Tagged: lizard

Completely Adorable Invasive Species

One of the things that I am going to miss the most about living in Texas is the ubiquitous Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus). Members of the genus can be recognized by the shape of their toes, which have toe pads that don’t go all the way to the end of the foot (Hemidactylus means half-finger, presumably because only half of their finger is toe-pad, and the other half is not). While there are technically three species of Hemidactylus that have been introduced to this state, turcicus is the most common. You can recognize¬†turcicus by the bumpy appearance of their skin — the other two species in Texas either have completely smooth skin (H. garnotii) or just a few bumps near their back legs and tail (H. frenatus). If you’re ever in Texas (or anywhere in the southern United States) these are pretty easy to find during the summer months. They especially like to hang out at night near artificial lights in moderately humid weather, waiting for insects, but I have found them in all kinds of places … including inside one of my classrooms.

Mediterranean House Gecko
Mediterranean House Gecko

They are, unfortunately, not native to Texas, but they are really charming animals. I have yet to see one of our native banded geckos (Coleonyx spp.), but I live in hope.

Photo Details
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Lens on a Canon T1i Rebel
ISO 100 at f/18, 1/100 sec
Diffuse flash in whitebox
Image editing in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Anole Mood Ring

So, people often accuse reptiles of being unexpressive, emotionless animals, but I think that’s pretty unfair. For example, I found a beautiful, adult male green anole basking outside my apartment, and being a terrible, cruel person, decided to capture him and bring him indoors for a photoshoot. He was not happy.

Anole: Stressed
Anole: Stressed

I felt pretty bad, so I gave him a nice perch, put a heat lamp next to the white box, and left him alone for about fifteen minutes until he could calm down.

Anole: Calm
Anole: Calm

Then the cat walked by.

Anole: Threat Display
Anole: Threat Display

Call me crazy, but I don’t think that he has any trouble expressing his emotions.


Photo Details

Stressed
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens on a Canon T1i Rebel
ISO 100 at f/18, 1/125 sec
Diffuse flash in whitebox
Image editing in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Calm
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Lens on a Canon T1i Rebel
ISO 100 at f/16, 1/160 sec
Diffuse flash in whitebox
Image editing in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Threat Display
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Lens on a Canon T1i Rebel
ISO 100 at f/18, 1/160 sec
Diffuse flash in whitebox
Image editing in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Fort Worth Botanic Garden: Fauna

Today, I went to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. If you are ever in or around Fort Worth, this is a place you should go. It is full of plants, and almost all of the gardens there are free (except for the Japanese Garden, where you have to pay $4.50 to get in, and the amazing indoor conservatory, which will cost you a dollar, and is totally worth it). It’s also a great place for bug watching, since the flowers draw a lot of interesting pollinators, and they have a lot of diverse, arthropod friendly habitat. It’s also apparently not a bad place for city herping, since I heard some calling cricket frogs and spotted two green anoles and a blotched water snake while wandering through the gardens. (They’ve also got red-eared sliders everywhere, but turtles are not exciting herpetofauna, so I wasn’t that excited to see them.)

All in all, it was a pretty great day.

Bridge in the Japanese Garden
Bridge in the Japanese Garden

I could not take a landscape photo to save my life. Fortunately for all of us, that’s not why you’re here. (I hope.)

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