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Thread: A few photos of Desert Night Lizards

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    A few photos of Desert Night Lizards

    Earlier this week I had the opportunity to assist a biologist in his study involving a disjunct relict population of Desert Night Lizards (Xantusia vigilis) here in Northern California. The normal range of the species is the Southern California deserts east into Nevada and Arizona; there are just a few populations in the inner Coast Ranges in Northern California, all found in small, isolated groves of Yucca whipplei.

    What we were doing out there is collecting the tail tips from these lizards for DNA analysis, because many of the animals found in these tiny patches of desert are genetically distinct from their counterparts in the Mojave and might be new taxa. The lizards are abundant in these areas, but finding them involves searching through dead yuccas, a very painful process since yucca leaves can slice as well as stab.

    I managed to get a few photos while I was out there, but photographing these guys is not easy. Not because they won't sit still for the camera (they are actually pretty sluggish compared to other lizards), but because they are tiny (2-3" with tail), brown, and don't really have any interesting patterns or colors. Therefore, getting a shot of them that looks interesting takes a bit of work! Anyway, here are the shots, feel free to comment/critique.






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    Aristoloingulamata Dexenthes's Avatar
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    Very neat! That sounds like an amazing opportunity you had. I wish I could be involved in a project like that.

    Thank you for sharing
    LOOKING FOR: N. (argentii x bicalcarata) x {[(lingulata x edwardsiana) x (naga x hamata)] x [(klossii x undulatifolia) x (aristolochioides x rajah)]} Growlist: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124586

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    So cool! And awesome photos!

    Do you have any pointers you could share as per wild reptile photography?
    <Av8tor1> as big as peat is, the bear runs not him

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    Amazing photos! Those and handsome lizards. :P

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    What Devon said!

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    Great pics - thanks for sharing! Very cool, interesting compositions (especially the 1st two!).

    Also - thanks for sharing the very-interesting backstory - it really adds a lot.

    All the best,
    Ron
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    Sarracenia freak Brie's Avatar
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    AH man, I miss those days! I got to go help out with a study on Gilas in AZ, many years ago. Fun times! You got some great pics of those Night Lizards, I know how tiny they are.. Good stuff!

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    Natalie's Avatar
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    Thanks all!

    Peatmoss - Reptiles (and amphibians) are pretty easy to photograph compared to most other kinds of wildlife, since you can catch and pose them the way you want. There are countless different techniques to use depending on what type of animal you're dealing with and what type of shot you're trying to get. One easy tip to get snakes to sit still on the ground is to put a hat down on the ground and put the snake near it so it will go underneath and coil up. Then after a minute or two, lift the hat up, and voila! Posed snake ready to photograph. Lizards are a bit harder to deal with because they are more skittish and faster when they do take off.

    Brie - Nice! What was the study about?

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