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Morocco, spring 2010 (April 19th to May, 11th)"

part 5 - around Ouarzazate

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Finally the weather gots better.
We drove only a few kilometers SW of Ouarzazate to a small oasis with a dam. This oasis is very well known to me since many, many years and I have observed a lot of amphibian and reptile species there in former times. So we have been hoping for good success.

Mario´s private oasis

Acanthodactylus boskianus male

Acanthodactylus boskianus male
Short after leaving the car, the first Bufo mauritanicus were sitting in shallow water and a few Acanthodactylus boskianus have been running around. In deeper parts of the creek Mauremys leprosa saharica were swimming.
Franz got a nice coloured, full grown female of Natrix maura, the others found Uromastyx acanthinura, Mesalina guttulata and Hyla meridionalis. I spotted some Ptyodactylus oudrii and one Chalcides ocellatus during stone flipping.
At noon it gots very warm - better hot - and we decided to spent the afternoon at the hotels pool. Some went to the Medina (old center of town) of Ouarzazate, or spent the afternoon at the hotels bar with some beers (Werner and I).
And what none of us expected: There was a short rain shower in late afternoon.
After dark we went back to the oasis for a night excursion. Again we observed Mauremys leprosa, now in much higher numbers than during the day, a few geckos and Mauritanian toads. Unfortunately no Cerastes cerastes, even no tracks of this sidewinder.

Ptyodactylus oudrii

Pelophylax saharicus

Natrix maura female

Uromastyx acanthinura

Mesalina guttulata

Chalcides ocellatus

Chalcides ocellatus, portrait
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
This morning we went north, about 15 kilometers to the Tiffoultoute river. At the edge of the river valley there is a small dam. in the lake we found many Mauremys leprosa saharica, but couldnīt catch one. This subspecies was also described by SCHLEICH and confirmed by FRITZ et al.. The ssp. vanmeerhaeghei, described by BOUR & MARAN, 1999 is now a synonym of saharica. BOUR & MARAN described their subspecies mostly on their bright blue eyes, a character found in most of the saharica individuals too, even in many terrapins of the ssp. zizi SCHLEICH, also a valid subspecies from the Ziz river system.
Richard Gemel was able to collect some in small ponds beside the lake. Again we made pictures of Carapax, Plastron and from the front side.
After we walked down to a side creek of the Tiffoultoute river. On our way we saw Uromastix acanthinura in yellow and red colors, also some basking Agama bibronii males. On the innerside of a dried out concreted water bassin, more than one dozen of Ptyodactylus oudrii were basking. Like on the day before, these geckos seemed to be not strictly noctural, as written in publications.

Hamada: Rock desert near Tiffoultoute river

Mauremys leprosa photosession: Franz Rathbauer, Mario Schweiger, Richard Kopeczky (Foto: Hannes Hill)

Mauremys leprosa saharica

Mauremys leprosa saharica
watch bright blue eyes

down to the Tiffoultoute river

side creek of Tiffoultoute river

Uromastyx acanthinura

Agama bibronii male

Uromastyx acanthinura, in situ

Uromastyx acanthinura, in situ
In the late afternoon we drove south of Ouarzazate to the Fint river. Situated only some kilometers south of Ouarzazate and Taourirt respectively, the area is used for an illegal trash deposit.
Again we found Acanthodactylus boskianus, the most easy to determine member within the fringe-toed lizard by its dorsal scales increasing from the neck to the back. Also the keeles of the dorsal scales getting larger from the front to the back.

Fint river
(Photo: Christoph Riegler)

Acanthodactylus boskianus, male
On rocks Ptyodactylus oudrii and Tarentola boehmei were basking. During the night hours we did a night excursion again and drove to the Tiffoultoute river area, we visited this morning. In deeper ponds of the side creek now we could spot some Mauremys leprosa, which we didnīt see during the day hours.
Thomas was the lucky guy and found one adult female of the horned viper Cerastes cerastes. We baged it to make the pictures the next morning. After we released it at the collecting spot.

Ptyodactylus oudrii

Acanthodactylus boskianus, female

The Fint river some kilometers downstream: pure nature
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
We havnīt seen one life Chamaeleon since our arrival in Morocco. So I decided to go to a Wadi southwest of Amerzgane, a place I have seen Chamaeleons on each of my trips to Morocco before.
Hannes could spot the first within two minutes, while I havnīt left the car. In a timespan of about half an hour we could observe 10 or more individuals in the bushes. On the gravel/sand of the dry river bed, Acanthodactylus boskianus were running.
On the way back to Ouarzazate we stopped at a small, very nice looking creek. Young boys have been catching fishes by hand and brought us a baby Natrix maura and two Spanish terrapin babies.
So it was a nice day for all of us.

Wadi SW Amerzgane

Chamaeleo chamaeleon

small creek

Natrix maura, Baby

photo session: Christoph Riegler & Cerastes cerastes

Cerastes cerastes female

  part 1 - Introduction: Topography, climate, zoogeography
part 2 -from Ceuta to Beni Mellal
part 3 - from Beni to Marrakech
part 4 - to Oukaimeden and from Marrakech to Ouarzazate
You are here:
part 5 - around Ouarzazate
  part 6 - from the Hammada(Ouarzazate) through the Reg(Tineghir) to the Erg(Merzouga)
  part 7 - in and around the sand dunes (Merzouga and adjected areas)
  part 8 - From Merzouga to Taroudant in the Souss valley
  part 9 - western part of the Souss valley and south to the Tiznit area
  part 10 - home along the Atlantic coast, list of observed Amphibians, reptiles and birds