Walter E. Meshaka, Jr.
State Museum of Pennsylvania, 300 North Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17120, USA,
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.
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)|
|Tokeh (Gecko gekko)|
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)|
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