Lígia Pizzatto


Position Post-Doc 2006-2011

Current Email: ligia.oceanica@gmail.com

Location: Amphibian Research Group, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle

General Research Interests


I am interested in natural history, ecology and evolution and I have a special passion for snakes. Most of my research has been on basic ecological aspects of reproduction of Brazilian snakes, trying to understand the patterns of reproductive cycles in males and females, considering the phylogenetic background. I am also interested in different aspects of life-history, especially adaptations to habitat use and this was the reason that brought me to Rick Shine's lab for the first time, to conduct four months research on Australian pythons.

For further information on my research in Brazil go to http://ligiaoceanica.byethost9.com/

Top End Research

"Where are the babies? Spatial ecology of newborn water pythons (Liasis fuscus)".

I came back to Australia on a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Shine lab to research the spatial ecology of baby water pythons. Usually baby snakes are found in the field just after hatching and then, they tend to "disappear" and be found again only when bigger. Water pythons are probably the most abundant snakes on the floodplains in the Top End of the Northern Terrritory and the babies are big enough to have a mini radio-transmitter implanted in their bodies. Much of the ecology of the water pythons in this area has already been studied but the babies were never included in previous research into spatial ecology. So, this WONDERFUL and friendly species offers a good chance to understand the movements of newborn snakes. Where do these babies go? Where do they go while growing? By radio-tracking newborn snakes I intend to answer these questions, characterizing the pattern of movements, micro-habitat and home ranges in a floodplain area of the Northern Territory.


This project has also given me the chance to spend time in the tropics enjoying the amazing hot weather and lots of adventures: being chased by buffaloes, facing crocodiles, breaking the tracking antenna, seeing the amazing sunrise, moon and fog in the floodplain while tracking, hearing the dingoes yelling in the field, breaking the tracking antenna, getting bogged in the mud and buffalo wallows, being attacked by wasps, mosquitoes, horse flies, blister beetles, green ants, screen doors, seeing the black whip snakes performing ritual combat, goannas, wallabies, filesnakes, many other wonderful snakes, lizards, and breaking the tracking antenna again...

In addition to learning the radio-tracking technique, my stay in the Top End also improved my skills in painting, refurnishing, cleaning, organizing, slashing, and specially driving in the right hand seat!

I am also trying to join the "Team Bufo" by doing some research in the toad world. Specifically, checking how toads and native frogs answer to different chemical cues of adult toads.



