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

part 7 - in and around the sand dunes (Merzouga and adjected areas)

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
This day we went out into the dunes.
But, beside some Acanthodactylus sp. we found nothing during this morning. It gots very hot soon. So we went back to our auberge.
We had collected one Acanthodactylus far outside in the high dunes, and one on their edge near our hotel. They looked completely different, but first we found no useable key to differentiate these two, if these are just different morphs or two species.
As I know from todays results, these have been two diff. species, Acanthodactylus longipes from the high dunes and Acanthodactylus dumerili from the edge of the dunes.
The idendification keys by SCHLEICH and SALVADOR are both of little value, only that by CROCHET was more useable.

Acanthodactylus dumerili

Acanthodactylus dumerili

Acanthodactylus longipes

Acanthodactylus longipes, Portrait

name giving detail: Fringe-toed lizard
In the afternoon we staid in our hotel and waited for the evening, when temperatures should cool down a bit.

very recommanded: Auberge Sahara near Merzouga: double bed room 240 Dirham and very nice hosts

to hot for everything
Short after sunset, about one dozen of Green toads, Bufo boulengeri have been running in the hotels garden. Yes they have been running like Bufo calamita and not jumping, like the Green toads should do.
After dark we went out to the dunes again. We found two Stenodactylus petrii and Richard Kopeczky one of the most wanted, an adult female of the Avicennaviper Cerastes vipera .

running Bufo boulengeri (Bufo viridis)

Stenodactylus petrii

Stenodactylus petrii, eye

Cerastes vipera, Portrait

Cerastes vipera; starting digging herself into the sand

15 seconds later

again 30 seconds later

gone - after less than 1 minute
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Again, out into the dunes.
Just 5 or 6 meters away from my last night track I found the tracks of a colubride snake between and around some small bushes, probably those of Lytorhynchus diadema, nearly the only Colubrid, living in dunes on loose sand.
Franz could get a Trapelus mutabilis at the edge of the dunes.
In early afternoon we drove a bit north to some small sand dunes, separated from the Erg Chebbi by the road Rissani - Merzouga and a bit of black Reg desert. Here again we found Acanthodactylus dumerili. More north in the dry Oued Ziz also only some Fringe-toed lizards.
While Werner and I (yes, I know, Im a bit lazy) went to Merzouga to have some beers at night, the others drove to the Oued Ziz again for a night exkursion. The result has been one Tarentola desertii, one male of the Avicenna viper and again, two Stenodactylus petrii.
Around midnight some of us walked a few hundred meters into the Palmerie to a crested water channel. Richard Gemel has observed the night before hundreds of toads, coming from the Palmerie and the dunes to the channel to get the essential humidity. And this happened also this night. Only on a few hundred meters in the channel, dozens of Bufo mauritanicus and Green toads Bufo viridis (boulengeri) have been sitting in the shallow water.

Trapelus mutabilis

Acanthodactylus tracks

Acanthodactylus longipes: fast running

Acanthodactylus longipes; walking

Tarentola desertii

Tarentola desertii, Portrait

Cerastes vipera, male

Palmerie: waterchannel with Bufo mauritanicus and B. boulengeri
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
While Richard G., Richard K., Thomas, Franz, Christoph and Hannes had to leave to go back to Casablanca for their plane back to Europe, Werner and I staid one more day at Merzouga.
We went again to the Oued Ziz to have a special look to the Acanthodactylus there. But all we found, have been Acanthodactylus dumerili, although they looked quite different.

Oued Ziz Wadi

Oued Ziz Wadi

Acanthodactylus dumerili

Acanthodactylus dumerili, Portrait

  part 1 - Introduction: Topography, climate, zoogeography
part 2 - from Ceuta to Beni Mellal
  part 3 - from Beni Mellal to Marrakech
  part 4 - to Oukaimeden and from Marrakech to Ouarzazate
  part 5 - around Ouarzazate
  part 6 - from the Hammada(Ouarzazate) through the Reg(Tineghir) to the Erg(Merzouga)
You are here:
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