This blue-from Ishikawa's frog (イシカワガエル, Odorrana ishikawae) was the most exciting encounter among the HerpVenture in Okinawa this time! Though perhaps it's not accurate, but another species of frogs in Japan also appeared blue individual, they supposed it was a miracle which occured only 1/50000 in chance! I guess it's probably the similar situation for this. The lack of yellow pigment might be the reason why a green frog became blue... we were so lucky we can found the mutant blue frog this time, AWESOME!!
這隻藍色型的石川蛙 (the Ishikawa's frog, イシカワガエル, Odorrana ishikawae) 是本次沖繩兩爬大冒險中，最令人興奮的一次發現了！雖然也許不精準，但在日本的別種青蛙也曾出現過藍色的個體，當時被認為是五萬分之一的奇蹟，我猜想藍色的石川蛙也許也差不多吧！黃色素的缺乏可能是造成綠色的青蛙變成藍色的主因，能在野外見到這樣的變異個體實在是太幸運了！
- Apr 14 Sun 2013 00:21
- Apr 14 Sun 2013 00:16
The Ishikawa's frog (イシカワガエル, Odorrana ishikawae) is a big frog endemic to northern Okinawa Island, it's about 9-11 cm of the body length. The endemic species is also very beautiful, it's famous as "the most beautiful frog in Japan". In 2011, a study report (Kuramoto et al., 2011) revealed that the population of Ishikawa's frog in Amami Island as a distinct new species: Odorrana splendida. After that, we can only find the Ishikawa's frogs in the northern Okinawa Island. We were pretty lucky this time, we found one finally after we trekked in the forest for three hours!
石川蛙 (イシカワガエル, Ishikawa's frog, Odorrana ishikawae) 是一種只棲息在沖繩島北部的大型蛙類，體長大約9-11公分。這種沖繩北部特有的青蛙外觀非常的美麗，素有"日本國境內最美的青蛙"稱號。2011年以後在奄美大島的石川蛙被Kuramoto等人發表為新種：奄美石川蛙 (アマミイシカワガエル, Odorrana splendida) 之後，舊稱的石川蛙就只能在沖繩島北部發現了。這次運氣不錯，在森林裡漫步了三個小時，終於找到一隻了！
- Apr 14 Sun 2013 00:12
The Habu (ハブ, 波布, Protobothrops flavoviridis) is the biggest viper among Japanese poisonous snakes. The biggest individual so far is the one found in Onna Village of Okinawa Island when October 12th, 2011. The length was 242 cm, weight 2.8 kg. The Japanese government considered Habu as a dangerous creature, so they keep trying to reduce the population number of Habu by spend 3000 or 4000 yen for each Habu caught by people as a reward. Although I don't like this kind of work, but I can also understood how fear Japanese people are to Habu. In general, we estimate the striking distance of the snake is half to two-thirds of the length. So if you encounter the big snake with 242 cm long, the snake can bite you in the distance about 120-160 cm! I think many people don't have a snake-hook even longer than that! It's more dangerous than all the Taiwanese six-big poisonous snakes! Although this is an extreme example, but anyway we leave nothing to chance. We should be more careful if we are doing field work in the distribution areas of Habu... there is no guarantee that you will not encounter a record-breaking big snake, right? Let's keep a safe distance, enjoy the beauty of the golden snake quietly... what a nice moment!
