We’re getting a new reticulated python skeleton ready for assembly. The specimen will be articulated during our upcoming “Burke Members Behind The Scenes Night”.
We’re hoping that we can find a few member-volunteers to help put it back together again.
Reticulated python, assembly required.
Basiliscus galeritus by M. Mayfield
Burke research volunteer and UW undergraduate Madison Mayfield just completed her first biological illustration. We’re looking forward to seeing more of her work. Madison will begin working in the lab in Spring 2013.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission kicked off their Python Challenge this weekend. Burmese pythons are invasive species that are eating everything in the Florida Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife and house pets. The Python Challenge pays $1,000 to the person person who harvests the longest python, and $1500 to the person who harvests the most. This is a horrible time of year for killing pythons since its cool and they are mainly in burrows. A summer slaughter would be more productive, and thats when the females are gravid.
We don’t have any huge introduced snakes to worry about in Washington. Bullfrogs are probably our worst offender on the introduced herp list.
Tuatara by Nita (Creative Commons license)
A reptile species that I’d like to see introduced here in Seattle is the tuatara. These awesome reptiles (native to New Zealand) have been around for hundreds of millions of years and are the last remaining species of an entire order of reptiles (no, they are not lizards). They thrive in cold environments, making them ideal candidates for Seattle life. I can’t imagine that people would want to kill these animals if they were introduced here. Most people would probably be thrilled to see a tuatara on the Burke-Gilman trail or on the San Juan Islands.
Written by David Maddison.
Published by Systematic Biology (2012): doi: 10.1093/sysbio/sys057.
The Tree of Life
I think that I shall never see
A thing so awesome as the Tree
That links us all in paths of genes
Down into depths of time unseen;
Whose many branches spreading wide
House wondrous creatures of the tide,
Ocean deep and mountain tall,
Darkened cave and waterfall.
Among the branches we may find
Creatures there of every kind,
From microbe small to redwood vast,
From fungus slow to cheetah fast.
As glaciers move, strikes asteroid
A branch may vanish in the void:
At Permian’s end and Tertiary’s door,
The Tree was shaken to its core.
The leaves that fall are trapped in time
Beneath cold sheets of sand and lime;
But new leaves sprout as mountains rise,
Breathing life anew ‘neath future skies.
On one branch the leaves burst forth:
A jointed limb of firework growth.
With inordinate fondness for splitting lines,
Armored beetles formed myriad kinds.
Wandering there among the leaves,
In awe of variants Time conceived,
We ponder the shape of branching fates,
And elusive origins of their traits.
Three billion years the Tree has grown
From replicators’ first seed sown
To branches rich with progeny:
The wonder of phylogeny.
The Burke Herpetology Collection has joined Arctos, and our collections are now searchable. No database is immune to errors, and on our first visual inspection of the data we noticed that a large collection of Anolis lizards are popping up in Sweden.
Mapping results for the 2/3 of the Burke Herpetology Collection that are georeferenced.