27 June 2012 1 of 5


LIAMIDA, VIQUEQUE DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE VII: MT MUNDO PERDIDO

We did not make an early start after the long hours of driving on the previous day. There was no need, as we planned to be out until well after darkness today. On the drive to Ossu we had spied some cliffs we thought might be home to a population of Bent-toed geckos (Cyrtodactylus sp.) which would be active after dark.

Not far south of Baucau we encountered a road-killed snake, a juvenile Lesser Sunda racer (Coelognathus subradiatus), which we collected to either make it a voucher specimen or taking DNA samples. In the end it was considered too decomposed to be of any use, so we only took measurements. A short while later Hinrich braked and I bailed to capure a huge scolopendrid centipede which was running across the road; so pleased I had a pair of curved forceps handy, these things bite!

Road-killed Lesser Sunda racer
Coelognathus subradiatus
Giant scolopendrid centipede
Scolopendra
sp.

North of Venilale we came to the Venilale Caves, a series of tunnels Timorese prisoners were forced to dig by the Japanese during World War II, for purposes unknown. The network is of a simple design, a series of tunnels just over head-height, and about twice as wide, that go straight into the soft limestone and end abruptly in a concavity, as if work halted suddenly. The 6-8 tunnels are the same design and seem to go to the same depth. Linking these tunnels was a long tunnel that runs from one to the other in an almost straight line before exiting at the end of the cliff-face.

Venilale Caves