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USARK Press Release ~.~~~,....


4&5 Neogene Diversification . page 9 Critters of the month . . Olive Python and .Foxfire retic . . page 7

July 2009

Volume 29

Number 7

MHS Board of Directors

Minnesota Herpetological Society

President Jennifer Hensley


July 2009

Vice President David Dewitt


MHS Voice Mail: 612.624.7065


The purpose of the Minnesota Herpetological Society is to: 763.593.5414

Treasurer Nancy Haig


Newsletter Editor Kathy Claugherty


• •

Further the education of the membership and the general public in care and captive propagation of reptiles and amphibians; Educate the members and the general public in the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians; Promote the study and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

The Minnesota Herpetological Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Membership is open to all individuals with an interest in amphibians and reptiles. The Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter is published monthly to provide its members with information concerning the society's activities and a media for exchanging information, opinions and resources.

Members at Large Heather Clayton Jeff LeClere Reptilia

Number 7


Recording Secretary Jenna Rypka-Hauer Membership Secretary Ellen Heck

Volume 29


Chris Smith Chris.smith.mhs@gmail.cdiTI .

General Meetings are held at Borlaug Hall, Room 335 on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota on the first Friday of each month (unless there is a holiday ~ conflict};, The meeting~starts-at "7:00pm and lasts about three hours: .Please check the website for chan-ges in schedules or cancellations.

Jared Rypka-Hauer

Submissions to the Newsletter Ads or Notices must be submitted no later than the night of the General Meeting to be included in the next issue. Longer articles will be printed as time and space allows and should be in electronic file format if possible. See inside back cover for ad rates.

Committees Adoption Chair Sarah Richard


Education Chair Jan Larson


Web Master Anke Reinders Library Carmelita Pfar

. Submissions may be sent to: The Minnesota Herpetological Society Attn: Newsletter Editor Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church St. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55455.0104 Please send email

© Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society 2009. Contents may be reproduced for non-profit use provided that all material is reproduced without change and proper credit is given authors and the MHS Newsletter citing; volume, number, and date.

Cover Photo: Dr. Amy Kizer

Snake Bite Emergency Hennepin Regional Poison Center 800.764.7661

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society July 2009 Volume 29 Number 7

I August Speaker

Dr. Doug Mader MHS General Meeting, Friday August 7, 2009

Dr Doug Mader's topic will be Medical Marvels of the Herp World. He will also talk about his work with sea turtles in the Florida Keys at the Marathon Turtle Hospital.

Save time for the State Fair Minnesota State Fair runs from August 27 to September 7. The Minnesota Herpetological Society displays Native Minnesota herps in the DNR building and will be needing members to supply animals or do maintenance checks on them each day. This is just a reminder to save some time on your calendar so you can participate. More details and contact information will be at the July and August meetings.

2009 Summer Picnic Cancelled. Due to lack of prep time and participation interest, the proposed picnic for 2009 has been canceled. If anyone is interested in organizing one for 2010 please contact Jennifer Hensley (763-862-8966). The picnic "chair usually organizes the time ancLdate:withJhe MHS Board, reserves the. park or facility forthe event, oversees the supplies (MHS usually supplies water and soda, charcoal for the grills, basic picnic condiments, members bring their own items to grill and maybe some snacks to share) and sometimes prepares activities. (turtle races, kid toss, etc.) The picnic is usually a good time to kick back and relax, socialize with fellow MHS members and enjoy being outdoors . . SERPENT: an Ode

o Serpent how you mesmerize Mystery swirling in your eyes

o Serpent how you fascinate Coiled patiently as you wait For heedless prey to wander near Silent, still, you evoke no fear But faster than the eye can follow You strike, recoil, and start to swallow

o Serpent how you tantalize Hypnotically you hold my eyes

o Serpent how you accentuate The wonders of Nature, a most admirable trait 3

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

July 2009 Volume 29 Number 7

USARK lorida Python Press Release For Immediate Release For questions contact: Andrew Wyatt WILMINGTON, N.C. (July 2,2009) - The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of 2-year old Shaiunna Hare, who was killed in her home in Oxford, Florida Wednesday morning. Although authorities have not ruled out foul play, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office has initially reported the cause of death to be a 8-foot Burmese Python that was being kept in the home as a pet. The Sheriff's Office further reported that the family did not have the necessary permits to handle or keep the snake, nor did they have the required caging or follow proper safety protocols as mandated under Florida State law. Florida Fish & Wildlife and the Florida Reptile Community have established strict guidelines for' ownership of this type 路of animal within the state: Burmese' Pythons are 'a "Reptile of Concern' and fall under a statute requiring an annual permit. There are strict guidelines for secure caging, education and experience requirements and inspections. USARK is a strong advocate of handling and safety protocols and industry best operating procedures. We would like to recognize Florida Fish & Wildlife, Sumter County Sheriffs Dept. and Lake- Sumter EMS for handling this emotionally delicate situation in such an even-handed and professional manner. ~'.



