Chiapas, Oaxaca & Yucatán

From the 14th of July until the 11th of August 2019

After visiting Guatemala in 2016 with a winning team (click here for the report of that trip) there were a few main targets missing. We managed to observe over a 100 species in the wild including 16 salamander species but the most special salamander species eluded us. We told each other we would be back to give that species another try. Although the Guatemalan ones do seem the prettiest we decided to try our luck in Southern Mexico. This would also give us the chance to see some additional species alongside the species we missed in Guatemala. We focussed on the state of Chiapas and crossed the border with Oaxaca for a few days. Summer should be the peak of the rainy season so that coincided nicely with my summerholidays. Plans were formed and a route was set, Joachim joined for the first two weeks, Wouter for the first three weeks and Laura and I would spend an additional week on the Yucatán Peninsula. Sadly Manuel was unable to join us and was indeed sorely missed this trip.

Overview of prospected sites.
Overview of prospected sites.

All images © Laura & Bobby Bok (unless stated otherwise)

14th/15th of July 2019

Laura and I flew from Amsterdam to Mexico City and from there to Tuxtla Gutiérrez. On Mexico City we would meet with Joachim and fly together on the second flight, while Wouter would have a flight in the early morning. That didn't really go according to plan. Although we did see Joachim in the massive queue for the passport control in Mexico City, there were a few hundred people between us. Joachim made it to our flight, Laura and I were stuck for 2 hours in line and missed it. Luckily we were booked on the next one so we flew with Wouter to Tuxtla - who was very surprised to see us at the gate ;-) When we finally arrived we collected the rental vehicle and drove on to collect Joachim from the hotel.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas

15th of July 2019

Our first stop was a small stretch of cloud forest where we searched for some of our salamander targets. The forest seemed disturbed and there wasn't much to flip. I decided to scan the trees and within 5 minutes I spotted our first herp of the trip and probable the coolest first-herp-of-the-trip ever! A nicely coloured Red-lipped Arboreal Alligator Lizard (Abronia lythrochila) was sitting in the axle of a tree. These arboreal little dinosaurs are notoriously hard to spot and I was stoked to see this species in the wild.  After that we flipped our way up but only Laura found a single Hartweg's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa hartwegi), sadly not the much anticipated Bolitoglossa lincolni. In the evening we arrived in Comítan de Domínguez, found a hotel and a cheap meal and rescued a small Redback Coffee Snake (Ninia sebae) out of the claws of a kitten.

Sierra Tojolabal

16th of July 2019

This was a day we were all a bit nervous about. Not only would we attempt to find our main target for this trip, we would do so in a place many people had warned us about. We would venture deep into the heart of Zapatista country. The Zapatistas follow ideology based on anarchism, communism and Mayan tradition and are in general not so fond of outsiders. All we had was a coordinate of a cave and an inbox full of warnings but we decided to see for ourselves what the place looked like. Shortly after Comítan we left the safety of the tarmac and drove the bumpy roads into the mountains. The forest seemed to be pretty much intact in places although heavy logging was surely taking place with the sound of whirring chainsaws everywhere we went. Along the road we tried to find some caves for ourselves but either the holes required serious caving equipment or were to small for us to fit in. After passing the last village before the cave, a pick-up truck drove us of the road. Curious villagers stepped out to inquire what we were doing in their land. Thanks to Google Translate and the effect Wouter has on Mexicans, the situation was easily explained and we could continue our way. One local guy joined us out of pure interested, showing us the cave and where he has seen the salamanders before. So we finally made it there! A tiny opening between some big boulders, revealing a larger cavern below. All of us went in, scanning the walls and carefully checking every crack. Only to find not a single animal. Somehow disillusioned we were about to admit defeat when Laura suddenly was screaming out of exitement. A small Nimble Long-limbed Salamander (Nyctanolis pernix) was clinging to the walls! Somehow unreal to finally see the holy grail amongst neotropical plethodontids in the flesh and a true last-minute find! We didn't photograph for so long as these salamanders tend to be very sensitive so after a few pictures we left. Other species we observed were Sceloporus variabilis, Anolis anisolepis and Craugastor alfredi.


