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Archive for April, 2008

New Legless Lizard species discovered in Brazil


Legless lizard, other new species discovered in Brazil


Tue Apr 29, 7:24 PM ET

Scientists discovered legless lizard, a dwarf woodpecker and another 12 suspected new species in Brazil’s fast-disappearing Cerrado grasslands, an environmental group said Tuesday.

The discoveries were made during a 29-day expedition by US and Brazilian scientists in Brazil’s vast wooded grasslands, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity conservation hotspots, Conservation International said in a statement.

The grasslands are threatened by encroaching farmland; the expedition focused in and around the Serra Geral do Tocantins Ecological Station, a 7,160 square kilometer (2,765 square mile) protected area that is Cerrado’s second largest.

The 14 suspected new species discovered include eight fish, three reptiles, one amphibian, one mammal and one bird, the group said.

The legless lizard, of the Bachia genus, resembles a snake due to its lack of legs and uses its pointed snout to move about its predominantly sandy environment.

Other outstanding new findings include a dwarf woodpecker of the genus Picumnus, and a horned toad of the genus Proceratophrys.

Besides the new species, the scientists also recorded several threatened animals such as the hyacinth macaw, marsh deer, three-banded armadillo, the Brazilian merganser and the dwarf tinamou, among more than 440 species of vertebrates documented.

“We need to know our protected areas better, especially the ecological stations whose principal objective is to generate scientific knowledge of Brazilian biodiversity, so little studied and already so severely threatened,” said expedition leader Cristiano Nogueira.


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“Little Guy” Great Basin (Western) rattlesnake teaching


Thanks to all who came to the program today. In this picture, we’re explaining the differences between gopher snakes and rattlesnakes. A difficult shot because of the light and because we were all moving around.

Posted by Frank - April 27, 2008

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Silent Secret of Snakes at M-K Nature Center April 27


If you live in the Boise, Idaho area,, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

The EcoSnake team will be at the Idaho Fish and Game M-K Nature Center, this Sunday, April 27, at 1:00 pm. Thanks - Frank

Posted by Frank - April 25, 2008

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Komodo Dragon’s Bite Is “Weaker Than a House Cat’s”


Komodo dragon picture Enlarge Photo

From “National Geographic News:” 

Komodo Dragon’s Bite Is “Weaker Than a House Cat’s”

Posted by Frank - April 23, 2008

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Woman finds 8-foot alligator in kitchen


Woman finds 8-foot alligator in her Florida kitchen

And some people get jittery about mice in the kitchen.


Authorities say 69-year-old central Florida woman found an 8-foot long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night.

Sandra Frosti says the gator must have pushed through the back porch screen door and then went inside through an open sliding glass door at her home in Oldsmar, just north of Tampa. It then apparently strolled through the living room, down a hall and into the kitchen.

A trapper with Animal Capture of Florida removed the alligator, which was cut by a plate that was knocked to the ground during the chaos. But no one inside the house was injured.


In this photo released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday April 22, 2008, an 8-foot long alligator is seen in the kitchen of an Oldsmar, Fla. home Monday, April 21, 2008. The 69-year-old owner said the gator must have pushed through a back door screen door and then went inside through an open door. It then apparently strolled  through the living room and down a hall and into the kitchen. A trapper removed the gator from the home. (AP Photo/Pinellas County Sheriff's Office)

AP Photo: In this photo released by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday April 22, 2008,…

Posted by Frank - April 22, 2008

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Common Weedkiller Deforms Tadpoles


Common Weedkiller Deforms Tadpoles


Monica Heger
LiveScience Staff
Tue Apr 22, 9:50 AM ET

Spraying your lawn to get rid of pesky weeds may be killing off more than just the plants.

A new study found that the common herbicide atrazine disrupts organ development in tadpoles, resulting in deformed hearts as well as malfunctioning kidneys and intestinal tracts.

When tadpoles were exposed to high levels of atrazine, more than half developed smaller hearts. By contrast, only 2 percent to 3 percent of the tadpoles not exposed to the chemical had abnormal hearts.

The findings were detailed in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in February. The study was funded by a Tufts University internal grant.

