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 Post subject: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 1:13 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
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Location: Lake Worth, FL
The title says it all - it's been a weird year; almost a complete lack of Winter and a notable lack of herp abundance. That said, I've been in the field a lot and thus turned up a cool find or two. I'll keep the finds in mostly chronographical order, with a few comments here and there - enjoy.

I do enjoy exotic lizards, though notably I've not had great luck searching them out. Oh well - I still do manage some interesting ones every once in a while:
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Brett, one of my former co-workers from my Zoo days has been joining me on a lot of lizards searches lately. Until recently he was bad luck:
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With my photos, I'm typically the type that likes to "work for" what I get - I don't shoot captive animals typically, prefer to only shoot things that I (or the group I'm with) found, and usually shy away from using any kind of "studio" - not that there's anything wrong with any of those. I have, however, started using fish tanks to shoot the aquatic herps I find lately. Yes, the habitat may not look natural, but sometimes aquatics look the best under water:
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And sometimes not...
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I need an ID with this guy - I'm pretty good at owl ID in the field, but for some reason, looking back at pictures I really suck at it. I think it's a screecher, but I'm not positive:
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Up until recently, I haven't had much luck getting shots of herps eating - but torrential rains in October helped me out with lots of frog activity:
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No, that isn't a flash issue - those walls really are pink:
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More of dem' Oustalets chameleons. They just don't get old to find:
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Found while walking one eve:
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Another lizard that has eluded me except by sign, the Nile Monitor:
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I usually have bad luck with corals too - I don't necessarily target them much, but Tim Borski has snagged more on one night then I've seen ever. I'm not complaining though: having them a rarity keeps them a nice surprise.
First of two this year:
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2/2:
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The lookalikes:
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Also this past year, I spoke at the Suncoast Herp Society. While there, I went with the Suncoast president, Melissa, and her fiance Bill to hunt some Southern Hognoses, a species I've spent many the hour pursuing. I did some research and we went to a place that looked good - no luck on them, but found this cool mantid:
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The late rains brought muchos treefrogs throughout the winter.
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And after a crusade against the term "trash snake," this garter wasn't helping himself too much with his 20-times-runover food source:

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I think it probably was once a frog:
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And forgive the profusion of pictures, but after years of seeing these range-restricted animals and not getting great pictures, I figured it was time. Hope you guys don't mind:
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Gates barring beautiful looking roads like this drive me nuts:
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This past winter, I got down to extreme southern Florida a few times more than usual. Always good sights to see there:
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Possibly the closest I'll ever get to Tantilla oolitica:
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Birds...Gross.
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This car looked several decades old, never to be removed from this sink hole:
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I also enjoy camping with my wife quite a bit. Unfortunately, Florida weather is only good for camping a couple months out of the year.

Our new hound, Corbett. We think he's a Blackmouth Cur:
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He's our other dog, Shona's, tormentor:
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Camping can also mean herps too:

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And who doesn't love this kind of sight in the road?
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away from the urban sprawl, the stars come out to play.
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And so do the less common frogs, free of persecution from Cuban treefrogs:
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It also brings time to relax
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We saw this on the way home:
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But joining them, mere seconds before, eating the dead pig was this guy:
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The South Florida Herp Society (SouthFLHerp.org) also held our annual Burm Bash this past December, and people came from NAFHA as far away as Tennessee and Alabama to join us - Thanks to those folks. Finds weren't as flashy as last year, but we found some stuff we were happy with:

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It was real cold, we went out to look for pygmies and I surmised that with the cold they'd be as tucked into the leaf litter as possible. Bingo.
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They're really not a pretty owl...
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Matt flipped this guy under some A/C - the first chance I actually had at a picture of one:
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Meanwhile, back at the farm...

