Travels in New Mexico - Part 1

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
mothman
Posts: 62
Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Location: Huntington, West Virginia

Travels in New Mexico - Part 1

Post by mothman » February 21st, 2017, 7:18 am

As I sit idly by waiting for spring and more herping adventures I thought I would reflect back on our herping trip to New Mexico during monsoon season. My wife and I circumnavigated the state in a counterclockwise direction starting from southwestern New Mexico. We encountered a variety of habitats such as the Chihuahuan desert shown here.
Image


It was monsoon season (August) so isolated thunderstorms were frequent. Grant County, NM
Image


We knew we were in great lizard territory when the local folks have a whiptail lizard prominently portrayed in a mural.
Image


Juvenile Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosomta cornutum), Grant County, NM.
Image


We also came across a juvenile Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), Grant County, NM.
Image


Lesser Earless Lizard (Holbrookia maculata), Grant County, NM.
Image


Image


In the juvenile age group we also encountered a New Mexico Crevice Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus poinsetti poinsetti), Grant County, NM.
Image


Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii) was found basking in the early morning sun, Grant County, NM.
Image


Night cruising resulted in a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), Grant County, NM.
Image


This Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) was out in the late afternoon prior to dusk, Grant County, NM.
Image


Middle Fork of Gila River, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Image


New Mexico Crevice Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus poinsetti poinsetti), Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Image


New Mexico Crevice Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus poinsetti poinsetti) missing distal part of tail.
Image


Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii), Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Image


Juvenile Sonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis), Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Image


Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus), Gila National Forest.
Image


My spouse is wonderful in allowing me to spend our trip looking for herps. However, there were other sights to see such as the cliff dwellings in the national monument.
Image

Image


Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus), male at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Image


Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufous), male at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.Image


Then it was off to the North to El Malpais National Monument. Sandstone cliffs border the black rock lava fields.
Image

Image


Gnarled trunk of Juniper Tree on sandstone cliffs.
Image


Plateau Striped Whiptail Lizard (Aspidoscelis velox), El Malpais National Monument.
Image


This is either a Plateau Fence Lizard (Sceloporus tristichus) or a Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi). These fence lizards look nearly identical and their ranges overlap at this site so positive identification was not possible.
Image


Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), female.
Image

Image

Image


Continuing our trek north we went to Bandelier National Monument in Sandoval County, NM.


Rocky Mountain Woodhouse Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii)Image


Greater Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi
) Image

ImageGreater


Plateau Whiptail (Aspidoscelis velox)
Image


Plateau Fence Lizard (Sceloporus tristichus) or a Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi). The copper coloration in the tail was striking.
Image

Image


Next on the itinerary was a visit to Kasha-Katuwe National Tent Rocks National Monument. The rock formations are incredible.
Image


Image

Checkered Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tesselata) not particularly bothered by my presence.
Image


Checkered Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tesselata) digging for breakfast.
Image


Image

Image

Image


Chihuahua Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis exsanguis)
Image


Plateau Fence Lizard (Sceloporus tristichus) or Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi).Image


Invertebrates did not escape from my camera:

This caterpillar looks like a wire-brush that belongs in a chemistry lab, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
Image


Pleasing Fungus Beetle at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Image


Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) at City of Rocks State Park, NM.
Image


Aquatic segmented worm with "vibrissae" at oral end in City of Rocks State Park. The caudal end was attached to the bottom of the pool. When I dislodged a worm from its attachment it would reattach to the bottom and place its vibrissae into the surface tension of the pool. Where these worms breathing the air and possibly using the vibrissae as a food filter? There were about twenty of these worms in this pool. Does anyone have a clue as to its identity?
Image


Furry ant??? Not really. This is a female solitary wasp (Dasymutilla sp.), which lays its eggs in bumble bee nests. The larva of the wasp hatch and eat the bee larva. A similar looking species is the Eastern Velvet Ant. City of Rocks State Park.
Image


Darkling Beetle, El Malpais National Monument.
Image


Grasshopper at City of Rocks State Park. Species??
Image


Three-banded Grasshopper at City of Rocks State Park.
Image


Grasshopper at City of Rocks State Park. Species?
Image


Moth at Rockhound State Park. Species?
Image


Moth at Rockhound State Park. Species?
Image


Moth at Rockhound State Park. Species?
Image

The New Mexico trip will be continued in part 2.

User avatar
Rags
Posts: 384
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:30 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Travels in New Mexico - Part 1

Post by Rags » February 21st, 2017, 10:50 am

Some great photos and variety there. Thanks for posting.

craigb
Posts: 625
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Location: Southern Cal.

Re: Travels in New Mexico - Part 1

Post by craigb » February 21st, 2017, 1:46 pm

Man ... I want to get back to New Mexico. I was there a few years ago for two weeks near Artesia.
Your pictures take my breath away.

Thanks for posting...

User avatar
pete
Posts: 745
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 pm
Location: cape cod ma.

Re: Travels in New Mexico - Part 1

Post by pete » March 1st, 2017, 5:03 pm

Both of your posts are amazing! You really captured some wonderful images! The past two times in New Mexico my timing has been poor. It is a fantastic state, I can't wait till May to go back!

Post Reply