16th until the 18th of July 2019

After a long drive we arrived in the Montebello area, found a nice cabana with warm food and had a small search which yielded only Lithobates brownorum and Incilius valliceps. During our time here we actually had a lot of precipitation, the only place of the trip where it properly rained. Strangely we didn't find that much despite our efforts. During nightwalks we did discover an additional salamander to the list when Wouter found a Stuart's Salamander (Bolitoglossa stuarti), but otherwise our sightings were restricted to Craugastor alfredi, Smilisca baudinii and Anolis anisolepis. With such a meager list we didn't feel like paying the entrance fee for the National Park so on a daily basis we waved and smiled at the staff at the gate while we drove past.


18th until the 20th of July 2019

The drive further south was long and strenuous with topes (speedbumps) beyond count. In Motozintla itself we stocked up on cash and groceries at the Bodega Aurrera, and left this town (full of refugees from neighbouring countries) as soon as possible. Finally in the late afternoon we found ourselves in beautiful cloud forest in dense fog. Under the logs conditions looked great for salamanders but the only one we found was a massive Franklin's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa franklini) female I flipped. Other species we found included Incilius bocourti, Geophis rhodogaster and Tropidodipsas fischeri. With still some daylight left we drove to a nearby town, checked in in the only hotel and found some food in the only open restaurant. There we got tasty hamburgers and the full celebrity treatment, as the locals found it amazing these Europeans showed up in their restaurant. In the evening we returned to the cloud forest but again our high hopes were displaced. Despite the rather moist conditions only a single salamander showed up. Not too bad, as it was a beautiful male Bolitoglossa franklini this time, but still some proper rain would have been nice...

The next morning the sky was clear, and we finally had a clue in what kind of place we were. As we were above 3000m absl, this place gives amazing views on the surrounding mountains and cloud forest. We broke our backs and necks scanning the branches for arboreal lizards but luckily a local guy hinted us in the right direction. Without him we would have never seen Smith's Arboreal Alligator Lizard (Abronia smithi) and we were very grateful indeed. The colouration, scalation and funny spikes behind the ears, just about everything of this lizard is stunning! There were more pretty green lizards out and about and sunny patches along the path were full of Bocourt's Emerald Lizard (Sceloporus smaragdinus).

Finca Argovia

20th until the 23rd of July 2019

It did feel good to have a warm shower again! Finca Argovia was our home for the next three days and it was like an oasis. We had an entire bungalow all to ourselves, a restaurant with delicious food within walking distance and a whole array of interesting microhabitats just around the corner. Our main target at this place was Yellowbelly Mushroomtongue Salamander, a big and colourful species which we sadly didn't get to see. Southern Banana Salamanders (Bolitoglossa occidentalis) however were rather plentiful, and as soon as it got dark they were perched on big leaves, even in our garden. Knowing that we might find Smith's Tropical Night Lizard (Lepidophyma smithii) at this location as well, I kept an eye out for them during every nightwalk. Sadly to no avail. As it turns out, the house of the local caretaker was infested with them and the first we found was hiding behind the fridge! Pristine habitat = 0, messy kitchen = 1. I was surprised how big these guys get and what a powerful bite they have. Another noteable highlight was finding Tapalcua or Mexican Caecilians (Dermophis mexicanus). The staff hinted us in the direction of a huge pile of cow manure. After shoveling shit for quite some time we didn't exactly strike gold. We followed our own instincts and went to a nearby worm farm, where we found two individuals rather quickly. During our nightwalks in the forest we had a hard time finding frogs and snakes. Also here the rains didn't come and gave us a hard time. I found two Yellow-bellied Snakes (Coniophanes fissidens) and a Coffee Earth Snake (Geophis nasalis), Laura found a beautiful Cloudy Snail-eating Snake (Sibon nebulatus) and Wouter got a Schmidt's Mountain Brook Frog (Duellmanohyla schmidtorum), but we couldn't exactly call it a bonanza. Other species we saw here were Craugastor rupiniusCraugastor rhodopis, Agalychnis moreletii, Ptychohyla euthysanota, Scinax staufferiSmilisca baudinii, Lithobates maculatus, Incilius canaliferus, Rhinella horribilis, Scincella assatus, Hemidactylus frenatus, Anolis dollfusianus, Anolis petersii and Basiliscus vittatus


