Next Gen Herpetologist

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My research on Psammophylax, that yielded both a new species and new genus, was recently featured in four dependent newspapers, from across the Eastern Cape. These newspapers include The Daily Dispatch (East London), The Herald (Port Elizabeth), Talk of the Town (Port Alfred) and The Rep (Queenstown). Whilst arduous to complete, the research that represents a large portion of my doctoral thesis, is a massive source of pride and I feel privileged… Read More

From the 5th to the 10th of January, I attended the 9th World Congress of Herpetology in Dunedin, New Zealand. The conference draws the best herpetologists in the world, and as a young and upcoming scientist, it was a massive honour and a privilege. South Africa was well represented at the conference, with Mike Bates, Warren Schmidt, Gary Kyle Nicolau, Emily Jackson, Alan Channing, Shelley Edwards and Werner Conradie in attendance. At… Read More

From the the 9th to the 13th of September 2019, I attended the 14th Herpetological Conference of Africa in Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape. It was my second HAA, and my word was it fun. I got to meet old friends, and make new ones, I got to meet great herpetologists and for a brief moment, got to feel like a great when one the fans of Snakes and Their Mates asked… Read More

Last year, Dr Shelley Edwards and I were interviewed for an article entitled ‘Reptile Detectives’, for the prestigious Rhodes Research Report. The Report that comes out annually highlights all the research that took place over the year, with anecdotes about key researchers strewn throughout the book. In the 2018 edition, that came out late last year, the editors sought out young researchers who were conducting cutting edge and/or novel research. Given mine… Read More

Authors: Chad Keates, Werner Conradie, Eli Greenbaum, Shelley Edwards Abstract: Psammophylax (Fitzinger 1843) is a widespread yet poorly studied genus of African grass snakes. A genetic phylogeny of six of the seven species was estimated using multiple phylogenetic and distance‐based methods. To support the genetic analyses, we conducted morphological analyses on the body (traditional morphology) and head (geometric morphometrics) separately. Phylogenetic analyses recovered a similar topology to past studies, but with better resolution… Read More

Authors: William Branch, Ninda Baptista, Chad Keates, Shelley Edwards Abstract: Two rare and endemic psammophines (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) occur in Angola. The taxonomic status of Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus Bocage, 1873and Psammophis ansorgii Boulenger, 1905 have long remained problematic, with both having varied past and present taxonomic assignments, and whose distributions may therefore present zoogeographic anomalies. Little was known of their biology, habitat associations, or phylogenetic relationships. New material was collected during biodiversity surveys of the Humpata Plateau,… Read More

I am proud to announce that I have won best photo for the Terrestrial Vertebrate Category (Juvenile Boomslang) of the 2019 Zoology and Entomology Photo Competition. My prize was to have my photo hung up in the foyer of the Life Sciences Building. Thanks to all that voted. Winning Photo

From the 20th to the 23rd of September, last year, myself and nine other researchers, set off for the Sneeuberg, in search of South Africa’s most elusive adder, the plain mountain adder (Bitis inornata). The trip was organised by the Bionerds (Keir and Alouise Lynch) and was attended by myself, Luke Kemp, Jo Buggs Balmer, Justin Rhys Nicolau, Gary Kyle Nicolau, Adriaan Jordaan, Christiaan Klippies Steenkamp and Faansie Peacock. Plain Mountain Adder… Read More