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  1. #1
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    Cool Wild Uroplatus, Research, and Type Specimens (Pic Heavy)


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    Hey folks,

    it's been a seriously long time. I've been basically absent from the forum for about five years... but I'm back! (well, not officially yet; I'll be back for real at the end of May). I feel like it would be appropriate to talk about what I've been up to in the intervening years, although it is not strictly relevant to herpetoculture, per se.

    Many of you might remember me from all those years ago. At the time, it was safe to say that I had a chronic addiction to Madagascar and its herpetofauna. This addiction has since metastasised into a full-blown obsession and passion; it is my intention to become [one of] the successor[s] of Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw.

    I have been to Madagascar three times in the last four years (2009, 2011, 2012), conducting a variety of different kinds of research in different regions of the island. All of the trips have involved compiling species inventories, but the latter two had other kinds of research involved as well (monitoring of Astrochelys radiata and behavioural studies on Oplurus spp., respectively, and both involved studying the affect of anthropogenic disturbance on herp populations). I am working on a few publications from these, but at the very least, my expedition report from 2011 is freely available here.

    The first of these expeditions involved quite a lot of research surrounding Uroplatus aff. henkeli; we found numerous specimens of this species. As I'm sure you know, their taxonomy still has not been disambiguated. But their diversity struck me as very interesting. Genetic research has not yet been conducted on this population, so I will be interested to see what comes out of it (and hope to be involved in it, if it takes long enough). I suspect this is in fact a complex, and not just one undescribed species.







    The 2011 and 2012 expeditions were to the spiny south of Madagascar, near Ifotaka. Unfortunately, and in spite of considerable effort on my part and the rest of my team, we were not able to discover a spiny forest Uroplatus; sorry to disappoint! But I have not given up hope yet. Although gallery forest is pretty scarce, I would not be at all surprised if there were some isolated patches that still harbour a Uroplatus species. I'm not sure they would be able to survive in the true spiny forest; the trees are too thorny for them to adpress their body against without becoming gecko-shish-kebab, so only the ebenaui-group is really conceivable, and there aren't many leafed plants to blend in with. Plus, the humidity is really low, compared to all of the rest of the island. Nonetheless, I have still have my fingers crossed; the spiny forest is very poorly studied, to the point that I am three-for-three on new spiny forest species per visit!

    Anyways, in spite of my Uroplatus-related failure, I did find some really interesting/unusual Paroedura specimens. No conclusions to report on that yet, though.

    I would be remiss to go to Madagascar and not go to rainforest. So I've made sure to do that every time, with great success in terms of Uroplatus findings. I still have only seen ONE U. phantasticus in the wild though, which is infuriating.

    U. sikorae








    U. phantasticus










    and proof:


    If you are interested in seeing some habitat shots to base your vivaria off of, there are loads of them on the relevant post on my website.

    Finally, I am in the process of applying to study with Frank Glaw at the Zoological Statecollection in Munich (ZSM) right now. We plan to look at speciation in Montagne d'Ambre national park, so I hope to do some Uroplatus-related research there as well (Mt. d'Ambre is home to U. finiavana, U. ebenaui, U. fimbriatus, U. giganteus, U. aff. henkeli, and U. sikorae, for those of you who don't know). That's boring for you guys, I know, but the cool thing is that I got to visit the ZSM today. This zoological repository has an enormous collection of specimens from Madagascar, including the type specimens for numerous Uroplatus species.
    Here: U. pietschmanni, U. henkeli, U. finiavana, and U. sameiti.


    Anyways, that's all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed!

    Mark
    Mark D. Scherz, MSc
    Herpetologist and Evolutionary Biologist
    PhD Candidate: Evolution and Systematics of Madagascar's Herpetofauna
    Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich
    Zoologische Staatssammlung München
    www.markscherz.com
    Twitter, Tumblr
    Thanks Robin Skrumsager, Tamara, lrnjas, Peter B, Mickej and 6 others thanked for this post

  2. #2
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    Beautiful, just beautiful. I'll be checking out all those links when I have more time after work, but for now I just want to get any updates or replies that might pop up. I'm very excited to read about your experiences!
    RL Henkeli, R Auriculatus, U Fimbriatus, U Henkeli, U Pietschmanni, U Sameiti, U. Lineatus, B. Boivini, G.A. Fuscus

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    Thanks the moof thanked for this post

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing... Great information...

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