All posts by MantellaMan

Malagasy Nature Photographs – Menalamba locality, Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve.

Hi Everyone,

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

Being one of my first days in Madagascar and with the breeding season of a few species I so desperately wanted to see nearly over, Devin Edmonds (Director of the ASACA facility in Andasibe) and myself made an attempted to find a species that pretty much kicked started our passion at such a young age for us both.  This was of course Madagascar’s most iconic species of Amphibian, the critically endangered Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca).

A day I will remember for the rest of my lifetime!

139
A Primary School at the Menalambe village in the Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve, was very happy and surprised to see the regions (and country’s) most iconic Amphibian species painted on the school sign. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
145
A view we could see from the far side of the village, showing the expansive nature of the Torotorofotsy Wetlands, or what it would have been like before paddy after paddy of Rice fields were planted. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
148
After leaving the car, we made our way along the old rail tracks which were used to transport Lumber from the edges of the reserve. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
149
Ahead of us was Rennie, a local guide for the Torotorofotsy region. Fantastic guide and I got on with him incredibly well regardless of the language barrier! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
252
Eventually, after approxiamtely 45 minutes of walking, we got to the first sign telling us that we reached the actual Menalamba locality. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
254
Right next to that sign, well as you can see, was a wooden bridge that was made. Regardless of appearances, it was very sturdy… If your sensse of balance is okay! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
170
Almost instantly, we went straight to hunting for the critically endangered species, I made sure not to get my hopes up however as I knew it was the end of the breeding season and it was right about the time the animals left their breeding grounds. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
177
About an hour into our search, we still had no luck, but we moved “Mora Mora” or translated from Malagasy “Slowly Slowly” making sure we turned over every leaf! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
178
Indiana Jones, eat your heart out (It wasnt intentional to look like him!). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
185
We did come across a breeding pond for the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) specimens in the area, and within it we found… © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
184
… Some Tadpoles!! A little game of “Spot the Tadpoles” is in order, can you see them? © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
250
We had almost given up and after two and a half hours, me and Devin had decided that instead of carrying at this particular area that we should move on to the next one… Until, we heard shouting from Rennie and Fano telling us to come quickly as they have found a specimen! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
187
And that was it, I had finally seen the species of Amphibian that started my entire career and passion from such a young age. It was so amazing, that I almost cried to myself and was utterly speechless. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
188
I avoided all movement, for the next 20 minutes, as I was so worried about hurting the specimen. However, it turns out that this little male wasn’t alone… There was a female with him too! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
197
Gorgeous colouration on both the male (pictured) and female, a deep reddish orange colour that is quite typical of the wild specimens of the species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
199
Another photograph of the male Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
190
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
222
A wild pairing of Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) at the ‘Menalamba’ locality within the Torotorofotsy Wetland Reserve. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
215
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
214
The Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) pair again. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
225
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) pair, Male (Top Left) and Female (Bottom Right). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
223
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) female specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
206
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) female specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
220
She decided to launch herself at my camera and got slightly dirty, hence the bits of leaf litter covering her. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
201
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) female covered in dirt, however I quite like the more natural appearance. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
228
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
230
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) female specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
247
I was entirely captivated by them, that I just watched them and observed them for the entire time. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
248
Devin Edmonds (Left), Joshua Ralph (Middle) and Rennie (Right). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
256
We decided to move on to the next locality, as you can see, Devin was lucky enough to get mobile signal for his snapchats! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
260
So, we decided to move on and try our luck at another locality, one that was particularly well known to experts to be covered in Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) during breeding season. (I will not be listing the name of the locality) © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
285
We firstly took the pathways, whilst Devin got out his GPS and tried to find his book marked locations for the breeding ponds. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
290
It wasn’t long however, until we found evidence that the local teams that were meant to be protecting the site, hadn’t been doing their jobs with signs of felling that was recently performed! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
273
Not only that, but we also found a destroyed Golden Mantella breeding pond, that had been mined for Gold. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
282
We walked along a stream, but heard no mating calls from the males and potentially there were no specimens left and had left to hide away until the next breeding season. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
289
We did find this gorgeous Arachnida specimen in the pathway, amazing morphology but like most Arthropoda it is yet to be described. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tokyo Salamander (Hynobius tokyoensis) Care Sheet

