Arid Central Australia

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GeckPhotographer
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Arid Central Australia

Post by GeckPhotographer » April 19th, 2014, 3:25 am

So just after Christmas I spent several weeks in the arid inland around Alice Springs and Yulara. I managed to find a few herps to take pictures of and thought I'd post them up here. Unfortunately flickr has recently changed how images are copied into forum threads (Making it much harder) and for that reason I'll only be linking 1-2 pics for each species though more are likely to be present on flickr.

The trip started off in Adelaide, heading north with my cousins towards Alice springs we stopped once for the night in northern SA and I managed to track down some very pretty geckos, one of my new personal favourites. These were fairly abundant and despite not seeing any other species I managed to locate about 20 of these.
ImageDiplodactylus galeatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageDiplodactylus galeatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

We made quick progress to Alice without other stops. While I had 10 nights in Alice Springs I had limited opportunity to actually go herping. Mainly my efforts consisted of walking off into the bush alone at night looking for geckos, which I managed to track down a few of.

Marbled Velvet Geckos are impressive and rather common all over the area.
ImageOedura marmorata by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageOedura marmorata by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Bynoe's Geckos were common in many places.
ImageHeteronotia binoei by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Higher on the ridges however Pale-headed Geckos, newly described at the time took over in abundance.
ImageHeteronotia fasciolatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Another ridge line inhabitant was this Clawless Gecko, which were either not very abundant, hard to find or both as it was the only individual I tracked down.
ImageCrenadactylus ocellatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

The gecko I most wanted to see however proved the hardest to track down, though I eventually found 2 individuals nearby to each other along a ridge. These Centralian Knob-tails are truly impressive and voracious geckos.
ImageNephrurus amyae by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
A spikier one.
ImageNephrurus amyae by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageNephrurus amyae by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

While walking around at night got me so far I had some snake and frog targets that it just wasn't helping with. Fortunately I met up with some super super kind local herpers who with little more explanation than "I like reptiles" showed me around a few places.
One particular night with this lovely bunch led to the exciting find of one of Alice's most spectacular reptiles. This medium sized Central Carpet was absolutely gorgeous, and the pics don't do it justice.
ImageMorelia spilota by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageMorelia spilota by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Another of my targets were commonly found on the same night.
Gillen's Tree Frogs.
ImageLitoria gilleni by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

My time in Alice eventually ran out. I moved on a little sad to leave such an awesome place for herping adventures but keen to make my next destination, that being Uluru. I spent only 4 nights at the iconic rock but this was plenty enough to see some cool reptiles of the area.

Earless Dragons are very cool and were common in rocky areas.
ImageTympanocryptis centralis by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Alongside these were Massive Gibber Ctenotus.
ImageCtenotus septenarius by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

The sandier areas had their own array of cool critters such as Pygmy Desert Monitors.
ImageVaranus eremius by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageVaranus eremius by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

These fast sand-swimming Blue-tailed Ctenotus.
ImageCtenotus calurus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

And true sandswimmers, the Lerista skinks of which 3 species occured sometimes all together.
ImageLerista bipes by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

ImageLerista desertorum by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Night time was also productive for a range of animals including my favourite group geckos.

The soft sandy dunes were great habitat for these Pale-knob Tails, an endearing and beautiful species.
ImageNephrurus laevissimus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Slightly more compact sandy areas seemed better for another Nephrurus, the Smooth Knob-tailed Gecko.
ImageNephrurus levis by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Northern Spiny-tailed Geckos were abundant nearly everywhere.
ImageStrophurus ciliaris by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageNorthern Spiny-tailed Gecko tail by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Another abundant though legless gecko, was the Western Hooded Scaly Foot, with 20 being seen in just one night.
ImagePygopus nigriceps by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Less abundant but still present were snakes, with a variety being seen. These shovel-nosed snakes were cool and pretty variable in pattern.
ImageBrachyurophis semifasciatus_001 by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

A single Monk Snake was also found and though it was highly attractive my pictures of it all do it terrible justice.
ImageParasuta monachus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

On only the second night I got extremely lucky seeing one of the rarer and prettiest inhabitants of the sandy wonderland. This Woma was one of the highlights of the trip despite it not being a gecko....

ImageAspidites ramsayi by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
ImageAspidites ramsayi by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

Unfortunately I flew out of the arid zone here only a day before rain arrived bringing the frog life out. However I had other places to be, flying from here to the Kimberley. A trip which hopefully I'll put up soon (probably depending on how much Flickr annoys me in the meantime).

Hope you enjoy Cheers.

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by Dr. Dark » April 19th, 2014, 5:15 am

Love the Woma and that Centralian is an absolute BOMBER! Great stuff!

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chrish
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by chrish » April 19th, 2014, 6:37 am

Great variety of beautiful photos. That last Nephrurus amyae is a killer.

And that Woma....wow.

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by ClosetHerper » April 19th, 2014, 7:08 am

Spectacular pictures. I love the knob tail geckos. This is a stark contrast to our trip on the east coast and next time we visit Australia, we'll have to see some of the interior. You must have been there for some VERY hot weather, or perhaps it is normal for that area? Early January had temps in the mid 40's C

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by Antonsrkn » April 19th, 2014, 7:16 am

Enjoyed all of it alot, lots of creatures featured that I hope to see someday. Really good photography all around as well.
Another abundant though legless gecko, was the Western Hooded Scaly Foot, with 20 being seen in just one night.
I never realized it was a gecko, this sentence sent me scrambling to the internet to confirm it and make sure it wasn't a typo. Amazing, despite having seen many photos of them I never realized they belonged to Gekkota.

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krisbell
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by krisbell » April 20th, 2014, 1:30 am

Nice work Stephen - that ring flash of yours produces some really nice, consistent results. And i have to agree, knob-tails are definitely my favourite flavour of gecko.

NACairns
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by NACairns » April 20th, 2014, 4:17 am

Wonderful post, great to see Diplodactylus getting some love. That V. eremius is in great shape, the eyes of this species are so intense even by Varanid standards. Great photography.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 20th, 2014, 4:34 am

What a show. Thank you for sharing! I'm usually not one for geckos, but your post brought me face to face with that ignorant behavior.

That Nephrurus amyae ... what are the spikes for? Defense?

GeckPhotographer
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by GeckPhotographer » April 21st, 2014, 2:03 am

Thanks a heaps guys!

Hans - I assume yes the spikes are for defence, though I've never actually read about it. They really are prickly in the hand though not painful.

Antonsrkn - ahahah learn something new every day.

ClosetHerper - I've been enjoying your pics from the east coast trip. If you come back hit me up, I live on the east coast but I herp all over Aus. Those temps are pretty usual for the centre that time of year. Had a small cool patch at Alice though 5-6 days at <37C. ;)
The heat is pretty hard but there's just no feeling I like more than walking across a hot sand dune early in the evening gecko eyes twinkling around.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 21st, 2014, 2:14 am

GeckPhotographer wrote:The heat is pretty hard but there's just no feeling I like more than walking across a hot sand dune early in the evening gecko eyes twinkling around.
Great image!

jgjulander
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by jgjulander » April 29th, 2014, 4:44 pm

Awesome trip! When I went, it rained pretty much the whole time, but I still managed to find some amazing herps. I really need to get back to see some of the stuff you found. Thanks for posting. That bredli was amazing!!!
Justin

joeysgreen
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Re: Arid Central Australia

Post by joeysgreen » April 29th, 2014, 7:21 pm

<37C are the cool days? Sheer craziness!

Great pic's, and superb animals. The legless gecko was the lesson of the day for me too :)

Ian

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