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"Although we still have a lot of questions, this is a tragedy that could have been prevented and that is truly hea'rt wrenching", said USARK President Andrew Wyatt. "Ownership of any animal requires a great deal of responsibility, and reptiles are no different. USARK works with states across the nation to implement strong safeguards aimed at preventing situations like this from ever occurring", added Wyatt. "Unfortunately animal related tragedies are not uncommon. Dozens are killed every year by dogs and horses. This case is unusual because there is a snake involved; but even more so because of the apparent gross negligence and disregard for law. There are strong laws in place in Florida. If the laws had been followed this death would never have occurred. Our heart goes out to the family as they deal with this tragedy and wrestle with the knowledge that they played a major role in it." The US Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) is a science and education-based advocate for the responsible private ownership of, and trade in reptiles. Widely recognized as setting the standard for safe responsible reptile keeping nationwide,


Continued on next page

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society July 2009 Volume 29 Number 7 USARK endorses caging standards, sound husbandry, escape prevention protocols, and an integrated approach to vital conservation issues. Its goal is to facilitate cooperation between government agencies, the scientific community, and the private sector in order to produce policy proposals that will effectively address important husbandry and conservation issues. The health of these animals, public safety, and maintaining ecological integrity are its primary concerns.

Currently USARK has state legislation pending in North Carolina that would require secure caging standards, safety & escape prevention protocols as well as penalties for negligence and violations.

Contributors: Andrew Wyatt (President USARK), Dennis Sargent (FL Reptile community) & Greg Graziani (FI. Reptile community)

Note to Reptile Nation: This Press release was sent to the Associated Press (AP) and various other media outlets.

The challenges we face at the federal and state level by those who would oppose responsible reptile ownership are merely one tragic event away from being enacted into law. Bad policy that could never stand on its own can easily be swept through legislatures and the U.S. Congress on a wave ofemotion following the irresponsible actions of others.

USARK must stand firm on strong caging standards, sound husbandry, escape prevention protocols, and an integrated approach to vital conservation issues. In our view this is also the time to pursue a USARK Accreditation Program. Working with federal and state regulators to develop recognized and accepted standards and protocols insulates our community from having the terms of our existence dictated to us by those who would oppose reptile ownership altogether. It is also a way to establish USARK more firmly as the national standard bearer for the reptile-keeping community.

USARK has historically worked at the state level to implement strong laws for responsible ownership, thus a USARK Accreditation Program is merely internalizing those standards and working with states and federal regulators to raise the profile of our Program and its member participants.

We believe very strongly that this is the right approach, and the best way to respond to those who would use tragic events to demonize a responsible reptile-keeping community.


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

July 2009 Volume 29

Number 7

Many of you know Zelda, a sulcata tortoise owned by Laurie Grassel. She is an amazing animal and recently presented to me with a very common problem in female tortoises. Laurie asked me to share with you Zelda's case. I first saw Zelda in January for decreased appetite and lethargy. Radiographs revealed that she had 19 eggs that needed to be laid. We tried oxytocin injections (a drug that stimulates the oviduct to contract) and creating a nesting box for Zelda at home. Over the next few months Zelda laid a few eggs, but there were still a large number in her oviduct. We determined Zelda to be egg bound and the only treatment left for her would be surgery. Because Zelda is such a large tortoise (60 Ibs.), a plastronotomy would not be recommended. A plastronotomy is using a bone saw to cuta window in the plastron in order to do abdominal surgery. The "window" is then closed with epoxy or wires and left to heal. Zelda's shell is just too thick and dense that the chance of it healing would be slim. We were left with laparoscopic surgery in order to remove Zelda's eggs as well as her ovaries and oviduct to prevent the egg binding from happening again. Fortunately, Dr. Robert Novo, my colleague and a surgeon at the University of Minnesota, agreed to help with the surgery. The University is one of the few hospitals in the cities that has the specialized equipment we would need for the surgery. Normally, the University does not see exotic pets so it took a little convincing for them to admit Zelda to the surgical service. Finally, on April 20th Zelda was scheduled for her laparoscopic spay. She was anesthesized (not an easy feat in a big tortoise!), a catheter was placed in her jugular vein, and surgery began. The benefit of the laparoscope was that it allowed us to make a small incision in the soft tissue just in front of the rear leg. The scope was then if!~ertcedit'1 the inci~ic>n9nd t~~c~urg~rY \I\f~~Soj)EHfqrrn~g vii'? visualization on a TV monitor. The ,eggs just barely fit through the small incision, but 4 hours later the surgery was complete and Zelda's next battle was to wake up from anesthesia. It took a few hours, but she started breathing on her own and was eating on her own within 2 days after surgery. Laurie reports that Zelda is doing. very well roaming through the yard and leisurely snacking on dandelion greens. Great job Zelda! Dr. Amy Kizer Lexington Pet Clinic 4250 Lexington Ave. So. Suite 105 Eagan, MN55123 651-452-5450

