Portal:Amphibians and reptiles/Selected article
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"Selected article of the month" archive
The Cane toad (Bufo marinus), also known as the Giant neotropical toad or Marine toad, is a large, terrestrial true toad native to Central and South America. It is a member of the genus Bufo, which includes hundreds of different true toad species in different habitats throughout the world. The Cane Toad is a prolific breeder; females lay single-clump spawns with large numbers of eggs. Its reproductive success is partly because of opportunistic feeding: it has a diet, unusual among Anurans, of both dead and living matter. Adults average 10 to 15 centimetres (4–6 in) in length; the largest recorded specimen weighed 2.65 kilograms (5.84 lb) and measured 38 centimetres (15 in) from snout to vent.
The Cane toad has large poison glands, and adults and tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the Cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control, notably in the case of Australia in 1935, and derives its common name from its use against sugarcane pests. The Cane Toad is now considered a pest in many of its introduced regions, because its toxic skin kills many native predators when ingested. It has many negative effects on farmers because of pets and animals eating the creatures.
The Olm or Proteus (Proteus anguinus) is an amphibian living in subterranean waters of the Dinaric karst from the Soča river basin near Trieste in Italy through southern Slovenia and southwestern Croatia to Herzegovina. It is the only species in the genus Proteus, the only European species of the family Proteidae, and the only European cave-dwelling chordate. It is also called the "humanfish" (translated literally from Slovenian: Človeška ribica and Croatian: Čovječja ribica), Cave Salamander, or White Salamander.
This animal is most notable for its adaptations to life in the complete darkness of its underground habitat. Its eyes have atrophied, leaving the Olm blind, while its other senses, particularly those of smell and hearing, have become sharper to compensate. It also has no skin pigmentation. In contrast to other amphibians, the Olm is wholly aquatic, not only breeding but living its entire life underwater. This is possible due to larval characteristics, such as external gills, which they retain as adults.
The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), also known as the Komodo Monitor, Komodo Island Monitor, Ora (to the natives of Komodo), or simply Komodo, is a species of lizard which inhabits the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Gili Dasami in central Indonesia.
A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, and the clade Toxicofera, the Komodo is the largest living species of lizard, growing to an average length of 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft). This great length is attributed to island gigantism, as there are no carnivorous mammals to fill the niche in the islands that they live on, and the Komodo dragon's low metabolic rate. As a result of their great size, these lizards are apex predators, dominating the ecosystems in which they live.
Komodo dragons were only discovered by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation makes them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded in order to protect them.
Snakes, like other reptiles, have a skin covered in scales. Snakes are entirely covered with scales or scutes of various shapes and sizes. Scales protect the body of the snake, aid it in locomotion, allow moisture to be retained within, alter the surface characteristics such as roughness to aid in camouflage, and in some cases even aid in prey capture (such as Acrochordus). The simple or complex colouration patterns (which help in camouflage and anti-predator display) are a property of the underlying skin, but the folded nature of scaled skin allows bright skin to be concealed between scales then revealed in order to startle predators.
The Australian Green Tree Frog, simply Green Tree Frog in Australia, White's Tree Frog, or Dumpy Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) is a species of tree frog native to Australia and New Guinea, with introduced populations in New Zealand and the United States. The species belongs to the genus Litoria. It is physiologically similar to some species of the genus, particularly the Magnificent Tree Frog (Litoria splendida) and the Giant Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata).
The Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) is a ground-dwelling tree frog native to eastern Australia. It can reach up to 11 centimetres (4.3 in) in length, making it one of Australia's largest frogs. Many populations, particularly in the Sydney region, inhabit areas of frequent disturbance, such as golf courses, disused industrial land, brick pits and landfill areas. Though once one of the most common frogs in south-east Australia, the Green and Golden Bell Frog has endured major declines in population, leading to its current classification as globally vulnerable. Its numbers have continued to decline and are threatened by habitat loss and degradation, pollution, introduced species, and parasites and pathogens, including the chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis).
The Blue Iguana or Grand Cayman Iguana (Cyclura lewisi) is a critically endangered species of lizard of the genus Cyclura endemic to the island of Grand Cayman. Previously listed as a subspecies of the Cuban Iguana, it was reclassified as a separate species in 2004 due to genetic differences discovered four years earlier. The Blue Iguana is one of the longest-living species of lizard (possibly up to 69 years) and is a national symbol of the Cayman Islands.
The Blue Iguana prefers rocky, sunlit, open areas in dry forests or near the shore, as females must excavate cavities in the sand to lay eggs in June and July. Their vegetarian diet includes plants, fruits, and flowers. Their coloration is tan to gray with a bluish cast that is more pronounced during the breeding season, and more so in males. They are large and heavy-bodied with a dorsal crest of short spines running from the base of the neck to the end of the tail.
The fossil record indicates that the Blue Iguana was abundant before European colonization; but fewer than 15 animals remained in the wild by 2003, and this wild population was predicted to become extinct within the first decade of the 21st century. The species' decline is mainly being driven by predation by feral pets (cats and dogs) and indirectly by the destruction of their natural habitat as fruit farms are converted to pasture for cattle grazing. Since 2004, 219 captive-bred animals have been released into a preserve on Grand Cayman run by a partnership headed by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in an attempt to save the species. Some success with naturally laid eggs has been reported in the wild. At least five non-profit organizations are working with the government of the Cayman Islands to ensure the survival of the Blue Iguana.
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