Herping in Utila Island, Honduras

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mothman
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Location: Huntington, West Virginia

Herping in Utila Island, Honduras

Post by mothman » April 27th, 2015, 8:45 am

I just thought I post the last of my pictures from my trip to Honduras in late February/early March. Utila Island is in the Caribbean Sea not far from the coastal city of La Ceiba, Honduras. The island is easily accessible by ferry or by plane from La Ceiba. Most people go to Utila since it is a mecca for divers. My goal was to see the endemic lizards of the genera Ctenosaura and Norops.
The Iguana Breeding and Research Station is devoted to rearing the endemic Ctenosaura bakeri and releasing "head-started" individuals back into its mangrove habitat. This lizard is under threat from habitat loss and human consumption. I hired a guide from the station for the very inexpensive price of $15.00. In two hours time we found three of these lizards in the mangrove swamp.Image
The non-endemic Ctenosaura similis is plentiful and is associated with human and non-human habitation. They probably don't taste as good as C. bakeri as evidenced by the abundance of C. simils. I spotted three C. similis on the grounds of my hotel within a few minutes. A population of about a dozen occupied a vacant lot that contained a deserted, dilapidated building pictured here.
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These lizards were not bothered by humans who took advantage of the vacant property for an afternoon nap.Image
This male and female Ctenosaura similis enjoyed soaking up the late afternoon rays of sunshine. Note the prominence of the mid-dorsal crest in the male as compared to that in the female.
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This handsome big male was the top dog of the group. He would incessantly chase one particular lizard.Image
This male staked out the seaside rocks on the property and looks rather prehistoric.
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The non-endemic lizard Norops sagrei was found in large numbers in the brushy areas on this vacant property. This is a male pictured here.Image
This species is sexually dimorphic. Female Norops sagrei have a light colored serrated pattern on their dorsum.Image
The endemic Norops utilensis was found in forested habitat near my hotel.
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Another endemic lizard, Norops bicaorum, was located in a forested area that is now fenced in but was previously used as a trash dump.
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The male has a reddish orange dewlap as shown here during natural display.
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My guide from the Iguana Breeding and Research Station was more agile than me and caught this one in order to display its dewlap.Image
At least a dozen geckos, Hemidactlus frenatus roamed the outside walls of my hotel with some engaged in gecko making activities.Image
I found a large number of the non-endemic Cnemidophorus ruatanus in an area in back of the beach. These lizards are called "Shake-paws" by the locals for their curious behavior of shaking a front foot while laying on the sand. This seemed to occur prior to the lizard moving to a new location. Males are beautifully colored with their florescent green bodies and blue heads. Image
Males were seen much more often than the striped brown colored females. Image
Unfortunately I did not have any opportunities to look for snakes or frogs.

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jason folt
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Re: Herping in Utila Island, Honduras

Post by jason folt » April 28th, 2015, 5:07 pm

I really enjoyed this series! I was seconds from booking a dive/herp trip to Utila with my wife a couple winters ago. We got pregnant and decided a hard core dive trip with her expecting wasn't quite the right thing to do. Ended up at Bimini as it was easy to get to and easy to get home from. Honduras has been on my long list of places to visit since. I would love to get out there and spend some time photographing wildlife.

J

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mothman
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Location: Huntington, West Virginia

Re: Herping in Utila Island, Honduras

Post by mothman » April 28th, 2015, 6:02 pm

jason folt wrote:I really enjoyed this series! I was seconds from booking a dive/herp trip to Utila with my wife a couple winters ago. We got pregnant and decided a hard core dive trip with her expecting wasn't quite the right thing to do. Ended up at Bimini as it was easy to get to and easy to get home from. Honduras has been on my long list of places to visit since. I would love to get out there and spend some time photographing wildlife.

J
I am glad you liked the post. I would highly recommend a trip to Utila, Roatan, and Rio Santiago Nature Resort. I flew into Roatan and then took the ferry to La Ceiba, Honduras. The sea was calm and I saw flying fish numerous times. Rio Santiago had a white sheet and light to attract nocturnal insects. I photographed over 100 different species of moths in a half hour. It was an incredible wildlife photo trip.

Mitch

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