Author: Joshua S. Ralph.
Establishment/Organisation: MantellaMan Conservation.
First published: 21/02/16
Review date:

Common name: Tokyo Salamander (Tokyo Lungless Salamander, Hynobid Salamander)
Scientific name: Hynobius tokyoensis – Tago, 1931
Family: Hynobiidae
Country of Origin: Japan
Localities: Mainly distributed in the Fukushima Prefecture southwestwards through Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture out westwards through Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture of the Kanto District.

Tokyo Salamander (Hynobius tokyoensis) Care Sheet

Copyright © – The attached husbandry/care sheet and all information, photographs and designs are copyrighted to Joshua Ralph – 2016.

Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) Care Sheet

If you didnt know already, I have approximately 15 years experience keeping and breeding species of Amphibia, with a speciality within the genus of Mantella frogs from Madagascar. So, below you will find a care guide to how I keep and breed the said species.

Author: Joshua S. Ralph.
Establishment/Organisation: MantellaMan Conservation.

Common name: Golden Mantella (Malagasy Golden Mantella, Madagascan Golden Frog, Golden Frog, Orange Mantella, Red Mantella)
Scientific name: Mantella aurantiacaMocquard, 1900.
Family: Mantellidae
Country of Origin: Madagascar.
Localities: North and South of the Moramanga region, at the Torotorofotsy Wetland Reserve (c. 7km north-west of Andasibe); Andromena Forest at the Samarirana River.

Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) Care Sheet

222
A wild pairing of Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) at the ‘Menalamba’ locality within the Torotorofotsy Wetland Reserve. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
183
Close up of a wild breeding pond containing more than a few different species of Anura tadpoles, including Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
185
Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) breeding pond, found within the ‘Menalamba’ locality of the Torotorofotsy Wetland Reserve. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
10372828_10202697716425682_8733379043833623524_o
Close of captive breed Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) offspring, during their Tadpole lifestage. © 2013 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
10505084_10202697718105724_4026701844704610907_o
Captive bred Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) offspring, during the last few days of their time within their egg sacs. © 2013 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © – The attached husbandry/care sheet and all information, photographs and designs are copyrighted to Joshua Ralph – 2016.

Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) Care Sheet

If you didnt know already, I have approximately 15 years experience keeping and breeding species of Amphibia, with a speciality within the genus of Mantella frogs from Madagascar. So, below you will find a care guide to how I keep and breed the said species.

Author: Joshua S. Ralph.
Establishment/Organisation: MantellaMan Conservation.

Common name: Yellow Mantella (Eastern Golden Frog, Eastern Mantella)
Scientific name: Mantella croceaPintak & Böhme, 1990
Family: Mantellidae
Country of Origin: Madagascar.
Localities: Bakozetra west of Parc National de Mantadia; Ifoha west of Parc National de Mantadia; a forest area east of Ambohimanarivo; and outside the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Zahamena.

Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) Care Sheet

408
Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) ‘Bakozetra’ locality west of the Parc National de Mantadia, near the Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
380
Wild Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) of the ‘Bakozetra’ locality, performing ‘Thanatosis’ (Greek for “Playing Dead”) showing bright red flash marks. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © – The attached husbandry/care sheet and all information, photographs and designs are copyrighted to Joshua Ralph – 2015.

Amphibian Conservation Fundraising Event.

Some of you that are now reading this blog entry may know me already, but from those of you that don’t or haven’t read my ‘About Me’ section on my website, then please allow me to introduce my self, my name is Joshua Ralph and I am a Batrachologist, Conservationist and Zoo Keeper. Now, some of you that aren’t really familar to animal terminology my be wondering what on earth a ‘Batrachologist’ is, well it is a person who specialises in the study of Amphibia (Frogs, Toads, Newts, Salamanders and Caecillians) within the specific field of zoology.