# Publication
1. Pizzatto, L. and Madi, R. R. 2002. Micrurus corallinus. Endoparasites. Herpetological Review 33:215-215.
2. Pizzatto, L. and Marques, O. A. V. 2002. Reproductive biology of the false coral snake Oxyrhopus guibei (Colubridae) in southeastern Brazil. Amphibia-Reptilia 23:495-504.
3. Pizzatto, L. 2003. O fascinante mundo das serpentes. Ciência Hoje 197:71-73.
4. Pizzatto, L. 2005. Body size, reproductive biology and abundance of the rare Pseudoboinae snakes, genus Clelia and Boiruna (Serpentes: Colubridae) in Brazil. Phyllomedusa 4:111-122.
5. Pizzatto, L. 2005. Reproductive biology of the glass snake Ophiodes fragilis (Squamata: Anguidae) in southeastern Brazil. Herpetological Journal 15:9-13.
6. Pizzatto, L., Manfio, R. H., Almeida-Santos, S. M. 2006. Male-male ritualized combat in the Brazilian rainbow boa, Epicrates cenchria crassus. Herpetological Bulletin 95:16-20.
7. Pizzatto, L. and Marques, O. A. V. 2006. Interpopulational variation in sexual dimorphism, reproductive output, and parasitism of the water snake Liophis miliaris (Colubridae), in the Atlantic forest of Brazil. Amphibia-Reptilia 27:37-46.
8. Pizzatto, L. and Marques, O. A. V. 2006. Interpopulational variation in reproductive cycles and activity of the water snake Liophis miliaris (Colubridae) in Brazil. Herpetological Journal 16:353-362.
9. Almeida-Santos, S. M., Pizzatto, L. and Marques, O. A. V. 2006. Intra-sex synchrony and inter-sex coordination in reproduction of the coral snake Micrurus corallinus (Elapidae). Herpetological Journal 16:371-376.
10. Pizzatto, L., Almeida-Santos, S. M., and Shine, R. 2007. Life history adaptations to arboreality in snakes. Ecology 88:359-366.
11. Pizzatto, L., Marques, O. A. V., and Martins, M. 2007. Ecomorphology of Boine snakes, with emphasis on South-American forms. Pp. 35-48 in Robert W. Henderson and Robert Powell (eds). Biology of the Boas and Pythons. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Utah.
12. Pizzatto, L., Alemida-Santos, S. M., and Marques, O. A. V. In press. Biologia reprodutiva das serpentes brasileiras  in Maria Ermelinda de Oliveira and Luciana Barreto (eds). Herpetologia no Brasil, volume 2.
13. Radder, R., Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. 2008. Morphological correlates of life-history variation: is lizard clutch size is related to the number of germinal beds in the ovary? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 94:81-88.
14. Pike, D., Pizzatto, L., Pike, B. A. and Shine, R. 2008. Estimating survival rates of uncatchable animals: the myth of high juvenile mortality in reptiles. Ecology 89:607-611.
15. Pizzatto, L., Child, T. and Shine, R. 2008. Why be diurnal?  Shifts in activity time enable young cane toads to evade cannibalistic conspecifics. Behavioral Ecology 19:990-997.
16. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. 2008. The behavioral ecology of cannibalism in cane toads (Bufo marinus). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63:123-133.
17. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. 2009. Native Australian frogs avoid the scent of invasive cane toads. Austral Ecology 34:77-82.
18. Pizzatto, L., Madsen, T., Brown, G. P. and Shine, R. 2009. Spatial ecology of hatchling water pythons (Liasis fuscus) in tropical Australia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 25:181-191.
19. Phillips, B. L., Kelehear, C., Pizzatto, L., Brown, G. P., Barton, D. and Shine, R. 2010. Parasites and pathogens lag behind their host during periods of host range-advance. Ecology 91:872-881.
20. Pizzatto, L., Shilton, C. M. and Shine. 2010. Infection dynamics of the lungworm Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala in its natural host, the cane toad Bufo marinus, and in novel hosts (Australian frogs). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 46:1152-1164.
21. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. 2011. Ecological impacts of invading species: do parasites of the cane toad imperil Australian frogs? Austral Ecology 36:954-963.
22. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R. 2011. You are what you eat: parasite transfer in cannibalistic cane toads. Herpetologica 67:118-123.
23. Crossland, M. R., Hearnden, M. N., Pizzatto, L., Alford, R. A. and Shine, R. 2011. Why be a cannibal? The benefits to cane toad (Rhinella marina) tadpoles of consuming conspecific eggs. Animal Behaviour 82:775-782.
24. Pizzatto, L., and Shine, R. 2011. The effects of experimentally infecting Australian tree frogs with lungworms from invasive cane toads. International Journal of Parasitology 41:943-949.
25. Du, W-G., Ye, H., Zhao, B., Pizzatto, L., Ji, X. and Shine, R.  2011.  Patterns of interspecific variation in the heart rates of embryonic reptiles.  PLoS ONE 6:e29027.
26. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R.  2012.  Lungworm infection modifies cardiac response to exercise in cane toads.  Journal of Zoology 287:150-155.
27. Pizzatto, L., and Shine, R.  2012.  Typhoid Mary in the frogpond: can we use native frogs to disseminate a lungworm biocontrol for invasive cane toads?  Animal Conservation 15:545-552.
28. Pizzatto, L., Kelehear, C., Dubey, S., Barton, D. and Shine, R.  2012.  Host-parasite relationships during a biological invasion: 75 years post-invasion, cane toads and sympatric Australian frogs retain separate lungworm faunas. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 48:951-961.
29. Pizzatto, L. and Shine, R.  2013.  New methods in the battle against cane toads: when should we move from research to implementation?  Animal Conservation 15:557-559.
30. Pizzatto, L., Kelehear, C. and Shine, R.  2013.  Seasonal dynamics of the lungworm, Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala, in recently colonised cane toad populations in tropical Australia.  International Journal for Parasitology 43:753-761.