Friday, November 23, 2012

Herps of the Tucker Valley Bioblitz

The first BioBlitz in Trinidad and Tobago was held in Tucker Valley in Chaguaramas on November 17 & 18. The idea behind a BioBlitz is to identify as many species as possible in a chosen area within 24 hours, provided science with some information and raise awareness of biodiversity within the general public. Tucker Valley includes a variety of forest types and has an adjacent marine environment that includes a coral reef and sea grass beds. Tucker Valley was chosen as the site for the country's first-ever BioBlitz because of its wide range of habitats, including four different types of forest, freshwater rivers and streams; seagrass beds at the southern end in Williams Bay; and coral reef at the northern end in Macqueripe Bay.
The event was well attended by the general public and media.
Mike Rutherford at work.
Probably the second most likely frog species to be found
 the tungara frog, Engystomops pustulosus.

The least likely snake to be found, Lachesis muta.
Forty-one species of herps (frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes) had been previously reported from the valley, so how many could be found in 24 hours? My unofficial count was 25 species  (10 frogs, 1 turtle, 1 crocodilian, 8 lizards, and 5 snakes) or about 61% of the known fauna. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a 2 meter bushmaster found DOR by the birding group. Lachesis muta had not been previously reported from the valley.

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