輻射龜 (Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata)
The Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) was the second mating tortoise species which I shot in Madagascar! Compare to the low key Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides), the outgoing Radiated Tortoise are more pleasant! The population of Radiated Tortoise in some natural areas are still stable. I found 97 individuals and took pictures in sourthern Madagascar, after that because it was too late and too tired, I gave up my plan "at least one-picture-taking to each tortoise". But still, I counted other 32 individuals before sunset! It's totally 129 radiated tortoises I met in the field within 24 hours! Althought it's not such simple like this, but just let us think about this simply temporarily... This species listed on IUCN CR and CITES I, but still has a stable population in the field. How about the Yellow-margined Box Turtle (Cuora flavomarginata) in Taiwan? Can we find more than 129 individuals in the field of Taiwan in a single day? Even worse, everyday there's people trying to catch turtles now, or trying to breed the captured turtles, most of these things are for sell the turtles to China for impertinent money! Sorry for too much rage, let us take the focus back to the radiated tortoise. Before mating, the male tried to jack up the female's posterior, sometimes he made the female belly-up! But of course he helped to make her back to the normal position. After that, the female accepted him, the mating started. In the afternoon, I observed three pairs of mating tortoises, and two of them I got the pictures. It's awesome that I can saw the mating pairs in the field!
輻射龜 (the Radiated Tortoise, Astrochelys radiata) 正是我在馬達加斯加拍到的第二種交配中陸龜！比起低調害羞的蛛網陸龜 (the Spider Tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides)，活潑外向的輻射龜又更討人喜歡了！野生輻射龜目前在局部地區數量還不算少，我在馬島南部24小時之內拍到了97隻次，後來因為太累了也趕時間所以放棄原本的"每隻都要至少拍一張"計劃，但是一直到天黑為止還數了32隻！所以24小時內目擊了129隻次！雖不能就這樣單純的數據來判斷什麼，太天真也太不科學... 但還是可以暫時直觀一點，這個局部地區數量仍多的陸龜在紅皮書IUCN上被列名極度瀕危(CR, Critically Endangered)、瀕臨絕種野生動植物國際貿易公約附錄一 (華盛頓公約附錄一，Appendix I of CITES)！反觀我們的食蛇龜 (the Yellow-margined Box Turtle, Cuora flavomarginata)，IUCN和CITES都少了一等，再把鏡頭拉到野外，在台灣有可能24小時內看到超過129隻次嗎？然後現在每天都有人在野外抓食蛇龜，或者想辦法讓已持有的食蛇龜多生一點"洗白"，目的大都是要賣到中國賺取不當利益！賺錢應該有更正當的方法吧？不小心講到上火就扯遠了，拉回輻射龜這裡。輻射龜的公龜要交配前都會試圖從母龜後方用胸甲往上頂，把母龜屁股抬高以刺激交配意願，很盧，圖中這隻甚至有幾次不小心把母龜翻倒！但後來他還是會幫忙把母龜翻回來啦XD 總之折騰了一陣子之後母龜接受了就會開始交配，交配期間公龜還會發出有趣的聲音"咖扣、咖扣..."，很投入XD 那天下午我觀察到了三對正要交配的輻射龜，其中順利拍到的有兩對。交配期間如果我動作過大或者靠太近，公龜就會撤退下來，但馬上又會繼續試圖要和母龜交配，相當的不害羞XD 唯一沒拍到的那對是被車子經過干擾到了，應該是驚嚇過大所以真的放棄交配立刻跑開... 可以推斷的是盡量把干擾降低的話是很有可能可以拍到交配的！可以順利在野外觀察到輻射龜交配行為，真是太棒了！