Liberia - Goe Fantro

Accounts and photos of non-captive reptiles in their natural habitat outside of South Africa. Try to record with your account details such as time of day/night, temperature, weather conditions, lunar cycle, sex, rough age of reptile, and so on.

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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:38 am

We started night drilling this week, which has been pretty interesting as far as Lepidoptera goes. It’s pretty amazing what comes out of the jungle at night when you have bright lights on. There seems to be just as much variety here (if not more) as what I found in Queen Elizabeth Nat. Park in Uganda. Here’s a taste of what I have found this week (and it has rained heavily two out of four nights!) some of them I have shown before but they’re just so stunning I don’t mind showing them again!
Papilio sp?
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Aurivillius arata
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Nudaurelia anthinoides
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Imbrasia truncata
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Pseudobunaea tyrrhena
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Epiphora perspicua
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Euchloron megaera
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Daphnis nerii
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Neopolyptychus compar
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Quite a lot of amphibs coming out now as well, as we head in to the start of the rainy season (from now until mid-October the wetter parts of the country –where I am – receive up to 5000mm –yip, THOUSAND- of rain). I found these guys hopping around the forest floor, The first I think is Ptychadena oxyrynchus, not sure of the second (Possibly a Toadlet?) which I think is a male (red/brown) and female (grey), as well as a little reed frog I found sitting on one of the airconditioner units, and one of the toads that are common in the camp. I have found a couple of nice streams and ponds up in the mountains and when I drove past them at 04h00 this morning they were resonating with frog calls, so I am looking forward to getting out there tonight to see who’s who
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Some kind of little Gecko
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A Cricket making a racket
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A brightly coloured long horn beetle
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:04 pm

I was also chatting to some of the local guys while we were out on the rig, apparently local lore has it that there is a specific tree in the jungle, that is to be used for managing snake bite. The area that was bitten is lightly incised with a razor blade, and the victim places a leaf from this tree in their mouth. They then suck on the wound apparently to get the venom into the mouth where the leaf neutralises it. Also there are certain "Snake Society's" whose members will go out and hunt the snake that was responsible for the bite, because "as we all know" once a snake has used its venom it cannot travel far. The snake is then killed and its body parts are used to make an antivenom which the victim then drinks. Also I should add, "This really really works!" :)
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Gooey Toes » Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:24 pm

Sico WOW :D that is amazing to see all these critters love those Blanding's Tree Snake there really something. :smt023
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Wolf777 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:48 pm

Life is so amazing, WOW. I love your posts sico, keep them coming. Quick question, does the Daphnis nerii also occur here in SA, becuse I found a similar looking moth a week or two ago?
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:57 pm

Hey Wolf777, Yes I believe they do occur up in the northern areas. They are also called the Oleander Hawk, though I am not sure what the reference is to, since I haven't found them anywhere near Oleander bushes.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Wolf777 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:51 pm

Thanks for the reply and keep them pics coming when you have time! :D Did a quick search for info, turns out the caterpillars feed mainly on oleander.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:24 pm

Some more amphibs from my last night shift. Unfortunately I missed out on one of the decent frogging areas on my way back, as we got stuck out in the jungle by a large tree that had fallen over the road during the evenings storm. By the time I got to the area where I heard them all the night before, the sun was well up and they were all hiding. I’m due for another week of nights next week so will try then. From what I did see there should be some goodies!
Another Ptychadena?
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Another different Leptopelis?
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Toads in amplexus
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Couple more moths
Hippotion Osiris
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Polyptychus orthographus
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Acanthosphinx guessfeldtii
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I have also managed to get hold of some Ethyl Acetate, so I’m going to try grab a bunch of these moths and make a nice display out of them once they are mounted. I think it will be quite something to see them all set up together.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:40 am

These two Cotton trees, Ceiba pentandra stand sentry over a police checkpoint on the road from Monrovia to Buchanan. They are truly giants of the botanical world. These are roughly 40m in height, but they are known to get over 75m (the height of a 25 story building). They are a slow-growing soft wood, and are cut down here to be cut up into rough boards which are then used in making forms to hold concrete footings etc. A terrible waste of such a majestic life form!
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I caught this Blanding’s Tree Snake last night in the camp. Yet another beautiful specimen. This will be the 4th in the camp this year, and co-incidentally all of them have been found either in, or next to Palm trees, and all at night. I glimpsed this one quite by accident, but it slithered up into the crown of the palm during my first attempt to catch it. I went back an hour later and it was in the same spot but again evaded me, and about an hour and a half after that I returned with a hook stick and managed to grab it out of the tree onto the ground where I could pick it up.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:23 pm

