herps

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Undergraduate Snake Enthusiast Rescues Ratsnake

We just received this report from undergraduate herper Kyle Atkins-Weltman about a recent snake encounter in Lawrence: "As I came back to my apartment from campus, someone from the maintenance crew saw me and asked me if I was the "snake guy," and when I said yes they told me they had found a snake while cleaning an empty apartment and asked if I could identify it. It turned out to be an absolutely BEAUTIFUL Pantherophis emoryi - cute little bugger, too! My guess is that it got in there to escape cold nights or perhaps there were some tasty vittles lying around. I'm going to release it back to the wild in a minute."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scott Travers in the Solomon Islands

PhD student Scott Travers just reported back from the Solomon Islands, where he is in the midst of a National Geographic funded expedition. As you can see from the image above, Scott has already seen one of earth's most amazing lizards - the prehensile tailed skink (Corucia zebrata). Because it is so unusual, Corucia is one of those species that just about every herpetologist knows about. They have amazing tails capable of movement in nearly any dimension, a topic that was the focus of one of my first scientific papers. To the right of Scott, you can see Rafe trying to recreate Scott's moment using a plastic lizard.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Snake Skin Identification Challenge

Shed

Shed

A friend of KU Herpetology in the Endowment office would like to know if we have any thoughts on the identify of the snake whose shed skin was found by some kids heading into a hole near her garage. The sender notes that while the images are reasonably well-lit and in-focus compared to the photos we usually receive that the basket weave chair may have been included to challenge us. Best guess wins a point in the KU Center for Herpetological Accuracy's Annual herp identification contest.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Herpetology Hosts K State REU Students

K State Tour

On Thursday, July 10th, KU Herpetology curator Rich Glor hosted a field trip by undergraduate students in the Kansas State Summer REU program under the direction of Drs. Bruce Snyder and Ted Morgan. The long-running K State REU program is analagous to KU's own REU program in ecology and evolutionary biology and has seen completion of a range of interesting undergraduate projects and publications, many relating to biodiversity science.  The members of the K State proved an impressive and engaged group with plenty of good questions.