Sharing for Science – JMIH2019

Have heard about our group on Facebook called Predation Records – Reptile and Frogs (Sub-Saharan Africa)?

The Predation Records Facebook group was created in mid-2017 to collect photos and videos of predation events involving reptiles and amphibians. Since then, the group has grown to 9,700 members and we have collected over 1,700 feeding observations! Without the use of the Facebook group, we would have never been able to collect data this quickly!

Recently, Robin Maritz presented some of the many findings of this project at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH) which took place from 24 – 28th July in Salt Lake City, Utah. Robin presented within the Citizen Science in Herpetology symposium in which she emphasised how powerful social media can be for collecting ecological observations that are typically difficult to study, like feeding interactions. Her travel was supported by the Herpetologists’ League.

Notable numbers:

  • 1 700 feeding observation
  • 372 snakes being eaten
  • 500 lizards being eaten
  • 362 frogs & toads being eaten
  • 900 records of snakes as predators
Number of snake feeding records per year

A Group Effort…

This work could not be completed without the help of the growing community of observers, identifiers, and the admins on the Facebook group. Co-authors on this project include Luke Verburgt (Enviro-Insight), Andre Coetzer (Protoclea), and Bryan Maritz.

Scientific publications that have used these data:

Smith, C., Layloo, I., Maritz, R., and B. Maritz. (2019). Sexual dichromatism does not translate into sex‐based differences in morphology or diet for the African boomslang. Journal of Zoology [pdf]

Maritz, B., Alexander, G., and R. Maritz. (2018). The underappreciated extent of cannibalism and ophiophagy in African cobras. Ecology [pdf]