23rd until the 25th of July 2019, 1st of August 2019

Tonalá was a very nice surprise to us. Not only was this probably the coolest place for herping during our entire stay in Mexico, the town had all the comforts a traveling herper could wish for. A large mall with a supermarket, a Burger King and hotels with airconditioning and wifi. Sadly Joachim became really ill during this episode of the trip, so he didn't really leave the hotelroom, but could at least gain strengths with some comforts. The rest of us met up with local herpers Arturo and Alondra to chase a species we badly wanted to see here: the Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum). We started our search at an extensive site with ancient temples and pyramids situated on top of a hill. I absolutely loved this place with its pyramids in the forest, the views on the surrounding hills and wide variety in microhabitats. The moment we arrived we started seeing cool animals here, and every time we visited we found new species for the list. Two of the most conspicuous anurans here are Whistling Chirping Frogs (Eleutherodactylus pipilans), which were calling from the grass and the boulders, and giant Western Cane Toads (Rhinella horribilis) hopping over the meadows. In a small pond Arturo showed us a Two-spaded Narrow-mouthed Toad (Hypopachus ustus) and we found some other species such as Smilisca baudinii, Leptodactylus melanonotus and nice yellow Incilius canaliferus. Between the ruins we found a plethora of reptile species such as Yucatan Banded Geckos (Coleonyx elegans) hiding in the grass, and big Yellowbelly Leaf-toed Geckos (Phyllodactylus tuberculosus) clinging to the trees. Other lizards we saw were Lepidophyma smithii, Sceloporus siniferus, Sceloporus variabilis, Anolis serranoiAnolis unilobatus, Aspidoscelis deppii and Holcosus undulatus. Snakes were equally well represented with species such as Coniophanes piceivittis, Leptodeira polysticta, Tropidodipsas fasciata, Trimorphodon biscutatus and Enulius flavitorques.

On our second day we went deep into a valley outside Tonalá to another place Arturo and Alondra knew to be habitat for Beaded Lizards. After a 3 hour hike through the forest we arrived at our campsite of the night. A small house in the middle of the jungle. The climate was hard, hot and humid and drenched in our own sweat we arrived. We refreshed in a nearby stream, and in the late afternoon we hiked up to a steep slope above the treeline. Here we searched for Beaded Lizards until nightfall, but only found a single Mabuya (Marisora syntoma). We decided to not spend the night here. The habitat was extremely hard to search (thick vegetation on steep slopes) and the amount of mosquitos (known to carry Zika, Dengue and Chikunguya at this site) were just detrimental to our wellbeing. We hiked back with all our gear in the night to try our luck in the morning at the ancient ruins. We found some familiar species while hiking down, but new to the list was a big Southwestern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira maculata) I found on the trail.

Spending the morning at the ruins wasn't such a bad decision. Although we struck out on seeing Beaded Lizards again, I was lucky enough to observe Long-tailed Manakins (Chiroxiphia linearis) performing courtship dances in dense vegetation, while Wouter found a Central American Coral Snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus) crawling next to the path. Two very cool observations as well!

One week later on our final day in Chiapas we decided to come back to this area, as it was just too great and we still hadn't found a Beaded Lizard. Many of the species we found then were familiar, although we did find two novelties. I caught a massive Blacktail Cribo (Drymarchon melanurus) after which Arturo found a huge highlight in the shape of a Mexican Burrowing Python (Loxocemus bicolor). Two amazing finds to close our Chiapan adventure! Many, many thanks to new amigos Arturo and Alondra for showing us around at your local herping spots, we had an amazing time!

