This is the biggest chameleon, the nominate subspecies of Parson's Chameleon (Calumma parsonii parsonii)! Let's call him as Billy. It was a bad timing when I saw Billy. That morning, I was taking a off-road type Taxi-Brousse from Maroantsetra to Mananara. The distance was less than 100 kilometers, but it took one whole day to finish it. The road there was so bad that took many time to pass. The rickety car, the single shotgun seat but share with another man... It was so tired! Fortunately, the scenery was great along the way, some nice forest on both sides, singing of the Mantella frogs... The mood was not too bad. On the way, there was several chameleons walked cross the way, include two beautiful male panther chameleons. But when you sitting on a Taxi-Brousse, it's too embarrassed to ask the driver stop the car for your photographing on the chameleons. What a pity! But when I saw this unpredictable big chameleon, shaking his body, walking cross the way... Everything's out of control! I yelled: "STOP!! (it was really loudly)... Can you stop for a while please...? (became normal :P)" Maybe it was because I shared my cookies to the driver before, he stop the car and let me to deal with Billy, the male Parson's Chameleon. I didn't want to waste the time of other passengers, so I spent only 5 minutes to take pictures. Billy was so big, SVL was more than 30 cm slightly, the weight was almost 1 kg! A huge boy! The same as the C. p. cristifer I found in Andasibe, they were both pretty calm when been disturbed (in other species, they were usually want to bite). We can find the same calm response on the Hundred Pacer (Deinagkistrodon acutus), they are not too aggressive when we get closer for pictures. Is it the so call "kingly way"? After I finished my photographing, I said good bye to Billy then went back to our Taxi-Brousse, kept on our hard way by the "dancing car". I knew, the day in the shaking Taxi-Brousse, there's one satisfied boy, at least.
這是世界最大，國王變色龍指名亞種 (Calumma parsonii parsonii)！就取名叫作Billy吧！我發現Billy的狀況真的是非常巧的不巧。那天早上我從Maroantsetra搭著特殊改裝過的一台越野型Taxi-Brousse (底盤離地至少六十公分高！)，要前往南部一點的另一個小鎮Mananara。這段路不到一百公里，但是坐車需要一整天！不為別的，就是因為路況真的差到一個極致 (這段路況之差根據租我車子的大陸老闆形容，很可能就是馬島最爛的一段路)！搖搖晃晃的車子，加上和我共享"同一個"副駕駛座還有位大叔，真的是挺累的... 還好沿路上風景非常棒，某些區塊兩側森林也算完整，一路伴隨著Mantella屬蛙類的鳴唱，心情上也不致於太糟糕。一開始就遇到了幾隻變色龍過馬路，其中也不乏漂亮的公七彩變色龍。但是坐在Taxi-Brousse上，實在不方便也不好意思說我要拍變色龍請大家停車 (一停下來拍照，就等於要車上一堆人等了... 他們遇到變色龍會停車，車後有一位助手就會下來把變色龍移到路邊再上路，很不錯！)。所以我等於錯失了好幾次拍變色龍的機會... 心痛啊！但是在我老遠就看到這隻大的誇張、正在一邊搖晃一邊慢慢的過馬路的國王變色龍時，我已經管不了那麼多了... 忘情的喊出：「STOP!!(超大聲)... (小聲)Can you stop for a while please...?」司機雖然英文不太好，但是關鍵字聽的懂，加上也許是因為我剛剛在路上請他吃餅乾的關係，所以他同意了，把車停下讓我下去處理。我趕快把握時間下去把Billy抱起來 (媽呀，好重！) 放在路邊的樹枝上把握時間拍照了！但因為不想讓大家等太久所以總共只拍了約五分鐘，是唯一美中不足的地方... Billy吻肛長應該比30公分要多一點，重量應該直逼一公斤！非常厚實的大男孩！連同之前在Andasibe找到的C. p. cristifer，這兩隻野生的公國王變色龍被驚擾的時候都沒有太大反應 (其它變色龍通常會張嘴想要反咬)，難道這就和穩重的百步蛇 (Deinagkistrodon acutus) 一樣，是所謂的「王者風範」嗎？結束拍攝之後和Billy道別上車，繼續我們一整天off-road的車程。那一天，在擁擠而顛頗的Taxi-Brousse中，至少有一個人是心滿意足的。
- Jan 31 Thu 2013 21:52
- Jan 31 Thu 2013 21:49
The vivid chameleon called the Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), they are the chameleons that have the most variety color! The Panther Chameleon distributed over the north-half of Madagascar, a species kind of widespread. Although it's not a strict phenomenon, but there's color-difference between different areas in male Panther Chameleon. For example, Ambanja and Nosy Be are both famous for the blue-form Panther Chameleon. Some good observers can generally recognize where did it come from when he see a male chameleon or even only a picture (only for male ones... Females are all the same orange color everywhere). Let's call the left Panther Chameleon as Jimmy. One day, I sit in the yard of my hotel in Maroantsetra, and I saw a female Panther Chameleon on the branch of a litchi tree. After I took some pictures, a question I was considering... It's breeding season, there should be at least one male around here! So I searched the trees around the hotel, finally I found one male about 20 meters away from the female, it's Jimmy. What a beautiful chameleon, what a wonderful windfall! The panther chameleons are so beautiful but not rare, it's worth to see them!
