Madagascar 16

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Jazz
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Madagascar 16

Post by Jazz » January 3rd, 2017, 1:52 am

Madagascar is somewhere I’ve dreamed of going since I was a kid. Actually getting there and experiencing it was unbelievable!

We only had 2 weeks there out of a larger 3-month herping trip so our time and resources were pretty limited. We decided on spending 10 days in Andasibe, just west of the capital, and 5 days in Ranomafana, which is a bit further south. Both of these areas are rainforest on the same eastern belt so have a pretty similar array of species. We chose December because it’s the start of the rainy season, although unfortunately this year the wet season started a bit later so it was pretty dry most of the time we were there.

Anyway, here are a few of the photos from the trip. While we were in Andasibe we actually didn’t visit Andasibe National Park, instead we stuck to Mitsinjo and VOI MMA, which are smaller, community run reserves.

Brookesia were surprisingly common and quite easy to spot when they were sleeping on low vegetation during the night. In Andasibe we just got the one species, superciliaris, but in Ranomafana we managed to find thieli and nasus as well.

ImageBrown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

Frogswise there were plenty of species from the genus Boophis around. These mostly beautifully coloured frogs were some of my favourites.

ImageBoophis pyrrhus by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageRainforest tree frog (Boophis rappoides) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

Our main target for Madagascar was leaf tailed geckos from the genus Uroplatus. We found mossy leaf tailed geckos (Uroplatus sikorae) to be extremely abundant through the Andasibe region. Their variable colour patterns and camouflage were amazing, definitely one of the highlight species.

ImageMossy leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageMossy leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

Although snakes weren’t our targets, we still managed to find a few species. Madagascar tree boas were my favourite, but these Stenophis were also really cool.

ImageMadagascar tree boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageStenophis arctifasiatus by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

Mantella were high on our target list but with the extremely dry weather we didn’t hold out much hope. We managed the critically endangered golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) surprisingly easily, even with some recent poaching from a nearby resort. Mantella pulchra was more of a mission, with a 10km uphill hike through cleared forest that was worth it in the end. We also managed one of these endangered Calumma gallus. The habitat surrounding where we found this individual, although protected, had been slashed and burnt recently. These tiny chameleons had no chance.

ImageGolden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageLance nosed chameleon (Calumma gallus) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageBeautiful mantella (Mantella pulchra) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

We found satanic leaf tailed geckos (Uroplatus phantasticus) to be far less common through Andasibe, only managing to find 4 over the 10 nights. In Ranomafana though they are extremely common.

ImageSatanic leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

After a great time in Andasibe, we braved the 15-hour over road journey down to Ranomafana. Unfortunately here, you can’t access the national park at night even with a guide. So we just spent our nights walking along the road, which was quite successful. The 24/7 pouring rain we had for 3 days straight wasn’t as helpful but we made do.

On our first night I found this strange looking mossy leaf tail. It looked completely different to the others we had been finding. After talking to a couple of people we discovered that it was a new species, Uroplatus sameiti, which wasn't in our field guide.

ImageUroplatus sameiti by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

While we were having breakfast, another couple pointed out this stunning parsons chameleon (Calumma parsoni). Probably the best looking one we saw the whole trip and he even ate a cricket from my hand.

ImageParsons chameleon (Calumma parsonii) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

The ridiculous amount of rain we had did bring some frogs out but photography was very difficult. I got my camera soaking wet to photograph our main frogging goal though.

ImageHeterixalus alboguttatus by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

As I said, the satanics here were very common. We were finding 5 or 6 every night even with the heavy rain.

This patchy, yellow colouration was my favourite.

ImageSatanic leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageSatanic leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

A shot we tried a couple of times to get but succeeded on on our last day there.

ImageO'Shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

With the rain came a fair few snakes. We found around 15-20 each night and they all had a full belly.

ImageStenophis betsileanus by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

I guess I should post a couple of the lemurs we saw as well.

ImageIndri (Indri indri) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

ImageBrown lemur (Eulemur fulvus) by Jasmine Vink, on Flickr

All up Madagascar was amazing. The only real disappointment was having my suitcase stolen from the taxi brousse on our last day there.

If you’d like to see more photos from this trip or from our 3 months of herping head to my flickr or instagram (jasmine_vink) ☺

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dwakefield
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by dwakefield » January 3rd, 2017, 5:51 am

Sounds like you guys had an amazing time! I especially like those Uroplatus photos.....stunning!

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achillesbeast
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by achillesbeast » January 3rd, 2017, 2:21 pm

Really neat finds and the photos are great.

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numpty
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by numpty » January 3rd, 2017, 7:14 pm

Amazing photos! Beautiful geckos. Too bad about the suitcase ... hope you didn't lose anything too valuable.

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Ribbit
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by Ribbit » January 3rd, 2017, 9:18 pm

Wonderful photos, one and all. I hope you got to hear the Indris calling.

John

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » January 6th, 2017, 6:31 am

Thanks a lot! One day...

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mariquensis
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by mariquensis » January 7th, 2017, 10:27 am

Incredible images, thanks for sharing.

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mothman
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by mothman » January 7th, 2017, 10:50 am

What wonderful photographs. You are quite talented.

I will be going to Madagascar in May. I wish it was tomorrow. I assume you were not traveling in an organized group. Your loss of a suitcase is a terrible thing to happen but at least it was at the end of your trip. My wife and I were going to spend three weeks camping in Washington and Oregon. We flew to Seattle. My suitcase and our camping gear arrived but not my wife's suitcase. It was most likely stolen. Nothing like starting a three week trip with no clothes except what is on your back.

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Calfirecap
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by Calfirecap » January 8th, 2017, 4:55 am

What an incredible adventure, your photos are amazing. Good thing your camera wasn't in your suitcase.

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Evgeny Kotelevsky
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by Evgeny Kotelevsky » January 9th, 2017, 7:54 am

I love your photo of chameleon catching a cricket!

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Jazz
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by Jazz » January 9th, 2017, 9:30 pm

Thanks for the kind words everyone! We had an great trip. Got to hear the indri calling every morning and were directly under them when they started calling once, it was ear splitting but amazing!
mothman wrote:What wonderful photographs. You are quite talented.

I will be going to Madagascar in May. I wish it was tomorrow. I assume you were not traveling in an organized group. Your loss of a suitcase is a terrible thing to happen but at least it was at the end of your trip.
Haha if I was heading straight home it wouldn't have been that bad. I just had 3 weeks in Borneo with no clothes, head torches, snake hooks ect ect :/

Where are you heading in Mada?
Calfirecap wrote:What an incredible adventure, your photos are amazing. Good thing your camera wasn't in your suitcase.
Luckily my camera doesn't leave my sight!

The chameleon feeding is definitely one of my favourites :)

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krisbell
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Re: Madagascar 16

Post by krisbell » January 11th, 2017, 10:46 am

Top notch images as always. My favourite animal in that bunch has to be the weeny Brookesia, but my fav image is the Parsons - its just such a nice, uncluttered and supremely intimate shot.

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