A Couple Pics from Az

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AZherper
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Joined: August 31st, 2015, 7:53 am

A Couple Pics from Az

Post by AZherper » June 30th, 2016, 4:15 am

Hey All,

I've lurked on this forum for a couple years now, and thought I'd introduce myself and contribute a post of my own. I'm seventeen and based in Tucson, Arizona. I've had my driver's license for about a year, and have been lucky to be able to get out and find some great herps in that time.

Without further ado, some pics from the last year or so in Arizona:

A few from 2015:

Crotalus willardi willardi:

ImageCrotalus willardi willardi (Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Senticolis triaspis intermedia:

ImageSenticolis triaspis intermedia (Northern Green Ratsnake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Crotalus molossus molossus:

ImageA Northern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus) Crosses a Road in Front of the Santa Rita Mountains by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Smilisca fodiens:

ImageSmilisca fodiens (Lowland Burrowing Treefrog) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Micruroides euryxanthus euryxanthus:

ImageMicruroides euryxanthus euryxanthus (Arizona coralsnake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Crotalus pricei pricei:

ImageCrotalus pricei pricei (Western Twin-spotted Rattlesnake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Gastrophryne mazatlanensis:

ImageGastrophyne olivaceae (Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

And a few from this year:

Craugastor augusti cactorum:

ImageCraugastor augusti cactorum (Western Barking Frog) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

ImageCraugastor augusti cactorum (Western Barking Frog) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

These guys are such cool frogs, I'd been wanting to get out and look for them for years but was never here at the right time. This year I was finally able to hit it in the first few days of the monsoon, and turned some up.

Phyllorhynchus browni:

ImagePhyllorhynchus browni (Saddled Leaf-nosed Snake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Chilomeniscus stramineus:

ImageChilomeniscus stramineus (Variable Sandsnake) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Elgaria kingii nobilis:

ImageElgaria kingii nobilis (Arizona Alligator Lizard) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Crotalus cerastes cercobombus:

ImageCrotalus cerastes cercobombus (Sonoran Sidewinder) by wyman.jules, on Flickr

Thanks for looking, I hope you enjoy. And hopefully there is more to come.

And if I did anything incorrectly with the photos or otherwise please let me know, I'd be happy to fix it.

All best, and happy herping.

Jules

FrogO_Oeyes
Posts: 60
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Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by FrogO_Oeyes » June 30th, 2016, 3:27 pm

You seem to have rounded up a few of the harder to find/marginal-US species. Good job!

I see you caught to revision of Gastrophryne, although you use both names. The black-tail is just plain Crotalus molossus now, with Chihuahuan Desert [more or less] animals being Crotalus ornatus.

I wish you luck in rounding up the rest of localized species! We didn't find a whole lot of "
unique" stuff last year, but managed a Lampropeltis knoblochi and Elgaria kingii in the Chiricahuas, and Coleonyx and Phrynosoma solare near Tucson [I'm omitting the more common stuff, and everything from Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri].

AZherper
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Joined: August 31st, 2015, 7:53 am

Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by AZherper » June 30th, 2016, 3:46 pm

FrogO_Oeyes wrote:You seem to have rounded up a few of the harder to find/marginal-US species. Good job!

I see you caught to revision of Gastrophryne, although you use both names. The black-tail is just plain Crotalus molossus now, with Chihuahuan Desert [more or less] animals being Crotalus ornatus.

I wish you luck in rounding up the rest of localized species! We didn't find a whole lot of "
unique" stuff last year, but managed a Lampropeltis knoblochi and Elgaria kingii in the Chiricahuas, and Coleonyx and Phrynosoma solare near Tucson [I'm omitting the more common stuff, and everything from Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri].
Yeah, it was a nice year. There are many more interesting species I observed but haven't posted photos of, but I'm still after a few in S.E. Az (e.g. Gyalopion quadrangulare, Sistrurus, Plestiodon callicephalus, Ambystoma mavortium stebbinsi, etc.). And I have a lot left to find to the north and west.

With regards to the narrow mouth, I have the old name (olivacea) on the flickr photo because it was taken awhile back, I'll update it. Thank you for the correction. I knew ornatus was split off of the molossus clade, but I thought molossus molossus was still a valid subspecies, with m. molossus in the North and m. nigriscens and a couple others subspecies down in Mexico. Is that no longer the case?

Thank you for the comments, and nice job on your finds last year. Sounds like a good time.

Jules

FrogO_Oeyes
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Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by FrogO_Oeyes » June 30th, 2016, 5:01 pm

You're right. Although Crotalus molossus "molossus" is sister to Crotalus basiliscus, Crotalus ornatus sister to Crotalus totonacus, and Crotalus nigrescens sister to all of these [C.estebanensis and C.m.oaxacus not analyzed], the shortage of specimens of C.nigrescens [clearly a distinct species] and C.m.oaxacus prevented their status being changed. The fact that C.ornatus was considered consubspecific with Crotalus molossus, while C.nigrescens [distinct] and C.m.oaxacus [status undetermined] were distinguished, implies that all subspecies should be raised. That has not happened. Certainly with oaxacus, it can't happen without SOME data.

