Currently viewing the category: "Reptiles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake found in the Street!!!
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
April 8, 2014 approximately 7 PM
Yesterday, after a long day and stressful day at work, we decided to finish planting tomatoes, but all the junk mail that was in the mailbox caused us to detour to the recycle bin which was already on the street for collection.  We asked the woman who was rooting through the neighbors blue recycle bin to replace all the items she was placing on the curb in her search for the neighbors discarded soda and beer cans.  Our recycle bins are never that attractive to trash scavengers since we never drink soda and we like our beer in bottles which are heavier than cans.  We headed back to the garden and spied a wriggling snake in the street, which we quickly caught.  We were immediately impressed by the brown critters bright orange belly, and the other significant feature was a ring right behind the head.  We quickly put the sweet little guy [gal] in a 12 gallon sauerkraut crock, empty of course, so we could grab the camera and call Julian Donahue for an identification, which is much more fun and interactive than doing the internet research.

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake in the sauerkraut crock

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake in the sauerkraut crock

While on the phone with Julian we multitasked on the computer and we independently established the species, Diadophis punctatus, for the Ring Necked Snake, which is found across North America according to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.  Julian did mention the subspecies, but we forgot which third name he attached to the species name. We didn’t really have time for writing down what Julian said because we at least knew the species, and since the light was waning, we wanted to try to get some decent photos.

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake

We suspect that the tail curling is some type of defensive action, perhaps a distraction to predators that would be attracted to the bright coloration and make a much less lethal strike at the tail, ignoring the more important head region.  After taking a few more photos, we released this colorful guy into the wood pile.  The subspecies which ranges in Los Angeles is the San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake, Diadophis punctatus modestus.  For more information on the seven California subspecies of Ring Necked Snakes, turn to CaliforniaHerps.com.

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake

San Bernardino Ring Necked Snake

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Slow Worms
Winchester, UK
April 1, 2014 7:47 PM
my sister and friends have “slow worms” in winchester.
they are all excited!
i’m not sure how i can send you a photo from FB…?
this photo is from our friend wendy, who is a very accomplished artist and excels in beautiful paintings of flora and fauna.
http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/slow_worm.htm
c.

Slow Worms

Slow Worms

Dear c.
Thanks for sending us your photo.  We hadn’t heard of Slow Worms before, and the link you provided is of great assistance.  According to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK link you provided:  “The Slow-worm is often mistakenly thought to be one of our native snakes. Slow-worms have very few markings other than the vertebral stripe of the female. This is thin and straight and not similar to the indented zigzag stripe of the Adder (
Vipera berus).  The Slow-worm has a noticeably blunter tail than any of the native snakes and the head is quite indistinct from the body. They have very small, highly polished scales, giving a glassy appearance.  On very close examination, it might be seen that the Slow-worm has eyelids, a typical feature of lizards. Another typical feature of lizards displayed by them, is the shedding of the tail when captured. The shed tail falling to the ground and thrashing makes a very effective decoy to predators, whilst the Slow-worm makes for cover.  The Slow-worm is a harmless creature, please remember, whether it is a Snake or Legless Lizard, it is a criminal offence to kill or injure any of the UK’s native reptiles.”  Since the UK Slow Worm, Anguis fragilis, is in a different genus than our local California Legless Lizard, they are not that closely related. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Parasitic larvae explode from lizard a la Alien
Location: Gainesville, Fl
August 25, 2013 8:49 am
So my friend found an ailing lizard (Anolis carolinensis) yesterday in north-central Florida. He thought it might die, so he took it with him in some sort of rescue attempt. Anyway, he looks at it an hour later, the lizard was dead, and the small black dot behind the lizard’s front leg had exploded into a gaping hole filled with large wriggling larvae of some sort. It certainly appears as though they were trying to escape after their host had died. He knew I’m into reptiles, so he showed it to me. The lizard was quite familiar, but the parasites less so. They look kind of like maggots to me, but most fly maggots are in dead things, when these were clearly inside the living lizard and killed it.
Signature: lizard guy

Lizard with Maggots

Lizard with Maggots

Dear lizard guy,
We agree that these look like maggots, but we do not know of any flies that parasitize lizards.  We will continue to do some research, but we are posting your letter and photos in the hope that one of our readers can come to our assistance.

