Hainan Island February 2018

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Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:50 am

Hi folk,

Here is my report from Hainan Island (South China) where I spent few days in mid-February. I was in the outskirts of the province capital (Haikou), around 10km from the city centre I would say.
It is considered to be under a sub-tropical climate, but that time of the year is the coolest one (cool day means temperature lower than 20°C and as cold as 15). Beginning of my stay was like that and then it gets warmer day after day (to 30°C, 20+ at night) and rain for last day (that increased frog activity :)). Overall it is very humid and foggy (most of the night) due to ocean proximity.
Environment was heavily impacted and degraded by human activities, a mosaic of shrubby places (home of some cows and razor-blade grass), small fields and banana plantations (separated by wall of volcanic rocks), and some factories.
Countryside.jpg


Particularity of the place where I stay: big water reservoirs (ancient quarry I suppose). One sandy and one really rocky (but the best spots had dried up already). There I found most of the frogs presented here.
quarry_sandy.jpg

quarry_rocky.jpg


In this rocky quarry, I found all my Fejervarya multistriata. This Discoglossidae is nocturnal and from what I saw, spend its day under rocks.
Fejervarya_1.jpg
Fejervarya multistriata at night


Fejervarya_2.jpg
It is a vigorous frog with long range jumps. The one I found during the day literally dig up under the first stone it reached (fresh soil).


I also found freshly metamorphosed Microhyla heymonsi in the dried pond during daytime (morning).
Microhyla_young.jpg
Microhyla heymonsi
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:57 am

As I have problem to upload, I will do it part by part

Another species of Microhyla can be found there: M.pulchra. Both were pretty common.
pulchra_pattern.jpg
I differentiate them by the craziness of pulchra’s back pattern

pulchra_singing.jpg
M. pulchra singing under cover

pulchra_adult.jpg
A big individual. I was also truly impressed by the height and range of its jump

heymsoni.jpg
M.heymsoni near its breeding pond. Adults sung all around under cover


Another champion in jumping category: Hylarana guentheri!
guentheri.jpg


A less common frog (mostly found on banana leaves at night) was that little green fellow, probably the common Chinese tree frog Hyla chinensis (I'm not certain on that identification though):
Rhacophorus_1.jpg
Rhacophorus_2.jpg
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:08 am

The other tree frog species I was able to spot, definitely the rarest one (at that time) was Polypedates megalocephalus
Polypedates.jpg


The last amphibian on my list is the Asian toad Duttaphrynus melanostictus. Really common with many individuals roaming here and there or singing on water edges (notably an unused swimming pool… Life finds a way)
bufo_1.jpg
D.melanostictus on its calling rock

bufo_2.jpg
Close–up of a “rescued” swimming pool resident


Of course, they are numerous geckos, I guess Hemidactylus frenatus and Gehyra multilata but I’m not able to tell them apart…
gecko.jpg
Probably H.frenatus, found under a plastic cover on the ground


On day time, I also found Calotes versicolor
calotes.jpg


Other lizard species encountered: Mabuya multifasciata and Eutropis longicaudata.
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:07 am

I fome some of these amphibians in Thailand.
Are there any Caudata on that isand?
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:29 pm

Hi Michal,

I heard of Tilotriton hainanensis on another forum. But I guess it is more in the centre and south part of the island (mountains).
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:11 am

And finally, my snake post!
I put a lot of effort to find a Chinese cobra, but the only species I was able to find there was the bamboo pit viper Trimeresurus albolabris. Regarding the number of frogs and the number of snake species described in Hainan it was a bit disappointed…
I found 3 specimens of T.albolabris in total, on 3 different nights, with two on the same spot.
habitat.jpg


albolabris_1.jpg
Here is the first female, spotted immobile on that stone wall

head.jpg
Head close-up highlighting the pit organ and the partially fused nasal scale, key point to differentiate albolabris from T.stejnegeri

albolabris_2.jpg
Full body


albolabris_3.jpg
My second specimen, probably a male, on the move

albolabris_4.jpg


The last was this youngster, coiled in hunting position just over the ground, with already a prey item in the stomach. That was the night after the rain with increased frog activity.
albolabris_5.jpg
Really a stunning snake, relying entirely on its camouflage
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:48 pm

Hainan is on my wishlist: it has actually a subtropical maybe even tropical climate with many interesting species (included King Cobras!) and many beautiful places. Just to suggest randomly one of those: http://www.milesonsite.com/spots/hot-sp ... and-china/

My question to you.
Why such a bad season, a bad place and such a short stay? I think you was probably there only for job/business reasons and not for herping...
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Re: Hainan Island February 2018

Postby Guillaume Blanchet » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:54 pm

Tropical on the south part of the island it is said. Yes, definetly a hotspot in China.

Right, no choice for the time and place. Clearly the wrong season. I could have been to the south but would certainly have ended too cold and foggy anyway (I had such bad experience in the past).
So I did what I can. And I like such challenge somehow. It is rewarding in many ways. It ends at showing a different adventure that the common pristine rainforest one.

Hope I can go back at a better time, and you to fullfil your king cobra wish there ;)
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