El Ocote

25th of July 2019

This wasn't exactly a highlight of our trip. While we arranged to stay a night at the Centro Turístico Gral. Lázaro Cardenas. While on the pictures it looked very nice and in close vicinity to some promising looking forest it was in the middle of wildly disturbed forest full of exotic species. While on paper everything was arranged for our stay, we stood for an hour in front of a closed gate, waiting for the villagers to find the key. The cabins didn't looked used for over a year and were full of insects in the beds. The restaurant where dinner and breakfast would be ready for us, was filthy and in the end we cleaned one pot to do some cooking ourselves. We were happy to leave again after one night to never come back...

Reserva Ecológica La Pera

26th until the 29th of July 2019

Located just outside Tuxtla Gutiérrez, this reserve offers a wide variety of habitats and an amazing list of species. Sadly we didn't get a single drop of rain again during our stay otherwise it would have been a whole different affair. That being said, with a lot of effort we did manage to find some animals... We stayed in the Trepatroncos Campamento and for the first night we met up with local herpers Berenice and Jeronimo. A massive highlight was visiting another cave for another species of cavedwelling salamander. With ropes we could descent into a narrow hole in the ground which gave access to a bigger cave system below. Wouter was the first to go in and almost immediately found a Black Jumping Salamander (Ixalotriton niger). Even better, he managed to catch it. No easy feat because as the vernacular name suggests, this is not your typical salamander and is fast indeed! We all searched the cave a bit more but sadly this was the only individual to be found. The forest was full of Southern Banana Salamanders (Bolitoglossa occidentalis) and finally after some time Laura was almost crying out of happiness as she found a big female Alberch's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa alberchi) perched nicely on a leaf. Later on Wouter also managed to find a male of this species. In an abandoned house we found a Yellow-spotted Night Lizard (Lepidophyma flavimaculatum) and even better, a unique species of cavedwelling anole, a Mexican Cave Anole (Anolis alvarezdeltoroi) clinging to the walls. Later on we would find a second one in an actual cave as well. Hanging in the trees I found a pretty Hernandez's Helmeted Basilisk (Corytophanes hernandesii) and Slender Snail Sucker (Sibon dimidiatus) while Wouter discovered a small Brown's Coral Snake (Micrurus browni) in the garden of our lodge. Other species we saw here were Agalychnis moreletii, Craugastor spec., Smilisca baudinii, Smilisca cyanosticta, Lithobates vaillanti, Incilius macrocristatus, Incilius valliceps, Rhinella horribilis, Aspidoscelis deppii and Holcosus undulatus. Many thanks to Berenice and Jeronimo for joining us and showing us the hotspots!

After two nights here it was time to say goodbye to Joachim while Wouter, Laura and I would stay one more night before we also would move on to a new location. After dropping Joachim off at the airport we went for a boatride through the Sumidero Canyon. A beautiful place but we had a too romantic picture in mind of this excursion. Cramped on a boat with 30 other tourists we raced through the canyon. While all the other people seemed perfectly content to take selfies, our mood quickly went sour as we passed one interesting animal after another. We saw a massive American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) but despite our efforts to have the captain stop the boat he just ignored us and went on with high speed. The same for every Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) or interesting bird we passed. My only crocodilian lifer this trip remains unphotographed. What a shit. When we got of the boat I managed to catch a Neotropical Whip Snake (Masticophis mentovarius) at the jetty, just in time before people were about to kill it. And just before we would start killing people.

