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

part 8 - From Merzouga to Taroudant in the Souss valley

From Merzouga passing Timerzif, Alnif and Tazenakht to Taroudant
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
In the morning we had a short stop at the Oued Ziz again, to search for more Acanthodactylus lizards. Again, only A. dumerili.
So we went on the road south of the Anti-Atlas (Rissani - Timerzif - Alnif). But me missed the road crossing there, and, instead to drive on to Agdz in the Draa valley, we came to Tineghir, north of the Anti-Atlas on the complete new asphalt road Alnif - Tineghir.
Around Mecissi we searched on another known place for Acanthodactylus dumerili and A. longipes, but only found A. boskianus. The landscape and the flora along the road looked quite different to others we have seen in Morocco before. Hundreds of Acacia trees (Acacia tortilis) (lets say it looked like a forest) at both sides of the street.
So we have taken the wrong road (Tineghir - Boumalne - Ouarzazate), we drove straight on the Tazenakht, SW of Ouarzazate. There we stayed for the night in the cheapest hotel on the whole trip. Room including breakfast, dinner and drinking for all two of us: 300 Dirhams, approx. 27 Euros.

landscape along the road Rissani - Mecissi

habitat of Acanthodactylus boskianus near Mecissi

Acanthodactylus boskianus, male

Acanthodactylus boskianus, female

Acacia trees along the road
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
We reached the Souss valley at Aoulouz, and we saw the first Argania trees (Argania spinosa). This is an endemic tree species in the Souss valley and the adjected slopes of the High- and Anti-Atlas.
And typical for that area. Goats are climbing into these trees to feed on the Argania leafes. What else they should feed on? There is nothing growing on the ground, the country side is completely overgrazed.
We checked some good looking areas with some rocks between the trees. First encounter was an Eumeces algeriensis, but instead of hiding under or between the rocks, he climed up an Argania tree with full speed!
Just beside some trees, the also endemic succulent plant Apteranthes burchardii maura was growing.
A high gravid female of the Atlas Agamid was basking on a rock pile.

Argania spinosa and goats

habitat of Eumeces algeriensis and Agama bibronii

Apteranthes burchadii maura

Eumeces algeriensis on Argania tree

high gravid female of Agama bibronii
Next aim have been the southern slopes of the High Atlas along the road to the Tizi-n-Test bent.
I have to apologize at Werner: I told him, the place to go, would be less than up the half altitude to the bent - but it was nearly on top of the Tizi-n-Test.
But it was worth going there: Teira perspicillata in the pellegrini morph and the second Atlas day Gecko species is living there: Quedenfeldtia moerens - and we found both.
On the way on to Taroudant we stopped again in the valley plain. But only a small Testudo graeca soussensis was the result.

road to the Tizi-n-Test bent: view down to the Souss valley

rocks near the Tizi-n-Test

Teira perspicillata, pellegrini morph

Quedenfeldtia moerens, male

Quedenfeldtia moerens, female

mountain villages along the road to the Tizi-n-Test

habitat of Testudo graeca soussensis, east of Taroudant

juvenile Testudo graeca soussensis

  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)
  part 7 - in and around the sand dunes (Merzouga and adjected areas)
You are here:
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