Arago: Reptiles & Amphibians Issue

Reptiles & Amphibians Issue

The Postal Service issued 37-cent Reptiles & Amphibians commemorative stamps in a pressure-sensitive adhesive pane of twenty stamps on October 7, 2003, in San Diego, California. The stamps were designed by Steve Buchanan, Winsted, Connecticut.

This pane of twenty stamps features five digital illustrations by Steve Buchanan of two amphibians and three reptiles native to the United States. The five designs are repeated four times each. They feature the following species:

o Although harmless, the colorful scarlet kingsnake (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides) closely resembles the venomous eastern coral snake. This mimicry protects it from potential predators. Dwelling in the southeastern and south central United States, it is a secretive woodland reptile, seldom seen in the open except at night or after heavy rains.

o The blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) earns its name from the blue spots on its shiny, black body. A secretive amphibian, it stays under cover during the day, hiding under leaves or logs or in burrows. At night it emerges to search for food on the forest floor. Its range includes the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes region.

o The reticulate collared lizard (Crotaphytus reticulatus) is an alert, active reptile with a large head, long tail, and strong limbs. A resident of thorny brush country in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, it might be seen sunning on rocks or found hiding beneath rocks or debris.

o A nocturnal amphibian, the ornate chorus frog (Pseudacris ornata) is more often heard than seen. Its distinctive call is a series of rapid metallic peeps, which it gives during late fall, winter, and early spring. This frog lives near ponds, ditches, and wet meadows. It is found in the southern US coastal plain and in north Florida.

o The ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) is a reptile of prairies and open woodlands. It burrows to escape the heat, but it might emerge in large numbers after rainstorms. This turtle has an important adaptation that protects it from predators — it can close its shell completely because it has a hinged plastron (lower shell). It is found primarily in the central and southwestern United States.

Avery Dennison (AVR) printed 80 million stamps using the gravure process.


Postal Bulletin (September 4, 2003).

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