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

ritter of the

July 2009

Volume 29

Number 7


Sonja Koolmo shows off her Olive Python

Jan Andreasen shows off his Foxfire retic

June Adoptions: This month we had a total of 12 animals come up for adoption. One large Red Tegu and two Bearded DragohsfoLind homes. Four Red Eared Sliders and a Sultatta went home with kind souls We found homes for two of the Boas but one of the Boas and surprisingly, the Gray Banded King Snake will be returning next month. Remember, all adoptions are done at the meeting. Calling or emailing me to ask about the animals or volunteering to take them off my hands mid month is frowned upon and does not improve your chances. Also, a reminder that we do not take requests, nor do we save animals for anyone. The best way to insure getting an animal is to show up at the meeting, put in an application and, oh yes, VOLUNTEER! We give extra points to people who do hands on and other activities with the society.

Liz took the prize adoption animal home. Her new Red Tegu, "Chunky Monkey" will bring her much enjoyment!

Again, a big thanks to everyone who adopts. If Sarah Richard you are interested in helping to foster, please Adoption Chair see Kathy Claugherty at the meeting, or email Minnesota Herpetological Society html


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

July 2009

Volume 29


June speaker: Brian Crnobrna by Jenna Rypka-Hauer Brian Crnobrna gave the membership a presentation of photographic highlights of his herpetology career. In 2003, he was an undergraduate research assistant on an expedition to Peru with Dr. Erik Wild. He outlined many of the species they found on their trip. The following frog species he found included Bufo typhonius, Edalorhina perezi, Phylomedusa tomopterma, as well as Leptodactylids and Hylids. Brian and his colleagues found lizards including Gonatodes humeralis, Anolis punctatus, Plica plica, and Stenocercus rosieventris. Some of the snake species they found included Atractus spp., Imantodes cenchoa, Dipsas catesbyi, Xenoxybelis bolengeri, Corralus hortulani and Philodryas viridissimus.\ In 2007, Brian was involved with a survey in several national parks in Honduras. They were able to confirm endemic species and also found some newly documented animals. Newly documented frogs included Hyla microcephala and Craugastor laevissiums. Craugastor charadra, and Bromeliahyla bromeliacia were among the not so common frogs found. The endemic frog they were able to confirm was Plectrohyla exquisite. They also found many Hyalinobatrachium fleishmanni, or glass frogs. They found several species of Bolitoglossine salamanders, including Bolitoglossa dolfleini, and Bolitoglossa cf. occidentalis. There were a lot of coral snakes, Micrurus diastema, in the park they surveyed. Other snakes they found included Cerrophideon godmanni, Bothriechis marchi, Leptophis ahaetulla, Psuestes poecilonotus, Orymobius chloroticus, and Spilotes pullatus. They also documented the jumping viper, Atropoides nummifer, and Bothriechis schlegelii, the eyelash viper. The lizards that were found on the Honduras trip included Norops johnmeyri, Sceloprous variabilis, ' ' . Mesaspis morletti, and AholislaeViverttris' and-peters'i[';""" ,1,

May 2, 2009 Meeting MHS Board of Directors Board Present: Jennifer Hensley, Ellen Heck, Kathy Claugherty, Jared Rypka-Hauer, Jenna RypkaHauer, Heather Clayton .. Absent: Dave Dewitt, Chris Smith, Nancy Haig, Jeff LeClere. Quorum present. . The meeting was called to order at 6:27pm. Opening remarks - April membership meeting had 120 counted in attendance. The minutes were read and several corrections were made. Motion to accept the minutes as corrected: Heather Clayton; 2nd : Kathy Claugherty. Membership Report The report was reviewed. Heather Clayton moves to adjourn, Ellen Heck second. Meeting adjourned 8:41 pm.