Maggots emerge from Lizard

Maggots emerge from Lizard

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hawaiian Moth
Location: Hawaii
May 31, 2013 7:02 pm
Hello, Mr. Bugman.
My friend saw this moth on the wall on her home in Hawaii. She asked me what it was. I’m from Arizona, so it’s nothing I’ve ever seen before. She said it must have been 5-6 inches across.
Thank you very much!
Signature: Lucille

Black Witch and Lizard

Black Witch and Lizard

Dear Lucille,
Tell your friend this is a Black Witch, and a good source for information is the Texas Entomology page called The Black Witch Moth:  Its Natural & Cultural History
Your submission will go live in early June during our holiday away from the office.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Luckily we were using a pitchfork instead of a shovel!!!
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
March 29, 2013

California Legless Lizard

California Legless Lizard


We needed to dig in the garden today to remove a dead kumquat tree, when we noticed a shimmery, slithering creature in the freshly turned dirt.  We thought at first it was a salamander, but we were pleasantly surprised to find a California Legless Lizard.  The last one we found in Mount Washington was released in Elyria Canyon Park in June of 2008.  We didn’t have much time, but we snapped a few photos to document this relatively rare sighting in our lovely rustic neighborhood.

California Legless Lizard

California Legless Lizard

Update:  September 22, 2013
It seems there is more diversity among Legless Lizards in California than was originally believe.  Read about the four new species of Legless Lizards in California on Popular Science and Yahoo News.

Julian Donahue provides information on the Legless Lizard diversity:  September 19, 2013
Just discovered a new paper that splits four species of legless lizards from the one species, California Legless Lizard, making five in all in California.
Ours is now Anniella stebbinsi, the Southern California Legless Lizard. I have just posted this info on the Alliance Facebook page, updated the Mt. Washington herptile list, and attach a PDF of the full article for your files.  Anniella-4 n spp
Julian

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: (Warning: Graphic Photos) Neobarrettia spinosa eating a gecko
Location: Canyon Lake, TX
June 22, 2012 1:12 am
I have to warn you. These pictures are gruesome.

Red Eyed Devil Eats Gecko

Earlier this evening, there was a Red Eyed Devil sitting on the blade of our patio fan. Not wanting it to drop down on us and attack, we turned the fan on, hoping that would dislodge it. After turning it on high speed for about a minute, the thing finally lost its grip and hit a window at probably over 100 mph. The thing acted disoriented for a minute or so, then crawled onto our sliding door.
I saw one of these a couple of weeks ago ferociously eating moths on a window, which was fairly terrifying, considering how fast and powerful the insect was. This one was not interested in moths, though. It disappeared into the frame of our sliding door and came back with the back half of a very large cricket, which it then finished devouring. I came back to check on it later, and that’s when I took these photos. I didn’t see the attack, but I think the gecko was alive, since its foot appeared to be trying to grip the edge of the screen door. It looks like the katydid gave up on trying to eat the head, now, and has moved on to the gecko’s belly.
For scale, the katydid’s body is about 2 inches.
I think I’m going to have nightmares about this.
Signature: -Dave

Red Eyed Devil Eats Gecko

Hi Dave,
We generally don’t think of insects and arachnids being able to eat vertebrates, so the photos are always a bit shocking.  Though gruesome, your photos are a welcome addition to our Food Chain tag.  Folks should be warned to handle Red Eyed Devils with caution as they are capable of biting humans and drawing blood, however, they do not attack without provocation.  Some other chilling arthropod eating vertebrates images on our website include this Giant Crab Spider eating a GeckoGolden Orbweaver eating a Hummingbird, a Preying Mantis feeding on a Hummingbird, a Preying Mantis eating a Mouse, a Preying Mantis eating a Tree Frog, an Australian Redback Spider eating a Lizard, a House Spider eating a Skink, a Fishing Spider eating a Lizard, a Fishing Spider eating a Tree Frog and this House Centipede eating a Mouse.  Thanks again for adding to our unusual documentation of insects and spiders eating vertebrates.

Red Eyed Devil Eats Gecko

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination