Today as I was walking out of my dorm and spotted a very colourful little lizard that looked a bit like a sleeker and prettier version of a whiptail skink which we see around camp at just about any given day of any week.
This one however, was completely new, to me at least. It had beautiful markings ranging from bright red to orange to yellow along the length of its body and green hues on its throat and almost fluorescent blue spots along the sides.
A real gem
I quickly ran back into my room to retrieve my camera and he was still there when I returned so I was able to take a few pictures before he ran off and dropped between the floor boards.
I then ran over to the office to try and I.D. him and showed the photos to some of the staff. I saw their reactions and knew it must be something rare.
We all got out the amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica books but were having a difficult time identifying it based on my pictures in comparison to the pictures and descriptions in our reference books.
James asked me excitedly, ‘Is it still there?’ I told him it had scrambled under the dorm rooms so I decided to try and crawl under the dorm house to see if maybe he was still there. After a bit of searching I did manage to spot him and with more than a little effort I was able to grab hold of him. I pulled myself out of under the dorms with him in hand and brought him back to the office. Even with the specimen it was difficult to positively I.D. him so we decided to hold onto him for a short while until the other staff members could return from surveys to have a look.
Once we were able to convene the jury properly and put our heads together we decided it was a mature Talamancan Galliwasp which nobody on base had seen since the opening of Jalova in 2010!
A welcome return to Jalova base
– Chris, 2 month volunteer