Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

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mtratcliffe
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Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by mtratcliffe » August 26th, 2014, 3:13 am

Hey everyone,

Some of you may recall my request for information post about two months ago. I am happy to say that I had a very productive trip to Albuquerque this month! While I was out there for work, I found plenty of time to squeeze in some herping. I encountered 23 live species (24 counting DORs), 22 of which were lifers. Many thanks to Josh (herpseeker1978) and Notah (nhherp) for providing tips on where to herp, along with taking me out one some productive herping sessions, to include hikes and some road cruising. While several of the roadcruising sessions turned up empty, I did have one particularly awesome session with Notah during a beautiful stormy night. I have pictures from so many different areas, so I'm not really sure how to organize it, but here I go. All my finds are from either Sandoval, Bernalillo, Valencia, or Socorro Counties. Enjoy!

There were several NM spadefoot toads hanging out near my hotel night. These were the first live herps I encountered on my trip.

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My first hike was out at the volcanoes west of ABQ, near the Petroglyph National Monument. I didn't see much there besides quite a few Eastern Side-Blotched Lizards.

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Went hiking with Notah at night looking for Blacktailed Rattlesnakes, but came up with these instead:

Red-spotted Toads

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YoY Black-necked Gartersnake

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Great Plains Toads seen after the hike:

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Here's one found by Josh while roadcruising:

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Now for some herps found in the Bosque:

YoY New Mexican Whiptail, I believe. These buggers are tough to catch!

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Another juvenile

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Adult NM Whiptail

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Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail - I just now noticed that it is defecating in the second picture!

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Western Painted Turtles and Red-Eared Sliders

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Texas Spiny Softshell

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Southwestern Fence Lizards, which I found to be the least shy lizards in the region. Very photogenic!

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More lizards seen on other hikes in the Sandias:

SW Fence

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Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail

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And here's a huge one:

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Great Plains Skink

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Little Striped Whiptail (I believe)

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The next set of photos are from checking bucket and funnel traps with the NM Herp Society in the Sandia Foothills.

Side-Blotched Lizard

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Juvenile NM Whiptail, I believe. Could be a Desert Grassland.

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Scorpions

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We found this Western Coachwhip in one of the funnel traps. It was squirmy, but did not attempt to bite when handled.

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Someone flipped a Plains Blackheaded Snake under some wood.

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Also found a NM Spadefoot.

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Now for the grande finale - Notah took me out roadcruising one Friday night and we hit the jackpot with snakes, finding five different species alive, plus an additional species DOR. Also ran across a few toads - I didn't bother stopping for them after it had rained or I would never have made it back to my room that night.

Longnose Snake

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Glossy Snake

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Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (juvenile)

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Desert Kingsnake

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#2

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Prairie Rattlesnake

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Couch's Spadefoot (stopped for two)

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Great Plains Toad

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NM Spadefoot

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I also encountered another Glossy and Prairie Rattler with Josh later the following week.

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Well, that concludes my report. It was an awesome trip, and I hope to make it out there again sometime, though I'm not sure when that will be. Could be years from now - but if I do return, I'd like to find myself a Hognose and a Blacktailed Rattlesnake!

Jimi
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by Jimi » August 26th, 2014, 1:07 pm

Awesome, thanks for following up. Congrats on a successful work trip. Hope you can make it back and pick up a few you missed.

Cheers,
Jimi

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ChrisNM
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by ChrisNM » August 29th, 2014, 3:04 pm

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These are Southwestern Woodhouse's Toads

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Might be Aspidoscelis velox or Aspidoscelis uniparens.

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If this had a wavy or broken wavy central dorsal stripe then it would be Aspidoscelis neomexicanus, if not, possibly same as above.

Pretty decent trip! I'm missing my previous home of 19 years when it comes to the ease of getting out for herping.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by mtratcliffe » August 29th, 2014, 5:25 pm

Thanks Chris! A few people on the main forum pointed out the ID error with the toads - my herping buddy from NM stated that they were A. cognatus when we saw them, so that's why I went that.

As for the lizards, the first one was found in the interior of the Sandias, which is not where A. uniparens typically ranges, I believe. Based on that, I went with A. inornata. Does A. velox range into that area? FYI, I was near Otero Canyon when I observed it.

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ChrisNM
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by ChrisNM » August 29th, 2014, 8:37 pm

The dead give away on the woodhouse toads (I saw others replies on the main forum after me reply here) are 2 key characteristics:

1. Lack of symmetrical dorsal blotches
2. presence of a dorsal stripe.

Cognatus 99% of the time lack these characters.

Pertaining to the whiptails, I've seen both velox and uniparens within the Sandias. The uniparens came from around Otero Canyon/Enchantment Trail area and the velox from the north end around Hwy 14 and 344. Down south, around Las Cruces uniparens tends to inhabit the bajadas of the Organ Mnts, ranging up into the mountains as well.

Inornata is very much an open grassland species (think west side of ABQ, possibly along the west-facing bajada of the Sandias, around the grassland areas near Belen, and all around Moriarty - looks like Josh took ya out those ways) that is typically smaller than what you've photographed. Additionally, both males and females will have blue tails and heads, with males being much more vibrant and females having a discernible yet faded blue appearance.

Both velox and uniparens when hatchlings-juveniles will have a blue or blue-green tail that fades into adulthood; same with neomexicana and particularly so around the ABQ area (farther south their blue tail tends to not fade as much). Thinking about it, both of those as adults look visually similar to the New Mexico whiptail (including your photo of the adult neomexicana), just without the wavy central dorsal stripe. This is all short of physically keying the lizards out based upon scalation.

Hope this helps, and if not Lizards of the American Southwest will help shed better light photographically as I've not got decent photos of either 3 species for good characteristic purposes.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by Brian Hubbs » August 30th, 2014, 12:58 pm

Hi, I'm sure you had a great trip and your pics are great too, but could you please re-size them so I can see them...? :thumb:

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Trip Report: August in Albuquerque

Post by mtratcliffe » August 31st, 2014, 2:20 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:Hi, I'm sure you had a great trip and your pics are great too, but could you please re-size them so I can see them...? :thumb:
I know that they typically fill up the width of the page. I use imgur.com, and I'm not sure how to fix it so that the size is smaller without being a thumbnail. What image hosting service to most others here use?

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