Bakozetra locality, Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve. 2015

Hi Everyone,

Within this photograph blog entry, I will be in the Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve, located north of the town of Andasibe.

Continuing the day that I encountered one of Madagascar’s most iconic species of frog, the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), my guide Fanoo and I decided to travel slightly further north to a different part of the Torotorofotsy. Bakozetra is like I said, lies in the northern most parts of the Torotorofotsy and west of the Mantadia National Park and is incredibly well known for its particular locality of Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) which exhibit Red flash marks (Markings situated upon the hind legs as warning markings, one of the methods of Aposematism).

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What is a hugely common sight throughout the region of Andasibe (And elsewhere in Madagascar) is the Rainforest being so drastically fragmented. Like you can see here, forested areas are destroy to make room for Rice paddies and other agricultural purposes. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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We finally got to the outskirts of the Bakozetra locality within the Torotorofotsy Wetlands, certainly was a thicker form of Rainforest. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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I decided that I really, really needed the toilet (This was the beginning of my gastrointestinal illness) and asked where there was one and well, I kind of made that mistake. Covered in flies and stank to high heaven, I ended up going in the bushes! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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We make our way through the mountain passes, leavin the driver and the vehicle behind so he can drive and meet us at the meeting spot that was decided. However all of a sudden, Fanoo shouts out that there is a Madagascan Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis) amongst the leaf litter, can you spot it in the picture? © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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It was a incredibly beautiful specimen of Thamnosophis lateralis, vibrantly coloured on its undderside and had a colourful attitude with it! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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The Thamnosophis lateralis, did try to bite me a few times which I strugged off. Getting these photographs was NOT an easy matter as it would quite quickly. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Lateral Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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We eventually started to go down hill and it wasn’t long before I saw my first wild specimen of Orchid from Madagascar and it so happened to be my favourite species, the Malagasy Lemon Orchid (Aerangis citrata). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved
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It was in full bloom with a total of 19 flowers upon a single stem. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Lemon Orchid (Aerangis citrata). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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After another 40 minutes and a bit of daring slippery log walking across a deep and fast flowing stream, we reached one of the breeding sites of the Bakozetra Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) populations. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Once at the breeding site, we started to search around for both the species of Mantella and also other species of Anura etc and eventually came across an intriguing species from the Microhylidae family. This was the Malagasy Climbing Rain Frog (Plethodontohyla mihanika). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Climbing Rain Frog (Plethodontohyla mihanika), which I sexed as a male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Climbing Rain Frog (Plethodontohyla mihanika). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Climbing Rain Frog (Plethodontohyla mihanika). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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It wasn’t long however, till we finally both came across what we were looking for, there was 5 Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) specimens hopping around the area, clearly enjoying the last of the rains. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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This particular Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) specimen, was not only beautiful and brightly coloured but also was host to a small species of leech as you can see. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” exhibiting what you can clearly see a brightly coloured Flash Mark upon its hind quarters. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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A closer look at the Venter/Venteral (Underside) of the Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea). Showing both an Aposematic underside and hind quarters whilst performing Thanatosis. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) beginning to perform Thanatosis (Playing Dead) behaviour. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Exhibiting Thanatosis still, I was able to some how turn it onto its venter without it jumping away. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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It wasn’t long before we came across another resident of the breeding pond, this was slightly lighter in colouration. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) “Bakozetra” locality variant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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After realising we had spent about 2 hours with the Yellow Mantella specimens, we decided it was getting late and it was time to go back. Along the way, we came across a few very young Malagasy Marbled Rain Frogs (Scaphiophyrne marmorata), another member of the Microhylidae family. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Malagasy Marbled Rain Frog (Scaphiophyrne marmorata). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
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Along the floor, on the pathway, there were one or two Giant Pill-Millipedes (Sphaeromimus sp.) © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 – The photographs and information written is copyrighted by Joshua Ralph of MantellaMan Conservation.

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3 thoughts on “Bakozetra locality, Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve. 2015”

    1. Thank you Laura for your kind comment. It certainly is a wonderful experience to encounter these beautiful animals where they belong, I have worked with many species for 17 years and seeing them in the wild I have found, is so much better! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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