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NCHS General Meeting Topic : BBQ and Question Nite When : Friday, J&Ssi&r , .^ Time : 7:00 pm ^^ Where : Arden Manor Community Center 1415 Rushden Drive Sacramento Want to have fun with reptiles and reptile people? Have questions about reptiles? Want to be somewhere were having reptiles is normal? Want to show off your reptile and play with others? Want to adopt a new lizard? Want to play Reptile Bingo? Want to win some cool raffle prizes? If the answer is yes, come by! NCHS is bringing the meat, and please bring a dish and RSVP Roxanne at 916-806-0615 or email The barbeque will be outside but we also have the building if it gets too hot. Please make sure critters are safely restrained.

Up-Coming Eventings July 13 Mikes Birthday Party We are bring reptiles

July 20-21 San Jose Reptile Show August 24-25 Repticon Reno html

September 28-29 Sacramento Reptile Show


Three Amphibians and their Habitat Proposed for Federal Protections Service Seeks Public Comments News Release - April 24, 2013 The Docket Sacramento - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Number for the proposed listing rule is FWS-R8-ES-2012-0100 and for the Service (Service) is proposing to list proposed critical habitat rule is FWSthe Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog R8-ES-2012-0074. Comments can also and the northern distinct population be sent by U.S. mail to: segment of the mountain yellowlegged frog as endangered and the Public Comments Processing Yosemite toad as threatened under Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2012-0100 or the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074 The Service is also proposing to Division of Policy and Directives designate critical habitat for these Management three amphibian species in California: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1,105,400 acres across 16 counties for 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, Arlington, VA 22203 221,498 acres across two counties for the mountain yellow-legged frog, and The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog 750,926 acres across seven counties for and the northern distinct population the Yosemite toad. With overlapping segment of the mountain yellow-legged areas, the total proposed critical frog are similar in appearance and habitat for the three amphibians is behavior. They range from 1.5 to 3.25 1,831,820 acres. Most of the proposed inches in length and are a mix of brown critical habitat is on federal lands. and yellow, but can also be grey, red, or "With two amphibian species possibly green-brown. They may have irregular facing extinction, one more at serious lichen- or moss-like patchiness. Their risk, and almost two million acres of belly and undersurfaces of the hind critical habitat being proposed, we limbs are yellow or orange. They will need the best available scientific produce a distinctive mink or garlicinformation in order to make our final like order when disturbed. The two decision on protecting these species," species can be distinguished from each said Jan Knight, Acting Field Supervisor other physically by the ratio of the for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife lower leg length to snout vent length. Service. "America's wildlife resources The Yosemite toad is moderately sized, belong to all of us, and ensuring the usually 1.2-2.8 inches in length, with health of imperiled species is a shared rounded to slightly oval glands, one on responsibility. We encourage the each side of the head, which produce public to submit information to help toxins to deter some predators. The us better understand the condition of iris of the eye is dark brown with gold these species and their habitat." reflective cells. The Service seeks information All three amphibian species are regarding any threats to the species threatened by habitat degradation, and regulations that may address predation, climate change, and those threats. The Service will accept inadequate regulatory protection. comments through June 24, 2013 on For more information on these species the two proposed rules. Comments and this proposal and the information may be submitted online at the sought, visit Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://


\ L 1 FO R.I N A , hi F R P ETO LOG I C A L S O C I E T Y

Pythons are still a little venomous by Ed Yong National Geograpnic According to popular knowledge, venomous snakes are in the minority. Most kill their prey through other means. The pythons and boas, for example, squeeze their prey to death, constricting them in powerful coils until they can no longer breathe. But that doesn't mean they lack venom.

The Venom' glands of these constrictors mostly produce lubricating mucus, which helps the snakes to swallow prey easily. But Bryan Fry from the University of Queensland has found that the glands still produce small amounts of venom proteins. So do the equivalent glands of iguanian lizards—the group that includes iguanas, anoles and chameleons. These snakes and lizards are unlikely to be using their venom to subdue prey or to defend themselves, but they clearly still make the stuff. Their toxins are the equivalent of a kiwi's wing or the sightless eyes of blind cavefish— defunct remnants of a functional past. This is not the first time that Fry has shaken our understanding of animal toxins. In 2009, he showed that the Komodo dragon kills its prey with venom, rather than blood poisoning caused by a filthy bacteria-laden bite. And earlier, in 2006, he showed that venom is a far older and broader reptile invention than anyone had guessed. Until then, everyone thought that there were only two venomous lizards—the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard—which evolved their toxins independently from the hundreds of venomous snakes. Fry showed