Sierra Madre de Chiapas

29th until the 31st of July 2019

For this place we had two nights scheduled. One in a small cabin at the edge of the forest, another night in a tent on the other side of the mountain. When we wanted to head out after dinner I almost stepped on a massive Variable Coral Snake (Micrurus diastema) stretched out in front of our cabin. At the same moment our guide Mario brought in a Cloud Forest Parrot Snake (Leptophis modestus) which he caught just around the corner. A nice start of the evening hike! We checked out a nice small stream with several Matuda's Spikethumb Frogs (Plectrohyla matudai) calling and that was a good decision. The previous nights I had been looking for vipers with little success but now my headlight finally caught my number one target for this trip, a strikingly coloured Guatemalan Palm Pitviper (Bothriechis bicolor) hanging in the bushes! What a beautiful species and also such a nice individual! While we hiked down I found two more snakes, another Coniophanes fissidens and a small but pretty Ninia diademata. On our second day we hiked up the mountain to descend on the other side. It was steep and it was hot. But after a couple of hours hiking (sometimes rather sliding) down the mountain we made it to the camp. We refreshed in the stream, enjoyed a little lunch and explored the surrounings a bit. It turned out the stream we were at just reaches the surface a couple of meters before the camp and also quickly disappears again. It was only this small stretch that was interesting to herp at night. Frogwise there were several Lithobates vaillanti, Ptychohyla euthysanota and Plectrohyla matudai and only a single Pine Forest Stream Frog (Ptychohyla macrotympanum). Snakewise single individuals of Coniophanes fissidens and Leptodeira polysticta but an additonal 4 more Bothriechis bicolor who really seemed to be concentrated along this stream. Great to see some more of these beautiful vipers but we were hoping to see many more species in such pristine habitat. The next morning we climbed up the mountain and past Puma (Puma concolor) tracks we made it back to our car. 

La Venta

31st of July until the 2nd of August 2019

We only made a little incursion into Oaxaca with a single target species but it turned out to hold quite some nice surprises for us. While driving there I spotted a basking Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) next to a cattle pond. We stayed for two nights in the small town La Venta in a nice hotel with airco, warm water and wifi with a small supermarket and restaurant just across the street. From here we explored the surrounding hills which still hold some relatively intact dry thorny forests. While making our way through the hot, humid, thorny shrubs I stumbled upon something I didn't expect to see. There was a female Giant Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma asio) laying on her back right in front of me! While I first thought I just found a dead specimen of my main target, a nearby male made it clear what I was seeing. Females who have already mated show this behaviour to any horny (pun intended) males. What an amazing find! Of course we searched to see if we could find more of these amazing Moloch-like animals but we only found Blackbelly Racerunners (Aspidoscelis deppii). While walking back through the forest Wouter spotted a very cool iguana basking in the trees above us. Although we did realize this was something else, only later on we found out this is a critically endangered Oaxacan Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura oaxacana). Very cool to have seen this species as well! Nearby water canals were a lot of fun to drive past as they were full with Iguana iguana and Basiliscus vittatus, and we even spotted a Pacific Coast Parrot Snake (Leptophis diplotropis). Also plenty of birds were seen such as Egrets, White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), Pacific Parakeet (Psittacara strenuus), Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) and Lesser Roadrunners (Geococcyx velox). A nearby spring gave us a nice refreshing dip and a Tropical Tree Lizard (Urosaurus bicarinatus) as a new species for the list. In the evening we checked out some ponds we had marked and found several anurans such as Engystomops pustulosus, Leptodactylus melanonotus, Incilius valliceps, Rhinella horribilis and Lithobates forreri, sadly not the much desired Shovel-headed Treefrog (Diaglena spatulata) which should also occur here. The awesome habitat with the Horned Lizards was unreachable as all entrance roads were closed. So no chance to search for Beaded Lizards or Rattle Snakes sadly. 

After a good time in Oaxaca we had one night left which we spent in Tonalá (see above). Then it was also time to say goodbye to Wouter and to Chiapas. Laura and I would be one more week in Mexico and would fly to the Yucatán Peninsula where a whole new level of drought was awaiting us.


3rd/4th of August 2019

We arrived in Cancún in the afternoon where collecting the rental car took ages as well as finding the AirBnB. The next morning we were up early for a Whale Shark watching tour. Again the organisational level of the people here was astonishingly poor and we wasted a lot of time. But, in the end, we were in a boat and going far off-shore. And before we knew it there were around 15 Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) foraging around the boat. Of course we were keen to go in the water with them. There are regulations however, and you can only go in in pairs and with a guide, so we had to wait our turn. My favourite moment was when I was snorkeling on my own, admiring one Whale Shark when another just showed up and decided to feed straight in my direction. I was literally face to face with one of these gentle giants!


