Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

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mariquensis
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Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by mariquensis » February 19th, 2017, 7:23 am

This past week I headed down into the Western Cape, South Africa. A province known for a wide array of habitats from high montane fynbos, Atlantic coastal dunes and arid Karoo landscapes.

Route planner:
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Sitting back for a bit
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Species Listing:
Lifers*
Acontias melagris - Cape Legless Skink.
Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled lead-toed Gecko
Agama atra - Southern Rock Agama
Bradypodiom occidentale - Western Dwarf Chameleon
Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Chersina angulata - Angulate Tortoise
Goggia lineata - Dwarf leaf-toed Gecko
Karusaurus polyzonus - Southern Karusa Lizard
Meroles knoxii - Knox's Desert Lizard
Ouroborus cataphractus - Armadillo Lizard

Pachydactylus geitjie - Occelated Thick Toed Gecko
Pachydactylus weberi - Western Banded Gecko
Psammophis notostictus - Karoo Whip Snake
Scelotes gronovii - Gronovi's Dwarf Legless Skink

The first stop on the trip was in Durbanville a Cape Townian suburb. Often the best place to see the Cape Dwarf Chameleons are in suburban gardens and hedges.

Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled lead-toed Gecko. I saw countless of these geckos whilst looking for the chameleons these female with large calcium sacs on either side of her neck.
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Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon. A rather drab variation of a normally a vivid green and blue/orange species.
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Next stop was the West Coast National Park.
Acontias melagris - Cape Legless Skink.
A common fossorial lizard often found below rocks and loose sandy soil.
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Goggia lineata - Dwarf leaf-toed Gecko.
Another common species found in dried plants/bark and under stones in the fynbos bio of the park. Found quite a few different individuals
but there's little variation between specimens in this area.
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Pachydactylus geitjie - Ocellated Thick Toed Gecko
Another common gecko in the park often living symbiotically with Goggia lineata.
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Karusaurus polyzonus - Southern Karusa Lizard
A common medium sized lizard, often seen basking on large boulders or rocky out crops. Not all that easy getting your hands on them.
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Scelotes grovonvii - Grovani's Legless Skink. Another common fossorial lizard in the park often living symbiotically with Acontias melagris
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After a few days at the coast, it was time for the arid interior of the Cederberg Mountains.
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Typical habitat
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Fortunate enough to stay at the exquisite 4* http://www.kaggakamma.co.za/ lodge.
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I mean who doesn't enjoy a fire-side outdoor dining experience every night?
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Koi-San rock paintings a few 100 years old.
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Agama atra - Southern Rock Agama.
This Agama's enjoy the hot dry regions and bask on the rocks during insane day-time temperatures.
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Karusaurus polyzonus - Southern Karusa Lizard.
Much nicer coloured animals than I'd seen on the coast a few days before.
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Pachydactylus weberi - Western Banded Gecko.
Some night walking amongst the outcrops turned up a few of these beautiful gecko's.
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Psammophis notostictus - Karoo Whip Snake
A real nemesis of mine, I've probably seen 15 specimens or so but never managed to photograph them for whatever reason.
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Some beautiful rock formations
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Ouroborus cataphractus - Armadillo Lizard
Something I've always wanted to see. I torched these guys in rock cracks at night and took about 45mins of coaxing before I managed to get one out for photographs. They're communal lizards often living in family groups of between 5-12 individuals. Sadly many of these are poached and exported for the pet trade.
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Myself with one of the adults for size reference.
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Meroles knoxii - Knox's Desert Lizard
These lizards are ridiculously fast, commonly seen just about everywhere in the Cederberg but not often caught. They move with
lightning speed between the small dense shrubs making them real tough to catch.
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Now on the West Coast of South Africa - St Helena Bay.
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Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled lead-toed Gecko.
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Juvenile colouration:
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Chersina angulata - Angulate Tortoise. Another common species along the Atlantic seaboard.
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One of the major draw cards to visit the West Coast was to attempt to find Bradypodion occidentale, which is 1 of the remaining 4 species (of 17 description species of Bradypodion in Southern Africa)I have yet to find and photograph. This is the furthest I've travelled from my home city to find a chameleon. Literally on the oppisite coast of the country. So this was a welcome find!
Bradypodiom occidentale - Western Dwarf Chameleon

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Thanks for looking.
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For more images: http://www.tyroneping.co.za

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mothman
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by mothman » February 19th, 2017, 7:50 am

Thanks for sharing your excellent pictures. The Armadillo Lizard and Southern Karusa Lizard were particularly fascinating to look at. The lodge looks like a wonderfully unique place to stay to say the least.

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mariquensis
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by mariquensis » February 19th, 2017, 8:21 pm

mothman wrote:Thanks for sharing your excellent pictures. The Armadillo Lizard and Southern Karusa Lizard were particularly fascinating to look at. The lodge looks like a wonderfully unique place to stay to say the least.

Thanks, glad you enjoyed the post!

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John Martin
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by John Martin » February 20th, 2017, 5:49 pm

Thanks for another excellent post! I really enjoy seeing the animals from this region, and your photos are superb. I'm curious as to how the Goggia lineata and the Pachydactylus geitjie, and the two legless skinks, are living symbiotically.

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mariquensis
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by mariquensis » February 20th, 2017, 11:00 pm

John Martin wrote:Thanks for another excellent post! I really enjoy seeing the animals from this region, and your photos are superb. I'm curious as to how the Goggia lineata and the Pachydactylus geitjie, and the two legless skinks, are living symbiotically.


Thanks John, glad you enjoyed the post.

Let me clarify I see how this could be misinterpreted Goggia lineata and Pachydactylus geitjie are found living together and within the same microhabitat often feeding on the same prey items. Living on the surface under logs/stones

Whilst the Acontias and Scelotes (The dwarf burrowing skink actually ahs two tiny limbs) are found just below the surface of loose sandy soils both feeding on similar prey.

I appreciate the comments and taking the time out to check the post.

Cheers

Tyrone.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by The Real Snake Man » February 22nd, 2017, 3:18 pm

I think that as opposed to "symbiotically", what you meant to say was "sympatrically". Very good photos and very interesting post.

-Gene

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Western Cape Herping Trip - South Africa. [Photo Heavy]

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » February 23rd, 2017, 12:32 am

Great stuff! Some day I really have to make it way down south...
The Real Snake Man wrote:I think that as opposed to "symbiotically", what you meant to say was "sympatrically".
I think that as opposed to "sympatrically", what you meant to say was "syntopicly". ;)

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