黃綠龜殼花 (the Habu, ハブ, 波布, Protobothrops flavoviridis) 是日本國境內最大的毒蛇。目前最大的紀錄是2011年10月12日在沖繩島恩納村被人打死的個體，長242公分，重2.8公斤。被日本政府視為危險動物的黃綠龜殼花，在不同地區以三到四千日元不等的價格向民眾收購，目的就是希望壓低黃綠龜殼花的數量以減少對民眾的傷害。雖然個人不喜歡這種做法，但是對於日本民眾對黃綠龜殼花的恐懼卻也可以理解。我們一般將蛇的攻擊距離估計為蛇身長的二分之一到三分之二，試想如果你遇上了242公分長的巨無霸，牠可以彈過來咬人的距離大約是120-160公分遠！很多人的蛇鉤都沒有那麼長！危險性比台灣的六大毒蛇都要高！雖說這是個極端例子，但禦敵必須從嚴，在有黃綠龜殼花分布的地區進行野外觀察的時候還是要加倍小心，難保你不會遇上破紀錄的大傢伙，對吧？在小心保持安全距離的前提之下，靜靜欣賞這金黃色的蜿蜒之美，多棒！
- Apr 14 Sun 2013 00:07
The Okinawa Rail (ヤンバルクイナ, the Yanbaru Kuina, Gallirallus okinawae), is the endemic species inhabit northern Okinawa Island: the "Yanbaru" area. This forest land of Yanbaru area is extremely small. The Yanbaru Kuina was discovered relatively recent in 1981, and soon listed on "Natural monuments designated by the nation of Japan" in the next year. Which shows Japanese government attaches great importance to this rare bird. The population number of the flightless bird was estimated about 1800 when the bird was just been described. But until 2005, the number dropped to about 717 individuals. The main threats for the population of Yanbaru Kuina are as below: hunting by invasive animals (the India Grey Mongoose, dogs and cats), especially for the Indian Gray Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii), the Japanese government bulit a fence crossing from the Shioyawan of Ogimi Village to the Fukuchi Dam of Higashimura in 2005, use it to stop the India Grey Mongoose keep going north to the Yanbaru area. The fence stop 486 individuals of the India Grey Mongoose successfully in 2008! But unfortunately, still part of the Indian Gray Mongoose has fled into the northern forest. Otherwise, still some problems like habitat fragmentation caused by roads, road-killed... etc. How to keep on helping the population of Yanbaru Kuina, which is a great challenge to the Japanese government.
山原水雞 (ヤンバルクイナ, the Yanbaru Kuina, Gallirallus okinawae) 是沖繩島北邊森林的特有種，全世界只有在這一片"山原"地區的森林才能見到牠們，分布非常的狹窄。牠們在相對晚近的1981年才被學界發現，隔年立刻就被列名"日本國指定天然紀念物"，足見日本學界對於這種珍稀鳥類的高度重視。這種幾乎無法飛行的奇特鳥類在被發現之初所推定的族群數大約在1800隻左右，到最近一次 (2005年) 普查時只剩約717隻，主要造成牠們的族群數下降的原因有：外來動物的捕殺 (印度小貓鼬、貓和狗)，尤其針對印度小貓鼬 (Herpestes auropunctatus)，日本政府在2005年開始在沖繩大宜味村塩屋灣到東村福地大壩之間拉起了一道阻擋印度小貓鼬繼續往北擴散的"北上防止柵"，這道柵欄在2008年就欄下了486隻印度小貓鼬！但可惜的是仍有部分的印度小貓鼬已經在北部森林裡流竄了。此外的問題還有棲地被道路切割破碎化，路殺等問題，如何繼續保護山原水雞，考驗著日本政府的智慧。
- Apr 14 Sun 2013 00:00
Japanese Yamashinae's Cave Gecko inhibit in Kume Island of Okinawa, it's a natural monument of Okinawa Prefecture. The population size is pretty low and classified as EN by IUCN, we can only find it in primary forest of Okinawa. Yamashinae's Cave Gecko is the most different one of the five subspecies, they have the only yellow irises (other 4 are red-irised) and yellow pattern, very special!
久米瞼虎 (Goniurosaurus kuroiwae yamashinae) 產於沖繩久米島，是沖繩縣指定天然紀念物。數量稀少、被IUCN判定為瀕危的物種，目前只在沖繩的原始林才有機會發現。久米瞼虎和其他四個亞種差異最大，是唯一黃色虹膜 (其它皆為紅色)、黃色花紋的亞種，非常獨特！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:54
The Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus) is the biggest amphibian on the world, also a amazing creature endemic to Japan. The Japanese name is オオサンショウウオ (pronounce like OOSANSYOUUO) or ハンザキ (pronounce like HANZAKI), means "a huge salamanser" or "a very strong creature which does not die after even cut in half by a knife", respectively. The Japanese Giant Salamanders are listed on CITES I and classified as NT by IUCN, they are a very precious amphibian. Although it's about 30 years that the problem about hybridization between Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus) and Japanese Giant Salamander in Kyoto, but still we can find other natural populations out of Kyoto. Hope we can have a durative chance meeting with them in the field!