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Not my nile, but I'll take it!
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Devil lizard:
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But not all lizards are so, this was apparently a Christian Oustalet's Chameleon, as it started praying when I found it:
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I'm thinking a brown basilisk, but given the area it could be a green as well. Any thoughts?
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One eve, while cruising around, I stepped out of the car and noticed eye shine 30 feet up in a pine tree. Thinking it a raccoon, I edged closer, thinking to myself "Wouldn't it be funny if it were a bobcat?"

Imagine my surprise as I got closer:
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I hope the fellow got down:
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Despite the entertainment-based news, the vast majority of the exotics we have in Florida are harmless. I found this guy in a water-filled pipe one day, and didn't think much of him until I looked at his belly:
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Despite all these, I'm not always bound to Florida - from a recent trip home to Connecticut, I found an abnormally ugly Wood Frog:
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But, he was very well camouflaged:
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A prettier one was found a few feet away:
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And they got progressively nicer:
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Always a pleasure,
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And one last habitat shot
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I know it's been a while, but I've been trucking on getting my book out for publication - it's still available for preorder for another week or two: http://www.ecouniverse.com/product/282/

Part 2 coming muy pronto - thanks for looking everyone.


Josh Holbrook
FieldVentures.WordPress.com


Last edited by Josh Holbrook on May 12th, 2012, 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 2:06 pm 
Dang. Sick post. Too many great shots to pick favorites in this one, although that Varanus shot w/ the tongue is wicked looking. Nice job of getting everything in, always enjoy seeing more than herps as it paints a broader picture. Congrats on all the awesome finds!


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 2:43 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2010, 9:21 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Miami, Fl
Good work, just a couple updates.

Your Bombina ssp is Bombina orientalis

The heron you photographed is a reddish egret Egretta rufescens

and you spelled paludicola wrong


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 3:47 pm 
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Joined: June 19th, 2010, 6:42 pm
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Location: New Yawk
Awesome. I missed so many things when I lived in Florida, I'll have to go back one day.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 5:21 pm 
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Joined: September 1st, 2010, 10:16 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Miami, FL
BlueEyezLatino wrote:

and you spelled paludicola wrong


What a jerk. :lol:

Good stuff, Josh.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 11th, 2012, 7:18 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
Posts: 1947
Location: Lake Worth, FL
Rob - Glad you enjoyed - the Savannah was definitely a highlight; and glad you enjoy the non-herps

Danny,
BlueEyezLatino wrote:
Your Bombina ssp is Bombina orientalis


I know

BlueEyezLatino wrote:
The heron you photographed is a reddish egret Egretta rufescens

I don't care. It's a bird.

BlueEyezLatino wrote:
and you spelled paludicola wrong


You spelled "eyes" wrong. :lol:

John - It's a nice little neck of the woods; it certainly provides for many years of herping entertainment.

Ed - I know, right? Those silly botanists.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 12th, 2012, 5:13 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 1669
Location: Unicoi, TN
Excellect Part I indeed!

:?: How many different Chameleons have you documented down there?


PS
You know, Josh, when we first moved to south Florida, for the first six months, I was huffing and puffing over all the non-native plants, herps, fishes, and birds, indignant and outraged, because of paradigms of biological prejudices I carried.
After a year or so, coming to grips with the fact that most non-natives seemed innocuous, I marveled at them. ( :roll: I know, biological sacrilege! :roll: )


Not saying I wouldn’t terminate some on sight, but most I grew to welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 12th, 2012, 5:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:28 am
Posts: 1787
Location: FL Keys
Most excellent post Josh! I really enjoyed the variation in imagery. :thumb:
I especially like the croc and Shrike cache on the prairie. Plus, Fox squirrels just plain rock!

Thanks for taking the time, man and keep up the great work.

Ed, psst, it died because of Danny's black heart...

Tim


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 12th, 2012, 8:33 am 
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Joined: June 13th, 2010, 5:06 pm
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Your keeled skull from a basilisk...are you certain that it is not the keeled sternum of a bird? Was the keel broad or thin?


