Amphibians and reptiles portal
Amphibians (class Amphibia; from Greek αμφις "both" and βιος "life") are a taxon of animals that include all living tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) that do not have amniotic eggs, are ectotherms, and generally spend part of their time on land. Most amphibians do not have the adaptations to an entirely terrestrial existence. There are around 6,000 described, living species of amphibians.
Reptiles (Reptilia; from Latin repere, "to creep") are tetrapods and amniotes, animals whose embryos are surrounded by an amniotic membrane. Today they are represented by four surviving orders: Crocodilia (crocodiles, caimans and alligators), Sphenodontia (tuatara), Squamata (lizards, snakes and amphisbaenids), and Testudines (turtles). Reptiles inhabit every continent except for Antarctica, although their main distribution comprises the tropics and subtropics.
Herpetology (Greek ἑρπετόν herpeton "to creep" and λόγος logos "explanation") is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of reptiles and amphibians.
Selected article of the month
The Komodo dragon
), also known as the Komodo Monitor
, Komodo Island Monitor
(to the natives of Komodo
), or simply Komodo
, is a species
which inhabits the islands
of Komodo, Rinca
, Gili Motang
, and Gili Dasami
in central Indonesia
A member of the monitor lizard family Varanidae, and the clade Toxicofera, the Komodo is the largest living species of lizard, growing to an average length of 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft). This great length is attributed to island gigantism, as there are no carnivorous mammals to fill the niche in the islands that they live on, and the Komodo dragon's low metabolic rate. As a result of their great size, these lizards are apex predators, dominating the ecosystems in which they live.
Komodo dragons were only discovered by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation makes them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded in order to protect them.
Selected picture of the month
...that Four-Inch Regulation refers to a regulation passed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1975 outlawing the sale of turtles with a carapace length of less than four inches to cope with "the public health impact of turtle-associated salmonellosis"?
...that tuatara feature in a number of indigenous legends, and are held as ariki (God forms). Tuatara are regarded as the messengers of Whiro, the god of death and disaster, and Māori women are forbidden to eat them?
...that the once-abundant golden toad (Bufo periglenes), often featured on posters promoting the biodiversity of Costa Rica, have not been seen since 1989?
...that the hatchlings of the egg-laying East African Boulengerula taitanus, a caecilian, have special teeth that allow them to peel and eat their mother's skin which contains a high level of fat and other nutrients?
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