01 July 2012 1 of 2


BAGUIA, BAUCAU DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE VII: ON THE ROAD TO MT BINA

Today we set off to check out some mid-montane forest around 960 m on the slopes above the village of Waimata. The drive took us past the loop we had driven the day before and towards the interestingly named Mount Bina.

Mt Uatoruss (1254 m) on the left,
Mt Maouloibaha (1184 m) on the right,
Mt Bina (1240 m) in the middle
Parked in the village preparing for the short trek into the forest

We parked up in the village but once agin we found the area oddly devoid of reptiles or amphibians, in fact the locals told us there were no snakes in the area! We saw but failed to capture some Four-fingered skinks (Carlia sp.) which vanished into dead bamboo litter but we did find some interesting invertebrates: both species of scorpions we are familiar with, Liocheles sp. and Lychas mucronatus, two species of centipedes, the small brown species we had seen on Mt Mundo Perdido and the scutigerid centipede, but it was herps we were after.

Eventually we discovered a Striped treefrog (Polypedates cf. leucomystax) and several geckos hiding in the bamboo, wedged between the dead outer sheaths and the bamboo itself. These geckos turned out to be Dwarf tree geckos (Hemiphyllodactylus sp.) and may be a new species since they are montane and unlikely to be the perianthropic, sometimes parthenogenic colonising Hemiphyllodactylus typus. Searching these habitats made us jump a few times as they were also home to some very large Huntsmen spiders (Heteropoda sp.?) one of which leapt onto me when I disturbed it and disappeared only to reappear and jump off again some ten minutes later.

Andrew, Hinrich and Sven searching the bamboo
for geckos and avoid large spiders
Dwarf tree gecko
Hemiphyllodactylus sp.
Striped treefrog
Polypedates cf. leucomystax
Huntsman spider
Heteropoda sp.