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 Post subject: Madagascar Part 2: Arboretum d'Antsokay
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 8:56 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Posts: 62
Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Arboretum d'Antsokay is in the arid southwestern part of Madagascar just outside the coastal town of Toliara. The arboretum contains many plant specimens from arid regions of Madagascar. It is a good place to find herps. The arboretum has accommodations and a restaurant, which is convenient for nocturnal hikes. The cottages and food are top notch. In this report I will start out with a chameleon, the large Furcifer verrucosus. This chameleon looks similar to Furcifer oustaleti, which will be described later, and their distribution overlaps in the southwest.

ImageFurcifer verrucosus by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageFurcifer verrucosus by mitchberk, on Flickr

In the above pictures the chameleon is rather annoyed at me and its body and gular regions are inflated. In the picture below, the same chameleon is deflated appearing much "thinner".

ImageFurcifer verrucosus by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageFurcifer verrucosus by mitchberk, on Flickr

Onto the geckos. Paroedura picta is a small nocturnal gecko found in arid forests in southern Madagascar. It is characterized by the diagonal banding on its body.

ImageParoedura picta by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageParoedura picta by mitchberk, on Flickr

The eyes have the typical vertical pupil of nocturnal geckos.
ImageParoedura picta by mitchberk, on Flickr

The very fine restaurant at the arboretum did not lack for non-native nocturnal geckos as represented by Hemidactylus mercatorius.

ImageHemidactylus mercatorius by mitchberk, on Flickr

The very small Lygodactylus tuberosus is commonly associated with trees. This individual appears gravid.

ImageLygodactylus tuberosus by mitchberk, on Flickr

The fish-scale gecko, Geckolepis typica is capable of shedding its large scales when stressed. Luckily this did not happen to this individual during the photo session.

ImageGeckolepis typica by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageGeckolepis typica by mitchberk, on Flickr

The arboretum also contained the day gecko, Phelsuma mutabilis as was also found in Ifaty.

ImagePhelsuma mutabilis by mitchberk, on Flickr

I caught this Phelsuma mutabilis licking its eye.

ImagePhelsuma mutabilis by mitchberk, on Flickr

A representative of the Gerrhosaurids, Tracheloptychus madagascariensis, was prevalent at the arboretum. They greeted us on the sidewalk before we even got to our cottage. Tracheloptychus madagascariensis looks similar to Tracheloptychus petersi that was found in Reniala National Forest. Tracheloptychus madagascariensis has three light-colored stripes bordered by two black stripes on its back while Tracheloptychus petersi has a dorsolateral black stripe bordered by a light colored stripe on each side. But most obvious is the brownish coloration of T. madagascariensis rather than the reddish coloration of T. petersi

ImageTracheloptychus madagascariensis by mitchberk, on Flickr from Arboretum d'Antsokay

ImageTracheloptychus petersi by mitchberk, on Flickr from Reniala National Forest

As for skinks, Trachylepis aureopunctata was found perched on a tree stump adjacent to our cottage and along the road.

ImageTrachylepis aureopunctata by mitchberk, on Flickr

Iguanids were represented by the spiny-tailed Oplurus cyclurus posed on logs around the cottages and in the dry forest. The one pictured immediately below has a regenerated tip of its tail, which is common.

ImageOplurus cyclurus by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageOplurus cyclurus by mitchberk, on Flickr

Now for the snakes. Heteroliodon occipitalis

ImageHeteroliodon occipitalis by mitchberk, on Flickr

Mimophis mahfalensis was found slithering into the outdoor restaurant at the Arboretum d Antsokay.

ImageMimophis mahfalensis by mitchberk, on Flickr

As for frogs, Scaphiophryne brevis made an appearance.

ImageScaphiophryne brevis by mitchberk, on Flickr

Birding was quit good. The Running Coua (Coua cursor) was habituated to the presence of humans.

ImageRunning Coua (Coua cursor) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Madagascar Magpie Robin (Copsychus albospecularis)

ImageMadagascar Magpie Robin (Copsychus albospecularis) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis), male. This species is sexually dimorphic.

ImageNamaqua Dove (Oena capensis), male by mitchberk, on Flickr

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis), female

ImageNamaqua Dove (Oena capensis), female by mitchberk, on Flickr

Madagascar Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus)

ImageMadagascar Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Madagascar Bulbul (Hypsipetes madagascariensis)

ImageMadagascar Bulbul (Hypsipetes madagascariensis) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Invertebrates were represented by various species of spiders. I found this mygalomorph spider on the sandy floor of the restaurant prior to our nocturnal hike.

Imagemygalomorph spider by mitchberk, on Flickr


ImageSpider by mitchberk, on Flickr

This appears to be the same species of spider that we found in the Reniala Forest. I could not resist showing it again since it has such a striking banded pattern on its legs.

ImageSpider by mitchberk, on Flickr

Many species of dragonflies make Madagascar home. I have not attempted to key them out.
ImageDragonfly by mitchberk, on Flickr

Madagascar Part 3 will cover the animals found in Isalo National Park. Spoiler alert: Both tree and ground boas were observed and photographed.


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 Post subject: Re: Madagascar Part 2: Arboretum d'Antsokay
PostPosted: July 20th, 2017, 9:23 am 
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Joined: November 10th, 2013, 12:14 pm
Posts: 93
Location: Pacific Northwest (Oregon) U.S.
Great photos and stories, Mitch. Your trip brings back nice memories of Madagascar. And that Heteroliodon occipitalis, is fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
-Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Madagascar Part 2: Arboretum d'Antsokay
PostPosted: July 23rd, 2017, 2:33 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
Posts: 476
Wow, I'm in love with these photos. Looking forward to more!

– Justin


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 Post subject: Re: Madagascar Part 2: Arboretum d'Antsokay
PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 6:48 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Posts: 62
Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Paul and Intermedius,

Thanks for your generous comments. I am glad you enjoyed the posts. More are on the way.

Mitch


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