4th until the 8th of August 2019

Months in advance we had an arrangement with people from the Rio Secreto that we could search for salamanders in their cave without doing the whole touristy day-tour. The moment we stood there (with the communication prior to the trip printed) the staff claimed it to be not possible. Very, very disappointing. We drove to a nearby cenote, of the beaten track (something that is near impossible in this area) and searched for amphibians there but only found Lithobates brownorum. We did startle a Tayra (Eira barbara) in the cave and outside there were Turquoise-browed Motmots (Eumomota superciliosa) which was cool. In the afternoon we arrived at the Escarabajo Rojo, our accommodation for 4 nights and possibly the nicest place we stayed in during our whole Mexico trip. Having said that, the herping here was definitely the hardest we encountered. In August, the rainy season is usually going strong for some time. At the time of our visit there hasn't been rain for over two months. The soil is dust and the vegetation is dying. It was hot and humid and even just sitting makes you break a sweat. During daytime we usually explored nearby wetlands for birding and herping. Memorable sightings include hunting Snail Kites, a foraging Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) family, Mexican Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii) and the omnipresent Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas (Ctenosaura similis). In a cave we found a single Yucatan Robber Frog (Craugastor yucatanensis) but only on our second attempt. There were just very little animals on the move... The cenotes and beaches provided some relief from the scorching hot temperatures but were awfully touristy and crowded. We did get to snorkel with both Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) as well as Meso-American Sliders (Trachemys venusta).

Nighttimes were only slightly more productive for herping, roadcruising was not productive and we only got two Green Rat Snakes (Senticollis triaspis) over three days. We did see some DOR snakes as well such as Ficimia publia, Leptophis mexicanus and Pseudelaphe phaescens. Walking on foot gave us a further Ninia sebae, a species that we saw before but misses the black markings on the back in this part of their range. At an abandoned jetty I found a little head sticking out from the boardwalk which turned out to be a Pepper Treefrog (Trachycephalus typhonius). Other species we found were Lithobates brownorum, Dendropsophus microcephalus, Smilisca baudinii, Incilius valliceps, Rhinella horribilis, Kinosternon scorpioides, Coleonyx elegans, Anolis rodrigueziiBasiliscus vittatus, Sceloporus chrysostictus, Aspidoscelis angusticeps and Holcosus undulatus.

In a desperate attempt to find more rain/animals we drove for 3 hours (one way) to the west. We got an exact spot for one of our main target frogs. While we did indeed finally got some rain along the way - at the frog spot it was eerily quiet and bone dry again as it turned out to be just a very local shower. It did bring out some snakes in the area where the rains fell. On the motor way we noticed two guys on a scooter staring at a massive snake. We immediately turned the car and drove back high speed. I ran out, grabbed the snake and hopped back in the car, leaving the two guys behind, baffled. It turned out to be a big and beautiful Chicken Snake (Spilotes pullates) who gave me a lot of kisses in the car. Also a small Puffing Snake (Phrynonax poecilonotus) was rescued of the road. The drive back at night delivered an additional snake species and made it worth it for us to drive all this way as we got a small Yucatan Hognosed Pitviper (Porthidium yucatanicum) of the road.