日本大山椒魚 (Andrias japonicus) 是世界最大的兩棲類，也是日本特有的神奇生物！日文名是オオサンショウウオ，讀起來像是OOSANSYOUUO，意思就是一隻"大隻的山椒魚"；另一個日文名是ハンザキ，讀起來像是HANZAKI，意思是"一種生命力極旺盛的生物，就算被刀砍成兩半還是死不了"。日本大山椒魚名列CITES附錄一，也被IUCN評定為近危，是一種非常珍貴的兩棲類。雖然中國大鯢 (Andrias davidianus) 和日本大山椒魚在京都的雜交問題已經拖了近三十年還無法解決，但是在京都以外的地方我們仍有機會看到自然狀態的日本大山椒魚。希望我們一直都有機會在野外持續觀察這些驚奇的生物！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:48
The Malagasy Rainbow Frog (Scaphiophryne gottlebei) is one of the most famous and rare amphibian among Malagasy frog species. In 2008, the Zoological Society of London was named the Malagasy Rainbow Frog as "being among the rarest and most remarkable amphibians" on the planet. The beauty of Malagasy Rainbow Frog is being proved. But the population's main threat has coming behind the beauty; thousands are captured every year for the pet trade, it makes them caught in a vicious cycle. The Malagasy Rainbow Frog inhibit in the rocky canyons of the Isalo Massif, south western Madagascar. They occured and bred only in the temporary pools of the canyons and only in raining season. It's difficult to find during dry season, so we can only found 6 juveniles in about 90 minutes. They were pretty tiny, only about 10 mm for SVL (the adult are about 30-40 mm) each, but still, it's AWESOME! It's enough for me! Hope we can always find them again and again every time we visit there!
彩虹犁足蛙 (the Malagasy Rainbow Frog, Scaphiophryne gottlebei) 是馬達加斯加最知名的兩棲類之一，同時也是最稀少的兩棲類之一。倫敦動物學會在2008年將彩虹犁足蛙列名"這個星球上最稀有也最令人讚嘆的兩棲類"，牠的美是禁得起考驗的！但也因為牠們真的太美了，每年可能有幾千隻彩虹犁足蛙被走私出境... 也是讓牠們的處境陷入惡性循環的主因。彩虹犁足蛙只棲息在馬達加斯加西南部的Isalo地區，在岩石山塊夾縫間的小水窪進行繁殖，主要也只在雨季出現，旱季基本上很難找到。因此我們這次只能找到在水邊搞不清楚狀況的幼蛙，體長只有約一公分 (成蛙大約三到四公分)，花了大約一個半小時找到了六隻，已經非常的滿足了！希望以後每次來都可以再度和牠們碰個面喔！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:43
Congratulations to Taiwan for beating Netherlands and got the second win of WBC! In Taiwan, if we talked about to beat Netherlands, we were always took out Koxinga who did beat Dutch colonists more than 300 years ago. In 1662, Koxinga drove Dutchmen away from Taiwan; more than 200 years after, Robert Swinhoe who was the naturalist made so much contributions about reporting Taiwanese animal species. He named a endemic rodent by the name of Koxinga, it's Coxing's White-Bellied Rat (Niviventer coninga). Coxing's White-Bellied Rat inhibit in the middle and low elevation forest of Taiwan, they connect upper and lower layers of the food web, a very important position in nature. Their hair mosaicked some hard hairs, it's a special touch among Taiwanese mammals!
恭喜中華隊擊敗荷蘭獲得WBC第二勝！說到擊敗荷蘭，就不得不搬出曾經在台灣擊敗過荷蘭的國姓爺：鄭成功了！鄭成功在西元1662年在台灣擊敗荷蘭，兩百多年後的1871年，對於台灣生物多樣性報導有諸多貢獻的郇和 (斯文豪，Robert Swinhoe) 以"國姓爺"來為一種台灣特有的嚙齒類命名，即為刺鼠 (Niviventer coninga)。刺鼠是台灣中低海拔森林常見的物種，也是這些地區蛇類的主要食物，為食物網中相當重要的"中間份子"。體表的絨毛之中帶有少許硬毛，在台灣也是一個少見的特徵。
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:36
Congratulations to Taiwan for the first win of WBC! The beaming Taiwan Mountain Pitviper (Ovophis makazayazaya) is the only reddish species among Taiwanese vipers, it's gorgeous! Once, around the years of 1930 to 1950, it was lack of any sampling record in Taiwan for about 50 years! But recently due to the efforts from more and more researchers and hobbyists, the legendary viper has became familiar. According to the paper published by Anita Malhotra et al. in 2011, Ovophis monticola makazayazaya should be a full species as Ovophis makazayazaya endemic to Taiwan. We hope we can still meet the endemic "Strawberry-Headed Pit Viper" in the mountains occasionally!
恭喜中華隊獲得經典賽第一場勝利！喜氣洋洋的瑪家山龜殼花 (the Taiwan Mountain Pitviper, Ovophis makazayazaya) 是台灣蝮蛇科物種之中唯一偏紅色的，非常美麗！在1930年至1980年間，在台灣曾有約50年沒有任何採集記錄的傳奇蛇類，隨著近年來研究者以及愛好者的增加，神秘面紗已經逐漸的被揭開。根據Anita Malhotra等人在2011年的研究報告指出，台灣的瑪家山龜殼花應是一個特有種，使這個原稱阿里山龜殼花 (因為當初被鑑定的標本來自阿里山) 的奇妙物種正名為瑪家山龜殼花 (被命名為新種的標本產自屏東瑪家)。台灣特有種的可愛小草莓，希望以後也可以持續的在山上和牠們來一段邂逅！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:33
In Malagasy, "indri" means "look up". A French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat was misunderstood the aboriginal who pointed out the lemur and said "indri". Pierre Sonnerat thought it should be the name and used it to describe the lemur. The Indri (Indri indri) is the biggest living lemur on the world. But compare with their extinct relative: a giant lemur big like a gorilla, with a weight about 200 kg, the Indris are pretty small.... they are even smaller than a dog! But now the population number of Indri is also sadly poor. Last year, the scientists estimated the number about 246 individuals, it's smaller than the number of the Angonoka Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) and the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)! If we want to protect Indris, the most important thing is to protect the forest they inhabited in. Andasibe NP is the last place with forest Indris can live in... Go Indris!
在馬拉加西話，indri的意思是"看上面"。當年一位法國自然學者Pierre Sonnerat誤解了一位為他找出那隻狐猴位置的Malagasy，以為"indri"就是牠的名字，就用了Indri來描述光面狐猴了。光面狐猴 (the Indri, Indri indri) 是現存體型最大的狐猴，不過比起被人類趕盡殺絕的親戚：一種體型近似大猩猩，重達兩百公斤的大型狐猴 (Archaeoindris fontoynontii) 相比，還是小太多了... 光面狐猴體型比狗還小！但是現在光面狐猴的族群也是岌岌可危了，去年科學家統計，光面狐猴的族群數僅有246隻，比安哥洛卡陸龜 (Astrochelys yniphora) 以及大熊貓 (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) 都還少！想要保育光面狐猴，最重要的就是從保護牠們棲息的森林開始... Andasibe NP就成了保護光面狐猴的最後一道防線了，加油！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:23
Happy World Pangolin Day! The Formosan Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla) is the most unusual species among Taiwanese mammals! They got large scales just like reptiles, they don't bite and without teeth, a pair of large claws... the features you can't find from other mammals in Taiwan! How special they are! Compare to the past few decades, nowadays it's a rare event that people killed a pangolin as a traditional Chinese medicine in Taiwan. We hope we can keep on meeting with the extraordinary and gentle creatures in the field unexpectedly!
世界穿山甲日快樂！台灣鯪鯉 (台灣穿山甲，Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla) 是所有台灣原生哺乳動物中最奇妙的了！披著一身和爬蟲類鱗片極為相似的鱗甲，沒有牙齒也不咬人，一對巨大的腳爪... 都是其它的哺乳動物所沒有的特徵，非常奇妙！相比早期，將穿山甲獵捕用作中藥材的狀況已經改善許多，希望這個奇特且溫馴的物種可以和我們繼續在野外不期而遇囉！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:17
The Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) are actually inhibit in the Kinmen island! Although the Kinmen island is a small offshore island outside continental China by a distance about 10 kilometers, but still, we believe the pythons can go cross the salt water by swimming. In the Snake Year, we wish the residents on Kinmen island can be gradually accepted to live with the big but gentle, original amazing reptile!
金門的緬甸蟒 (the Burmese Python, Python molurus bivittatus) 真的是原生種！雖然金門是個和大陸相距約10公里的小島，但我們相信緬甸蟒是有那個能耐游過這道鹹水，並且在金門島上靠自己生存下來。在蛇年，希望金門的鄉親們可以逐漸接受和這種巨大但是溫和的原生神奇爬蟲類共處囉！
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 23:10
The Oustalet's Chameleon is the longest one of chameleons, SVL up to 28.4 cm and TL up to 68.5 cm. Although we can find the endemic species thoughout the big island of Madagascar, but still, it's easier to find them in the western arid area. The male Oustalet's chameleon in this picture was the first herp of my Madagascar trip, also, it's the first "dragon" for my keynote of this trip: "Dragoning". Quite memorable, isn't it? The reasons why chameleons change color are as below: for camouflage, looks stronger, expressed emotions and body-temperature regulation. Notice the color of the Oustalet's chameleon in this picture, it's close to white. It's already noon when I saw him, he was trying to cross the asphalt road (it's so hot on the road!). The chameleon was tried to slow down the speed of rising body-temperature, so he turned the color of surface into near-white color. I brought him into a shade of a tree after we finished photographing. He looked more comfortable under the tree... What a nice meeting with a Oustalet's chameleon! What a cute white dragon!
奧力士變色龍 (Furcifer oustaleti) 全長最多可以到近70公分 (吻肛長約30公分)，是世界最長的變色龍。馬島特有的奧力士變色龍雖然整個島都有紀錄，但是仍以西半部較乾燥的地區最為常見。圖中這隻公的奧力士變色龍是我抵達馬達加斯加之後第一隻野外遇到的兩棲爬蟲類！正巧呼應了我本次旅程的主軸"尋龍"，真是太巧了！值得紀念的第一隻變色龍！變色龍改變體色的因素主要有融入環境、氣勢、情緒以及調節體溫。融入環境的功用當然就是讓敵人找不到以保命；所謂的"氣勢"就是在公的變色龍打架時，雙方的體色都會盡可能的變的鮮豔誇張；然後"情緒"就是例如打輸之後的公變色龍體色就會變得黯淡，或者被人抓到的變色龍通常也會變黑一些，意思差不多；調節體溫的話就是像照片中的這隻奧力士變色龍，我發現牠的時間是在近中午，牠獨自一龍正在過柏油馬路 (很燙！)。我很興奮的請司機 (就是William，不過那時才第一天，還不熟) 停車之後跑回去把牠撿起來送到路邊之後拍了幾張照片。牠體色幾乎是白色的，這隻"白龍"就是因為當時實在太熱了，要阻止體溫繼續上升就是把顏色盡量轉淡，就變成這樣囉 (反過來說，想要快速升溫就是變黑一點)！拍完照，我們送牠到一處樹蔭下，看牠停在陰涼處不走就知道牠剛剛肯定是熱到快爆炸了！令人懷念的可愛小白龍~
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 22:59
The Hundred Pacer (Deinagkistrodon acutus) used to inhabit forests in Taiwan at low and middle elevations. Due to overhunting and habitat destruction, the number of hundred pacers is shrinking, and they are rarely seen except in eastern Taiwan.
百步蛇 (Deinagkistrodon acutus) 在台灣分布於全島中低海拔，但由於早期濫捕以及棲地破壞，目前僅在台灣東部有較高的機會見到百步蛇。
- Apr 13 Sat 2013 22:43
The Cook Strait Giant Weta (Deinacrida rugosa) is a gentle and cute insect! "Weta" is a term for a group of insects endemic to New Zealand specifically, which looks kinda like Katydid. The first individual I saw was a dried dead body, which used for exposition to tourists. There's some big thorns on the legs... I was guessing if some one get kicked by it, who might be injured seriously. After I found them during field observation at night, I realized that I was wromg. They didn't kick, didn't run nor jump, accompanied the heavy weight, it's a really cute and big insect!
庫克海峽巨沙螽 (Cook Strait Giant Weta, Deinacrida rugosa) 是一種非常溫和可愛的昆蟲！Weta是一群紐西蘭特有昆蟲的總稱，長的和螽斯、灶馬都有點像。第一隻我見到的個體是一個乾燥後的屍體，用作和遊客解說教育用。當時我看牠腿上的刺，猜想如果牠會踢的話後果真是不堪設想。但是在夜間觀察時看見活體之後，才發現牠根本不踢、不跑也不跳，加上厚實沉甸的手感，真是一隻非常可愛的大蟲子！