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otherwise. While capturing monitor lizards in the field, he noticed that they had bulges in their heads at the same place as the Gila monster's venom glands. "It was a Captain Obvious moment," he says. Fry eventually isolated venom proteins from many supposedly non-venomous species of lizard and snake, including all monitors and frequently kept pets like bearded dragons and ratsnakes. He argued that reptile venom evolved only once, in the common ancestor of this reptile group, which he called Toxicofera. It covers all snakes and a significant proportion of all lizards. The Toxicoferan ancestor had two pairs of venom glands, one in the upper jaw and one in the lower, which secreted an already complicated set of venom proteins. Its descendents duplicated the genes that produced these proteins, and tweaked them to produce even more chemical weapons. They also streamlined their venom glands—some venomous lizards, like the monitors and Gila monster, lost the top pair, while the snakes downplayed the bottom set. Fry's new study is a sequel to this classic work. He took a much closer look at the venom glands of several constrictors like pythons and boas, and iguanians like the veiled chameleon and the common iguana. He dissected them, stuck them in medical scanners, catalogued their proteins, and more. For a start, he doubled the number of known venom glands. He studied the red-tailed pipe snake—a member of one of the most ancient of snake lineages—and found that it secreted venom from four glands at the corners of its mouth called rictal glands. These structures had been completely ignored since the 1920s, but Fry showed that they produce venom. His also found venom proteins in the constricting pythons and boas, and in iguanians. The levels are too low to be used as a defence or to kill

prey [although the more predatory iguanians did have more proteinsecreting cells in these glands—maybe a killing role isn't out of the question). "Nothing in evolution is every really lost," Fry says. Even if venom glands have been repurposed for making mucus, you'd expect them to still produce traces of venom. Nicholas Casewell from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who studies venom evolution, says that the study addresses unanswered questions from Fry's earlier work, which "has been contentious". For example, the fact that the boas and pythons have tiny amounts of venom fits with the idea that they evolved from venomous ancestors and have since downplayed their toxic heritage. Casewell adds that the new study helps to answer another baffling question: "Why would a vegetarian iguanid require the secretion of venom toxins?" In the iguanians, the most common of the venom proteins—crotamine and crystatin—originally evolved as defences against microbes. Fry thinks that reptile venom actually has its origins in killing microbes rather than prey. The common ancestor of the venomous snakes and lizards had

glands that churned out proteins that kept bacteria at bay. By tweaking these proteins to kill other animals instead, and ramping up their manufacture, these early reptiles turned their chemical shields into swords. Indeed, some of the iguanian and constrictor venom proteins are still evolving, and rapidly so in some cases. Perhaps they




Turtle Genome Analysis Sheds Light On Turtle Ancestry and Shell Evolution— From which ancestors have turtles evolved? How did they get their shell? New data provided by the Joint International Turtle Genome Consortium, led by researchers from RIKEN in Japan,

BGI in China, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK provides evidence that turtles are not primitive reptiles but belong to a sister group of birds and crocodiles. The work also sheds light on the evolution of the turtle's intriguing morphology and reveals that the turtle's shell evolved by recruiting genetic information encoding for the limbs. Turtles are often described as evolutionary monsters, with a unique body plan and a shell that is considered to be one of the most intriguing structures in the animal kingdom. "Turtles are interesting because they offer an exceptional case to understand the big evolutionary changes that occurred in vertebrate history," explains Dr. Naoki Irie, from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, who led the study. Using next-generation DNA sequencers, the researchers from 9 international institutions have decoded the genome of the green sea turtle and Chinese softshell turtle and studied the expression of genetic information in the developing turtle. Their results published in Nature Genetics show that turtles are not primitive reptiles as previously thought, but are related to the group

comprising birds and crocodilians, which also includes extinct dinosaurs. Based on genomic information, the researchers predict that turtles must have split from this group around 250 million years ago, during one of the largest extinction events ever to take place on this planet. "We expect that this research will motivate further work to elucidate the possible causal connection between these events," says Dr. Irie. The study also reveals that despite their unique anatomy, turtles follow the basic embryonic pattern during development. Rather than developing directly into a turtle-specific body shape with a shell, they first establish the vertebrates' basic body plan

and then enter a turtle-specific development phase. During this late specialization phase, the group found traces of limb-related gene expression in the embryonic shell, which indicates that the turtle shell evolved by recruiting part of the genetic program used for the limbs. "The work not only provides insight into how turtles evolved, but also gives hints as to how the vertebrate developmental programs can be changed to produce major evolutionary novelties." explains Dr. Irie. Another unexpected finding of the study was that turtles possess a large number of olfactory receptors and must therefore have the ability to smell a wide variety of substances.

Reptile of the Month! Species : Uromastix Diet: Greens and Lagums Sex: Male Level: Medium Age : Two years Has been with us : five month Health : appears healthy Status : Adoptable Tiger is a very sweet shy guy. He would never harm you but will run away and hide. He tolerates being held. I don't know his real history, but he was the pet of a child for a year and a half with iffy care. Thankfully he was given to a reptile lover who did her best with him, decided she was not equipped to care properly for him and he came to us. He likes it HOT! with lots UVB. He was eating, coming out and sunning himself after several weeks, but since I moved him a couple of weeks ago, he just hides. He has a discolored belly so I think he was burned in the past. He eats a mix of f/t legumes, greens and bird seed.


