Tibet 2012, part 1

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Keeper
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Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Keeper »

With the funds of National Basic Research Program of China, I was able to participate a filed survey of reptile and amphibian diversity of Southeast Tibet this summer. With two researchers of Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, we surveyed most parts of Southeast Tibet, including several sites that had never been touched by scientists, and we found some cool new species of both reptiles and amphibians.
Before I begin taking about the field trip itself, let me introduce some background information about Tibet. Tibet is sited at the southwest part of China, bordering Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan in the northwest, Nepal, India, and Bhutan in the south. Even though the Tibetan Plateau is the highest plateau in the world, averaging over 4000 meters above sea level, but the southeastern parts are at generally low altitude (from 500m to 2000m) with warmer climate. Because of the gas channel of the Brahmaputra River, warm water gas can diffuse from the Indian Ocean into the inland; as result, it creates Medog Rainforest, the most northern tropical forest in the world.
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After finishing the 5th Asian Herpetological Conference at Chengdu on June 4th, we took the plane to Lhasa on June 6th. Within the first three days we all struggled with the High-Elevation Response: headache, chest pain, ect… we all felt really sick and I was constantly having nose-bleeding due to the low humility. As result, there is not much going on for the first few days.
From the plane
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Few photos of the Lhasa city.
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Lhasa River
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The first herp species we got was Lhasa rock agama, Laudakia sacra. It was defiantly the dominant reptile species around Lhasa city. Juveniles had different coloration than adults, where they had light orange spots. It was usually codistributed with Tibet bow-fingered gecko, Cyrtodactylus tibetanus, which hided under large rocks during the day and foraged at night.
Laudakia sacra
Juvenile
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Adult
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Cyrtodactylus tibetanus
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Their Habitats:
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As one of the only few amphibians that managed to make to the Tibetan Plateau, Mountain slow frog, Nanorana parkeri, was the most common herp on the Plateau.
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tadpole
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The second stop was Jilong (Chinese 吉隆), small town at the bordered between China and Nepal. After about 8-hour driving, we finally got to the town at about 10 pm. Then we contacted the two researchers from South China Institute of Endangered Animal who arrived two weeks ago and had dinner with them. The researchers of South China Institute already had some specimens during the two weeks, including two road-killed and one live Orthriophis hodgsoni, an Amphiesma platyceps, and a Bufo himalayanus.
Orthriophis hodgsoni
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Amphiesma platyceps
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Bufo himalayanus
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On the second day we first surveyed the surrounding areas of the town.
we got many tadpoles of Bufo himalayanus inside this rock pool
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Habitats
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We saw many Nepal gray langurs, Semnopithecus schistaceus.
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Sign put up by the Natural Reserve staff.
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Afetr getting permit from the local Boarder Defense, we left the town on the third day and drove to Resuo (Chinese 热所). At that night, we searched along the stream that passing through the camping place, and we got many Liebig’s frogs, Nanorana liebigii and spotted stream frog, Amolops formosus. We saw two barking dears, Muntiacus muntjak, but could not manage to take the shots before they disappeared in the darkness.
Searching frogs
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Nanorana liebigii
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Amolops formosus
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Habitat
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We were shocked by the high population density of the Nanya rock agama, Laudakia tuberculata, along the valley in the next morning. They were just everywhere! Adults had the bright blue color with yellow spots on top, while the juveniles were gray with white spots. Adults seemed to be omnivorous that fed both on insects and plants (flowers, shoots, and seeds) while the juveniles mainly fed on insects.
Adult
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Juvenile
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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck »

Love it! Always great to see herps of (to me) exotic places...

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MHollanders
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by MHollanders »

That Amolopos is incredible.

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Kevin Messenger
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Kevin Messenger »

awesome stuff! so glad to see some herps from that region. As others said, that Amolops is incredibly awesome!

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Jason B
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Jason B »

The Amolops is indeed a wicked-looking frog. Thanks for sharing this;I hope you post more.

What's up with the dude in a cowboy hat and underwear hunting frogs barefoot at night? I thought that was just a Kentucky thing...

Geqqo
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Geqqo »

herping tibet! wow! i seventh the amolops, what a fantastic frog. im really diggin the nanorana shot too. thanks for getting this posted, we're losing amphibians at such a fanstastic rate i feel blessed just to get a glimpse of these through another's eyes.
Dan

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Keeper
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Keeper »

Jason B wrote:The Amolops is indeed a wicked-looking frog. Thanks for sharing this;I hope you post more.

What's up with the dude in a cowboy hat and underwear hunting frogs barefoot at night? I thought that was just a Kentucky thing...
LOL
He lost his torch right after the picture was taken, and spent most of the time searching it instead frogs~ XD

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Keeper
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Keeper »

Kevin Messenger wrote:awesome stuff! so glad to see some herps from that region. As others said, that Amolops is incredibly awesome!
As it turned out, it is a new record of China. :beer:

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Keeper
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Keeper »

Geqqo wrote:herping tibet! wow! i seventh the amolops, what a fantastic frog. im really diggin the nanorana shot too. thanks for getting this posted, we're losing amphibians at such a fanstastic rate i feel blessed just to get a glimpse of these through another's eyes.
Dan
Thanks for your common. :)
There are more frogs in the later post, specially in Medog County where we found tons of tree frogs.

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Fundad
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Fundad »

Beautiful Photos. Thanks for taking us with you.

:thumb:
Fundad

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Ruxs
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by Ruxs »

Great to see an unusual place like Tibet being herped :) Nice post

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chrish
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Re: Tibet 2012, part 1

Post by chrish »

Wow. A herping post from Tibet!

That's what makes this the premier herping forum on the planet! Thanks for sharing this with us.

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