Georgia-Armenia short trip

Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidshan, etc.

Georgia-Armenia short trip

Postby Gergely Horváth » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:42 pm

Recently I made a two week holiday in Georgia and Armenia with my gf. We visited many places in both countries and altough herping was not the main objective I took every chance to look for some interesting stuff.

So here are the findings of our short trip with some cool non-herps as well. Also, I would like to ask the experts to help me identify the Darevskias. I did my best but I might be wrong with the species.

Thanks and bests,

Gergő
Attachments
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The first findings on our first day from the walls of Bagrati cathedral, Kutaisi. Darevskia rudis
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No herps from Kazbegi as the weather was more than unfriendly but we found this Death's-head Hawk moth (Acherontia atropos) at the Gergeti church
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In Tbilisi we had a perfect weather so the rocks at the Narikala fortress were full with Paralaudakia caucasia specimens
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Mantis religiosa
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In Tbilisi we also visited the botanical garden where we found this Pelophylax bedriagae first (thanks to Thomas Bader for his correction)
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juvenile Darevskia portschinskii (thaks to Thomas Bader for identify this specimen)
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Oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis)
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Sympetrum sp.
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Ephippiger sp.
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The highlight of our visit in Tbilisi botanical garden was this guy: Pseudopus apodus
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Darevskia raddei. at a rocky habitat near Sisian, Syunik province, Armenia.
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Ablepharus bivittatus near Sisian, Syunik province, Armenia
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Gergely Horváth
 
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Hometown: Rabapordany
country: Hungary

Re: Georgia-Armenia short trip

Postby Thomas Bader » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:05 pm

Dear Gergely,

thank you for this post. I think you are right with D. rudis for Kutaisi. D. raddei is absolutely correct and the one in Tbilissi is D. portschinskii.
The Pelophylax is bedriagae (at the moment). Do you have o good picture of the Tatev monastery? Would love to see it...
The absolut highlight of your post is Ablepharus, as they are very rare!

g's
Thomas
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Re: Georgia-Armenia short trip

Postby Gergely Horváth » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:12 am

Hi Thomas,

Thank you for the validation of my suspicion on D. rudis and D. raddei, and of course for the D. portschinskii (it's always nice to have some unexpected finding :)). Could you give me some hint on the traits your determination based on?

Yes, I had the feeling that this Pleophylax somehow looks odd for a ridibundus but as I said I have very little knowledge on this species complex and the currently valid taxonomy so many thanks for that. This is the only known species in Georgia at the moment?

Sadly no Tatev... We spent 2 days around Sisian and had time only for Zorats Karer (which is a truely amazing place for me), Shaki waterfall (the pictures are from the path leading to the waterfall) and we visited the Ughtasar petroglyphs as well. But at least there is an other reason to visit Syunik again :)

Thank you and bests,

Gergő
Gergely Horváth
 
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Re: Georgia-Armenia short trip

Postby Thomas Bader » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:25 pm

Jo napot Gergö,

well, the identification is a bit problematic and needs quite a lot of experience, because several species are very variable, also during different seasons, and some are very similar. Therefore the distribution is an important tool the identify the species too.

For example: D. raddei is the only species in the southern dry and rather hot parts of Armenia. Males are quite easy (except confusion with some nairensis males) but females and yougsters can be problematic.
After a week of intensive Darevskia search with the specialist of this genus - Marine Arakelyan - we received quite a sensibility for most species (this helps a lot) but only in the visited areas. Our most problematic species were D. dahli and female D. p. portschinskii.

The Darevskia from Kutaissi looks very similar to the ones we found on our way to Kasbegi and it should be also the same subspecies of rudis: chechenica.
In Tbilissi there is only one species: portschinskii

To identify the species I recommend you to look at pictures of the species in http://www.lacerta.de The (possible) distribution of species and subspecies is also shown on this very good site
The second thing is to study Marines book "Herpetofauna of Armenia..."
For Georgia the best paper is by Bischoff: "Die Eidechsen Georgiens..." available in Mario's DB, unfortunately in German
Pelophylax is extremely variable in Georgia...

Wow - The Zortas Karer pinnacles must be amazing - I have to go to Syunik soon! I think, there could also be some undiscovered surprises in herpetofauna
The Caucasus is so diverse and intersting - this time we found 58 species and still missed some. We will place our report online in the deep winter, when it is more quiet...

all the best and Viszlat!

Thomas
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Re: Georgia-Armenia short trip

Postby Gergely Horváth » Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:35 pm

Dear Thomas,

Ok, thanks for the info, actually the website you cite here helped me a lot during my identification process, I will use it in the future for sure.

I'm looking forward for your trip report! I totally fell in love with the Caucasus area, especially Armenia, I certainly will visit again.

Vielen dank für deine hilfe!

Gergő
Gergely Horváth
 
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