venomous sea snake found off of the coast of northern Australia. While this in itself wouldn’t be too newsworthy, the fact that it is covered from heat to tail in very spiny scales is quite fascinating. Here’s a close-up:

Very little is known about this creature, now named Hydrophis donaldi, as of yet, and it is likely to remain that way, as according to Bryan Fry, of University of Queensland:


Field observations are impossible, because the water is very murky and filled with lots of very large bull sharks and saltwater crocodiles, in addition to [highly poisonous] box jellyfish. If we tried to dive there, our life expectancy would be measured in minutes. The only question is which animal would kill us. My money is on the bull sharks.

Read More at National Geographic 
And thanks to xradicald for showing me this article!

This sea snake pictured above is a newly-discovered species of highly-venomous sea snake found off of the coast of northern Australia. While this in itself wouldn’t be too newsworthy, the fact that it is covered from heat to tail in very spiny scales is quite fascinating. Here’s a close-up:

Very little is known about this creature, now named Hydrophis donaldi, as of yet, and it is likely to remain that way, as according to Bryan Fry, of University of Queensland:

Field observations are impossible, because the water is very murky and filled with lots of very large bull sharks and saltwater crocodiles, in addition to [highly poisonous] box jellyfish. If we tried to dive there, our life expectancy would be measured in minutes. The only question is which animal would kill us. My money is on the bull sharks.

Read More at National Geographic 

And thanks to xradicald for showing me this article!

Ichthyosaurs

Ichthyosaurs were predatory marine reptiles that swam the world’s oceans while dinosaurs walked the land. They appeared in the Triassic period, dying out around 25 million years before the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Ichthyosaurs (literally ‘fish-lizards’) evolved from an as yet unidentified land reptile that moved back into the water. These huge animals rapidly diversified from being lizards with fins to developing a much more streamlined, fish-like form built for speed. One species has been calculated to have a cruising speed of 3.6 km/h. These enormous predators remained at the top of the food chain until they were replaced by the plesiosaurs.

Ichthyosaurs

Ichthyosaurs were predatory marine reptiles that swam the world’s oceans while dinosaurs walked the land. They appeared in the Triassic period, dying out around 25 million years before the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Ichthyosaurs (literally ‘fish-lizards’) evolved from an as yet unidentified land reptile that moved back into the water. These huge animals rapidly diversified from being lizards with fins to developing a much more streamlined, fish-like form built for speed. One species has been calculated to have a cruising speed of 3.6 km/h. These enormous predators remained at the top of the food chain until they were replaced by the plesiosaurs.

Everglade’s Newest Unwelcome Residents
Southern Florida is now dealing with a new crisis in the Everglades, and not one you’d expect. The park has been invaded by sixteen-foot pythons.
Yet this isn’t a relatively new development, as park rangers began to notice these invasive species slithering amok twelve years ago. They speculate that the snakes were released from their homes where they were kept as pets, either as a result of negligence or possibly hurricanes.
Officials are under the belief that there are, at the least, tens of thousands of these pythons inhabiting the reservation, having caught and relocated over three hundred a year for the past four years.
 
All over the United States, there is some instances of “stray” pythons, but in no location is their presence as devastating as it is to the unique ecosystem of the Everglades. These snakes have been thriving, multiplying their numbers, and, as a result, annihilating the local mammalian populations.
For example, in an eight year span, raccoon populations plummeted to just 0.7 percent of their previous numbers. Opossum populations fell by 98.9% and bobcats dropped by 87.5%. Some species, such as foxes, were not even able to be surveyed, as none were found in the affected areas.

Everglade’s Newest Unwelcome Residents

Southern Florida is now dealing with a new crisis in the Everglades, and not one you’d expect. The park has been invaded by sixteen-foot pythons.

Yet this isn’t a relatively new development, as park rangers began to notice these invasive species slithering amok twelve years ago. They speculate that the snakes were released from their homes where they were kept as pets, either as a result of negligence or possibly hurricanes.

Officials are under the belief that there are, at the least, tens of thousands of these pythons inhabiting the reservation, having caught and relocated over three hundred a year for the past four years.

All over the United States, there is some instances of “stray” pythons, but in no location is their presence as devastating as it is to the unique ecosystem of the Everglades. These snakes have been thriving, multiplying their numbers, and, as a result, annihilating the local mammalian populations.

For example, in an eight year span, raccoon populations plummeted to just 0.7 percent of their previous numbers. Opossum populations fell by 98.9% and bobcats dropped by 87.5%. Some species, such as foxes, were not even able to be surveyed, as none were found in the affected areas.


