Montenegro, 27.07. - 04.08.2012

Montenegro is a herping hotspot - numerous trip reports on various internet pages give an idea of that. The small Balkan country is a must for all herpers! End of Juli 2012 Peter (without Birgit this time) joined four Dutch colleagues for a Montenegro trip: Bobby Bok, Bart Misana, Sander Schagen, Ronald Zimmermann. Despite of hot temperatures 32 species were found. During our fast-track trip we rushed through this beautiful country – some of the places visited would have deserved a longer stay and will hopefully be destinations for future trips.

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  • Eifel region

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  • Montenegro-Team: Ronald, Bart, Bobby, Sander, Peter


    After a 10 hours stopover at Belgrade airport – enough time for some airport herping (we found Lacerta viridis at least) – Bobby and Peter arrived at Podgorica in the late evening and met the other guys at our first accommodation in Ulcinj after midnight. A first night excursion wasn’t too successful; we only saw Hemidactylus turcicus and some frogs.


    In the early morning we started herping near Ulcinj – a good start with Pelophylax ridibundus, Testudo hermanni, Podarcis melisellensis, Podarcis muralis, Natrix natrix, Natrix tessellata and Vipera ammodytes. Afterwards we went to Sasko Jezero, a lake with a population of Albanian pool frogs (Pelophylax shqipericus). In the evening we rushed to our next accommodation at the coast near Sveti Stefan. During another night excursion we came across Telescopus fallax and some Hemidactylus turcicus.

  • Welcome to the playground! The Dutch colleagues in a forest full of snakes, lizards and tortoises…

  • The first lizard: Podarcis melisellensis…

  • …and another one – less colorful than in spring but still pretty

  • Podarcis muralis occurs in the same habitat as Podarcis melisellensis

  • A beautiful Vipera ammodytes

  • Another Vipera ammodytes

  • Not rare, but beautiful: Sympetrum sanguineum

  • Bobby hunting for Pelophylax shqipericus

  • Result of a night excursion: Telescopus fallax


    We left the coast and drove to Lovcen National Park for photographing lizards. Though Dalmatolacerta oxycephala was common at the karstic rocks of Lovcen, these lizards were extremely shy and difficult to photograph. At least Lacerta viridis and Anguis graeca also were found there. At the next spot we had an extensive photo session with some Dinarolacerta mosorensis. Afterwards, we had lunch at Kotor – it was too hot for herping. The next destination was Cetinje, where we found a convenient accommodation. In the late evening we explored a habitat of Triturus macedonicus but only found a dead specimen and Lissotriton vulgaris.

  • Acrobatic Dalmatolacerta oxycephala

  • Great photo model: Juvenile Lacerta viridis

  • Anguis graeca

  • A highlight of the Adriatic herpetofauna: Dinarolacerta mosorensis…

  • …some these lizards have bright yellow undersides

  • Another Dinarolacerta mosorensis…

  • …some males have citreous throats

  • Eryngium amethystinum

  • Afternoon snack at Kotor

  • Bobby’s headlight witnesses another night trip – searching for newts


    Our next station: Kolasin. In the beautiful mountains south of Kolasin we found Dinarolacerta montenegrina and Bombina variegata.

  • Bobby as temporary inhabitant of a Bombina habitat

  • Like a scenery from “Lord of the rings”: Mountains at the Albanian boarder

  • Montenegrinan specialty: Dinarolacerta montenegrina

  • Close-up of Dinarolacerta montenegrina

  • Dinarolacerta montenegrina looks similar to Dinarolacerta mosorensis – in practice, differences mentioned in literature like existence of vertebral bands or number of postnasal scales turned out to be not very reliable.

  • Another Dinarolacerta montenegrina with bright yellow throat

  • Refreshment in a mountain lake


    Exhausting, but successful hike in the mountains with Ichtyosaura alpestris, Bufo bufo, Podarcis muralis, Lacerta agilis, Natrix natrix and Vipera ursinii

  • Biogradska NP

  • Lycaena virgaureae

  • Female Lacerta agilis bosnica – sunbasking

  • Vipera ursinii

  • Natrix natrix persa with atypical pattern


    Another field trip at Kolasin: We weren’t very successful searching for Vipera berus – no pictures made. We had to be content with Rana temporalis and Zootoca vivipara. Our next desitnation was the Mitrovica canyon where we started another attempt for photographing Dalmatolacerta oxcephala. A great photo session, this time! We also found Podarcis muralis, Algyroides nigropunctatus and Lacerta viridis. In the evening we moved to our next station: Zabljak at Durmitor NP.

  • The colleagues photographing Rana temporalis

  • Zootoca vivipara

  • Mitrovica river – of course we jumped in…

  • Very co-operative Dalmatolacerta oxycephala

  • A beautiful Dinarolacerta oxycephala

  • Algyroides nigropunctatus

  • Nosy Lacerta viridis

  • Arrival at Durmitor NP


    Near Zabljak we tried again for Vipera berus – successful this time. The area was also inhabited by Lacerta agilis and Dinarolacerta mosorensis. After a splendid field trip we moved to our next station – Virpazar at Skadar Lake. The next night excursion merely brought Bufo bufo.

  • Mountains at Zabljak

  • Parnassius apollo

  • At Durmitor, Dinarolacerta mosorensis is less colorful than at Lovcen

  • Yawning Dinarolacerta mosorensis

  • Vipera berus bosniensis

  • Polyommatus damon

  • Lacerta agilis bosnica (male)…

  • …and another one


    Hot – hot – hot! – The high temperatures at Skadar Lake had a negative impact on our herping activities: We only found Lacerta trilineata, Testudo hermanni, some juvenile Dalmatolacerta oxycephala and Pelophylax shqipericus. A sidestep to the coast in the afternoon didn’t bring spectacular results. On our way back we found some Lissotriton vulgaris.

  • At Skadar Lake

  • Lacerta trilineata

  • A pair of Testudo hermanni crossing the road

  • Lindenia tetraphylla

  • Some butterflies: Limenitis reducta (Blauschwarzer Eisvogel)

  • Apatura metis

  • Iphiclides podalirius

  • Leptotes pirithous

  • Pelophylax shqipericus

  • Lissotriton vulgaris graeca...

  • its natural habitat

  • Bye bye, Montenegro!


    Return flight at 6:20 a.m.…

    Species list:
    1.    Salamandra salamandra (larvae)
    2.    Triturus macedonicus (dead)
    3.    Ichthyosaura alpestris
    4.    Lissotriton vulgaris
    5.    Bombina variegate
    6.    Bufo bufo
    7.    Hyla arborea (larvae)
    8.    Pelophylax ridibundus
    9.    Pelophylax shqipericus
    10.    Rana temporaria
    11.    Rana dalmatina
    12.    Testudo hermanni
    13.    Hemidactylus turcicus
    14.    Algyroides nigropunctatus
    15.    Dalmatolacerta oxycephala
    16.    Dinarolacerta mosorensis
    17.    Dinarolacerta montenegrina
    18.    Lacerta agilis
    19.    Lacerta viridis
    20.    Lacerta trilineata
    21.    Podarcis muralis
    22.    Podarcis melisellensis
    23.    Zootoca vivipara
    24.    Anguis graeca
    25.    Pseudopus apodus (dor)
    26.    Zamenis longissimus (skin)
    27.    Natrix natrix
    28.    Natrix tessellata
    29.    Telescopus fallax
    30.    Vipera ammodytes
    31.    Vipera berus
    32.    Vipera ursinii