8th until the 11th of August 2019

Surely hoping the conditions would be better further south, that clearly wasn't the case as it was at least as hot and dry here. We stayed for one night at the Yaax Che campsite so we could roadcruise within the Calakmul borders. That was highly unproductive as we only got one Faded Black-striped Snake (Coniophanes schmidti). The searching on foot was a little more productive and we found an additional specimen of Coniophanes schmidti but also a Blotched Hooknose Snake (Ficimia publia). At a small laguna there were a few anurans active such as Incilius valliceps and Smilisca baudinii. Laura heard a strange bubbling noise coming from a certain corner of the laguna. Although we couldn't localize it apparantly lead us in the right direction. Rather frustrated with the finds I kicked a pile of dirt along the shore of the lake and unearthed a round squeeky toy also known as a Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis). We dug a little further and found a few more. Not the massive adult we were hoping for but still very cool to find! After a night in the tent we were woken by Yucatan Black Howler Monkeys (Alouatta pigra) and left before sunrise. The road to the ancient ruins to Calakmul is long and bumpy and we were hoping to spot some big wildlife crossing the road. No mammals for us but many Ocellated Turkeys (Meleagris ocellata) and some Great Currasows (Crax rubra), the latter were very shy however and hard to photograph. At the ancient ruins we enjoyed the amazing views and tranquil atmosphere and watched more Howler Monkeys but also Yucatan Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Herping was a bit slow but we did see some species such as Sphaerodactylus glaucus, Sceloporus chrysostictus, Anolis tropidonotus and Drymobius margaritiferus.
The last two nights on Mexican soil were spent at the Rio Bec Dreams Hotel. By day we visited local lagunas and the ruined city of Hormiguero which was a nice surprise to us. Unlike any other ruined city we had visited before, this one we had completely to ourselves. There were also a few more herps out and about of species such as Holcosus hartwegi, Sceloporus chrysostictus, Marisora lineola, Anolis ustus and Phrynonax poecilonotus. The roadcruising was again not as rewarding as we'd hoped with DOR's of Leptophis aheatulla and Phrynonax poecilonotus but also a living Common Northern Boa (Boa imperator) juvenile.


As you might have guessed from reading this report, there was no easy herping to be had in Mexico. We found around the same number of species during this month long trip as we did in Guatemala where we only stayed two weeks. The difference: rain. Only during the Montebello part of this trip we received some rain but otherwise we didn't get a single drop. Especially in Yucatan the trees were withered and dust filled the atmosphere. There were little to no frogs hopping around and also snakes kept a low profile. Moreover there were several organisational problems. The stuff we feared to be very difficult or near impossible (such as visiting certain caves) was easy in the end. But we thought most places would be easy and had arranged everything in advance. That turned out to work different in this part of the world and often we stood in front of a closed gate or had to deal with people who claimed to have no knowledge of our prior arrangements. In the end we garnered an impressive list, all due to a team that just never stopped herping despite the demotivating conditions and sometimes disappointing herping results. 

Make sure to check out Laura's Flickr albums as well: here for Chiapas and here for Yucatan.


Alberch's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa alberchi)

Franklin's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa franklini)

Hartweg's Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa hartwegi)

Southern Banana Salamander (Bolitoglossa occidentalis)

Stuart's Salamander (Bolitoglossa stuarti)

Black Jumping Salamander (Ixalotriton niger)

Nimble Long-limbed Salamander (Nyctanolis pernix)

Alfred's Rainfrog (Craugastor alfredi) 

Polymorphic Robber Frog (Craugastor rhodopis)

Cliffy Stream Frog (Craugastor rupinius)

Yucatan Robber Frog (Craugastor yucatanensis)

Black-eyed Leaf Frog (Agalychnis moreletii)

Small-headed Treefrog (Dendropsophus microcephalus)

Schmidt's Mountain Brook Frog (Duellmanohyla schmidtorum)

Matuda's Spikethumb Frog (Plectrohyla matudai)

Cloud Forest Stream Frog (Ptychohyla euthysanota)

Pine Forest Stream Frog (Ptychohyla macrotympanum)

Stauffer's Long-nosed Treefrog (Scinax staufferi)

Common Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii)

Blue-spotted Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca cyanosticta)

Pepper Treefrog (Trachycephalus typhonius)

Whistling Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus pipilans)

Tungara Frog (Engystomops pustulosus)

Mexican White-lipped Frog (Leptodactylus fragilis)

Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanonotus)

Two-spaded Narrow-mouthed Toad (Hypopachus ustus)

Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum

Forrer's Grass Frog (Lithobates forreri)

Highland Leopard Frog (Lithobates maculatus)

Vaillant's Frog (Lithobates vaillanti

Bocourt's Toad (Incilius bocourti)

Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus)

Large-crested Toad (Incilius macrocristatus

Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps)

Western Cane Toad (Rhinella horribilis)

Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)

Mexican Caecilian (Dermophis mexicanus)

Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)

American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Mexican Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Scorpion Mud Turtle (Kinosternon scorpioides)

