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Mark_b
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Posted: 08 Mar 2009 Topic: The toads are crossing roads in Wales



We went out last night, had 10 people in total spread over 2 sites

The smaller road in Ammanford got 31 toads and 1 frog (not sure about newts)

At the fast road (18:30 - 20:30) we had ....

Toads total 49 (14 pairs, 15 singles, 6 heading back to woods)
Dead toads - 5
Frogs going back - 7
Palmates - 69!!!!! (no chance of sexing them after 2 hours walking in the very very wet rain)

Dead newts - 7





It took me about 5 hours to sort out getting those 10 people out on site though, a lot of work sorting out lifts etc, emailing and phoning, killed me! But well worth it

It terms of trying to get you more people in hampshire jon as I lived in Bishops Waltham my whole life .... I would contact Southampton Uni, they obviously do ecology there, as I nearly did my Zoology degree at Soton, so its worth contacting them for help, get some people joining the ARG etc!

Also I would contact Steve Nash at Sparsholt College, he is a good mate of mine who is proper into his reptiles (mainly exotic) .. but im sure you could find some students to help (most of them will be kids, but there will be some older students doing HND etc)

Thats all I can think of for now

 

Mark_b39880.4065162037


Mark_b
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Posted: 08 Mar 2009 Topic: The toads are crossing roads in Wales



Oh yea so Thanks to Tom, Lily, Suzie, Eliane, Jess, Hannah, Chaela, Sophie and Maddie!


Mark_b
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Posted: 04 Jul 2008 Topic: 1st neo of 2008



I saw a few tiny neonates yesterday

Previous studies have shown autumn mating in grass snakes, also delayed fertilisation and spring hatchings have been observed in Europe.

That could explain it!

Mark_b39633.3707060185


Mark_b
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Posted: 26 Jul 2008 Topic: IĘm the king of the castle!



Peter and I found this lovely common lizard basking about 3 foot off the ground!

(Oh my ..... my shadow looks like a giant alien with huge eyes, I thought I was feeling a little funny this morning)

This one below was very brave, so I got a nice close shot

And finally this little copper youngster about 2 inches long!

Cheers

Mark_b39655.8339467593


Mark_b
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Posted: 28 Jul 2008 Topic: Juvenile



Ah yes she was very grumpy!


Mark_b
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Posted: 08 Aug 2008 Topic: Smallest slow worm



Saw this tiny little slowworm today




Mark_b
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Posted: 08 Aug 2008 Topic: adder



Didnt see any point in making a new thread

Peter and I were on the search for grass snakes, came across these stunners!




Mark_b
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Posted: 10 Aug 2008 Topic: Invert surveys before translocations



I think a problem with moving common lizards from one location to another that already has lizards is that you will be disturbing territories. More pressure = reduced fitness etc

In terms of all these records, do consultants submit there findings to their local biodiversity record office? If they donĘt then they bloody well should! That goes for all animals seen, not just reptiles!

 




Mark_b
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Posted: 27 Sep 2008 Topic: feeding habits question



There isn't really any research on why some grassies exhibit this behaviour, it just seems that some of them have a preference for e.g. toads, which could just be due to toads being the most nourishing compared to energy expenditure, or it could well be habituation.

 

I wouldnĘt class a toad as a challenging / distasteful meal to a grass snake anyway, the toads secretions donĘt affect them apparently and all that inflating they do to make them selves look big ąą pah, grassies just laugh ą as they slowly consume them ą. pushing the air out like a whoopee cushion .. mmm

 

These animals could well be feeding on other creatures as well, unless we watch the animals 24/7 and more importantly all year round, we canĘt be sure. But I think grass snakes are adaptable enough to change diet if circumstances change.

 




Mark_b
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Posted: 04 Oct 2008 Topic: feeding habits question



I believe the point of the thread was about certain populations of grass snake that only appear to eat a particular species of amphibian most of the time, whether this is actually the case and why is not known!

From my literature research I found examples of grassies feeding on .... fish, small mammals, nestling birds, invertebrates (earthworms, bees, slugs and juveniles snapping at & consuming robber flies) and reptiles (common lizards and slowworms)

 "On the Greek archipelago of the Cyclades the grass snake predominantly feeds on geckos, lacertid lizards and small mammals"

Very clever buggers!




Mark_b
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Posted: 04 Oct 2008 Topic: smooth snake in Poland



That juvenile looks like it has a grass snakes collar .. interesting!


Mark_b
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Posted: 05 Oct 2008 Topic: feeding habits question



[QUOTE=David Bird] It is a pity that the PhD that had been suggested looking at the DNA of prey species from the faeces never went ahead. I know several people said that we know what they feed on already, which I thought was very short sighted and not exactly true. [/QUOTE]

David Brown from Cardiff University is heading anaylisis of prey in predator diets, using PCR techniques to check faecal samples for DNA.

Symondson, W. O. C., 2002. Molecular identification of prey in predator diets. Molecular Biology, 11, 627-641.

An interesting discovery for example was that European Otters (Lutra lutra) consume slugs!

I have been sending samples from the natrix populations I have been studying for 2 years. Im not sure if any work has started on them yet though.

I would encourage anybody that is doing scientific research on grass snakes to take samples if the snake does release a stool (but please dont force them .... obviously). If your research doesnt involve handling the snakes, then please dont start just for 'sh*t' sake

Email me if you want details on how to contain & store the samples correctly, and were to send them ..... m.barber *at* swan.ac.uk




Mark_b
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Posted: 09 Oct 2008 Topic: West Glamorgan ARG



Ive only just learnt web design in the last few weeks, but Im getting the hang of it! Thanks for support!

