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Journal of Herpetology's Covers

Western Emerald Treeboa

Image and text by William W. Lamar.

The Western Emerald Treeboa (Corallus batesi) ranges from the Andean foothills of the Amazon and Orinoco basins of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru south to Bolivia and east into adjacent parts of Amazonian Brazil. Males of some populations show a tendency to form a middorsal white stripe. Photographed in dense rainforest in Loreto, Peru.

Image of a live Spectacled Caiman on leaves

Image and text by Juan Rafael Bolaños-Montero.

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodylus) in Costa Rica where it is known locally as “guajipal”. Ranging from Oaxaca and Chiapas, in Mexico, south through Central America and into northern South America, C. crocodylus is known to show behavioral and morphological variants throughout its distribution. Caiman crocodylus occupies swamps, lagoons, reservoirs, small creeks, and large river meanders where it attains a maximum total length of 2.8 m but most individuals rarely exceed 2 m in total length. Reproduction extends from the end of the dry season in February and March through June and July.


Image and text by William W. Lamar.

Clown Treefrogs (genus Dendropsophus) are found in the lowland tropics of Central- and South America. Ubiquitous in many areas, Dendropsophus tend to congregate in flooded marshy environments and their distinctive calls fill the night. All species represent minor variations on the same theme with colors that tend to be more pronounced by day. Interestingly, all species exude a distinctive herbal odor, possibly related to defense. The species depicted on the cover, Dendropsophus sarayacuensis, was photographed in the Amazon Basin in Loreto, Peru in the densely forested habitat of the understory.


Image and text by Christopher R. Tracy.

The Coachella Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma inornata) is endemic to aeolian sand areas of the Coachella Valley in California, USA. As dune specialists, U. inornata show many adaptations to living in sand, including enlarged scales that protect the eyes and ear openings, slit-shaped nostrils, a countersunk lower jaw that creates a shovel-shaped snout, and the namesake fringe of enlarged scales on the trailing edge of each toe. Gravid females (pictured here) develop a red-orange color around the eyes, ears, axillae, lateral torso, and tail, and sometimes show bite scars on their flanks and tail base from activities preceding copulation. The female pictured has been permanently marked for individual identification with a unique combination of colored beads.


Image and text by William Lamar

The White-lined Monkey Frog (Phyllomedusa vaillanti) is member of a frog genus known for, among other things, unique locomotion, lipid-mediated canopy dwelling ability, and remarkable bioactive skin secretions. Adults descend from trees to lay their eggs on low vegetation above lentic pools where their larvae complete their development in the water. Rainforest denizens of the Amazon basin in South America, this specimen was photographed in Loreto, Peru.


Image and text by William W. Lamar.

The Common Thornytail (Uracentron flaviceps), pictured here in Amazonian Peru, is a canopy-dwelling tropidurid lizard that is found in the Amazon basin and is one of only two species in the genus. Thornytails live in family groups that occupy hollows in living trees and individuals forage for ants on tree trunks by day. Adult males (see cover image) develop a salmon color on the head and anterior portion of the body during breeding season. Thorny tails are now easily viewed by people from canopy walks that have been constructed by the ecotourism industry.


Image and text by William W. Lamar.

The Common Liana Snake, Siphlophis cervinus (pictured here from Amazonian Peru), is an uncommon, nocturnal and mostly arboreal snake (< 1 m total length) that is found in humid lowland rainforests of Panama and South America including Trinidad and Tobago. While much of its natural history remains a mystery, lizards are known to be a regular part of the diet of S. cervinus. Juveniles, upon hatching, are identical in color and pattern to the adults. Siphlophis cervinus is one of seven Siphlophis species that are found in Central and South America.


Image and text by William W. Lamar.

The Giant Gladiator Frog (Boana boans) occurs along tropical rivers from Panama throughout lowland South America. When waters recede during the dry season, stretches of moist sand become the stage for impressive amphibian combat. Male B. boans descend from the trees to create and defend circular breeding pools. Wherever they occur, their sonorous "BWACK, BWACK, BWACK" calls are an integral part of the night. The large male in the image was photographed along Amazonian Peru's Momόn River.


Image and text by William Lamar

Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus cunauaru) from Santa Cruz Reserve on the Río Mazán in Loreto, Peru, South America. The Amazon Milk Frog completes its entire life cycle in water-filled cavities of trees. The two-note sound of calling males can be heard over a long distance in the rainforest by night and the tree cavities may serve as call resonators.


Image by Jacquelyn Guzy and text by Leigh Anne Harden

Adult female Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemmys terrapin) at sunset in a South Carolina tidal creek. The individual in the image has been captured several times as part of a long-term capture-mark-recapture research project on Kiawah Island, SC. From Texas to Massachusetts, Diamondback Terrapins occupy brackish coastal waters where they consume mostly mollusks and crustaceans. Females are larger than males and have proportionally broader heads than do males.


Image and text by John Rowe

Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) on Floreana, Galápagos, Ecuador. With as many as seven subspecies recognized, Marine Iguanas are endemic to Galápagos and are the only lizard that routinely occupies the marine environment. Nasal salt glands aid in the excretion of electrolytes that are ingested while foraging on marine algae. Males may form leks during the mating season and typically attain much larger body size and have broader heads with larger tubercles when compared to females.


Photo and text by Greg Sievert

A pair of Spring Peepers, Pseudacris crucifer, in amplexus with freshly-laid eggs in the background. Pseudacris crucifer is one of the first anurans to breed in late winter and early spring in the eastern half of the United States. The pair in the image was photographed in Auburn, Alabama, USA.


Image and text by William W. Lamar

A 4.1 m male American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, from the Río Reventazón, Limón Province, Costa Rica. Crocodylus acutus ranges from northwestern South America, through Central America and Mexico, and northward across the Greater Antilles to Florida in the United States. As a euryhaline species, C. acutus occupies freshwater to fully marine habitats. The diverse diet of C. acutus varies ontogenetically and includes aquatic invertebrates and various vertebrates, very commonly fish.

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