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Posted by trey harrison on April 19, 2001 at 10:59:19:
In Reply to: Herps in the classroom posted by John Meltzer-RJ Reptiles on April 13, 2001 at 04:24:20:
I'm a lead h.s. bio. teacher married to a herpetologist/zoo curator. In addition to the assortment of native representatives (L. c. calligaster and E. guttata emoryi(E. emoryi), a pair of Arizona elegans kansae, a Hyla versicolor, A. tigrinum), I've also acquired via breeding loan/ "off exhibit housing" a colony (2.3) of Tiliqua. They are terrific display/educational animals. I use herps for "teachable moments", teaching about how human emotions can cloud objective viewpoints, evolution, and basic physiology/behavior.
Although I'm an a avid herp enthusiast, and take students into the field observing reptiles and amphibians whenever possible, the true educational goldmine, in my opinion, is the phylum arthropoda. We keep centipedes, millipedes, roaches, milkweed bugs, assassin bugs, scorpions, hermit crabs, Daphnia, several tarantula species (including my spectacular group of Avicularia purpurea- let me know if anyone else has these), sowbugs, fruit flies, and Tenebrio. The ability for students to do long-term investigations, quantify and analyze data, observe behaviors, set up controlled experiments, etc. is difficult to duplicate with herps. Arthropods have no equal in these regards.
BTW- a pair of my ind. study students are researching the possibility of using variations in belly patterns (6 distinct patterns) in D. punctatus arnyi for determination of relative gene flow. They are using the supposition that statistically different belly patterns from different "populations" (although they are having difficulty finding isolated populations- seems to be non-disjunct instead) represent gen. drift for a neutral trait. The degree of separation of patterns between populations might be used to determine relative time of isolation/lack of gene flow. Don't know how it will pan out (they are 7 months into a 2 year study).