Habitat degradation poses a greater risk to the survival of turtles and tortoises than rising global temperatures, according to new research. More than 60 per cent are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, because they are being traded, collected for food and medicine and their habitats are being degraded. Understanding the additional impact of global warming and changes in rainfall patterns on their diversity and distributions is therefore paramount to their conservation.

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How rattlesnakes got, and lost, their venom

by Herp News on September 16, 2016

Millions of years ago, the ancestor of modern rattlesnakes was endowed with a genetic arsenal of toxic weaponry. But in a relatively short period of evolutionary time, different types of snakes kept different types of toxin genes, and shed others.

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Bats use second sense to hunt prey in noisy environments

September 15, 2016

Like many predators, the fringe-lipped bat primarily uses its hearing to find its prey, but with human-generated noise on the rise, scientists are examining how bats and other animals might adapt to find their next meal. According to a new study, when noise masks the mating calls of the bat’s prey, túngara frogs, the bat [...]

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Snake eats lizard eats beetle: Fossil food chain from the Messel Pit examined

September 7, 2016

Scientists have examined a spectacular discovery from the UNESCO World Heritage site Messel Pit: A fossil snake in whose stomach a lizard can be seen, which in turn had consumed a beetle. The discovery of the approximately 48-million-year-old tripartite fossil food chain is unique for Messel; worldwide, only one single comparable piece exists. Go to [...]

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Global warming data not enough to predict animal extinction, lizard study finds

September 6, 2016

Current models used to predict the survival of species in a warming world might be off target because they ignore the spatial distribution of shade, report scientists. Go to Source

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Blue coral snake, calliophis bivirgata: A mysterious beauty armed with exotic toxins

September 5, 2016

Toxicologists in Malaysia published the first report on the venom proteome correlating toxic functionalities of the Malayan blue coral snake, an exotic species from the country. The toxins are unique among snakes and have deep implication on antivenom production and drug discovery. Go to Source

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‘Ghost snake’ discovered in Madagascar

September 4, 2016

Researchers discovered a new snake species in Madagascar and named it ‘ghost snake’ for its pale grey coloration and elusiveness. The researchers named it Madagascarophis lolo, pronounced ‘luu luu,’ which means ghost in Malagasy. Go to Source

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Organized poaching is decimating Madagascar’s sea turtles

September 4, 2016

The illegal hunting of Madagascar’s sea turtles is reaching a crisis level as a result of organized trafficking networks says a team of conservationists. The team asserts that the recent spike in the exploitation of marine turtles is being driven by increasing demand for marine turtle meat and oil both on local markets and in [...]

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BPA can disrupt painted turtles’ brain development could be a population health concern

August 23, 2016

Often, aquatic environments such as rivers and streams become reservoirs for BPA, affecting turtle habitats. Last year, a team of researchers determined that BPA can disrupt sexual function in painted turtles. Now, the team has shown that BPA also can induce behavioral changes in turtles, reprogramming male turtle brains to show behavior common in females. [...]

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Snake eyes: New insights into visual adaptations

August 18, 2016

New insights into the relationship between ultraviolet (UV) filters and hunting methods in snakes is one of the findings of the first major study of visual pigment genes and lenses in snakes. Go to Source

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