I should note that, although I consider C.nigrescens a full species, the mere fact it renders several species para/polyphyletic is not sufficient to consider it a separate species. It is possible for new species to arise from within populations of one species, while leaving remaining, less-related populations still part of a single species. It's all about who they continue to interbreed with. I can think of a couple examples where this has occurred.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » June 30th, 2016, 11:15 pm

Nice post, great to see such young enthusiasm!
FrogO_Oeyes wrote:I should note that, although I consider C.nigrescens a full species, the mere fact it renders several species para/polyphyletic is not sufficient to consider it a separate species. It is possible for new species to arise from within populations of one species, while leaving remaining, less-related populations still part of a single species. It's all about who they continue to interbreed with. I can think of a couple examples where this has occurred.
Can you name those examples, please? By my book, para/polyphyly is a no-go within a species.

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Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by FrogO_Oeyes » July 1st, 2016, 10:51 pm

I used to think the same thing, but my understanding of evolution, taxonomy, and the definition of a species have changed (about the same time that I came to this thinking, someone else published on the very same topic in Zootaxa). Both logically and by definition, the argument fails. Sexual species [which includes the vast majority of animals, and the ancestors of most of the remainder] are by definition polyphyletic. Offspring always result from the union of two distinct lineages. So at what point is that polyphyly too great to be one species? It's entirely arbitrary. Whether the parents are siblings, first cousins, or separated by 5, 20, or 10000 generations, it's a polyphyletic origin. So what defines whether or not a single species is involved? A shared gene pool. Whatever species "definition" [not really a definition, so much as a means for humans to recognize separate species] is applied, the commonality is that species are defined [that is, circumscribed] by a shared evolutionary history, shared reproduction, and shared gene pool. If these things are shared; very few, if any, other "definitions" will apply. If they are NOT shared, typically many of the other "definitions" will cascade into place as well. So when you stop sharing gene pools, stop reproducing together, and start accumulating unique sets of traits, you become separate species. If your populations diverge in behavior, morphology, genetics, but fail to become genetically or reproductively isolated, you remain one species.

Within any given taxon, it is possible for both situations to occur, possibly multiple times. This has probably occurred millions of times, since this divergence and isolation within one species is the most basic level driving the origin of species and higher taxa. I think this is commonly recognized now, albeit masked by terms like "incomplete lineage sorting". Over time, sibling species should gradually evolve further away from each other and become somewhat more homogenized within themselves, thus masking the fact that one of them most likely was originally most closely related to only some small portion of the other. Early on, however, the genetic traits should be similar enough to identify exactly which portion of a population is directly sibling/ancestral to the derived species. Despite that derivation, there is nothing which compels the remaining populations to be divided arbitrarily as "species", nor should they be if they lack any other definition as such. Nor is there anything which compels the remaining populations to cease interbreeding, to cease sharing a gene pool.

One needs to also look closely the terminology and nature of taxonomy. "Species", as a Linnaean taxon, are defined by their shared ancestry, shared traits, and thus by their common reproduction and gene pools. ALL higher taxa, however, are defined by their monophyletic lineages. From the genus up, taxa cannot be polyphyletic or paraphyletic, but species are not defined by their phylogeny [a higher taxon can originate by a single event of polyphyly, but thereafter it remains monophyletic. It cannot originate by multiple events. Let's not discuss hybrid genera of orchids, in which a hybrid genus can derive from multiple events, so long as the combined genera are the same].

As for examples, the two [and there ARE more] clear ones I think immediately of are Ranoidea myola and Xantusia gracilis. Ranoidea serrata consists of two divergent populations which nonetheless freely interbreed and share an intermixing gene pool. Within a small area of the range of the northern lineage is an outlier of the southern lineage. This outlier is genetically closer to the southern populations, but it is phenotypically distinct from northern and southern populations, and does not interbreed with either. In every sense it is a distinct species [R.myola], while the remainder are paraphyletic but cannot be separated from one another except by arguing a reproductive distinction which does not exist. Even if R.serrata is found to merit further division, the point is that recognition of R.myola is in itself not sufficient to require this. Xantusia henshawi is colored and patterned to match the granite rocks to which it is endemic. Within its range is an isolated sandstone outcrop which it has also colonized. Populations on the sandstone are now isolated, are morphologically and genetically distinct, but are clearly derived from within X.henshawi. They satisfy all reasonable requirements for species status, as X.gracilis, but this in itself does not cause remaining populations of X.henshawi to diverge further or cease interbreeding. Despite the paraphyly, X.henshawi remains a single species.

