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Tuesday Tetrapod: Ambystoma macrodactylum

Posted by tigerhawkvok on May 11, 2009 23:37 in tuesday tetrapod

This Tuesday, we have a member of caudata (salamanders): Ambystoma macrodactylum.

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A. macrodactylum, the long-toed salamaner. Found near Lake Tahoe, CA

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:

Sources:

  • Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Stebbins, RC, 2003.

Tuesday Tetrapod: Gavialis gangeticus

Posted by tigerhawkvok on May 04, 2009 22:00 in tuesday tetrapod

Another Tuesday Tetrapod! Today we have Gavialis gangeticus, or the Gharial, the most fully aquatic form of extant crocodylian.

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G. gangeticus at the Honolulu Zoo, Hawai'i

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.

Sources:

  • Pough et al. 2004. Herpetology, 3rd edition.
  • Benton 2005. Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd edition.

Tuesday Tetrapod: Sceloporus magister

Posted by tigerhawkvok on April 27, 2009 16:27 in tuesday tetrapod

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:

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Sceloporus magister, photo taken in Death Valley, CA.

Its scientific name comes from the bright ventral colors, most vivid in the genus.

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