Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby BushSnake » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:47 pm

We went off to the Northern Cape for a two week butterfly survey for SABCA, and in 14 days we covered about 5100km. All in all, we got 50 species of reptiles with another possible 2 (posted later), and got probably about 200-300 reptile records which I still have to count and log. EVERYTHING WAS RELEASED and lots of DNA samples were taken of everything from Rhinotyphlops shinzi (Shinz's beaked blind snake) to a Psammobates tentorius (Namaqua tent tortoise). We also got at least 7 species of scorpions and about 60 species of butterflies. You very seldom find that the butterfly diversity is roughly the same as the reptile diversity, but the Northern Cape is one of the spots where this is often the case.

The thing I really noticed was how easy it is to poach many of these species, and how little value they have when taken out of their natural habitat. The Dasypeltis scabra (egg-eaters) there are all red with whitish blothes, very much unlike the ones we find here in Gauteng and further north. I cannot even imagine why one would keep that snake on a piece of newspaper, so please don't ask what their value is or where you can find one like that :evil:

So here goes: (I don't have a book with me so I can unfortunately not add the English names as I have no idea what they are)

Agama atra - Southern Rock Agama male
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Chondrodactylus bibronii
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Seeing as I missed the Afrikaans thread, I figured I'll show you what "Boegoeberg se dam" really look like
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Wild ostrich nest
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The worlds biggest smallest tortoise - a Homopus signatus (Namaqua speckled padloper) measuring 98mm, a full 1mm longer than the record in Bill Branch's book :)
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Pachydactylus latirostris, Dasypeltis scabra, Bitis caudalis and Chondrodactylus angulifer
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Size does matter: Homopus signatus, Bradypodion occidentale and Bitis cornuta
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One of those creatures that catch snakes but eat them rather than pickle them...
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An still unidentified Psammophis. It is either P.notostictus (which look quite different in that area) or a P.trinasalis (which may also look different there).
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A gecko that was basking on a rock at about 15:00. No idea what it is though?
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Scorpions (Please correct any misidentifications)
Parabuthus schlechteri
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Parabuthus raudus??
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Uroplectectes sp. with the use of a UV light (Possible U.carinatus)
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Bitis caudalis - Horned adder
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Chondrodactylus angulifer - Giant ground gecko
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby mania » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:57 pm

Great photos, the uv of the scorpian looks awesome.
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Mitton » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:05 pm

Great photos, no wait, amazing. The last two especially.
Now I'm just waiting for the pics of the rest of the 50 reptile species.
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Mongoose » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:10 pm

Great post.

The Psammophis is P.namibensis and the gecko is Phelsuma ocellata

Some very nice records!
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby atropos » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:48 pm

Wow! Must add the northern cape to my checklist.
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Quintin » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:07 pm

Great pics man..... Just love the Caudalis and the scorps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How many Caudalis did you find?

LOL @ the Mongoose!

Cant wait for my december trip!!!!

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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby BushSnake » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:09 pm

Thanks for the ID. P.occelata then makes is 50 reptiles with possibly another one to go. I forgot that the one herp found was a frog :)

I am still not sure about the Psammophis, as we found proper P.namibensis not too far away from this one and they didn't look anything like this. We also found another one that looked exactly like this one in the same area, so I doubt it is just a faded specimen.

B.caudalis was quite common, with specimens found in about 7 quarter degree spots, and probably about 15 - 20 specimens in total. Only 3 D.O.R ones were found.
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby boing » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:25 pm

WOW, some stunning photos! Glad to know all of them are happily living out their lives in the wild too. It makes the photos somehow better to me!
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Mongoose » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:26 pm

Haha I see the mongoose comment now!

Did you do scale counts on the Psammophis?
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Buck Rogers » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:32 pm

okay those photos are flipping AMA-ZING, I actually can't describe how awesome they are! I take my hat off to you! :smt004
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby BushSnake » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:39 pm

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Mongoose, no I didn't take scale counts (as I don't know how :oops: ) but I did take DNA samples. Scale counts take too long for someone who wants to get going and run after butterflies like a 7 year old kid!

Boing, I'm glad to know there are other people who feel that way too. Watching a B.cornuta (Many horned adder) retreat into a bush is a millions times better than watching it in a tank. The best is releasing ground agamas or Lacertids. They sit still for a second, and then they shoot of either running like a drunk student (Agamas) or like an Olympic athlete in a straight line heading for the closest bush.

Will post some pics of more reptiles later but here is a sight to behold. Namaqualand past its peak!

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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Pythonodipsas » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:11 pm

Wow - awesome post Andre. The pics are great too! Its amazing to see the wildflowers at this time of the year. I think that sand snake is P. namibensis too. They can be variable. Did you find any new and interesting butterflys?
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby steve » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:55 pm

spectacular pics! awesome thanks for sharing.
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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby BushSnake » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:56 pm

The reason I still think the Psammophis is a P.notostictus, is because we also found the following: a true proper P.namibensis D.O.R. and the other one is a P.notostictus (as identified by SARCA panel and myself) from Namaqualand 2007. Not convinced it is a P.namibensis...

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I forgot to post some butterfly shots. These were all from new localities fairly far from their known range.
Lepidochrysops badhami (Badham's blue) to the right.
Trimenia argyroplaga (Large silver-spotted silver copper) / Trimenia macmasteri (McMaster's silver-spotted copper) on the left. I haven't yet set the specimens to know what they are.

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Some Lacertids. These beasts are way easier to photograph than to catch. Identifying them is a bit dodgy and as far as I know someone is revising them now. I think:
Top left: Pedioplanis pulchella (Namaqualand)
Bottom left : Nucras tesselata (easy one)
Top right : Meroles ctenodactylus
Bottom right : Pedioplanis pulchella (Central Northern Cape - quite different)

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Re: Northern Cape 2008 (lotsa pics)

Postby Fooble » Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:13 am

That "Uroplectectes sp. with the use of a UV light (Possible U.carinatus)"

is awesome!
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