This Tuesday, we have a member of caudata (salamanders): Ambystoma macrodactylum.
Ranging from roughtly 4-9 cm, I strongly suspect this specimen is A. m. macrodactylum or the western long-toed salamander (as diagnosed by its unbroken dorsal stripe with blotchy patterns). Ambystomatids have a tendancy to hybridization. Ambistomatidae, like most derived salamanders, have an advanced tongue projection mechanism in which they literally squeeze tongue skeletal elements with muscles to shoot them forward for fast action.
Take a look at their clade here: The Macro Library.
Other weekly snippets:
- Kit's Monday Magnoliophyte
- PZ Meyer's Friday Cephalopod and Mary's Monday Metazoan
- Grrlscientist's daily Bird ID Quiz (OK, not weekly, whatever)
- Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Stebbins, RC, 2003.
Another Tuesday Tetrapod! Today we have Gavialis gangeticus, or the Gharial, the most fully aquatic form of extant crocodylian.
One of only 23 extant species of Crocodylomorpha, Gavialis shares a clade with Tomistoma, of which specifics of their relationship are still contested. Reaching lengths of up to 6.5m, their dentition is adapted to a piscivorous diet. Gavialis has a home range along the Indian border, whereas Tomistoma is further south. Fossils of this clade date back to the Eocene. They are currently critically endangered.
- Pough et al. 2004. Herpetology, 3rd edition.
- Benton 2005. Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd edition.
Things have been rather full lately, so posting has been much more sporadic than I'd like — but to keep up the post frequency (IE, at least weekly), I introduce the Tuesday Tetrapod! At least a photo, and possibly a description of a tetrapod every Tuesday.
Today, let us start with Sceloporus magister, or the Desert Spiny Lizard:
Its scientific name comes from the bright ventral colors, most vivid in the genus.