Central Province
Edevu, Brown River
(first week)

Owen, Ben and I then set off up stream for a two-hour trek. We missed two fast-moving Common treesnakes (Dendrelaphis punctulatus), then in a dry side creek-bed I found a large dead Blue-tailed monitor lizard (Varanus doreanus) with its head crushed and one foot chopped off. We continued on up stream, working slowly so as not to miss any snakes. We found a dead Common treesnake decomposing in the shallows and 2.0m away the sloughed skin of a Brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis), a nocturnal, big-eyed, mildly venomous species, unlike other treesnakes.

First dead Blue-tailed monitor lizard
Varanus doreanus

Owen caught a Barred keelback (Tropidonophis doriae), the same species as teh specimen near the vilalge but of an orange-grey banded phase. Then Owen and Ben heard a frog cry out and venturing on the bank they found another keelback, a unicolour Many-scaled keelback (Tropidonophis multiscutallatus) trying to devour a Wood frog (Hylarana sp.) larger than itself. Next was another Barred keelback, vivid orange in colour

Barred keelback (orange-grey phase)
Tropidonophis doriae
Long-tailed keelback
Tropidonophis multiscutellatus
Common wood frog
Hylarana daemaeli
Barred keelback (orange phase)
Tropidonophis doriae
Owen with a
Barred keelback, Tropidonophis doriae

Our next find was another dead Blue-tailed monitor lizard, this one without a head, lying in the shallows. But as I moved towards Owen he saw something else up on the bank which was even more exciting. From his description I believes it to have been a juvenile Salvador's monitor lizard (Varanus salvadorii).

Second dead Blue-tailed monitor lizard
Varanus doreanus
Horsehair worm
Chordodes sp.

I christened this bend in the river "Keelback Korner" and a little further on I found a Horsehair worm (Chordodes sp.) the curious free-living larval stage of a locust and grass-hopper parasite.

Further up stream and another orange-phase Barred keelback was captured.

Soon after this keelback was captured we reached a bend in the river where a dry creek exited the forest. On previous visits Owen had captured a New Guinea small-eyed snake (Micropechis ikaheka) and Smooth-scaled death adder (Acanthophis laevis) here. The creek was alive with annoyingly alive with harmless sweat bees and day-biting Aedes mosquitos. Despite applying Aerogard I think this is were I contracted the Dengue fever that would put me on my back twice over the next few months.

Dry creek habitat

The creek bed was alive with skinks, espeially Dusky skinks (Emoia obscura) and Black-cowled four-fingered skinks (Carlia luctuosa) and most of the species already recorded around camp. Two lizards were of more interest. In a tree Owen sighted a largish skink which was eating a large insect. He borrowed my camera to try and get a shot of it but even from his (he admits it) poor image, long head, brown dorsum, grass-green venter, long tail, I think I could identify a green-blooded skink, most likely the Yellow-footed green blooded skink (Prasinohaema flavipes), although again only tentatively. These arboreal lizards, with their prehensile tails and malaria-resistant blood, were to subject of one of the OBA films. The other skink we got was a tiny Papuan forest litter skink (Carlia curta). I also found Gray's tailless whip scorpion (Charon grayi) under tree bark and Ben found a Giant centipede.

Basking male Black-cowled four-fingered skink
Carlia luctuosa
Papuan forest litter skink
Carlia curta
Owen's shot of what might be a
Yellow-footed green-blooded skink

Prasinohaema flavipes
Gray's tailless whip scorpion,
Charon grayi

After an hour or two in the creek we decided to head back down to the river and work our way back to camp. Just at the river's edge another Long-tailed keelback was captured and another Barred keelback was captured on the trek back to camp.

Mark in the dry forest creek


The open wooded habitat alongside the river



Mark with handfuls of Barred keelbacks
Tropidonophis doriae

On a second trip up the river we captured another Eastern common keelback (Tropidonophis mairii mairii) and the 2.0 m Amethystine python (Morelia amethistina) which was sleeping on a branch over the river.

Eastern common keelback
Tropidonophis mairii mairii
Amethystine python
Morelia amethistina