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Amphibians and Reptiles Observed or Collected at the Gries Ranch, Val Verde County, Texas June 5 - 8, 2008

By

Gerald Keown


Herp Conservation Unlimited (H.C.U.) conducted its first annual field meet at the Gries Ranch in Val Verde County Texas June 5-8, 2008 with 23 people participating in the event.

The Gries Ranch is composed of approximately 17,000 acres (54 square miles) located in the northwestern portion of Val Verde County, Texas. The ranch entrance is 42.3 miles north of Comstock, Texas on FM 1024. The GPS coordinates for the ranch entrance are N30 12' 31.0" and W101 24' 46.4". The terrain of the ranch is a harsh and arid Chihuahuan Desert environment with many very rough and steep rocky canyons. During the time we were on the ranch the daytime temperatures reached in high 90s and nighttime temperatures remained into the mid to high 80s late into the nights. We experienced light showers during the early hours of each morning but even so the ranch was overall very hot and extremely dry during our stay.

Below is a listing that represents all species of amphibians and reptiles that were observed and/or collected on the Gries Ranch during our stay there.

AMPHIBIANS

Cliff Chirping Frog - Eleutherodactylus marnockii

REPTILES

Trans-Pecos Copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster

Trans-Pecos Ratsnakes - Bogertophis subocularis subocularis

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes - Crotalus atrox

Mottled Rock Rattlesnakes - Crotalus lepidus lepidus

Northern Black-tailed Rattlesnakes - Crotalus molossus molossus

Northern Rough Greensnake - Opheodrys aestivus aestivus

Bullsnake - Pituophis catenifer sayi *

Variable Groundsnake - Sonora semiannulata semiannulata

Texas Spotted Whiptail Lizards - Aspidoscelis gularis gularis

Texas Banded Geckos - Coleonyx brevis

Texas Greater Earless Lizard - Cophosaurus texanus texanus

Round-tailed Horned Lizards - Phrynosoma modestum

Texas Spiny Lizard - Sceloporus olivaceus

Texas Tree Lizard - Urosaurus ornatus ornatus

(*) This specimen was located outside of the boundaries of the ranch.

Overall, fifteen (15) different species were observed and collected during our stay at the Gries Ranch. While the numbers may not be especially astounding, it is the consensus of the participants that we have probably only scratched the surface of the herpetofauna found on the Gries Ranch and that additional field work on the ranch is in order, especially if it can be accomplished at a time when the area has had more moisture than was the case during our stay.

All taxonomic names in this report follow Brian I. Crother et al, Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and reptiles of North America North of Mexico With Comments Regarding Confidence In Our Understanding, 6th Edition, 2008.

The officers and HCU members participating in this field meet express our appreciation to George Gries for making the Gries Ranch available to us and for his hospitality during our stay there.



Date submitted 06/29/08






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