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Herpetology Class Spring 2011. Photo by A. Shepack

Herpetology Class Spring 2011. Photo by J. Velotta

Dr. Wells being honored by the impact of his 1977 paper in the field of Animal Behavior. Photo by P. Morenus/UConn Photo

EEB 3265/5265 Herpetology
Spring 2013

Lecture Meeting Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 - 11:50 in TLS 181
Lab Meeting Time: Mondays 1:00 - 5:00 in TLS181
Textbook: Pough F. H., et al. 2004. Herpetology 3rd Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.
Additional readings will be assigned from the primary journal literature.


Johana (TA) having some bonding time with a spotted salamander. Photo by A. Shepack

Dr. Kentwood Wells
Email: kentwood.wells@uconn.edu
Office: Torrey Life Sciences Building 312
Phone: (860) 486-4319
Office hours: by appointment

Johana Goyes Vallejos (Teaching Assistant)
Email: johana.goyes@uconn.edu
Office: Torrey Life Sciences Building 379
Phone: (860) 486-6215
Office hours: by appointment

Course Procedures and Policies

Photo by E. K. Timpe
Photo by A. Shepack

The lecture portion of this course will deal with various aspects of the biology of amphibians and reptiles, including physiological ecology, communication, social behavior, reproduction, parental care, and community ecology. The laboratories will focus on the classification and distribution of the major families of amphibians and reptiles of the world, as well as identification of Connecticut species. There will be some evening field trips toward the end of the semester to see breeding of local amphibians and daytime field trips to see other species. Students are expected to attend the field trips.

Field Trips:
There will be a scheduled field trip to the Yale Forest during lab time Monday, April 25th. There will be additional evening field trips once the weather is warm enough. We will begin evening field trips as soon as the first amphibians start breeding, which could be as early as late March. Many of these will be arranged on short notice. We will try to do enough of these so that everyone has a chance to get out in the field a few times.

The emphasis in this course in on readings from original literature. I will be handing out detailed reference bibliographies with each lecture; assigned readings will be marked with * on each bibliography. Those marked with † are available online and will not be supplied in hard copy. Xeroxed copies of papers not available online will be in the green filing cabinet in my outer office (TLS 380) and can be signed out. Please do not monopolize these readings for long periods of time, since it is impossible for me to make enough copies for the entire class. The course textbook is Herpetology (3rd ed.) by F. H. Pough, R. M. Andrews, J. E. Cadle, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, and K. D. Wells (Prentice Hall, 2004). An illustrated guide, Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut: A Checklist with Notes on Conservation Status, Identification, and Distribution by Michael Klemens (Connecticut DEP, 2000), may be useful as an additional reference for local species and can be ordered if students are interested.

There will be two lecture exams. The midterm will be given sometime in March, perhaps as a take-home exam. The final exam will be essay format, given on May 8. For the final, I will hand out ten questions two weeks in advance, which you can prepare using class notes and readings. Several of these questions will appear on the final exam given during the scheduled exam period. You will not be able to bring any reference materials or notes to the exam. There will be two lab practicals covering taxonomy, distribution, and natural history of amphibians and reptiles.

Grades will be determined approximately as follows:
Lab Practicals: 20% each
Midterm: 20%
Final: 40%

Academic Integrity:
Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester.

Lecture and Lab Schedule & Materials

Photo by E. K. Timpe
Photo by E. K. Timpe

Date Lecture Topic Readings Lab Supplemental Materials
Jan 23 Amphibians: Diversity and Morphological Evolution Ch. 2, 3, 10
Jan 28 Reptiles: Diversity and Morphological Evolution Ch. 4, 10, 11 Caecilian and Salamander Taxonomy Salamander Videos
Salamanders of CT.pdf
Amphibians of CT website
Jan 30 Amphibian Skin and Water Relations Ch. 6
Feb 4 Amphibian Excretion and Osmoregulation Ch. 6 Salamander Taxonomy; Video: Amphibians
Feb 6 Reptile Water Relations Ch. 6
Feb 11 Behavioral Thermoregulation in Reptiles Ch. 6 Frog Taxonomy CLASSES CANCELED
Feb 13 Amphibian Thermoregulation and Freeze Tolerance Ch. 6
Feb 18 Physiological Temperature Adjustments Ch. 6 Frog Taxonomy; Video: Cane Toads
Feb 20 Gas Transport and Metabolism in Amphibians Ch. 7
Feb 25 Respiration and Circulation in Reptiles Ch. 7 Turtles and Crocodilians; Amphibian Review; Video: Crocodiles & Alligators, Turtles
Feb 27 Activity Metabolism of Amphibians Ch. 7
Mar 4 Reptile Metabolism, Energetics, and Diet Ch. 7 FIRST LAB PRACTICAL (Amphibians)
Mar 6 Energy Budgets and Energy Allocation Ch. 7
Mar 11 Amphibian Reproductive Modes Ch. 8 Lizard Taxonomy
Mar 13 Biology of Amphibian Larvae Ch. 8, 11
Mar 18 SPRING BREAK (Go somewhere warm!) ----- -----
Mar 20 SPRING BREAK (Go somewhere warm!) ----- -----
Mar 25 Ecological Aspects of Amphibian Metamorphosis Ch. 8 Lizard Taxonomy; Video: Lizards
Mar 27 Reptile Eggs and the Evolution of Viviparity Ch. 9
Apr 1 Reptile Life History Strategies Ch. 9 Snake Taxonomy
Apr 3 Communication and Mating Systems of Salamanders Ch. 13, 14
Apr 8 Frog Vocal Communication: Behavioral Aspects Ch. 13 Snake Taxonomy; Evolution of Snake Dentition
Apr 10 Frog Vocal Communication: Call Production and Reception Ch. 13
Apr 15 Mating Systems and Sexual Selection in Anurans Ch. 14 Reptile Review Video: Snakes
Apr 17 Modes of Communication in Squamate Reptiles Ch. 13
Apr 22 Mating Systems and Sexual Selection in Squamates Ch. 14 SECOND LAB PRACTICAL (Reptiles)
Apr 24 Social Behavior and Communication in other Reptiles Ch. 13, 14
Apr 29 Ecology of Terrestrial Amphibian and Reptile Communities Ch. 15, 16 AFTERNOON FIELD TRIP (Yale Forest)
May 1 Competition and Predation in Aquatic Amphibian Communities Ch. 15, 16

Additional Resources

Photo by E. K. Timpe
Photo by E. K. Timpe


Online Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of CT
Reptiles and Amphibians of CT
New England Herpetological Society

Video about Amphibian Extinction
AMNH's Amphibian Species of the World
Amphibian Portal from USGS-NBII
Deban Lab Amphibian Feeding

General Herpetology
Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
The Herpetologists' League
The Center for North American Herpetology
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
New England Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
EMYSystem Online Turtle Resource
eNature Online Field Guides

Herps in the News (and other fun Stuff!)

Photo by E. K. Timpe

Feb 7, 2013: The Amazing Amphibians and Reptiles of the Philippine Island Luzon
Jan 31, 2013: Genetic Matchmaking Saves Endangered Frogs
Jan 25, 2013: The Tiktaalik Song! so you don't forget the first tetrapod
Jan 23, 2013: UConn Biologist Honored for Seminal Paper on Social Behavior of Frogs