vrijdag 6 januari 2012

The Exotic Amphibians, Reptiles, Turtles, and Crocodilians of Florida

Monograph 1.
Walter E. Meshaka, Jr.
State Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 North Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17120, USA,
E-mail: wmeshaka@state.pa.us

Meshaka, W.E., Jr. 2011. A Runaway Train in the Making: The Exotic Amphibians, Reptiles, Turtles, and Crocodilians of Florida. Monograph 1. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6:1-101.

A great monograph about the exotic amphibians and reptiles in Florida.

 As of 2004, 40 exotic species of herpetofauna occurred in established populations in Florida (Meshaka
et al. 2004a), and two years later, Meshaka (2006)reviewed the inclusion of six more species. Yet anotherspecies appeared as established in 2007. In light of a wealth of new published information since Meshaka et al. (2004a) went to press and a continuing accumulation of new exotic species and colonies of existing exotic species, it became apparent that an update of Meshaka et
al. (2004a) was warranted. Thus, this new edition is both a snapshot in time and a progress report, providing a summary of Florida’s exotic herpetofaunal phenomenon. Its goal remains unchanged: to convey to an audience of budding naturalists, land managers, professional biologists, and those at regulatory institutions what is currently known and unknown about the established ecology and colonization dynamics of each established species. This will better enable interested individuals to understand the colonization process and will provide them useful information with which to make wise management decisions. In a larger context, the geographic distributions of exotic herpetofauna in North America were determined to be so extensive that The Center for North American Herpetology maintains an active update of those species.

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

The taxonomic, ecological, and geographic patterns associated with the currently established 47 Floridian species deviates little from those patterns noted by Meshaka et al. (2004a). For example, most of the species are lizards, especially geckos and anoles (Table 1). Most of these species are small, early maturing, fecund, generally insectivorous, nocturnal, and excel in establishing themselves around humans even if they are not limited to human-disturbed situations. 

Tokeh (Gecko gekko)

 The native centers of geographic distribution for most of these species is the New World (n = 28), 15 of which are from the West Indies. Nineteen of the exotic species arrived from the Old World. The Florida distributions of most of these species are centered in the southern part of the
state (Fig. 1 and 2). Exceptions to these patterns exist and sharply test the rule. For example, the Burmese Python (Python bivittatus) is a large carnivore that may require a few years of growth before egglyaying is
possible (pers. obs.). 

Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)

The Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) is firmly established in northern Florida and apparently absent in southern Florida. Further, when compared to 2004, the geographic
distributions for many of these species have exploded and the number of new species has yet to reach a plateau (Fig. 3); an exotic species runaway train, as it were. Indeed, each new exotic population and each new exotic species is a barometer of human failure to be good stewards of a natural legacy for which we are responsible. For better or worse, these are also opportunities to more clearly understand why species succeed or fail and what can be done, if at all, to manage one of the most compelling Florida conservation issue of the new millennium (Meshaka and Babbitt 2005). I hope this current work has revealed these issues and has shed light on the value of understanding colonization processes and making good management decisions in this turbulent part of the world called “the Sunshine

For more, see the complete monograph

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