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 12th, 2012, 10:01 am 
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Joined: June 19th, 2010, 6:42 pm
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Location: New Yawk
BillMcGighan wrote:
when we first moved to south Florida, for the first six months, I was huffing and puffing over all the non-native plants, herps, fishes, and birds, indignant and outraged, because of paradigms of biological prejudices I carried.
After a year or so, coming to grips with the fact that most non-natives seemed innocuous, I marveled at them. ( :roll: I know, biological sacrilege! :roll: )

!


We don't have to "hate" invasive species; we can certainly marvel at their ability to adapt to a novel environment, while understanding their impact on our already "compromised" environment. Herpetologists are lucky, we still get excited when we find a cool non-native. Plant people, not such much. How often does someone get excited to see some Phragmites?


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 13th, 2012, 12:34 pm 

Joined: March 16th, 2011, 10:27 am
Posts: 392
Location: Shawnee Hills, IN
good stuff


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 13th, 2012, 7:31 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
Posts: 1887
Wow, what a fantastic post! My absolute favorite is the devil lizard shot. Second favorite would be any of the bobcat shots.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 14th, 2012, 6:53 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
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Location: Lake Worth, FL
Bill - Like I said, I've not actually found any species on my own; but I'm working on it. There are three that have been documented as breeding in Florida, but probably many more -I think news probably traveled fast ten or fifteen years ago that chams can survive/reproduce in Florida so that lots of people made their own 'honey holes'. This was before a lot of people knew exotic species could potentially be pretty bad too, so I can't say I blame em'. Of course; a lot of them are here and there's nothing we can do except kill the ones that are really bad (brown hoplos, burms, hopefully cats ;-) ), and realize that life on earth is a lot 'wily-er' than we give it credit for, sometimes.

Tim - Yeah; I'm being lectured from the kid who had one of his Bolivian boas eat the other because he fed them together :lol: Glad you enjoyed the post.

umop apisdn - Positive.

John - Botanist as a whole must have a boring sport. Imagine going out "planting" - "I once found a big, fat, tree here before. AHA! Look! there it is again!"

Barry - thanks

Tamara - Yeah, that Savannah was one cool lizard, and I have a feeling I may never get better Bobcat shots.

Thanks all

-Josh


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 17th, 2012, 5:51 am 

Joined: March 1st, 2011, 6:08 pm
Posts: 28
Nice finds! How do you get your hands on the basilisks?!?! They run so fast! By the time I get close enough for pics they are already across the canal! Also if i'm not mistaken does your ring in the YR shot say the hebrew word "Ani" on it? Just wondering, sorry for being nosey.
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 17th, 2012, 8:34 am 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 4:04 am
Posts: 232
Location: Hardin County, Ky
Awesome post and finds all around Josh.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 17th, 2012, 12:52 pm 
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Joined: July 8th, 2011, 1:04 pm
Posts: 662
Location: King County, WA
Excellent post all around!

Love seeing all of your photos. Great work! The cottonmouth scavenging a dead leopard frog is a great capture of behavior.

How did you know that the burrow was from a monitor?

Do you have any other photos of such burrows? Or tracks/scat from any monitors in FL?

You guys find the coolest sh... stuff in FL.

Quote:
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I suspect this is not a skull, but a breast bone:

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Your wood frogs are totally awesome. I can't shake how similar they look to Rana temporaria. I really like this "hyla" version of it... ;)

Quote:
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Thanks for sharing your amazing photos! :beer: :beer: :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 18th, 2012, 10:52 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:58 am
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Location: West Central Florida
:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: May 18th, 2012, 1:29 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
Posts: 1947
Location: Lake Worth, FL
Mosyvenomrox - Thanks. Basilisks are tough - you'd gotta catch em' when they're sleeping. And yes; song of Solomon 6:3

Todd - Thanks; let's see your recent find on the forum :beer:

PNWHerper - thanks. The area is a area with a Nile Monitor population. It could be iguana as well, but I find iguanas to be uncommon in areas without heavy veg. And in reguards to the skull - I honestly am not sure, but given the huge number of basilisks in the area it was found, I thought it was a skull cap - but I don't know.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 7:02 pm 
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Location: Virginia
Hey Josh, just scrolling through old posts and found this one... Is that croc pic from our night in the glades?