AZherper
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Joined: August 31st, 2015, 7:53 am

Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by AZherper » July 2nd, 2016, 12:04 am

FrogO_Oeyes wrote:I used to think the same thing, but my understanding of evolution, taxonomy, and the definition of a species have changed (about the same time that I came to this thinking, someone else published on the very same topic in Zootaxa). Both logically and by definition, the argument fails. Sexual species [which includes the vast majority of animals, and the ancestors of most of the remainder] are by definition polyphyletic. Offspring always result from the union of two distinct lineages. So at what point is that polyphyly too great to be one species? It's entirely arbitrary. Whether the parents are siblings, first cousins, or separated by 5, 20, or 10000 generations, it's a polyphyletic origin. So what defines whether or not a single species is involved? A shared gene pool. Whatever species "definition" [not really a definition, so much as a means for humans to recognize separate species] is applied, the commonality is that species are defined [that is, circumscribed] by a shared evolutionary history, shared reproduction, and shared gene pool. If these things are shared; very few, if any, other "definitions" will apply. If they are NOT shared, typically many of the other "definitions" will cascade into place as well. So when you stop sharing gene pools, stop reproducing together, and start accumulating unique sets of traits, you become separate species. If your populations diverge in behavior, morphology, genetics, but fail to become genetically or reproductively isolated, you remain one species.

Within any given taxon, it is possible for both situations to occur, possibly multiple times. This has probably occurred millions of times, since this divergence and isolation within one species is the most basic level driving the origin of species and higher taxa. I think this is commonly recognized now, albeit masked by terms like "incomplete lineage sorting". Over time, sibling species should gradually evolve further away from each other and become somewhat more homogenized within themselves, thus masking the fact that one of them most likely was originally most closely related to only some small portion of the other. Early on, however, the genetic traits should be similar enough to identify exactly which portion of a population is directly sibling/ancestral to the derived species. Despite that derivation, there is nothing which compels the remaining populations to be divided arbitrarily as "species", nor should they be if they lack any other definition as such. Nor is there anything which compels the remaining populations to cease interbreeding, to cease sharing a gene pool.

One needs to also look closely the terminology and nature of taxonomy. "Species", as a Linnaean taxon, are defined by their shared ancestry, shared traits, and thus by their common reproduction and gene pools. ALL higher taxa, however, are defined by their monophyletic lineages. From the genus up, taxa cannot be polyphyletic or paraphyletic, but species are not defined by their phylogeny [a higher taxon can originate by a single event of polyphyly, but thereafter it remains monophyletic. It cannot originate by multiple events. Let's not discuss hybrid genera of orchids, in which a hybrid genus can derive from multiple events, so long as the combined genera are the same].

As for examples, the two [and there ARE more] clear ones I think immediately of are Ranoidea myola and Xantusia gracilis. Ranoidea serrata consists of two divergent populations which nonetheless freely interbreed and share an intermixing gene pool. Within a small area of the range of the northern lineage is an outlier of the southern lineage. This outlier is genetically closer to the southern populations, but it is phenotypically distinct from northern and southern populations, and does not interbreed with either. In every sense it is a distinct species [R.myola], while the remainder are paraphyletic but cannot be separated from one another except by arguing a reproductive distinction which does not exist. Even if R.serrata is found to merit further division, the point is that recognition of R.myola is in itself not sufficient to require this. Xantusia henshawi is colored and patterned to match the granite rocks to which it is endemic. Within its range is an isolated sandstone outcrop which it has also colonized. Populations on the sandstone are now isolated, are morphologically and genetically distinct, but are clearly derived from within X.henshawi. They satisfy all reasonable requirements for species status, as X.gracilis, but this in itself does not cause remaining populations of X.henshawi to diverge further or cease interbreeding. Despite the paraphyly, X.henshawi remains a single species.
I'm glad to see my post has given rise to this interesting discussion, it's a fascinating read. I don't have too much to contribute myself, I'm mainly just learning. The example you give of the X. gracilis paraphyly seems spot-on.

Would Phrynosoma platyrhinos also work as an example of a species considered valid despite being paraphyletic? P. goodei is clearly derived from within platyrhinos (as far as I understand, this is off the top of my head and of course open to correction), yet platyrhinos is considered a valid species (although I did hear that there was up to approximately 5 % genetic difference between platyrhinos populations, so as I understand that may be up for revision- species have been defined as separate with much less difference).

Thank you both again for your discussion, it's much appreciated.

AZherper
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Joined: August 31st, 2015, 7:53 am

Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by AZherper » July 2nd, 2016, 12:08 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Nice post, great to see such young enthusiasm!
FrogO_Oeyes wrote:I should note that, although I consider C.nigrescens a full species, the mere fact it renders several species para/polyphyletic is not sufficient to consider it a separate species. It is possible for new species to arise from within populations of one species, while leaving remaining, less-related populations still part of a single species. It's all about who they continue to interbreed with. I can think of a couple examples where this has occurred.
Can you name those examples, please? By my book, para/polyphyly is a no-go within a species.
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed.

For one example, I believe there are many paraphyletic plant species, I could look up specifics but I think it's a pretty regular that plant species are defined despite their paraphyletic status. I'm not sure exactly how applicable that is to herps, but it's definitely fairly common within certain taxonomic groups.

Thanks again for the comment, and wishing you all the best.

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Re: A Couple Pics from Az

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 6th, 2016, 12:55 am

Thanks, FrogO_Oeyes, I'll have to chew on this for a bit before I'll go along with all of it, but much appreciated!

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