The name and appearance of the Komodo dragon is straight out of legend. In reality these are huge, heavily-built monitor lizards - the biggest lizards in the world. The largest accurately recorded dragon was 3.1m long and a weighty 166kg. It was once thought that Komodos used deadly saliva containing toxic bacteria to poison their prey. Studies have now shown that they are venomous. Glands in the jaw secrete a complex mix of toxic substances into a wound made by the dragon’s teeth. Komodo dragons are at the top of the food chain on their Indonesian island homes of Komodo, Rinca and Flores.

The name and appearance of the Komodo dragon is straight out of legend. In reality these are huge, heavily-built monitor lizards - the biggest lizards in the world. The largest accurately recorded dragon was 3.1m long and a weighty 166kg. It was once thought that Komodos used deadly saliva containing toxic bacteria to poison their prey. Studies have now shown that they are venomous. Glands in the jaw secrete a complex mix of toxic substances into a wound made by the dragon’s teeth. Komodo dragons are at the top of the food chain on their Indonesian island homes of Komodo, Rinca and Flores.

Lizards May Become Smarter by Warming World

When the heat is on, lizards become smarter – potentially giving them a competitive edge as the world warms.
Previous research has shown that scincid lizards (Bassiana duperreyi) grow larger if their eggs are incubated at higher temperatures. Joshua Amiel and colleagues at the University of Sydney, Australia, wanted to see if bigger lizards also make better learners, so they incubated nine eggs in cold conditions – 8.5 to 23.5  °C – and 12 in warm conditions – 14.5 to 29.5 °C.
Once hatched, the lizards were put in plastic containers equipped with two hideouts, one blocked off with Plexiglass and the other fully accessible. The researchers, playing predators, scared the lizards by touching their tails with a paintbrush and recorded where the lizards went. After 16 trials, five of the nine cold-incubated lizards still headed for the inaccessible hideout. Just one of the 12 warm-incubated lizards made the same mistake.
"Climate change might not be so bad for these guys," says Amiel.
Elsewhere in the world, though, a warmer world is bad news for reptiles. It is thought to be responsible for a 12 per cent drop in the population of one group of Mexican lizards since 1975, and a 75 per cent decline in reptiles and amphibians in Costa Rica’s native forests since 1970.

Lizards May Become Smarter by Warming World

When the heat is on, lizards become smarter – potentially giving them a competitive edge as the world warms.

Previous research has shown that scincid lizards (Bassiana duperreyi) grow larger if their eggs are incubated at higher temperatures. Joshua Amiel and colleagues at the University of Sydney, Australia, wanted to see if bigger lizards also make better learners, so they incubated nine eggs in cold conditions – 8.5 to 23.5  °C – and 12 in warm conditions – 14.5 to 29.5 °C.

Once hatched, the lizards were put in plastic containers equipped with two hideouts, one blocked off with Plexiglass and the other fully accessible. The researchers, playing predators, scared the lizards by touching their tails with a paintbrush and recorded where the lizards went. After 16 trials, five of the nine cold-incubated lizards still headed for the inaccessible hideout. Just one of the 12 warm-incubated lizards made the same mistake.

"Climate change might not be so bad for these guys," says Amiel.

Elsewhere in the world, though, a warmer world is bad news for reptiles. It is thought to be responsible for a 12 per cent drop in the population of one group of Mexican lizards since 1975, and a 75 per cent decline in reptiles and amphibians in Costa Rica’s native forests since 1970.

New Viper Snake Species Found
A new species of brightly coloured snake has been found in a remote area of Tanzania in East Africa.
The striking black-and-yellow snake measures 60 cm (2.1 ft) and has horn-like scales above its eyes.
The newly discovered snake, named Matilda’s horned viper, has been described in the journal Zootaxa.
The exact location of the new species is being kept a secret, because it could be of interest to the illegal pet trade.
Campaign group the Wildlife Conservation Society said the snake’s habitat, estimated at only a several square km, is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture.
The authors of the study in Zootaxa expect the viper will be classified as a critically endangered species.
They have already established a small captive breeding colony.

New Viper Snake Species Found

A new species of brightly coloured snake has been found in a remote area of Tanzania in East Africa.

The striking black-and-yellow snake measures 60 cm (2.1 ft) and has horn-like scales above its eyes.

The newly discovered snake, named Matilda’s horned viper, has been described in the journal Zootaxa.

The exact location of the new species is being kept a secret, because it could be of interest to the illegal pet trade.

Campaign group the Wildlife Conservation Society said the snake’s habitat, estimated at only a several square km, is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture.

The authors of the study in Zootaxa expect the viper will be classified as a critically endangered species.

They have already established a small captive breeding colony.