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Reptile Database News May 2017 -- celebrating 10,000 reptile photos

New release with new species and other chances:
Species database: We have now 10,544 reptile species vs. 10,499 species in December 2016 (+45 species). This includes 25 species described this year and 14 species described in 2016 that were missing from the December release. 10 species have been elevated from subspecies and 8 have been resurrected from synonymy. In addition, 14 species have been moved to other genera and a few have undergone minor name changes (e.g. gender). 7 species were sunk into synonymy and 2 species were downgraded to subspecies status. For a detailed list of all 10,544 species and the 90 changes affecting names or status in this release see our updated checklist (downloadable Excel spreadsheet, the list of changes is in the second sheet). For detailed literature references and comments see species entries in the online database.
Literature database: In our previous release (in December) we had 40,550 references in the database which has increased by 1,347 references to 41,897 in this release. 25,547 publications (61%) are linked to online sources. Among other things, we have also completed the original references for all currently accepted species and subspecies (yes, there were quite a few references missing for certain subspecies). More on this in the next newsletter.
With this release we exceeded 10,000 user-submitted photos, reaching a total of 10,219 photos representing 3,837 species (or 36.4% of all species)! These photos were submitted by a total of 633 people, 20 of which have submitted more than 100 photos each, namely Paul Freed (624), Sebastian Lotzkat (576), Michael Franzen (458), Pedro Bernardo (290), Wayne Van Devender (285), Richard Sage (258), Jakob Hallermann (214), Patrick Prévost (182),
Gernot Vogel (165), Boris Klusmeyer (161), Ryan van Huyssteen (156), Ashok Captain (145), David Jandzik (144), Uwe Schlüter (129), Daniel Jablonski (128), Ingo Kober (128), Jairo Maldonado (122), Fernando Castro (121), Peter Uetz (115), Andrej Susor (103). A big “Thank you” to all photographers who have submitted photos to make this milestone possible!
Together with the photos that we pull in from Flickr, Calphotos, or Reptarium we have photos of 4,707 species (or 44.6% of all). In fact, if we also count the individually vetted links to photos that we have listed at the bottom of each species page (under “External links”) we have photos of up to 5,713 species (54.2%). The latter number, however, is not exactly reliable as many of these links may be defunct by now (which is another reason why you should submit photos directly to us :).
Photos wanted: Neverthless, this leaves 5000+ species for which we have no photos, including about 250 genera which are our high-priority targets (see link for a list). If you have any of those, please send them!
That said, just for this release we received 359 photos representing 219 species (including many newly described ones) from 46 people, namely Américo Rosa, Bernard Dupont, Carlos A. Borrego, Carlos Gogolac, Chethan Kumar Gandla, Courtesy of the Houston Zoo, Daniel Mulcahy, Diana Torres, Diego Demangel, Elson Meneses-Pelayo, Eugene Kitsios, Farhang Torki, Fernando Castro, Frank Glaw, G Dyakin, Gilson Fuenmayor, Hector Gadsden, Herbert Rösler, Ishan Agarwal, Jaime Troncoso-Palacios, Joe Furman, Livia Marcia Correa, Luciano Javier Avila, Marc Faucher, Marcelo Ribeiro Duarte, Marco A Freitas, Mendis Wickramasinghe, Montri Sumontha, Mostafa Saleh, O. V. Belyalov, Pablo Velozo, Paul Freed, Peter Janzen, Raimundo Lopez-Silvero, Rainer Schulte, Rainer Schulte, Rick Sajdak, Rick West, S.R.Ganesh, S.R. Chandramouli, Silara Fátima Batista, Tatjana Dujsebayeva, Teddy Angarita-Sierra , Tomás M. Rodríguez Cabrera, Uwe Hackethal, Zaharil Dzulkafly. Again, thanks to all of you (including Paul Freed, our photo editor, who processes them ;-)!
By the way — this brings up the issue of copyright. While we attribute all submitted photos to their photographers by adding their name and a copyright note to these images, there has been some recent discussion about the applicability of copyright to scientific images, including those in published papers. The argument is that many images in the taxonomic literature are presented in a standardized way and lack the individuality that is required to qualify as ‘copyrightable works’. For a detailed discussion see Egloff et al. 2017, Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data.
Books received
Diego Demangel’s ‘Reptiles en Chile’ (2016)
A book review by Daniel Pincheira-Donoso, University of Lincoln (UK)
Sciences and arts are worlds apart which, paradoxically, depend on each other to achieve sublime expression. In his book ‘Reptiles en Chile’ (2016), Diego Demangel combines a comprehensive literature review, relentless field explorations and a longstanding passion for photography to present an overwhelming field guide covering the entire diversity of the reptile diversity of Chile. Consisting of 619 pages spanning every native and introduced species ever recorded in this country, and over 1,900 (!) colour pictures providing unique visual documents on the intersexual, intrasexual and ontogenetic variation within each of these species, as well as on often unknown aspects of their ecology, Demangel’s book closes the era of Donoso-Barros’s “Reptiles of Chile” (1966), and opens a new reference for the modern and future generations of reptile biologists in Chile and adjacent countries. Therefore, on the one hand, this book embodies progress with a modern and graphic synthesis of the Chilean herpetology. One important limitation is that Demangel removes a number of species from Chile based on the opinion of certain authors which can arguably be rightly debated. This is perhaps the main difference with Donoso-Barros’s often rebel and forward-pushing book that changed Chilean herpetology forever. Demangel’s book also lacks a modern alignment with emerging fields that rely on large-scale datasets, such as macroecology, which rely on detailed data such as rigorous measures of morphological traits. However, this may be outside the scope of this already comprehensive volume. Demangel’s book unquestionably deserves its place in a shelf, offers new and appealing observations, but demands the cautious criteria of the zoologist exploiting this extraordinary reference.
Reptiles of Chile in the Reptile Database: we used the book and its extensive taxonomic notes to update the species list for Chile, especially the list of Chilean Liolaemus which make up 99 of the 138 reptiles of Chile.
Selected taxonomic news
Poe et al. (2017) presented a near-complete analysis of anole phylogeny in Systematic Biology, quite a milestone for the largest genus of reptiles (the Reptile Database has currently 417 species in this genus). Similarly, Pereira et al. (2017) compiled a new comprehensive phylogeny of all turtles, accounting for all living genera and 85% of extant species diversity.
JMIH 2017: If you happen to be at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Austin, Texas this July, please stop by at our poster.
User Survey: if you haven’t participated in our user survey, please do so using this link  It will help us to improve the database and your user experience. Given that turnout was rather low last time, we will leave it online and report on the results in the next newsletter.
As always, if you have corrections, additions, or any other comments, please let us know!
Best wishes,
Peter, Paul, and Jiří
Reptile Database
2013-2018  SQUAMATA, the herp land!, sponsored by