Sunday, September 23, 2018

Snorkeling in Croatia

It is not possible to spend a holiday with your girlfriend in Dalmatia without going to the sea. So we stayed in a pretty village called Kravica, very close to Makarska. Passing the harbor, a stony path leads along the sea. We looked for a nice spot and cooled off in the water. Armed with goggles and a GoPro, I tried my luck at snorkeling. Scroll down past the pictures and check the result.

Harbor of Kravica
The stony path to...
...this beautiful beach
Happy couple :-)
Not very colorful, still fun to watch: Chelon labrosus - Thicklip Grey Mullet
Watch your step: Arbacia lixula -  Black Sea Urchin

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Praying for Reptiles (Vipers)

Actually the main goal of this trip was to observe vipers... unfortunately that did not work.
Anyway it was nice to find some Reptiles and a lot of Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa).


European mantis - Mantis religiosa

Habitat - Stone Wall

This Stone Wall is the perfect habitat for reptiles, especially for the Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis brongniardii). These lizards can be very curious, so with a little patience portraits like this are possible. 

Common Wall Lizard - Podarcis muralis brongniardii

European mantis (mating) - Mantis religiosa

It was the first time I saw mating European mantis. I don't know if the male Mantis survived this...

Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)

The most beautiful observation of this trip was this little Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca). Not the viper I was hoping to find, but still an amazing snake!

Friday, June 1, 2018

King of the Everglades

Florida's most famous animal certainly is the Alligator. I think this magnificent reptile deserves its own post.

The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is endemic to the southeastern United States. It inhabits wetlands on the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida, and in the Northern Gulf of Mexico west to Texas (Scott 2004). Alligators mostly inhabit marshes and swamps, but can also be found in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Romalea microptera

The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera) is very common in the Everglades and in some places they are abundant. Some gardeners probably don't like them very much. As a nature photographer, I really enjoy those colorful insects.

These giants can reach 8 cm (3 in). They are slow moving creatures, unable to fly... so good chances for nice macro shots!  How does a big, slow and not camouflaged cricket survive with tons of predators around? They can emit a foul-smelling and foul-tasting foamy secretion from the thorax when they feel threatened. So the red and yellow is used as a warning coloring (aposematism).

Also very interesting is the different appearence of the young (nymph) and the adult specimen.

Romalea microptera (adult)
Romalea microptera (adult)

Romalea microptera (nymph)
Romalea microptera (nymph)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wild Florida - Video

After I spent alomst half a year in Costa Rica, we decided to celebrate the family reunion with a nice vacation.
The perfect destination for a mix of the regular holiday stuff and my passion (nature photography / herping) was not hard to find: Florida, USA.

So my parents, my sister and her boyfriend joined me on the trip to the Sunshine State. It rained a lot... not common during this time of the year and not the best weather for our plans. Still, we had a very nice time! At the beach, at the pool, in shopping malls (not that nice for me #yawn) and especially in the nature. 

Please check this video showing some of the wildlife we encountered:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Postcard for the Yellow-bellied Toad

The district of Darmstadt-Dieburg has used one of my photos for a postcard.

The postcard was used to promote an event for the creation of ponds as a habitat for various animals, especially Yellow-bellied Toads (Bombina variegata). The nature conservation group NABU also informed the participants about the threatened species.

I am glad that I was able to contribute to this important and nice request.

Postcard - Yellow-bellied Toad

Monday, March 26, 2018

Enuliophis sclateri

Colombian Longtail Snake, White-headed Snake or Panda Bear Snake are common names for Enuliophis sclateri.
This species occurs from eastern Honduras to central Colombia on the Atlantic versant, and from the central Pacific versant of Costa Rica to eastern Panama (Savage 2002, McCranie 2004).
It is a mainly nocturnal and terrestrial species that feeds on small reptile eggs. Enulius sclateri is a small and slender snake, reaching 55 cm in total length. This species is harmless to humans.

It was my first sighting of this relatively rare snake.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A little dinosaur: Green Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) male, Cahuita National Park.

The mesmeric eyes of the Ghost Glass Frog (Sachatamia ilex) are amazing. 

Leaf Katydid (Orophus conspersus), a master of camouflage! 