[QUOTE=Peter][QUOTE=Masked Marvel] Don't live in West Glamorgan, but used to study at Swansea. I did my MSc project on great crested newts and found a nice metapopulation in the Rhossilli area on Gower. Would be interested to know how it's doing if you have anyone in that area. [/QUOTE] We are covering that area so shall investigate.[/QUOTE] "A survey of Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) and Palmate Newt (T.helveticus) populations at Pilton, Gower, South Wales and an evaluation of their habitat" ? Yea we can check the area out
We are looking for any good amphibian sites in the gower area, any advise would be great!




Mark_b
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Posted: 13 Oct 2008 Topic: A simple question!



Sorry for not replying but I have had no experience with GCNs, so I cant actually answer your question, that may be the case for others..

Thinking about the point behind your question ... I think I have quite an extreme view in terms of protection of species and habitat.

I look at the UK and see so little habitat left for our wildlife, in my mind habitat that holds any diversity or has the potential to hold diversity should not be destroyed (developed). Sadly this is impossible with an increasing population that doesnĘt care about the environment.

In terms of what may be possible, I think it is important to give species more protection (such as the grass snake), but also to think about habitats. Everyone goes crazy over protecting the heath and it seems to be working. If we can have some sort of diversity index, highlighting the habitats which contain the most species, then make those habitats highly protected ą.?

Not sure if IĘm making sense anymoreą




Mark_b
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Posted: 14 Oct 2008 Topic: UKs ANSWER TO THE AUSSIE CANE TOAD



http://www.arlis.org/docs/vol1/166276164.pdf#page=35

There is the research paper that the news article is all about, havent had change to read it yet




Mark_b
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Posted: 14 Oct 2008 Topic: Any tips...



Wetsuit and a wet peter ?


Mark_b
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Posted: 15 Oct 2008 Topic: A simple question!



Research done by Thorpe in the 70's and 80's shows that there is minimal differences between the British and the mainland helvetica, not enough to make the UK grass snake its own sub species sadly

Some good quality scientific research that shows a decline is needed, that can handle the strains of the legal system, its the only way forward. That goes for all the herp species we are observing a decline in




Mark_b
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Posted: 18 Oct 2008 Topic: ARG SE meeting 15th Nov - whose going?



I really want to go, even more so that Marwell is only 5 mins from my proper home (Bishops Waltham) ....... but sadly I have job commitments. I will try and make other members of the WGARG committee to go!




Mark_b
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Posted: 21 Oct 2008 Topic: poorly grass snake



sorry for the long post.....

 

I know the herpvet isnĘt around that much so thought I would do a bit of research, as the only general fact I knew about the topic was that Myxomatosis was pretty host specific to rabbits. Mainly used good old Wikipedia but also research papers.

 

F FENNER 1959

ōIt was early recognized that its host range, among laboratory animals, was very restricted. Before its release in Australia, Bull & Dickinson (1937) tested a wide range of Australian domestic and native animals and birds and found all of them to be refractory to the virus. This was an essential preliminary step to its use for the biological control of the rabbit in Australia. Since 1952 a few cases of natural infection of the European hare (Lepus europaeus) have been reported in France (Magallon, Bazin & Bazin, 1953), and Great Britain (Wbitty, 1955). Experiments in France have shown that only a very rare individual hare is susceptible, the majority being innately resistant (Jacotot, Vallee & Virat 1955a). In tissue cultures myxoma virus will multiply in cells derived from a variety of animals (Chaproniere & Andrewes, 1957; Kilham, 1958). Multiplication also occurs in the developing chick-embryo (Lush, 1937) in which pocks are produced on the chorio-allantoic membrane; and in the brains of newborn mice (Andrewes & Harisijades, 1955).ö

 

So apart from mutated hares and in-vitro lab experiments this virus doesnĘt appear to like other species that much

 

Myxomatosis is from the group dsDNA viruses (a virus that has DNA as its genetic material)

Family: Poxviridae (infects both vertebrate and invertebrate animals ą an example from a different genus is smallpox in humans)

Genus: Leporipoxvirus

Species: Myxoma virus (which does appear to infect its host in a very specific way, so appears only capable of infecting rabbits normally)

 

Bird Flu is from the group: negative-sense ssRNA viruses (a virus that has RNA (ribonucleic acid) as its genetic material) - so a completely different type of virus

Family: Orthomyxoviridae - influenza viruses (so all flu viruses)

Genus: Influenzavirus A

Only one species: Influenza A virus

Its one species but it has lots of strains, including human & bird flu

So thatĘs why it was so easy to have a cross over to humans, as it is still just one species that loves to mutate.

 

Now I am not saying its impossible that myxomatosis could mutate and infect other species, it would be stupid to state absolutes in the biological world, but because it appears to be the only species in its genus and no other strains that infect other species, its very unlikely to jump to a species from a completely different class!

 

Anywho your questions intrigued me Robert, had to look into it, so thought I may as well share what I discovered. Now lets wait for the professional!

 

In terms of finding out what it is IĘm sure taking a swab of the infected area would obtain enough cells to classify it. I will ask my colleagues at the University if they may be able to test it for you if you wish

Mark_b39743.2815046296


Mark_b
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Posted: 22 Oct 2008 Topic: poorly grass snake



I am very interested in this disease and with the facilities we have at the university I am sure we will be able to assist in researching it

I am in Uni tomorrow, so I will have a chat with some of the guys

This could spread around the UK, so I think it is of the utmost importance that it is investigated

Mark_b39744.5196990741


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