Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Herps of Jordan, Part 4 (The Wadis)

The word "wadi" in Arabic means valley or canyon. Much of Jordan is a vast desert (except in the north where the land is more arable), but there are places in the desert where small rivers and streams flow through valleys, or wadis. The landscape here is much different, like hidden oases.
You can see the expansive desert on top the stretches for miles. A small river flows through the canyon, allowing palms, acacias, and flowering plants of all kinds to survive.
Slot canyons like this one are refreshing places to hike through, and they provide cover and habitat for many species of plants and animals. Although, I didn't find any new reptile species here (in spite of my intensive searching), I did get to sample Jordan's amphibians.
I am unsure as to whether there are three or four amphibian species in Jordan. Some sources tell me three, while others say four. I can't find a list of them, and information appears scarce, so I'm going to assume there are only three until it is positively confirmed otherwise. I have found all three species within the habitat described.
This is one of them, the Levantine frog (Rana bedriagae), and a large tadpole of this specie is pictured above. This specie can be heard calling within the wadis, and though this one is rather small, they can grow to be pretty large. Also, their colors are variable; some are light while others are dark green. They remind me of leopard frogs or bullfrogs in the states.
The second specie is called Savigny's treefrog (Hyla savignyi). I found some newly metamorphosed ones clinging to rocks just above the water's surface in shady pools and others perched on overhanging vegetation.
Large ones remained elusive, probably sheltering deep within crevices or hidden among dense vegetation.
The last of Jordan's amphibian species is the European green toad (Bufo viridis). This is the specie that I thought I saw as tadpoles in Egypt. It has a wide range, and tiny toadlets could be seen bouncing along the rocks near the rivers edge at around dusk. With all of the amphibians found and documented, I'll resume my searching for Jordan's vast array of reptiles.



    Thanks Herpers! I just identified the lil frog I came upon in a cave in Shlaleh, a freshwater spring outside Ramtha.

  2. Can you guys go herping in Aqaba again?