The Parrot Snake (Leptophis ahaetulla) in it's habitat. These beautiful snakes can reach a maximum length of 172 cm (68 in).

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tamandua mexicana

I saw this Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) during a night hike at Arenal Oasis. It is a mainly nocturnal, medium-sized anteater with a prehensile tail. It was the first time for me to observe this animal in the wild.

Friday, February 16, 2018

New nocturnal neighbors

Since January I am working (volunteering) for Callidryas Tours and Arenal Oasis as a tour guide. At the Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge I saw numerous animals, especially during the night hikes. Here I want to share some of those with you.

Powdered Glass Frog - Teratohyla pulverata

This cute Powdered Glass Frog (Teratohyla pulverata) messures barely a length of 3 cm (1.2 in) max. Due to their small size and good camouflage, they are hard to find.

Blunthead Tree Snake - Imantodes cenchoa

I found this juvenile Blunthead Tree Snake (Imantodes cenchoa) coiled up on the leaf of a bromelia. These snakes feed mainly on frogs and lizards.


Shiny green Rhinoceros Katydid (Copiphora cultricornis) nymph.

Pygmy Rain Frog - Pristimantis ridens

The Pygmy Rain Frog (Pristimantis ridens) is very common in this area. Growing to 2.5 cm (0.98 in), this is another very small species.

Striated Webfoot Salamander - Bolitoglossa striatula

Quite rare to see: Striated Webfoot Salamander (Bolitoglossa striatula). This species occurs in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. 

Bullet Ant - Paraponera clavata

This big ant is 3 cm (1.2 in) long and feared by man. The sting of this species is considered to be the most painful sting of the entire insect kingdom. It's described to be as painful as a gunshot. That's why this ant is called Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata).

Red-eyed Treefrog - Agalychnis callidryas

The Red-eyed Treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas) should be part of every night hike in Costa Rica...

Eyelash Viper - Bothriechis schlegelii

Beautiful coloration on this juvenile Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii). They are ambush predators, so they can remain motionless for hours.

Emerald Glass Frog - Espadarana prosoblepon

And thus the circle closes, I finish this report as I started it: with a member of the amphibian family called Centrolenidae. This one is an Emerald Glass Frog (Espadarana prosoblepon).

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Costa Rica - Birds

I've been in Costa Rica since November 13th and have not shown a single picture of a bird yet. That is no longer acceptable... so I want to catch up here.   In this post I show some of the birds that I could photograph so far. Including migratory birds there are more than 900 species in Costa Rica... it's every birder's paradise!

Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra

The Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) is one of those migratory birds. Living most of the year in the southern part of the USA, coming to visit Central America during the winter. This is a beautiful male. The females are less colorful, more brownish.

Blue-gray Tanager - Thraupis episcopus

The Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) doesn't show a significant gender dimorphism.        

Golden-hooded Tanager - Tangara larvata

Definitely one of my favorite birds I've seen so far: Golden-hooded Tanager (Tangara larvata)

Rufous Motmot - Baryphthengus martii

The Rufous Motmot (Baryphthengus martii) is 46 cm (18 in) long and weighs 195 g (6.9 oz). This bird feeds on insects, lizards, frogs, fish, crabs, and many fruits.

Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus ♀

With approximately 12.2 cm (4.8 in) length, the Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) is a quite small bird. The green females are very pretty birds...

Red-legged Honeycreeper - Cyanerpes cyaneus ♂

...but the shiny blue males are even prettier. These birds look like flying gems!

Yellow-throated Toucan - Ramphastos ambiguus

And finally the famous one! This is the largest species of toucan, living in Costa Rica: the Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus). It reaches a total length of 47–61 cm (19–24 in). It feeds mainly on fruits, but also on lizards, snakes, rodents, smaller birds and insects.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Oxyrhopus petolarius

I found this beautiful False Coral Snake or Calico Snake (Oxyrhopus petolarius) at Arenal Oasis Eco Lodge, La Fortuna.

This snake is a mimic of the Many-banded Coralsnake (Micrurus mipartitus). It is rear-fanged and eats mainly lizards and other snakes. Females are larger than males and can reach a length of 1 m. This species is active day and night.

Oxyrhopus petolarius - False Coral Snake

Oxyrhopus petolarius - False Coral Snake