Ok so I have some confirmed names for some of the amphibs, and a couple of corrections after speaking to Bill Branch who helped with the ID's. Apologies for any confusion it may have created.
The Little green reed frog previously shown - Hyperolius concolor
The single toad above - probably Amietophrynus maculates
The toads in amplexus - Amietophrynus regularis
The Ptychadena - Ptychadena longirostris not P. oxyrhynchus
The toadlets - Phrynobatrachus tokba
The Leptopelis - BOTH Leptopelis viridis
The Gecko in the sand above - Hemidacylus angularis
Mark
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Wolf777 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:18 pm

Thanks for the ID's, are those trees common? That blandings looks so mellow compared to the other pics I've seen.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:14 pm

It was mellow compared to the others that I have caught up here, it gaped a few times and made two really weak attempts at striking, but otherwise it was a pleasure. The Cotton trees are very common here, especially out in the thick jungle where they are forced to grow up real high to get to the canopy, but there are not that many really huge ones anymore and they apparently are not as numerous as they once were, due to being cut down for junk timber.
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Wolf777 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:40 pm

Such a shame to see what we are doing to the planet...
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:08 pm

We are clearing another 5 acres of brush next to the camp to extend the size. I decided last night to take a walk through the area cleared with the ‘Dozer to see what had been turned up, surprisingly there was very little in the way of herps, other than this little frog, not sure of the ID.
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There were however a LOT of spiders, most of them large to very large (think big Gauteng Rain Spider size).
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This one had a leg span about that of my hand, was very shiny almost velvety-black and blue. I think Theraphosidae perhaps? I only found this single specimen.
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Very large Lycosidae sp legspan about 70mm
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Possibly some kind of Palystes? Both of these spiders had legspans in excess of 120mm with very long, thin legs and relatively small bodies, and they were fast moving!
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Another large ? Lycosid, around 110mm across.
Net-casting spider, Deinopis sp. This one was also one of the largest of this type I have seen, the throw web was about 30mm across!
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I went down to the little river crossing near the camp to see what was out and about
There were plenty of these nice millipedes wandering about on the road.
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Some White Lotus, Nymphaea lotus which had not closed up for the night
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The waters here are abundant with these freshwater shrimp. I am not sure of the species, but I think they would make awesome little tank inhabitants for freshwater aquaria.
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Returning to camp I found this little Hyperolius concolor outside my room
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Mark
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Sun May 01, 2011 1:20 pm

Some interesting arachnida crawling around on the forest floor this week.
Amblypygid – Whip scorpion
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Opilione – Harvestman
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More Leptopelis viridis doing their thing in the vegetation
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An interesting little frog that I found alongside a fast flowing mountain stream just before sunrise. There were a couple of them and I managed to get these shots before they all disappeared into the water and under rocks. It was about the same size as our Heleophryne sp
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I found an Acanthosphinx guessfeldtii (pictured earlier) on the ground, and when I picked it up felt these sharp stabs to my finger. Turning it over, I found it armed with these pretty vicious spikes, it was as if I had stabbed myself on some rose thorns. The larger of these spikes was probably around 5-7mm in length and they were razor sharp!
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A nice large Rhinoceros beetle that the workers in the camp brought to me. From nose to tail it measured in at a healthy 9.5cm
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Some more interesting fungi
These little mushrooms were incredibly delicate. The stems were around the thickness of a human hair and the caps were just smaller than match heads.
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This is part of a much larger cluster of mushrooms that were growing on the underside and side of a fallen tree. There were a huge number of them, making quite a display!
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A toadstool
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And what has to be the highlight of this trip so far
This stunning Bitis nasicornis juvenile that I picked up crossing the road just outside the camp! This one must have recently been born, and measures in at around 120-150mm. The search for more of them continues!
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Mark
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Re: Liberia - Goe Fantro

Postby Sico » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:54 pm

Last night the Security guards called me up to the office area to catch a snake in a tree outside the office block. It was a large Blanding's tree snake, around 8m up in one of the palm trees. Using a long piece of giant bamboo, and standing on a chair, I managed to get just enough height to hook the bamboo around the snakes middle and pull it down. I was a bit worried that it was going to go flying like an elastic band, but she wrapped herself nicely around the tip of the bamboo and I managed to bring her down quite easily. Total length measured this morning before i snipped some DNA samples and released her outside the camp, 2.2m. After catching her and walking abck to my room with her snuggled into a pillow case, I looked up at another palm tree near the canteen and saw another very large Blanding's (at least a foot or two longer than this one, although not as fat). Unfortunately It was abour 15m up and I did not have anything near that long to try and get it out, but I'll keep a lookout and keep you posted! awesome to find two large ones in one night...
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Mark
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