Tenerife report February 2015

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Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:21 am

Here's the link to the entire album of this trip
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/109569403792660107504/albums/6113828619747111857?cfem=1

My girl wanted to spend a week in tranquility so we convinced here parents to look after our son and traveled just the two of us. Tunisia was also on the table for a while, but when travelling with a normal companion who allows you to do herping trips without her, it is wise to pick a herp-poor destination. Unless you are a warrior like GJ, of course, but it's clear to all that I'm not.

Terrestrial endogenous herps of Tenerife are Gallotia galloti, Gallotia intermedia, Tarentola delalandii and Chalcides viridanus. The second one is rare, the others are (very or even extremely) common. I tried my luck for a brief visit to a spot for G. intermedia but failed - the numbers of this species are known to be low and the weather was less than perfect throughout our stay (= only a couple of hours of direct sunlight during 2 of the days spent). Too bad. I did visit a cold and foggy spot for Hyla meridionalis, but other than that, I didn't bother with trying to find any of the other alien species (Pelophylax perezi, Anolis carolinensis but also Gallotia caesaris and more).

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Teide volcano

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coastal "pseudo-Arizona" hike

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into the magnificent "laurisilva"

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looking down on Taganana through the fog

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Masca - lovely place, but a massive tourist trap all the same

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Gallotia galloti

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Chalcides viridanus

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Tarentola delalandii - silly me, boldly trying to copy the Tiemann trademark style

A terrible oversight by most herp enthusiasts visiting the island is that you can get up close and personal with sea turtles. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) is supposed to be around (although all the footage I watched on Youtube referring to this species concern wrong IDs), but especially Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is represented by some animals which are resident to a few small bays throughout the year (maybe excluding egg-laying season). The animals are not the wildest of their species - they clearly have grown accustomed to human admiration. Nevertheless, the true highlight of this little trip was to be able to swim with these beautiful animals and even easily to be able to (I know, I know, silly and I shouldn't have...) touch them.

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Sadly, I don't have a lot of illustration of this amazing experience - I only rented a camera for the dive I did first and which produced no turtle sightings, while 3 turtles showed up on the second, snorkeling attempt.

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As a minimal souvenir, an Italian girl took a couple of lo-fi shots.

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Chelonia mydas and yours truly on the right

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A much(!) nicer to watch illustration of the same experience at the same spot can be found on Youtube. Yes, they do get really close!



Ooow, I almost forgot to satisfy my dear friend Bobby's love for exogenous herps...
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Anolis carolinensis
The ugly pic's from Texas, Bob, where the critter belongs :P
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Mario Schweiger » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:58 am

Nice pics, Jeroen!
But you better would have written: herp-species poor destination :lol:

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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Peter Oefinger » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:01 pm

Are you getting old? This almost looks like holiday...(but the turtle diving is cool, of course.)
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby GertJan Verspui » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:36 pm

Nice photos Jeroen, the swimming must have been great!
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Rémon ter Harmsel » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:24 pm

I do actually see the 'pseudo-Arizona' resemblance on your picture there :D
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Paul Lambourne » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:40 pm

Jeroen,

When I saw Belgians in rubber outfits I thought I was on another of my "specialist" forums.....

Stunning Gallotia pic.. I really must go and tick off the rest of the Canary islands, some great lizards to be had :D

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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Bobby Bok » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:32 pm

Blimey, really jealous at the turtle swimming! Must have been a relaxed trip with the easy herping and such a short species list ;)
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:36 am

Thanks for the replies, guys!

The turtle experience was in the league of Grand Herping Events. The Gallotias are cool of course, but it seems so weird that there's not a single (endogenous) snake species to prey on them. And not a single amphibian species in those laurel woods. A lot of "empty niches"...

Being in a place where species are few and easy to find can be nice for a change. In other news, however, the countdown towards the Malayan madness has started in full force.
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Re: Tenerife report February 2015

Postby Laura Bok » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:14 pm

Hey Jeroen,

nice report from a great little trip! I was positively surprised about the beauty and diversity of the landscapes on Tenerife - ignorant me.
Like probably everybody here I am awfully jealous about the turtle swimming! In retrospective it is probably a good thing you did not have a camera with you, some things one should just enjoy...
I like the Chalcides viridanus, with its forked tail he looks almost devilish. And of course - great shot of the Tarentola delalandii, I am very pleased ;).

Cheers,
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