Meso-American Slider (Trachemys venusta)

Yucatan Banded Gecko (Coleonyx elegans)
Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)

Yellowbelly Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus tuberculosus)

Collared Dwarf Gecko (Sphaerodactylus glaucus)

Red-lipped Arboreal Alligator Lizard (Abronia lythrochila)

Smith's Arboreal Alligator Lizard (Abronia smithi)

Hernandez's Helmeted Basilisk (Corytophanes hernandesii)

Giant Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma asio)

Tropical Tree Lizard (Urosaurus bicarinatus)

Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus)

Oaxacan Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura oaxacana)

Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis)

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

Mexican Cave Anole (Anolis alvarezdeltoroi

Chiapas Ornate Anole (Anolis anisolepis

Coffee Anole (Anolis dollfusianus)

Peters Anole (Anolis petersii

Rodriguez's Anole (Anolis rodriguezii

Serrano's Anole (Anolis serranoi

Yucatan Ground Anole (Anolis tropidonotus

Moist Forest Anole (Anolis unilobatus

Yellow-spotted Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus chrysostictus)

Longtail Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus siniferus

Bocourt's Emerald Lizard (Sceloporus smaragdinus)

Rosebelly Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus variabilis
Yucatan Mabuya (Marisora lineola)

Oaxacan Mabuya (Marisora syntoma)

Red Forest Skink (Scincella assatus)

Yucatan Whiptail (Aspidoscelis angusticeps)

Blackbelly Racerunner (Aspidoscelis deppii)

Hartweg's Ameiva (Holcosus hartwegi)

Rainbow Ameiva (Holcosus undulatus)

Yellow-spotted Night Lizard (Lepidophyma flavimaculatum)

Smith's Tropical Night Lizard (Lepidophyma smithii)

Common Northern Boa (Boa imperator)

Mexican Burrowing Python (Loxocemus bicolor)

Yellow-bellied Snake (Coniophanes fissidens)

Black-striped Snake (Coniophanes piceivittis)

Faded Black-striped Snake (Coniophanes schmidti)

Pacific Longtail Snake (Enulius flavitorques)

Coffee Earth Snake (Geophis nasalis)

Rosebelly Earth Snake (Geophis rhodogaster)

Southwestern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira maculata)

Small-spotted Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira polysticta)

Ringneck Coffee Snake (Ninia diademata)

Redback Coffee Snake (Ninia sebae)

Cloudy Snail-eating Snake (Sibon nebulatus)

Slender Snail Sucker (Sibon dimidiatus)

Banded Snail Sucker (Tropidodipsas fasciata)

Fischer's Snail-eating Snake (Tropidodipsas fischeri)

Blacktail Cribo (Drymarchon melanurus)

Speckled Racer (Drymobius margaritiferus)

Blotched Hooknose Snake (Ficimia publia)

Green Parrot Snake (Leptophis aheatulla) DOR

Pacific Coast Parrot Snake (Leptophis diplotropis)

Mexican Parrot Snake (Leptophis mexicanus) DOR

Cloud Forest Parrot Snake (Leptophis modestus)

Neotropical Whip Snake (Masticophis mentovarius)

Yucatan Yellow-red Rat Snake (Pseudelaphe phaescens) DOR

Puffing Snake (Phrynonax poecilonotus)

Green Rat Snake (Senticollis triaspis)

Chicken Snake (Spilotes pullates)

Western Lyre Snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus)

Brown's Coral Snake (Micrurus browni

Variable Coral Snake (Micrurus diastema)

Central American Coral Snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus)

Guatemalan Palm Pitviper (Bothriechis bicolor)

Yucatan Hognosed Pitviper(Porthidium yucatanicum)


Many thanks for help with Chiapas and Oaxaca to: Arturo Candelaria Peña, Macario Fernández Popo, Berenice Garcia, Elí García-Padilla, Bruno Giesemann, Jesus Perez, Sean Rovito, Roberto Salazar and David B. Wake. For help with Yucatan many thanks to: Wouter Beukema, Matt Cage, Bob Ferguson and Jeroen Speybroeck.