UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

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UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Kristian Bell » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:09 pm

***This post appears on another forum so apologies in advance if you have already seen it***

Just a really quick write up of a week herping the deserts of UAE. I was actually in the region for 2 weeks, with the first spent doing the boring touristy stuff in Dubai, then the second week spent in the deserts, mostly in Sharjah. Much thanks and pretty much all credit for the critters below go to Johannes Els - a true gent with a superb knowledge of the local area.

First the boring tourist/architectural/city shots...

ImageCityscape Skyline by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageAt The Top by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageUltra-Urban by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageLevel43 by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImagePillars of Society by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageSheikh Zayed Mosque by Kris Bell, on Flickr

..now on to the good stuff. First animals out and about on the dunes during the day are usually the small lizards. These toad headed agamas were my favourite lizards of the trip, tiny little animals with so much attitude. They are fiercely territorial with one another and have a range of cool behaviours such as curling their black-tipped tails over in the circle as if to mimic a scorpion.

ImageArabian Toad Head Agama (Phrynocephalus arabicus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageToad-headed agama by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageSchmidt’s fringe-toed lizard (Acanthodactylus schmidti) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

Without question, my favourite snake species of the trip...
ImageArabian sand/horned viper (Cerastes gasperettii) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian camel (Camelus dromedarius) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageEastern Sandfish (Scincus mitranus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

Once extinct in the wild, thanks to reintroductions and protected reserves, these ungulates are making a comeback...

ImageArabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageOryx Landscape by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageDesert monitor (Varanus griseus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

Last out in the day were these Uromastyx, that absolutely loved the heat and were active throughout the intense heat of the middle of the day, long after every other animal had headed for the shade.

ImageLeptein's spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia lepteini) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

Heading up into the streams that cut through the rocky cliffs (wadis) resulted in a different collection of reptiles...

ImageSinai agama (Pseudotrapelus sinaitus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageSinai agama (Pseudotrapelus sinaitus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageBlue-tailed Oman Lizard (Omanosaura cyanura) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageBagworm moth caterpillar by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian Toad (Bufo arabicus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

As soon as night fell in the wadis, these guys came crawling out of cracks and crevices in significant numbers...
ImageOman saw-scaled viper (Echis omanensis) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

...meanwhile back in the desert and scrub, the nocturnal animals looked something like the below.

ImageDesert hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian Sand Gecko (Stenodactylus arabicus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageVenomous land mine by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageDomino Beetle (Anthia duodecimguttata) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian horned viper (Cerastes gasperettii) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageUrchin beetle (Prionotheca cornata) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageZarudny's Worm Lizard (Diplometopon zarudnyi) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageMiddle Eastern short-fingered gecko (Stenodactylus doriae) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageAwl-headed snake (Lytorhynchus diadema) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImagePersian Wonder Gecko (Teratoscincus keyserlingii) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian sand boa (Eryx jayakari) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

And a few other odds and ends...

ImageCommon fan-footed gecko (Ptyodactylus hasselquistii) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageHoopoe (Upupa epops) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageEastern Sand Gecko (Stenodactylus leptocosymbotus) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) by Kris Bell, on Flickr

ImageArabian fox at dawn by Kris Bell, on Flickr
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Kristian Bell
 
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Peter Oefinger » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:30 pm

Yes - these pictures are artworks. I'm not a fan of these artificial arabian cities but the species list is great. I remember that my friends Jürgen & GJ were not able to show me some Omanosaura cyanura :lol:
Thanks for sharing!
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Andre Schmid » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:12 pm

Wow, awesome photos and very nice animals !
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:12 pm

High quality photos! Nice to see. And i love Echis...
Thanks for sharing :D
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:33 pm

Hi Kris, great to see you pics here also, as I told you before some of them are not just photos, they are finest artwork!

Sad that you get gasperettii only without Horns.

Some names changed:
Pseudotrapelus sinaitus – Pseudotrapelus jensvindumi
Bufo arabicus – Duttaphrynus arabicus
Ptyodactylus hasselquistii – Ptyodactylus orlovi


Btw. Just 45 Days!
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Kristian Bell » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:40 pm

Many thanks for the comments Michael, Peter, Andre, Frederic and Jurgen.

Thanks also Jurgen for the updated name changes - I have never been able to keep up wih the latest systematics. And yes it is a shame about the hornless gasperetti, though horned individuals in this part of the UAE are apparently extremely rare.
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Kristian Munkholm » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:59 pm

Never got around to commenting on fhf.

Wonderful pics, great animals, thanks for sharing :)
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Laura Bok » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:04 pm

Wow! Thanks for sharing your great finds. Your photos of cityscapes, mammals and herps are incredibly beautiful. I am deeply impressed!
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Guillaume Gomard » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:20 pm

I will add some more compliments: I think I saw your pics some time ago on facebook and I still find the V.griseus really amazing, one of the best fieldherp' pics seen so far. Big congrats for your work, even artificial landscapes look nice! ;)
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Re: UAE - a week of herping, a week of sightseeing

Postby Rémon ter Harmsel » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:18 pm

absolutely stunning photography! I usually avoid any kind of big city, but your photographs are amazing, big fan of the pillars. :D
As said above, the griseus is brilliant, my favorite as well! I have to ask, what kind of material are you using?
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