Last trip for the season

Last trip for the season

Postby BushSnake » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:20 pm

I spent a few days in the lowveld, but it looks like winter has set in there as well. We got a couple of things, but only diurnal stuff as the evenings were way too cold! And as always everything was released (apart from a couple of electric blue Scelotes tails :) ) Amongst others we got :

Whip scorpion
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Scelotes bidigittatus (Lowveld dwarf burrowing skink)
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Mochlus sundevallii (Sundevall's writhing skink)
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Philothamnus semivariegatus (Spotted Bushsnake) - the biggest specimen I've ever seen. It measured 1.02m but there were still a couple of twists in the body so it was probably closer to 1.1m, and about at fat as a cobra of the same size. Ever noticed how much the head shape resembles that of a mamba?
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Dispholidus typus (Boomslang female)
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Hypolycaena caeculus (Azure blue)
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Unknown frog - I am really stumped with this one. I have no idea what it is. It was found halfway up a mountain in a little stream near Kampersrus, near Hoedspruit. I've got more pictures showing the feet and belly but they didn't help me at all. So I need some assistance... (hint at Wolverine and Piston ;) )
Image
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby NickT » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:53 pm

not sure and dont have the books to check but your frog looks like a bush squeaker of sorts... lets see what the experts have to say tho cos i am far from certain..
nice pics, i especially like the butterfly and commend anyone that can take good pics of these awesome creatures....it not very easy at all..
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby Mongoose » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:55 pm

Ah - your first Scelotes eh.. Well I found about 8 today hehe.. I always find a high number when its cold.

I like the Boomslang photo.
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby BushSnake » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:09 pm

We also found a large number in a fairly small area. But I missed a couple, and broke the tails off the ones I did eventually get. So now that I've learnt to catch them, I only need to perfect the art to prevent them from losing their tails so that I can take nice full body shots! Is there a trick to that?
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby Mongoose » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:18 pm

I just grab them with a handfull of sand.. And I hold on rather tight as they can burrow and squeeze past your fingers.. Just throw the handfull of sand in to your bag then.. Or let them squeeze past your fingers and grab them by the head.
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby BushSnake » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:30 pm

I tried that, and one rather large specimen lost its tail... 3 times :oops: . So hopefully I haven't destroyed all of his chances of survival in the wild! But I think a 5l ice cream tub would have made things a bit easier, so that you can simply grab and throw... (proof of my 20/20 hind sight). But I have to admit that taking DNA samples of them is quite easy ;)
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby Wolverine » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:49 am

Those are cool pics. Especially impressed with the Scelotes - those things are hard to photograph!

I find if you know what you're doing, a grab stick is good for Scelotes..

BS, the frog is Natal Sand Frog Tomopterna natalensis.
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby BushSnake » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:31 am

Thanks, now that you mention T.natalensis it makes sense. I ignored Tomopterna because I kept on thinking about T.cryptotus which has a rough skin and not smooth like this one, and I've never seen a light T.natalensis like this one. But there can't really be anything else...

And a grab stick for Scelotes? How does that work? I can't even imagine getting the stick in under the rock before the little devil makes a run for it...
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby Wolverine » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:46 am

Yeah, T. natalensis comes in lots of different colours, just to keep us on our toes..

Was just being silly about the grabstick - I probably use pretty much the same technique as Mongoose for Scelotes - grab the sand with the animal in and chuck it in a container where you can safely separate the animal from the sand.
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby BushSnake » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:00 am

Sorry, the cold weather slows down my metabolism so sarcasm shouldn't be used unless I go and park on my heat pad...
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby Buck Rogers » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:02 pm

Ever noticed how much the head shape resembles that of a mamba?


I thought i was the only one

the frog is Natal Sand Frog Tomopterna natalensis.


I thought it was a bush squeaker, need to get back to the amphibian books :D
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby MrG » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:22 pm

Great images Andre.
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Re: Last trip for the season

Postby alexander » Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:04 pm

Great, wow that Philo looks ancient
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