AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

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AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

Postby Daniel Kane » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:48 pm

I'm a student of Animal Behaviour; from the 22nd to the 28th of November I had the opportunity to go to Tenerife with my University for a cetacean, specifically short-fin pilot whale and bottlenosed dolphin, research trip. The aim is to find out more about the 5-600 or so pilot whales which reside around Tenerife year-round; their movements, their pod sized, mother-calf interaction, behaviour, etc... This is done by observation and photographing the dorsal fin, which is unique to each animal so can be used to build up an idea of where an individual spends most of its time. The Tenerife project, like all others around the world, is volunteer-based. You can read more about this at http://www.whalenation.org/

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located 100km off the Moroccan coast. Although not geographically part of Europe, they are in the E.U. The sub tropical climate allows high temperatures even in traditionally cooler months - while there last week 26*C was not uncommon during the day. The highest point on Tenerife is Mt Teide at over 3,700m. Due to the isolation of these islands, many species of endemic fanua and flora exist. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these are the giant lizards, Gallotia sp., Tarentola geckos and Chalcides skinks. Other endemics include the blue chaffinch, laurel pigeon, canary, and over 100 plant species.

Obviously being exceptionally interested in herps I had high hopes for finding at least some of the endemics. The days were planned to be full from 8am-6pm, so that left little time for herping to be done. Tuesday and Wednesday we were out on the boats photographing whales and dolphins and recording data, Thursday was an organised walk from the village of Masca to the bay (although subsequently cancelled after finding the boat taxis were not running due to weather) so we spent the afternoon on Los Cristianos beach, and Friday the group visited Loro Parque in the north of the island.

Tenerife, the largest of te Canary Islands, is inhabited by four species of reptile - Gallotia galloti (ssp. galloti and eisentrauti), Gallotia intermedia, Tarentola delalandii and Chalcides viridanus. The Tenerife Speckled Lizard is critically endangered - restricted to small areas of cliffs in the north and south of the island. The Tenerife lizard is found all over the island in two subspecies - galloti in the south and eisentrauti in the north - the latter being more heavily patterned and generally more colourful than the former. Chalcides is found all over the island, below 2,800m. Tarentola delalandinii is commonly seen in urban areas - my own observations support this, seeing individuals hunting on walls in Los Cristianos town centre.

Now for some photos;

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BND


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PW


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PW


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PW


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PW


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PW


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PW


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Los Gigantes


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Cliffs north of Los Gigantes


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Cliffs north of Los Gigantes


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Cliffs north of Los Gigantes


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BND


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BND


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Argiope bruennichi


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Argiope bruennichi & prey


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Masca


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Masca


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Masca


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Arona


Now the lizards;

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Tarentola delalandii


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Gallotia galloti galloti


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Gallotia galloti galloti


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Chalcides viridanus viridanus


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Chalcides viridanus viridanus


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Chalcides viridanus viridanus


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Tarentola delalandii


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Tarentola delalandii


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Tarentola delalandii


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Tarentola delalandii


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Gallotia galloti eisentrauti


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Gallotia galloti eisentrauti


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Gallotia galloti eisentrauti


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Gallotia galloti eisentrauti


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Gallotia galloti eisentrauti


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Gallotia galloti galloti


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Gallotia galloti galloti


Tenerife is definitely worth a visit if you ever get the chance. Hopefully one day I will return to the canaries and see even more of what these islands have to offer!

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Gallotia galloti galloti
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Re: AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

Postby Bobby Bok » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:33 pm

Have you also seen some introduced reptiles? There's a stable population of Anolis carolinensis behind Fanabe beach in the south. But interesting photo's, I really like the skinks from the Canary's and especially C. viridanus!
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Re: AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

Postby Jimmy Lundqvist » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:18 pm

Nice pics!
I also wonder about invasive species, are there any Cali kingsnakes on Tenerife or is that Gran Canaria they have spread?
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Re: AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:52 am

Great stuff all around, congratulations.

I particularly enjoyed seeing all the geckos, and the very last photo in the report. `Herp in habitat` type shots are my favorite. :)

Vlad
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Re: AWF Research Trip to Tenerife

Postby Daniel Kane » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:17 am

No introduced species were seen, just the three common lizards. I don't think the cali kings are on any other island apart from Gran Canaria Jimmy. Glad you like the pics :) .
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