Snout-vent length

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Snout–vent length (SVL) is the length of an animal's body. It is measured from the tip of its snout to its rear end. The snout is the part of the face at the front. Snout-vent length does not count the tail or any teeth or tusks.[1]

So, in a frog, it is the length of the frog's body but not the frog's legs. For turtles, scientists use carapace length (CL, the length of the shell) and plastral length (PL) instead.

The SVL can change depending on whether the animal is alive, dead, moving, or still. It can change if scientists have used chemicals to stop its dead body from rotting.[2] Scientists also use snout-vent length on fossils. With fossils, they use osteological correlate, which is a way the bone can match the rest of the body. Precaudal length is one osteological correlate. A scientist can look at the animal's SVL, weight, and body and may be able to tell if it is male or female or how old it is.[3]

Advantages[change | change source]

Scientists use snout-vent length instead of the animal's whole body length because it does not change much. In some animals, young ones do not have tails or do not have large tails.[4]

Methods[change | change source]

The scientist or other person can measure snout-vent length with dial calipers or digital calipers.

The scientist can use other tools to hold the animal still. For example, snake tubes, "Mander Mashers,"[5] or a "Salamander Stick."[6]

Limitations[change | change source]

The term is useful for mammals. It's not so useful for animals where the tail is an important part of the body. For example, fish have tails that are parts of their bodies. But horses and elephants use their tails to hit flies but not much else. Dinosaurs that walk on two legs are a good example too. It took a long time for dinosaur scientists to understand this. Snake tails go far past their vent.

References[change | change source]

  1. "direct line distance from tip of snout to posterior margin of vent" Watters, Jessa L.; Cummings, Sean T.; Flanagan, Rachel L.; Siler, Cameron D. (2016). "Review of morphometric measurements used in anuran species descriptions and recommendations for a standardized approach". Zootaxa. 4072 (4): 477–495. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4072.4.6. ISSN 1175-5334. PMID 27395941.
  2. Vitt, Laurie J.; Zug, George R. (2012). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0127826202.
  3. Kupfer, A. (2007). "Sexual size dimorphism in amphibians: an overview". In Fairbairn, D. J.; Blanckenhorn, W. U.; Székely, T. (eds.). Sex, Size, and Gender Roles: Evolutionary Studies of Sexual Size Dimorphis. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 50–59. ISBN 978-0-19-920878-4.
  4. Bolton, Melvin (1989). "7. Capture, Transport, Marking and Measuring of Young Crocodiles". The management of crocodiles in captivity. FAO.
  5. Wise, S. E.; Buchanan, S.W. (1992). "An efficient method for measuring salamanders". Herpetological Review. 23: 56–57.
  6. Walston, L. J.; Mullin, S. J. (2005). "Evaluation of a new method for measuring salamanders". Herpetological Review. 36: 290–292.

Further reading[change | change source]