這隻超鮮豔的變色龍叫作七彩變色龍 (the Panther Chameleon, Furcifer pardalis)，大概是色彩最多樣的變色龍了！七彩變色龍分布在大約北半部的馬達加斯加，算是分布相當廣泛的一個種。雖然不是絕對，在各地區的公七彩變色龍都有不同的特色，像是西北部的Ambanja或者附近的觀光離島Nosy Be就以出產藍色的七彩變色龍為特色 (但不是每隻都那樣，我在Nosy Be就只看到綠色的)。所以除了母七彩 (每個地方的母七彩都長得幾乎相同，都是橘色的) 之外，有下過功夫的觀察者可以"大致上"為各種顏色的公七彩變色龍歸類產地。這隻是我拍過的七彩變色龍中最漂亮的一隻了，取名叫Jimmy好了。在我找到Jimmy之前，我坐在Maroantsetra的旅館前 (就是那個有安東吉利紅蛙Dyscophus antongilii的旅館)，因為沒事所以看著那些荔枝樹發呆。忽然我在樹上發現了一隻母的七彩變色龍，當然也拍了幾張。這時我心想，最近是變色龍的繁殖季，公龍沒道理放這隻母龍孤家寡龍啊？附近一定有公的七彩變色龍！所以我就背著相機找遍了旅館內外、附近的樹，終於在大約20公尺外的一棵樹上發現Jimmy了！真的好漂亮！好美的意外收穫！七彩變色龍是一種非常漂亮但是卻很親民、數量普遍的變色龍，非常值得一看！
- Jan 31 Thu 2013 21:26
The Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator) is a migratory bird which travel around Australia and New Zealand. They are the first gannet I observed in nature seriously. There's a dense breeding colony at Muriwai Beach, from August to next March every year. This breeding colony was yearly growthing. In the beginning, the colony occured only on the middle rock, after about 10 years, they started to breed on the bottom left place. Again, one decade after, we can found it on the right side region. The number of this colony is really big! In this picture, some of the birds were going out for fishing. If all the birds were going back, it's must be even more spectacular! If you want to enjoy bird-watching there, you must enjoy the sea wind accompanied by the strong smell from bird feces together, haha!
澳紐鰹鳥 (Australasian Gannet, Morus serrator) 是個往返遷徙於澳洲和紐西蘭的鰹鳥，也是第一種我認真觀察的鰹鳥。在紐西蘭北島的Muriwai Beach有一個繁殖群聚，每年大約八月到隔年三月都會從澳洲飛過去，繁殖結束小鳥長的夠大就會再飛回澳洲。這個繁殖群聚是逐年壯大的，一開始只有在中間那塊石頭上出現，過了十年左右到了左下角那塊，再過十年左右到了右邊那塊，數量很多密度很高，圖中這樣的狀態還是因為有不少個體出海捕魚！如果全回來了一定更壯觀，數大便是美！不過在那裡賞鳥也必須享受海風伴隨著濃厚鳥屎味就是了，哈哈！
- Jan 30 Wed 2013 18:32
Let's take something relax today. In the cartoon movie "Madagascar", the three real originally from Madagascar are here now. The aye-aye as Maurice, the ring-tailed lemur as King Julien, the mouse lemur as Mort. Now we can recognize them together!
- Jan 29 Tue 2013 09:07
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！
- Jan 23 Wed 2013 11:24
Recently there's some other fan pages were sharing this gorgeous frog: the Baron's Mantella (Mantella baroni). Like the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), the Baron's Mantella are also belong to genus Mantella. They are both beautiful and poisonous. It's parallel evolution between genus Mantella (endemic to Madagascar) and Dendrobates (occured in South America)... Although they're not close relatives in the phylogenetic tree of frogs, but they got the similar strategies (diurnal, poisonous and high degree of identification) for survivorship might be due to the similar environment. The Baron's Mantella are inhabited in the rainforest of south eastern Madagascar (ex: Ranomafana NP), and unexpected, the population number were not low, quite easy to find if you get to the right habitat (and they're not shy). As well as we can also find another Mantella which is pretty similar to Mantella baroni, the Madagascan Mantella (Mantella madagascariensis) also in Ranomafana NP. I'll talk about maybe next time :)
最近看到其它粉絲團在分享這隻美麗的青蛙，我就搭了順風車也來分享囉~~~ 巴倫曼蛙 (Baron's Mantella, Mantella baroni) 和之前分享過的金色曼蛙 (Golden Mantella, Mantella aurantiaca) 一樣都是曼蛙屬 (genus Mantella) 的物種，都非常的漂亮，也都帶有毒性。一般都會說馬達加斯加特有的曼蛙屬和產於南美洲的箭毒蛙屬 (genus Dendrobates) 是兩個平行演化 (parallel evolution) 的類群... 雖然在演化樹上的距離不算接近，但可能由於相類似的環境，導致這兩類的青蛙演化出了相似的策略 (日行性、高毒性、高辨識度) 來應對，簡單來說就是"殊途同歸"。美麗的巴倫曼蛙棲息在馬達加斯加東南邊的雨林區，著名的Ranomafana NP就找的到，而且令人意外的是只要找到棲息地，這種漂亮的青蛙數量其實不少，而且不算害羞，挺好找的~~~ 算是個相對親民的美麗青蛙囉！同時Ranomafana NP也找的到另一種非常相似的馬島曼蛙 (Madagascan Mantella, Mantella madagascariensis)，長的幾乎一樣，以後再分享囉！