Atrazine works as an herbicide by blocking photosynthesis in plants, but scientists do not know why or how it harms organ development in tadpoles.

This is not the first time atrazine has been implicated as a toxin to amphibians. In 2003, research led by Tyrone Hayes at the University of California, Berkeley, found that atrazine affected sex development in frogs, essentially emasculating the males.

Unlike Hayes’s research, which focused on how atrazine affected adult amphibians, the new study, led by Kelly McLaughlin at Tufts University, focused on the middle stage-after very early development, but before the tadpoles became adults.

“For anything that’s going to be introduced into the environment, we have to make sure we look at the effects across all development stages,” McLaughlin said.

The next step, McLaughlin said, is to figure out exactly how atrazine disrupts organ development and to study the effects of lower doses over a longer period of time.

Gallery: Snakes, Frogs and Lizards Gallery: New Amphibian Tree of Life Study: Farms Fuel Frog Deformities Original Story: Common Weedkiller Deforms TadpolesVisit for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go. Check out our collection of Science, Animal and Dinosaur Pictures, Science Videos, Hot Topics, Trivia, Top 10s, Voting, Amazing Images, Reader Favorites, and more. Get cool gadgets at the new LiveScience Store, sign up for our free daily email newsletter and check out our RSS feeds today!

Posted by Frank - April 22, 2008


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Lizard Foraging Sheds Light on Evolution of Biomechanics


Fascinating research on how lizards use energy to forage for food:

Lizard Foraging Sheds Light On Evolution Of Biomechanics

Posted by Frank - April 22, 2008

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Loggerhead turtle nests down - green and leatherbacks up


Loggerhead turtle nests lag, green and leatherbacks are up

September 21, 2008, Associated Press

Florida’s beaches lost a substantial amount of loggerhead sea turtle nests in 2007, giving the state its lowest nest count in 17 years, wildlife officials reported.

Researchers found 45,084 nests for the threatened turtles, down more than 4,600 nests from 2006, according to newly released statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Florida accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s loggerhead nests, which have decreased by nearly half since 1998, when the state reported 85,988 nests.

Loggerhead sea turtle deaths in Florida have more than doubled during the past decade, statistics show.

“Data collected during the 2007 season indicate the lowest nesting levels in Florida” in the history of the monitoring program, said a report on the commission’s Web site.

While the number of loggerhead nests has been shrinking, green and leatherback turtle nests are showing an increase, in many cases at the same beaches. There’s no simple answer for this disparity, said Anne Meylan, who coordinates the statewide nesting beach survey program. Disease, oil spills, red tide and boat collisions kill many sea turtles, and beach development can disturb all wildlife, she said.

One factor that could be affecting loggerheads more than other sea turtles is shrimp boat nets and long-line fishing hooks. Loggerheads eat shrimp and other hard-shelled invertebrates, whereas other sea turtles do not.

A rule was passed several years ago requiring shrimp fisheries to use nets with turtle excluder devices, Meylan said. But because loggerheads take up to 30 years to begin reproducing, it could be decades before the effect of that rule is observed in nesting numbers, she said.

Of the 196 beaches surveyed last year, some had no nests for the first time. Nesting begins in April, peaks in June and July, and ends in September.

Because of their migratory existence, Loggerhead turtles are protected by various international treaties and agreements. Nearly 90 percent of the worlds population is believed to nest on the beaches of Florida and the nation of Oman, on the Arabian Peninsula.


On the Net:

FWC’s loggerhead turtle nest reports:;


Information from: The Tampa Tribune,


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Rattlesnake Awareness April 27, 2008


Rattlesnake Awareness April 27, 2008, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

Frank and the EcoSnake team are presenting the Rattlesnake Awareness and Silent Secret of Snakes program this Sunday, April 27, 2008 at the Idaho Fish and Game MK Nature Center in Boise, Idaho. If you live in the area and want to learn more about these great animals, please try to come… The Nature Center is located in Boise at 600 South Walnut - corner of Park Blvd. and Walnut Streets.  The program starts at 1:00 pm.  Thanks!

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Burmese python saga in Oregon


OREGON COP pries jaws of 12-foot python open to rescue pet store owner.

Posted by Frank - April 19, 2008

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