herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosiensis

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Markus Oulehla
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herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosiensis

Post by Markus Oulehla » November 26th, 2013, 2:08 pm

Hi,
as I see here is some interest in european vipers, so I want to show you one of the maybe rarest vipers, or at least one that's really hard to find^^

Last year we were invited to join some hungarian friends, who are working on meadow vipers, to search them in the Puszta, pannonian steppe.
So were lucky, as it's not easy to get the permission and you just don't know where to start searching for them...
Vast meadows, almost without any structure and lots of mice-/rat holes, so it's good to have some experienced people around you, and more eyes spot more herps of course.
So it was a great experience to be on the "hunt" with these guys, great people, as most herpers I've met from/in various countries.

We arrived in the middle of nowhere in a huge national park in central hungary.
A varied landscape, with many different habitats...
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Puszta von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

grasshoppers, crickets and lizards everywhere...
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european green lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr


some quite confident :D
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markusOulehla auf Flickr


Parts of the area had been destroyed by a fire a few months ago, but nature recovers...
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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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european green lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr

On the sandy hills we found Podarcis tauricus
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balkan wall lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr



also quite common in the sandy areas
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markusOulehla auf Flickr


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Myrmeleontidae von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr


Although it's a very dry area, we came along some tiny and one bigger pond...
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markusOulehla auf Flickr


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fire-bellied toad von markusOulehla auf Flickr


Back on the meadow...
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Puszta von markusOulehla auf Flickr

...lots of lizards again...
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european green lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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sand lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr

... and some cool arthropods :D
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Saga pedo von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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Cheiracanthium erraticum von markusOulehla auf Flickr



Suprisingly in the middle of the plains, european pond turtle quite far away from the ponds...
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markusOulehla auf Flickr

obviously she wanted to lay her eggs, so we moved on 8-)
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markusOulehla auf Flickr

After some hours of searching, we were rewarded with this little beauty :beer:
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hungarian meadow viper von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr

We also found grass snakes (Natrix natrix persa, I think?!) in the grassland...
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markusOulehla auf Flickr


After a rainy evening we saw some Pelobates fuscus
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common spadefoot von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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common spadefoot von markusOulehla auf Flickr


On our way back we stopped at another place, a little north to search for some arthropods...

jackpot!!! a spider-hole
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markusOulehla auf Flickr

and its owner
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Geolycosa vultuosa von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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Geolycosa vultuosa von markusOulehla auf Flickr

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markusOulehla auf Flickr


one of the nicest salticids in europe
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Philaeus chrysops von markusOulehla auf Flickr


Lucanus cervus
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stag beetle von markusOulehla auf Flickr

and some lizards (of course :lol: )
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european green lizard von markusOulehla auf Flickr

It was a wonderful weekend and I hope you enjoy the pictures ;)


regards
Markus

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chrish
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by chrish » November 26th, 2013, 3:54 pm

Very nice. Nice to see a new diversity of critters on here.

Those vipers look kind of "cute".

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cbernz
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by cbernz » November 26th, 2013, 4:29 pm

Cool vipers, but man! Those green lizards are awesome!!

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PrimitiveTim
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by PrimitiveTim » November 27th, 2013, 5:52 am

This brings me back to when I first started herping. I remember seeing plenty of natrix and a few L. trilineata and viridis. It always amazed me how much those grass snakes look like some of the garter snakes in the US. That viper is stunning! They have such a clean pattern. Thanks for sharing!

Terry Vandeventer
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by Terry Vandeventer » November 27th, 2013, 7:13 am

Forty years ago a friend in Europe sent me a pair of Danubian Meadow Vipers with the instructions to feed them "grass horses" and "mouse cubs." They thrived and ate almost anything offered, including raw meat. Great little snakes and now sadly, highly endangered.

Cheers,

TV

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Jon Wedow
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by Jon Wedow » November 27th, 2013, 1:02 pm

Great post! I would love to see any Vipera some day!

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dery
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by dery » November 28th, 2013, 5:42 am

I think the European pond gal laying her eggs looks like the one most fought over by the local men.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: herping for meadow vipers in hungary -V. ursinii rakosie

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » November 29th, 2013, 12:58 am

Nice! As rakosiensis is the only European viper subspecies I have yet to see, this obviously caught my attention.
Markus Oulehla wrote:Natrix natrix persa, I think?!
See the map in Kindler et al. (2013). Traditionally, the introgression zone of persa and natrix is considered to just touch the extreme southwest of the country. The traditional range of persa however hosts numerous mtDNA clades & what traditionally is considered persa is clearly a polyphyletic assemblage, thus complicating assessment of the usefulness/validity of the subspecies persa. Subspecies like schweizeri and gotlandica are questioned as well. For this snake, however, the best label would be Natrix natrix natrix.

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