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 7:18 pm 
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Location: Lake Worth, FL
DracoRJC wrote:
Hey Josh, just scrolling through old posts and found this one... Is that croc pic from our night in the glades?


I do believe so - one of our few finds that night! Oh well, next year.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 9th, 2012, 8:15 pm 
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Joined: May 5th, 2011, 2:15 pm
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Location: Virginia
Josh Holbrook wrote:
DracoRJC wrote:
Hey Josh, just scrolling through old posts and found this one... Is that croc pic from our night in the glades?


I do believe so - one of our few finds that night! Oh well, next year.


Did I ever tell you we found a pygmy the night after, right where you told us? In fact, the same snake was there two nights in a row!

Working on integrating a herping trip into the family vacation next summer, we'll see how that goes!


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 10:12 am 
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This is an all-over amazing post. I had no idea that chameleons were in S. Florida as well. I knew about the burms, monitors, basilisks, and tokay geckos, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 4:54 pm 
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Joined: April 10th, 2012, 6:27 pm
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Wow awesome photography and congrats on an AMAZING year!


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 10th, 2012, 6:22 pm 
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umop apisdn wrote:
Your keeled skull from a basilisk...are you certain that it is not the keeled sternum of a bird? Was the keel broad or thin?


It's the breastbone/sternum of a bird. The crest on a basilisk has no bones.

That being said, awesome photography. As much as I dislike non-natives, finding Oustalet's chameleons must be a blast. In California there is a population of Jackson's chameleons along the central coast region, but I haven't had a chance to see them yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 3:55 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 pm
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Location: Gainesville, FL
Muy fantastico! All good stuff, Josh. My favorite would have to be the little cauda caeruleus shiny guy. Still want to go check out your site with you someday.

-Jake


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 9:53 am 
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Great series!


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 10:24 am 
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Hi Josh:
Wonderful post showing fauna diversity; both alien and native. I have a tendency to agree with some of the other opinions regarding the bone. The other class of fauna I am very interested in is Aves and from what I know of a bird's skeletal structure that appears to be a deeply keeled sternum of a strong flying bird. It's a well developed one to support powerful breast muscles for flying. I have attached a link here to a photo of a basilsik's skull which shows the structure of its plume. It appears to be primarily cartilaginous and the object in your photo is bone:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlestilford/4076996956/


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 11:05 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:11 am
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Location: Lake Worth, FL
Wow - it's cool to see a post from 5 months ago see a sudden resurgence. Thanks all.

klawnskale wrote:
Hi Josh:
Wonderful post showing fauna diversity; both alien and native. I have a tendency to agree with some of the other opinions regarding the bone. The other class of fauna I am very interested in is Aves and from what I know of a bird's skeletal structure that appears to be a deeply keeled sternum of a strong flying bird. It's a well developed one to support powerful breast muscles for flying. I have attached a link here to a photo of a basilsik's skull which shows the structure of its plume. It appears to be primarily cartilaginous and the object in your photo is bone:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlestilford/4076996956/


Nice - I've been looking for basilisks skull pictures to confirm/deny the ID. Looks like aves it is (I really should know this considering I teach comparative vert anatomy)

Jake - you DID get some of that subspecies at some point, didn't you?


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 Post subject: Re: Part I: An Odd, but not Unproductive Year So Far
PostPosted: October 11th, 2012, 3:27 pm 
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Joined: June 15th, 2010, 8:51 am
Posts: 114
Location: South Florida
Impressive Post!!!!!
Dave S.


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