Motion passed.

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

July 2009

Volume 29

Number 7

NEOGENE DIVERSIFICATION AND TAXONOMIC STABILITY IN THE SNAKE TRIBE LAMPROPELTINI (SERPENTES: COLUBRIDAE) 2009. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52: 524-529 R. Alexander Pyron & Frank T. Burbrink The colubroid snakes are a diverse (>2500 species), globally distributed group (Lawson et aI., 2005) which date to the early Cenozoic (Burbrink and Pyron, 2008). Of the several NW representatives of the group (Natricinae, Crotalinae, Elapinae, Colubrinae, and Xenodontinae), the colubrine tribe Lampropeltini is one of the most conspicuous and wellstudied (Williams, 1978; Rodriguez-Robles and de Jesus-Escobar, 1999). The lampropeltinines (Rat, Corn, and Fox [Pantherophis, Bogertophis, and Pseudelaphe], King and Milk [Lampropeltis], Short-tailed [Stilosoma], Bull, Gopher, and Pine [Pituophis], Glossy [Arizona], Scarlet [Cemophora] and Longnose [Rhinocheilus] Snakes) are common constrictors, distributed from Canada to Ecuador (Williams, 1978; Conant and Collins, 1998; Stebbins, 2003). Several recent studies have found that the Lampropeltini form a monophyletic clade endemic to the NW, thus rendering the cosmopolitan genus Elaphe paraphyletic (Rodriguez- Robles and de Jesus-Escobar, 1999; Utiger et aI., 2002; Burbrink and Lawson, 2007). Based primarily on trees inferred using mitochondrial evidence, the taxonomy of the group is in a state offlux and the monophyly of several genera (i.e. Pantherophis, Pituophis, and Lampropeltis) has been disputed, including the erection of a new genus (Mintonius) for the fox snakes (Pantherophis vulpinus; Bryson et aI., 2007; Burbrink and Lawson, 2007; Collins and Taggart, 2008). Additionally, while many phylogeographic studies have used mtDNA to investigate biogeographic structure (Burbrink et aI., 2000; Burbrink, 2002; Mulcahy, 2008; Rodriguez-Robles and de JesusEscobar, 2000), higher-level phylogenies based solely orpr짜narilyon mitocb.ondri~l data have not been well-supported (Rodriguez-Robles and de Jesus-Escobar, 1999; Burbrink and Lawson, 2007). Thus, multiple independent loci are desirable to infer phylogenies and estimate tree-based quantities such as divergence times (i.e. Wiens et aI., 2008). Here, we present a phylogeny based on three nuclear genes (3368 bp), two of which are newly presented in this study, and six mitochondrial genes (4926 bp). We included representatives from all 31 of the traditionally described species of lampropeltinine. We use this phylogeny to address hypotheses regarding the timing of origin and diversification of the lampropeltinines, as well as generate a revised taxonomy of the group. A gratis PDF of this article is available from the CNAH PDF Library at and includes footnotes Submitted by Jim Soos

I Love Snakes I love snakes, not just like. No matter the size or color Hot or cold - bright and bold - plain or green. Hard to be seen under a rock, or on a log Look over there, that snake is eating a frog. So like I said - I love snakes, no need to ask me why. I will till the day I die. Jan Andreasen


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society


July 2009

Volume 29

Number 7

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Advertising Policies MHS Ad Policy: The MHS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animal, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space limitations, unpaid and complimentary advertisements are subject to occasional omission. Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads may be run (3) consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted. Display Ad Rates: Ad Size per Month ~ page $10.00 ~ page $20.00 Full page $40.00 Business card advertisements may be purchased at $5.00 per ad, per month. Submissions: All advertisements should be submitted to the MHS Editor, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Deadline is the night of the General Meeting for inclusion in the next newsletter. Make checks payable to: Minnesota Herpetological Society

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Address Service Requested Mem# 152 Exp: 11/1/2009 Sally Brewer-Lawrence 1990 Iglehart Ave. St. Paul, MN 55104

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Friday July 10, 2009 Room 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M St. Paul Campus

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Vol. 29 (2009), No. 7  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

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