Improving camera traps for reptiles


This video is about reptiles (and at least one amphibian), filmed by a camera trap at a wildlife corridor in the Netherlands.

The Dutch herpetologists of RAVON write today about reptiles using wildlife corridors. Until recently, they were often not detected, or the image quality was so bad that people could not know which species had been filmed.

In 2014, an experiment started in the Fochteloërveen nature reserve to improve camera traps especially for reptiles. This worked. From May-September this year 97 reptiles using two corridors were recorded (27 adders, 56 grass snakes, five smooth snakes, nine common lizards). There were also many mammals, like stoats, pine martens and hedgehogs.

RAVON plans to improve the system further in 2015; maybe making it possible to even recognize individuals.

Little owl and Thekla lark in Spain


Little owl, 3 November 2014

This little owl was photographed in Spain, on a hillock in a plain, south of the Pyrenees.

After 2 November, 3 November 2014 in Aragon.

To Monegros plain.

A green sandpiper on a lakelet bank.

Foggy weather. There has been drought for a long time. As we walk, many millipedes on the dry soil.

Also, many young natterjack toads. Still very small, less than one centimeter.

Many larks flying and singing. Most of them are calandra larks. Also some, smaller, lesser short-toed larks.

We had hoped to see sandgrouse here, but we don’t see them.

We do see the little owl, pictured at the top of this blog post.

A meadow pipit drinking at one of few puddles.

Then, sandgrouse at last: three black-bellied sandgrouse.

This video is about black-bellied sandgrouse (and chukar partridges)  in Israel. We could not see these three ones in Spain as well, as they flew overhead fast.

A crested lark on a field.

A bit further, eight red-legged partridges.

A male merlin on a wall. A hoopoe on a rock.

Six black-bellied sandgrouse on a field.

A flock of choughs.

Thekla lark, 3 November 2014

A bit further back along the same road, a Thekla lark. Sometimes, it sings.

Thekla lark, Aragon, 3 November 2014

We go back to the lakelet. A snipe.

Butterfly, Spain, 3 November 2014

Though it is already November, still butterflies. Like this one.

We climb a hillock. At first, we see hardly any birds. A bit later, we can see scores of pin-tailed sandgrouse.

After a long time of exerting our eyes and binoculars near a village, we finally manage to see a well-camouflaged stone curlew on a field near a village. The scores of cattle egrets on a building there are easier to spot.

Little grebe, Spain, 3 November 2014

Finally, a hide near a lake. A little grebe.

Teal male, 3 November 2014

A teal.

Water pipit, 3 November 2014

A water pipit.

Marsh harriers, 3 November 2014

Two marsh harriers, flying to the reedbeds for sleeping.

New Brazilian frog named after Ozzy Osbourne


This video is called Wild Amazon Part 1.

From National Geographic:

New “Bat Frog” Found in Amazon, Named for Ozzy Osbourne

Dendropsophus ozzyi males make high-pitched, batlike calls

Carrie Arnold

November 8, 2014

Holy Batfrog! Scientists have discovered a new tree frog species with a shrill, batlike call in the Brazilian Amazon.

“As soon as I heard its call, I knew it was a new species. I had never heard anything like it,” said Pedro Peloso, one of the frog’s discoverers and a postdoctoral fellow at Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Brazil.

Peloso and colleagues found the 0.75-inch (19.4-millimeter) amphibian in 2009 as part of a biodiversity survey of Floresta Nacional de Pau-Rosa, a protected area in the state of Amazonas (map).

During the month-long expedition, the team found 21 specimens of the brown-and-orange creature, which has mysteriously long, delicate fingers and toes. (Read about tree frogs in National Geographic magazine.)

The male frogs also have an unusually large vocal sac, a nearly transparent piece of skin that inflates to produce its unique high-pitched chirping sound. Male tree frogs in general make loud calls to communicate with females in distant treetops, but the new species is the first known to sound like a bat.

Once the team had brought their treasure back to the lab, “we kept talking about the ‘bat frog,’ which led to us talking about being fans of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath,” Peloso said.

At a concert in 1981, Osbourne bit the head off a bat that a fan threw on the stage, although Osbourne later said he believed it was rubber. Peloso named his bat frog Dendropsophus ozzyi, and it’s described November 6 in the journal Zootaxa.

New frog species discovery in New York City


This video from the USA says about itself:

30 October 2014

Male Rana Kauffeldi Emits Its Primary Call In New York City

A male Rana kauffeldi emits its primary call in the foreground with several other competing males calling in background.

