Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Here at Rigor Vitae, 2008 pretty much began with a post about viper tails that discussed the recently discovered Iranian viper Pseudocerastes urarachnoides, so what could be more appropriate than to post this great little video that has recently turned up?

As far as I know, this is the first footage of a live P. urarachnoides. How strongly it supports my assumption that the tail is used in caudal luring is hard to say, since it seems pretty clear that the snake here is being subdued. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see this fantastic tail in action. The specimen was collected by Behzad Fathinia in Iran's Ilam province, where the two type specimens originated, and the video comes from Steve Anderson's website, Swasiazoology. I have no idea where this individual snake is now.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Implementing effective conservation policies and techniques is impossible without first understanding wildlife population trends and how they're affected by anthropogenic factors. The third and just-released book in the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles' (SSAR) Herpetological Conservation Series represents an important step toward this goal. Consisting of 40 technical papers and 13 case studies, Urban Herpetology features sections on habitat loss and alteration, effects of roads, trails and railroad tracks, chemical and light pollution, anthropogenic water bodies and introduced species, ubanophiles and urbanophobes, among others. Like the previous books in the series, Urban Herpetology is North America-heavy in scope, but unlike them contains additional research from Australia, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, the West Indies and elsewhere.
Reptiles and Amphibians are important ecological components throughout most of the planet. Unfortunately, though, they have little direct impact on the economies of industrialized nations, and so receive comparatively little of the sort of attention this welcome volume offers. Urban Herpetology deserves a place in the library of anyone with a deep interest in herps or conservation, and especially those who care about both. 11 ½ inches x 9 inches; 590 pages.
illustration: LEATHERBACK HATCHLING/CITY LIGHTS (2008) pen & ink; one of 50 from URBAN HERPETOLOGY

Friday, December 05, 2008


Tonight the Art Access Gallery in Salt Lake City will host a "holiday reception" for my continuing solo show there. The event runs from 6:00 until 9:00pm.
Tomorrow the Germanton Gallery in Germanton, North Carolina will host the opening of their annual Small Works Show. Doors open at noon.
illustration: A TRICK OF THE TAIL-- BLUE-CROWNED MOTMOT & LANGSDORFF'S CORALSNAKE (2008) acrylic 15" x 20"