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*PIC HEAVY* Herping Cusuco National Park, Buenos Aires, Honduras

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by AjaMichelle, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Hi All,
    I returned last night from a week long trip to Honduras. We spent the week herping Cusuco National Park, located west of the small montane community of Buenos Aires. Cusuco National Park is just over 23,000 hectares and consists of a core protected area surrounded by a buffer zone. Habitat types vary with elevation and range from semi-arid pine forests to dwarf/elfin forests, but the park is typically referred to as a cloud forest. We herped through the elevations, and I regrettably did not make it to the Elfin forest because I ended up spending 10 hours on our last day hiking and trying to locate a Montane pit-viper and representatives of a genus of salamander that we had not yet retrieved. Unfortunately it was just too cold, which is especially disappointing, as had it been 15 degrees warmer (Fahrenheit), we definitely would have found both and some Anguids.

    Despite my best efforts, I did not locate any vipers though Bothriechis species (Eyelash vipers) and Bothrops asper (Fer-de-Lance, Terciopelo) were known in the area. But the trip was incredibly successful and I recovered a sizable number of herps on my own! It was a great challenge. I saw some species that are known from so few specimens they are almost like ghosts and we were so successful with others that we were able to release certain individuals. It was amazing! I just wish I was able to stay longer. :)

    So here are photos I took of some of the herps recovered and of invertebrates I encountered while herping.

    I look a bit haggard in some of the pics because we essentially spent the week camping without electricity. I had the opportunity to take some super cold showers in the field but decided not to due to the accorded protection against mosquitoes and biting flies. Also, exposure to insect repellants can be deadly for amphibians.

    Foliage varied by elevation (of course) and included lots of broad leaf plants, pine trees, palms, bromeliads, various epiphytes, vines, and lots and lots and lots of ferns of all different shapes and sizes. Some of the trees were three or four stories tall.

    None of these invertebrates were small.

    Anolis cusuco female
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    Anolis cusuco male dewlap
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    This spider was about 10cm (about four inches) wide and next to my bed
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    Butterfly
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    Anolis ocelloscapularis
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    This stick-bug was about 30cm (about 12 inches) long and about 3 meters (about 9 feet) up in a tree
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    This larvae was about 10cm (about four inches) long
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    Bolitoglossa dunni (Mushroom-tongue salamander)
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    Several basilisks, including a juvenile (with GIANT feet)
    Basiliscus vittatus (Brown or Striped Basilisk)

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    This spider was about 25cm (about 10 inches) wide and by a stream, I think they might eat frogs. Regardless, they are everywhere!
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    Here's another, and freshly molted. You can see its exuviae to the left.
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    Bolitoglossa mexicana (Mexican Climbing Salamander)
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    Possibly a tarantula. I was unable to identify what it was eating.
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    Two vinegaroons near one another, oriented in opposite directions. These were at least 25cm (about 8 inches) long
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    Anolis petersi female.
    Dewlap is spotted purple on cream.
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    Plectrohyla exquisita
    This is a giant tree frog endemic to Honduras. I found this female about 9 meters up the side of a cliff face over a 1.5 meter deep pool in a stream.
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    This is a male exquisita
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    Anolis tropidonotus male
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    Anolis lemurinus male
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    Anolis rodriguezi male
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    Sceloporus schmidti (Emerald Swift)
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    Dragon flies
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    Anolis johnmeyeri male
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    Anolis johnmeyeri female dewlap
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    Duellmanohyla soralia male and female in amplexus
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    Leptophis ahaetulla (Green Parrot Snake)
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    Craugaster charadra
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    Ninia espinali (A species of earth snake)
    Note the iridescent scales
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    Imantodes cenchoa
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    Bolitoglossa diaphora female
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    Anolis amplisquamosus male
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    Male Duellmanohyla soralia in a bromeliad
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    Anolis biporcatus male
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    Anolis biporcatus juvenile
    Dewlap was black and white striped which is completely different than dewlap patterns exhibited by the adults. They also have a green tongue!
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    Sunset at almost 2000 meters
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    Attached Files:

  2. sirtalis

    sirtalis Member

    Nice pictures! That parrot snake made my day :)
     
  3. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Edit: When I said I found the exquisita female 9 meters up, I meant 3 meters or about 9 feet! Oops! :)

    Thanks! He attacked me right after these photos were taken lol. I picked him up, he smelled me, then went crazy chewing on my hand! Their bites are supposed to be excruciating and cause localized swelling but luckily I was able to pluck him off before he broke too much skin.