New species of frog discovered in New York’s urban jungle after scientists notice ‘very odd’ chorus call

A new species of Frog has been discovered thriving in New York – after scientists were drawn to the creatures’ ‘very odd’ chorus call.

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog as it has been named was first noticed hopping around wetlands in the shadow of the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Jeremy Feinberg, a scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, was intrigued by the animals’ unusual chorus call.

The frog looks identical to other leopard frogs but Mr Feinberg felt certain it’s distinctive ‘chuck’ call was like nothing he had heard before.

So he teamed up with genetics experts and tests proved him right – the frog was indeed an entirely new species.

The new frog has been given the Latin name Rana kauffeldi in honour of New York wildlife expert Carl Kauffeld who first suggested there may be an unidentified species of frog in the area in 1937.

Sadly Mr Kauffeld, who died in 1974 aged 63, had never been able to prove his theory as genetic testing technology was not available at the time.

Mr Feinberg told BBC News: ‘Frogs have very stereotyped calls within a species, so I knew this was different.

‘But it took me two years to find someone to partner with me on the genetics side.

‘This is only the third new species of frog to be discovered north of Mexico since 1986.

“What also makes this crazy is that it’s in a urban area – [that's] what makes it a double whammy.

“You wouldn’t find it hopping around Times Square”.

‘[These frogs] probably require wetland areas of something on the average minimum of 10 acres or more.

The frog has since been found to inhabit a coastal strech from Connecticut in the north to Virginia and North Carolina in the south.

A large colony was discovered thriving on Staten Island.

From Wildlife Extra:

New frog species found in the urban jungle of New York City

When thinking about where a new frog species might be discovered, the dense rainforests of Papua New Guinea, the humid jungles of Central Africa or other equally remote and tropical destinations instantly come to mind. But surprisingly, the latest new frog species to have been discovered has been found in the urban jungle of New York City and surrounding coastal areas.

The new species of leopard frog, Rana kauffeldi, was first identified in the New York City metropolitan area, but its range extends to the north and south, following a narrow and predominantly coastal lowland area from central Connecticut to northeast North Carolina.

Jeremy Feinburg and colleagues from Rutgers University undertook the research to identify the amphibian, analysing acoustic and genetic data. “The discovery of a new frog species from the urban Northeast is truly remarkable and completes a journey that began six years ago with a simple frog call in the wilds of New York City,” says Feinburg. “This story underscores the synergy that traditional field methods and modern molecular and bioacoustic techniques can have when used together; one is really lost without the other, but together are very powerful tools.”

You can read the full paper here.

Read about other new species discoveries here.

27 new animal species discovered in Tanzania


This video says about itself:

The 2008 edition of the Exo Terra expedition headed for the Eastern Arc Mountains and the Southern Highlands of the Republic of Tanzania in East Africa. The main goal of this expedition was to map the amphibian and reptile biodiversity of these regions and to get a better understanding of the species inhabiting these complex ecosystems.

From Wildlife Extra:

27 new species found in Tanzanian forests

A recent study revealed that 27 new vertebrate species have been found in the forests of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains. Of these, 23 were amphibians and reptiles. Of the total species that were identified in the region, the study found that there are 211 vertebrate species that are found only in the Eastern Arc Mountains, and 203 of them are found in Tanzania alone. These findings, says the study, re-enforce the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains as one of the top locations on Earth for biological diversity and uniqueness.

“The Eastern Arc Mountains were already known for the unusually high density of endemic species,” explains Neil Burgess, a leading expert on Africa’s biodiversity and vice-chair of the TFCG, “however we lacked comprehensive data from at least six of the 13 mountain blocks.”

The study was conducted by an international team, and included researchers from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and MUSE-Science Museum in Italy, and was financed by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

The Eastern Arc Mountains are an isolated chain of geologically ancient mountains that extend from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania. According to scientists, the forest has existed on the mountains for more than 30 million years and was once connected to forests in the Congo Basin and West Africa.

Hellbenders in Appalachia, USA


This video says about itself:

The Last Dragons – Protecting Appalachia‘s Hellbenders

An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander that lives as much in myth as in reality…. and in many waters, myths are all that remain of these sentinel stream-dwellers.

9 min. Closed Captioned in English & Spanish. Produced by Freshwaters Illustrated in Partnership with the US Forest Service.

From the Bites @ Animal Planet blog in the USA:

Meet the Hellbender

By: David Mizejewski

Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.

No, it’s not one of Satan’s minions or a CGI monster. It’s a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America.  Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams–which is the real horror story.

Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America’s most fascinating and little-known wild animals. …

Save Appalachian streams and the hellbenders that live in them with National Wildlife Federation.