photos & text by Don Roberson


Other than a small unidentified lizard that "got away" at Huayang Village, the only herps encountered on this November trip was a remarkable concentration of snakes that we have tentatively considered to be adders, possibly a Chinese relative of the European Adder Vipera berus. We were not far from Foping Nature Reserve in the Qinling Mountains, at perhaps 6000' elev. [~1800m], and just below the snow line, when there was a snake on the road (above and just below, left). It seemed to be lethargic but aggressive (just below, right). Then, looking along the side of the road where a talus slope ran down to a river, we spotted more than 40 others! They occurred in a variety of colors — brown (like the one on the road), gray (second row below, left; the predominate color), and even yellowish (second row below, right) — but all seemed the same basic size and shape. We assume they were all the same species. We hypothesize it was a pre-hibernating gathering of snakes that will den together soon (the air was crisp and cold on a sunny day), possibly in a rock cave on the talus slope.

We have requests for i.d. help out to several herpetologists, and hopefully will be able to post the actual species name in due course.


ODES [Odonata]

The only dragonfly on the trip was this lethargic (but alive) mid-sized skimmer along the Youshui River at Huayang Village, Shaanxi. It appears to me to be in the Libellulidae, but beyond that is currently unidentified. If you know what it is, please let me know [email].


Continue to pages on . . .
Return to Introduction page
page created 18 Dec 2010
© Don Roberson 2010