    I think he bit me because I had handled a bunch of anoles before taking him out for photos and L ahaetulla feed primarily on anoles in this area. I'm sure I smelled like food!
     
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    That must have been an incredible experience, I can see why you said a week wasn't long enough. Awesome photos, felt like I was there, thanks for sharing.
    It amazes me just how many different species of reptiles and amphibian there are and you found some great one. Maybe next time you'll get to see a pit vipor:)

    P.S.
    We missed you
     
  5. Infernalis

    Infernalis Elite Member

    Simply amazing, all of it. Thank you so much...
     
  6. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Not enough pics of the Sceloporus :) Envyous for sure :)
     
  7. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks! It was incredible. I ended up swimming down a river at one point, chasing that female exquisita as she tried to swim away from me! Watching a tree frog swim is definitely strange! She would have escaped had she been a Ranid. I hope to return for sure!

    I missed you guys too! I see there were several anole threads posted in my absence lol! I got wireless internet in San Pedro Sula and checked HC after checking my email! :)
     
  8. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Of course as soon as you left the anole thread started to get lively, must be that time of year! lol
     
  9. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Indeed! We only found two males and zero females! Very unexpected. The second male (not the one in the first set of photos) was quite difficult to catch. It took me like 5 minutes to noose him lol
    Here are some pics of the second male:
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    You might also like to know that these guys were considered malachiticus, but then the species group was split based on locality. So these guys are now schmidti. :)

    Here is another pic of the first male. He was found at night, asleep. This is actually what color he is, not a camera setting! :)
    P3140302-1.jpg

    We released both. :)
     

    Attached Files:

  10. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    How did I know you were going to say that! It was a gorgeous photo though:)
     
  11. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    And I meant to post this other photo of the first male! The one I just posted was a duplicate. Oops! :)

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    Attached Files:

  12. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    Ok my keyboard is full of drool :)

    It is just starting to be their "wake up" time down there so I'm not suprised there where not many more. I'm waiting for them to wake up so the suppliers start seeing them :p Unfortunatly just about all the emerald swifts on the market are wild caught. Something I'd like to see changed but not enough interest on the market keeps breeders away... Not going to stop me from breeding them :)
     
  13. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks for sharing your pics! Love that parrot snake!!
     
  14. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    So I'm pretty much in love with the mushroom tongue salamander. Oh my gosh is that adorable.

    By the way, those aren't vinagaroons.
     
  15. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I took a bunch of pics just for you! And tried to be aware of anything that might help you with your set up but the one I noosed was just out basking in a garden so I didn't get any natural history info. However, I can ask the person who found the first male for details if you would like. :)

    They aren't? Do you know what they are? :)

    Also, I thought that vinegaroon was a common name for tailless whip scorpions...
     
  16. sirtalis

    sirtalis Member

    I was also under that impression, someone please clarify?
     
  17. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    Those are tailless whip scorpions. Vinegaroons have a little thread like thing on their rear.

    Vinegaroons are Mastigoproctus giganteus. Whip scorpions are Amblypygi.

    Edit: Sirtalis, do I know you on another forum under a different name?
     
  18. sirtalis

    sirtalis Member

    Yes, you do :)

    I'm youngster.
     
  19. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member


    I would be interested in any info you could come up with. I'm going to try pin pointing your general location so I can start a map of the different sub spiecies of Emerald Swifts.

    Thankyou SO much for the pics :) made my day :)
     
  20. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    I thought that looked like Mayhem!
     

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