Amphibians and Reptiles

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dickyjones
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby dickyjones » December 19th, 2008, 7:39 am

I think he meant finding pictures that aren't the main species of every genus so that it's not just matching pictures to ID, or show features that you can use to ID and most people ignore studying. Like looking only at the shell (or only one of plastron/carapace) to ID a turtle, showing only scale patterns for snakes, avoid showing the rattles for rattle snake, an unclear picture of a species in a certain habitat or performing a certain activity that would allow you to ID w/o seeing it's features clearly, and so forth..

I love ones like those because they kill a lot of the teams that study by only looking at pictures over and over and reward the teams that actually use a scientific approach to identification.
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby Deeisenberg » December 19th, 2008, 7:43 am

In almost any specimen or picture, it is possible to identify if you have enough knowledge of the organisms morphology. Granted there can be specimens that are so outrageous that it is borderline unfair, however these are not very common. Also I think that if a event supervisor were to take his own photos that would take several hours, however that is not something that I feel is commonly done (though if and when it is I greatly appreciate it). If the supervisor uses live specimens, that is also greatly appreciated, and in my opinion only slightly less time consuming and more common. As for preserved specimen, it certainly takes more time, but if you know the specimens you are looking for it shouldn't tack on more than 30, maybe 45 minutes maximum. At the VERY FEW competitions where all of these are done, I will give it to you that it may take as much as 5, MAYBE 6 hours. Also as for using various resources, I do that on my tests, and they are usually about the quality of those seen at a large exceptionally competitive regional tournament.

One last thing, don't think that I am trying to say the event supervisors don't deserve as much appreciation as you think they do just because I have a significantly lower estimate of the time they put in to it on average, and even when going above and beyond. I greatly appreciate all supervisors and test writers even if I may disagree with their rule interpretations, question their competence, or become greatly annoyed with them. I feel they deserve respect, and that no matter the quality of the test, at least they took the time to do this for us. I cannot stress that enough.

P.S. If a supervisor goes so above and beyond as to use multiple resources, put on frog calls, have both specimens alive and preserved, as well as their own photos, while picking these choices with great thought, and attempting to make difficult though fair questions and identification, it is possible that then, it may take a maximum of 7 or 8 hours total, though still I would estimate 5 is more likely. Also if such a supervisor or test writer were to give me such a test, I would be pleasantly shocked, and immensely grateful for all the effort and time the put in above and beyond what they were expected of.

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Yes, that is more or less what I was trying to say Dicky.
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby Liv » December 31st, 2008, 7:53 pm

Im taking A+R and i like it

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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby crabnebula143 » January 1st, 2009, 6:35 pm

How do you distinguish genus Crotalus + genus Agkistron :?:

I keep on mixing them up....

thnx
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby Flavorflav » January 4th, 2009, 5:56 pm

The rattle, if you can see it. General coloration often works, but the scales on the head are really the way to go.

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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby oh joy » January 5th, 2009, 1:07 pm

So,
on the list, it says: mole salamanders. During competition, if u c a mole salamander, do u hav 2 know the species of that mole salamander in order to put down the breeding, habitat, food, and etc.? Like, there r so many species of mole salamanders that, how can i possibly write down its specific breeding, habitat, food, etc.??? :|
Is the list talking about mole salamanders in general, or specific species of them that we hav to know as many as possible of?
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby robotman » January 5th, 2009, 2:05 pm

most times its talking about the group in general but if u want to know exactly just ask
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby Deeisenberg » January 5th, 2009, 4:01 pm

Under the rules, you may not be tested on any taxa more specific than those on the list. This won't stop people from asking though, so being somewhat prepared is not a bad idea. Also the differences on the head scales is crotalus and sistrurus not crotalus and agkistrodon. The same goes for general coloration. To tell the difference between Crotalus+Sistrurus from Agkistrodon, you first look for the rattle, check to see if the head is a copper color (copperhead), and if the mouth is open with white it is a cotton mouth. The cotton mouth also has a golden lure like tail tip. They also have fairly distinguishable nonspecific traits.
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby dickyjones » January 5th, 2009, 4:15 pm

I've come to expect that, so I make sure to have some info on species (with the published field guide that's no problem) as well. At nats last year, I'm pretty sure they had some questions that were for the species, not the genus. Like one multiple choice question at nats that asked for habitat, I had all four choices they gave under habitat for the genus in my notebook...so I'm guessing that they had been asking for the species.

So what field guides are people using/how are they modifying them? My partner and I put together a binder with all the genus information on papers that were taped in to an Eastern Audubon Book for now. At the invitational this saturday, though, I'm planning to compete without the field guide. Initially because I thought that would give me incentive to study, but it hasn't worked so I guess I'll just do it for fun to see how I do. :P
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Re: Amphibians and Reptiles

Postby Deeisenberg » January 5th, 2009, 7:09 pm

I remember that question, and having the exact same problem. I mean yeah, I answered what I felt was the BEST answer for that (most likely or common). However the question said NOTHING about species. That was genus Hyla right?

As for the notation question, we have some people who can write VERY tiny on our team, so we are writing our ENTIRE binder from last year (with a few exceptions) into the book in any space we can find. We would have just reformatted it and printed it then put it in the guide, but we felt it went against the spirit of the rule.
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