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EEB 3265/5265 Herpetology
Spring 2017

Lecture Meeting Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:15 - 12:05 in TLS 181
Lab Meeting Time: Mondays 1:25 - 5:30 in TLS181
Textbook: Pough F. H., et al. 2016. Herpetology 4th Edition. Sinauer Associates Press.
Additional readings will be assigned from the primary journal literature.


Dr. Wells being honored for the impact of his 1977 paper in the field of Animal Behavior. Photo by P. Morenus/UConn Photo
A Evans eebedia picture.png

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

Evans (Teaching Assistant)
Email: annette.evans@uconn.edu
Office: BioPharm Building 322
Office hours: by appointment

This is what happens when you stay too long in the herpetology lab....The skulls come back to life

Course Procedures and Policies

The Frog Girls
Liz and the spotted turtle
Rachael and the spotted turtle

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 later in the semester. 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 emailing 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 (4th ed.) by F. H. Pough, R. M. Andrews, J. E. Cadle, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, and K. D. Wells (Sinauer Associates Press, 2016). 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 6 2017. 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

Date Lecture Topic Readings Lab Supplemental Materials
Jan 18 Amphibian skin and water relations Ch. 6
Jan 23 Amphibian excretion and osmoregulation Ch.6 Caecilian and Salamander Taxonomy Salamanders of CT.pdf
Amphibians of CT website
Jan 25 Reptile water relations Ch. 6
Jan 30 Behavioral thermoregulation in reptiles Salamander Taxonomy; Video: "Amphibians"

Pdficon small.gif Connecticut Salamanders Pdficon small.gif Caecilians/Salamanders Practice Quiz

Feb 1 Amphibian thermoregulation and freeze tolerance Ch. 6
Feb 6 Physiological temperature adjustments Ch. 6 Frog Taxonomy
Feb 8 Gas transport and metabolism in amphibians Ch. 7
Feb 13 Respiration and circulation Ch. 7 Frog Taxonomy; Video: "Cane Toads" Pdficon small.gif Anuran Families of the World

Pdficon small.gif Connecticut Frogs and Toads

Feb 15 Activity metabolism of amphibians Ch. 7
Feb 20 Reptile metabolism, energetics, and diet Ch. 7 Turtles and crocodilians; amphibian review; Video Crocodiles & Alligators, Turtles Pdficon small.gif

Pdficon small.gif Turtle Families of the World Pdficon small.gif Connecticut Turtles
Pdficon small.gif Turtle Practice Quiz

Feb 22 Energy budgets and energy allocation Ch. 7
Feb 27 Amphibian reproductive modes Ch. 8 FIRST LAB PRACTICAL (Amphibians)
Mar 1 Biology of amphibian larvae Ch. 11
Mar 6 Ecological aspects of amphibian metamorphosis Ch. 8 Lizard taxonomy

Pdficon small.gif List of Lizard Families of the World Pdficon small.gif Important North American Lizards

Mar 8 Reptile eggs and the evolution of viviparity Ch. 9
Mar 13 SPRING BREAK ----- -----
Mar 15 SPRING BREAK ----- -----
Mar 20 Reptile life history strategies Lizard Taxonomy; Video: Lizards Pdficon small.gif Lizard Study Guide

Pdficon small.gif Lizard Practice Quiz

Mar 22 Communication and mating systems of salamanders Ch. 13, 14
Mar 27 Frog vocal communication: behavioral aspects Ch. 13 Snake Taxonomy Pdficon small.gif Snake Families of the World

Pdficon small.gif Connecticut Snakes

Mar 29 Frog vocal communication: call production & reception Ch. 13
Apr 3 Mating systems and sexual selection in anurans Ch. 14 Snake Taxonomy; Evolution of Snake Dentition Pdficon small.gif Snake Dentition

Pdficon small.gif Snake Practice Quiz

Apr 5 Modes of communication in squamate reptiles Ch. 14
Apr 10 Mating Systems and Sexual Selection in squamates Ch. 14 Reptile Review Video: Snakes
Apr 12 Social behavior and communication in other reptiles Ch. 13, 14
Apr 17 Spatial Ecology Ch. 12 SECOND LAB PRACTICAL (Reptiles)
Apr 19 Ecology of terrestrial amphibian and reptile communities Ch. 15, 16
Apr 24 Competition and predation in aquatic amphibian communities Ch. 15, 16 AFTERNOON FIELD TRIP (Yale Forest)
Apr 26 Amphibian and reptile conservation Ch. 17

Herps in the News (and other fun Stuff!)

Lithobates clamitans. Photo by J. Goyes

February 9, 2015: Newfound Frog Has Strange Breeding Habits
Jan 26, 2015: Rare Frogs Give Birth to Live Tadpoles

Additional Resources

Plethodon cinereus. Photo by J. Goyes
Eurycea bislineata. Photo by J. Goyes

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