Saturday, 17 January 2015

New Arrival: Eastern Quoll

Eastern Quoll
Just gone on show in Twilight World at Bristol Zoo is a new species of marsupial, the Eastern Quoll Dasyurus viverrinus. These belong to the same family, the Dasyuridae, as the Kowari Dasyuroides byrnei (also on show), buit is much larger, about the size of a small cat.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Book Review: Tuatara: Biology and conservation of a venerable survivor by Alison Cree

There are very few species of small(ish) reptile which are famous outside their native range unless they are venomous or brightly coloured, but the Tuatara Sphenodon punctatus of New Zealand is certainly among that select number. Their fame is due to their being the sole survivor of a unique lineage of reptiles separate from the turtles, the archosaurs, and the lizards, although they are most nearly related to the last, although since they split from the common ancestor with the lizards well over a quarter of a billion years ago even that is not close. The book reviewed here is a summary and survey of the whole of tuatara-related research, and covers not just the biology and ecology of the living animal, but its evolutionary history, interactions with humans, and their past, present, and future conservation status.