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In and Around Hidalgo County, NM

Discussion in 'Field Herping' started by AjaMichelle, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I returned recently from my first trip (of hopefully many more this year) to Hidalgo County, NM. The trip this year went better than last year with more species recovered, though the majority we found were DOR (dead on road). I didn't get photos of all of them (I bet you can imagine why) but here are some of the live specimens captured.

    In NM, efforts were focused in the Granite Gap, a transitional area between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. If I remember correctly, this area has the highest species diversity of anywhere in the US, outside of Florida.

    Pituophis catenifer
    (Bull Snake)


    Crotalus viridis (Western Rattlesnake)
    A rare find in this area

    Male Cophosaurus texanus (Greater Earless Lizard) - Endemic




    Female Gambelia wislizenii (Leopard Lizard)
    Caught while mating



    Phrynosoma modestum (Roundtail Horned Lizard)
    This individual had just surfaced and was really dirty


    Compare to this one I found a few weeks ago:

    Male Urosaurus ornatus (Ornate Tree Lizard)
    This is an individual from last year. The one I caught this year was much prettier but I didn't get any photos of it.


    Masticophis bilineatus (Sonoran Whipsnake)
    This photo is from last year but we recovered one DOR this year.

    Habitat photos from the Granite Gap

    Male Sceloporus jarrovii (Yarrow's Spiny Lizard) - found in a nearby forest habitat



    The red spots between the scales are ectoparasites!




    We also found these guys last year:
    Crotalus molossus (Black-tailed Rattlesnake) - Same habitat as jarrovii

    Phrynosoma cornutum (Texas Horned Lizard)


    Crotalus scutulatus (Mojave Rattlesnake)

    We also got
    Uta stansburiana (Side-blotched lizard)
    Sceloporus clarkii (Clark's Spiny Lizard)
    Phrynosoma hernandesi (Greater Short Horned lizard)

    Attached Files:

  2. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    Wow, what great finds! The posturing on the first rattle snake is amazing!
  3. Jflores

    Jflores Elite Member

    I agree that rattlesnake was truly amazing. Great pictures!!
  4. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Excellent finds Aja, good luck on your next trip!
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Excellent photos and animals Aja, lucky girl!
    I see you`ve been brushing your hands twice a day too, they look stunning, even in the middle of a desert! >:)
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Looks like you had a wonderful time, you photos are amazing!

    Love the western rattlesnakes posture, he looks like he was ready to go.
    The colors on the earless lizard are so vibrant, very cool.

    I'm going to assume you didn't get to see any Gila Monsters :( maybe next year.

    Once again Thank You for sharing your find with us :)
  7. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks! :) Isn't the posturing amazing? It was flicking its tongue (which was black) out, holding it straight, and waving it too! It was crazy! We moved it to a safe spot off the road. It was already heading in that direction but there was a lot of traffic coming and we didn't want anyone to see and and try to kill it. :)


    Lol! Being able to periodically wash my hands my hands is important :) I feel really lucky to live here and be able to see such herpetofauna.

    Thanks! I'm going back in a few weeks, as soon as finals are over. Who knows? Maybe I'll see a monster then! :)
  8. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    No wonder it she looks peeved :p

    Some fantastic pics, Love the earless pics Great color.

    And a male & female? S. Jorrovii wow color me green with envy :) or is that just a reflection off the scales? Seems like 2 different lizards.
  9. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    I still feel the road rash (rock rash, brush rash... you get the picture..) from trying to aquire whiptails and whipsnakes... Energizer bunny aint got NOTHING on thses guys once the sun comes up... Koodoess for catching one :)
  10. gus211

    gus211 Well-Known Member

    Hey Aja i was wondering were in NM are you located, i live in el paso TX right at the edge next to cruces, have you.done a trip to hueco tanks the wildlife is incredible plus they havr some.really nice trails and climbing.
  11. HerpFanatic

    HerpFanatic Elite Member

    The pictures are awesome as always, Thanks for sharing.
  12. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Great photos Aja! Thanks for sharing.
  13. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Love the pics! The second one is awesome!!! Thanks for sharing :)
  14. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Great pictures! I had no idea that was true of the variety of species in that area. I have family out around Abiquiu and will be heading out there this summer for a trip. Hopefully I can find some of the same variety.
  15. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    No doubt! :)

    Thanks! :) I believe the pics I posted of jarrovii were two different individuals but both were males and both displayed the bright blue ventral coloration. All of the jarrovii I've captured have displayed varying degrees of this ventral coloration. What the pictures aren't showing is the insane iridescent rainbow colored dorsal coloration. These guys weren't as brilliant as some that I've seen, but they were still really pretty. You can actually see the coloration when they display (which I assume is the point lol).

    The Sceloporous are pretty difficult to free hand, but the males typically won't abandon the perches where I've found them. They'll run under rocks (in NM) and it's just about waiting for them to come back out. I've been most successful simply noosing them. Have you tried this? Whiptails and snakes are another story. Noosing just doesn't work with them because they don't stay in one spot for more than a few seconds. On this trip I tried soaking my shirt in ice water and throwing it at them. I almost caught one like this but I was off by like two inches! It was lame! lol I've had success with the shirt method with whiptails but I'm taking a super soaker with me when I go in a few weeks. With snakes, I usually use the method you do: I dive on them.

    I live in Albuquerque. I haven't been to Hueco, what species have you seen there?

    The biodiversity is pretty crazy even around Albuquerque. You can expect to see bullsnakes (P. catenifer); several species of whip tails, but specifically neomexicanus; several species of rattlesnakes including viridis and atrox; several species of horned lizards including hernandesi and modestum; tree lizards (U. ornatus); side-blotched lizards (U. stansburiana); multiple species of garter snakes; and great plains skinks (E. obsoletus). When it rains you can find spadefoot toads (Spea multiplicata/bombifrons). This is just off of the top of my head! Hidalgo County definitely has the greatest species diversity though so if you can go anywhere, go there. We've even found herps at night when it's warm (one of my best friends found a baby earless lizard the last night when we were up playing bocce ball).
  16. DwarvenChef

    DwarvenChef Elite Member

    My fathers family lives in Gallup, Next time I visit I'll let ya know, do lunch on a rock :p

    I built a noose out of a 6' fishing pole blank, got one at a custom fishing pole builder. Made a noose out of fishing line connected to a plastic slip on cap that fit over the tip. This worked for YEARs :) used to get some pretty weird looks when I buddy and I used to go near camps while searching for goodies.
  17. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I know those looks all too well. I use telescoping pan fishing poles from Cabela's. Hopefully they'll restock soon!

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