N O R T H E R N C A L I F O R J N A .. H E R P E T O L O G I C A L S O C I E T Y SUCCESS : California AB 339 Ammended

A Beautiful Species of Tree Iguana Redescribed 179 Years After Its Discovery — Tree iguanas (Liolaemus) are one of the most diverse genus of lizards in the world with 230 described species. Within these, Liolaemus nigromaculatus -- the second described species of the genus Liolaemus -- is usually mentioned in field guides, project baselines, scientific articles, from page 2 reviews and even is the nominal species are changing to regain their old of the lizard group protective roles? nigromaculatus... This isn't just for academic interest. but always the Since 1979, Australians have relied same question is on the Commonwealth Serum repeated: Which Laboratories Venom Detection Kit to is this species and identify the species responsible for which is its type venomous snakebites. Some people locality? have tested positive using this kit After a long and comprehensive despite being bitten by an apparently investigation, two Chilean biologists, non-venomous python. Everyone just shrugged and regarded it as a mistake. Jaime Troncoso-Palacios, Universidad de Chile and Carlos F. Garin, Pontificia But Fry's work shows that the test is Universidad Catolica de Chile, clear picking up genuine venom proteins, the mysteries around the species, which pythons share with other demonstrating that the tree iguana L. snakes. nigromaculatus was in fact described "It's not enough to affect a human or a with a juvenile male of the species, prey animal, but enough to set off the currently known as L. bisignatus. very sensitive test and give a falseThis specimen was collected in Chile positive," says Fry. "In which case, by the doctor and naturalist Franz the person bitten might be given very Julius Ferdinand Meyen on his journey expensive anti-venom that they don't around the world during 1830-1832. need."

USARK: The "swap meet" bill has been amended to exclude reptile and aquatic trade shows. The bill has been amended in Assembly, read a second time and re-referred to Committee on Appropriations. Thanks to your voices through USARK's action alerts and collaboration between PIJAC and USARK, reptile and aquatic shows will now be safe. Thanks for your support and action!

Society News We had two great meeting. April meeting dealt with crested ^geckos and others Rhacodactylus species and was fantastic and informative. A nice young lady won Angle and a bunch of new people came. We had a last minute meeting with Eric Loza, a longtime member that moved away many years ago. He spoke about his trip to Africa. Not a lot of reptiles, but WOW the cool animals! He is a fantastic story teller ON


Although he describes in detail his journey in one of his books, peculiarly this information was never used in an attempt to clarify the provenance of the species. In fact, there is currently "HM '.^'"W^ broad consensus that -^7 .^•? 5r the type locality is Huasco (northern Chile), a locality never visited by Meyen! "For first time, we have been able to identify the area in ^ which Meyen collected L. nigromaculatus. We have established through Meyen's own writings and the study of the species of Liolaemus that i inhabit in the localities ^L that he visited that l™k ^^ the tree iguana L. UV .AJ nigromaculatus was collected in the transect or surroundings between Puerto Viejo and Copiapo, in Atacama (Chile)," explains Jaime Troncoso-Palacios. For the characterization of the holotype of L. nigromaculatus, the authors used high resolution digital photographs provided by Mr. Frank Tillack (Museum fur Naturkunde). Use of digital pictures of type specimens has proved to be a powerful and useful tool for clarifying confusing taxonomic issues. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

and photographer. Many members I have never met showed up and it was amazing. We all wanted to vacation in Africa after that talk. A chameleon was surrendered. Sadly after being outside for who knows how long, and in a box for three days when the lady who found it, then tried to find his home, even after a vet trip and lots of loving care, he passed. So please get help if you need it. And I curse the owner if they just let the chameleon go instead of finding it a new and proper V\ L . (

ociefy Business Want to Adopt a Reptile?

Where to Shop Remember when out shopping for your reptiles needs, please shop with one of these stores that offer a discount to NCHS members. Just show them your I.D. card.

Please go to or

Looking for a Reptile Vet in your Area? Check out or

Pets To Go (15% discount to members) 9098 Laguna Main St. Suite 5 Elk Grove, Ca 95758 (916) 691-7387

Board Members President Linda Boyko Email:

Vice President Open

Secretary & Treasurer Anna Marie Madrigal

Need Answers? Get any and all your General Fish and Game Law Questions answered by Phil Nelms at Dept of Fish & Game E-mail:

Our Sponsors We would like to thank all our sponsors who have sent donations of their reptile products for our fundraising efforts



Email: East Bay Vivarium (10% discount to members) 1827 5th Street Suite c Berkely, Ca 94710 (510) 841-1400

Publications Editor Roxanne Hatfield E-mail: Phone # (916) 806-0615

Rons Reptiles (10% discount to members) 44 Rock Creek Rd. Chico, CA 95973 (530) 893-2095



Event ^Program Director Lynee Tolman Email: Phone #(530) 306-8027

Adoptions/Rescue Program Coordinator Kathy Pierce Email: Phone # (916) 718-7927

Seachem Jurassic Park

Members at Large Open

SACRAMENTO QS>,-*S5? 06 .TUN 2013

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NCHS P.O. Box 661738 Sacramento, CA 957866-1738

Change of Service Requested Editor: Minnesota Herp. Society Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church St. SE Minneapolis, MN 55455-0104

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General Meeting Location Map 1415 Rushen Drive, Sacramento



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Northern California Herp Society May 2013  
Northern California Herp Society May 2013  

May 2013 newsletter of Northern California Herpetological Society