398
Me at the Bakozetra locality in the Torotorofotsy Wetlands Reserve, Madagascar. A well known locality hosting the endangered Yellow Mantella (Mantella crocea) species, a genus I love the most within the class of Amphibia. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

I have always loved working with and keeping Amphibian species, and it is my upmost passion and a path I have chosen to work within since before the age of seven years old. As generalised as I try to be, I am incredibly biased towards the species found upon a very biologically important and completely unique island, this of course is Madagascar. For those of you that aren’t entirely aware of the island or infact knew it was a real place, let me give you some information regarding it.

MADAGASCAR IN AN OVERFLOWING NUTSHELL.
Measuring a grand total of 592,800 square kilometres (or 228,900 sq miles for those of you that prefer to use this form of measurement), it is recorded as the fourth largest island on the planet and with this quantity of land along with total island isolation, the wildlife upon it have had all this time to evolve into the life you can find today. Most of which are entirely endemic, as a matter of fact over 90% of all life on Madagascar can only be found upon it. Regarding Amphibia, currently there is thought to be roughly 300 species accounted for that have been described, however more are still awaiting appropriate description and even discovery out of all the species of Amphibia found on Madagascar, 99.5% of them are completely endemic. According to R. G. B. Perl and other researchers, in the article titled “DNA Barcoding Madagascar’s Amphibian Fauna”, it is listed that just over 500 species are to be found within their country of origin, but it is believed to inhabit a greater amount than above said quantity, by approximately 200 species.

72242.gif
Measuring a grand total of 592,800 square kilometres (228,900 sq miles), it is the fourth largest island on the planet.

These amazing animals, are currently in trouble (as is the case for a majority of life upon the island) with risks from highly invasive species such as the Asian Common Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) and the deadly fungal infection, Chytridiomycosis (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) a fungal disease that has caused the extinction of many species across the planet already!!

CHYTRIDIOMYCOSIS – THE LETHAL AMPHIB KILLER.
Chytridiomycosis (or commonly known as Chytrid Fungus) is an emerging infectious disease to the class of Amphibians, caused by the aquatic fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). There are numerous Chytrid fungi members that can be found within the class of Chytridiomycetes. A lot of Chytrids are are what is known as Saprophytes, fungi living on the dead decaying organic matter, arguably making one of their most important ecological functions, decomposition. However Bd, is very unique in comparision to other Chytrids.

Having been first described in 1999, this new species was found to infect (with much success) Amphibian species. What makes this even more unusual, is the fact it is the only Chytrid to parasictically attack a vertebrate species and further more, specically only Amphibians. It is often highly contagious and infection predominately occurs inside the cells of the outer skin layers that contain large amounts of keratin.  As you may be aware, Keratin is what hair, feathers and claws are made of and helps by making the outside of the skin tough and more resistant to injury. The biggest trait that Amphibians predominately have is  a Permeable skin, which is highly important for Gaseous exchange that can take place with some of the class it also helps with the absorbtion of important salts (electrolytes) like sodium and potassium through the skin. Chytridiomycosis, changes that entirely, forcing the skin to become thicker due to Microscopic changes that are known as “hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis”. Abnormal electrolyte levels as the result of Bd-damage the skin causing the heart to literally stop beating and obviously killing the infected animal (Voyles et al., 2009 and in other species that are entirely dependant on their skin to breathe such as Lungless Salamanders, it causes suffocation.

12032767_527397820750808_5034346925217681431_o
#SAVEMADAGASCAR – © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, not all Amphibians die from this fungal infection, with some species being “resistant” to the adverse effects and instead becoming carriers. These species in particular, such as the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis), are of major concern to all Amphibians susceptible to the fungus Zoospores, due to being able to spread the infection further and cause further damage to other populations and of course cause extinction. In approximately only 30 years, Bd has caused the catastrophic decline or extinction (in many cases within a single year) of at least 200 species of frogs, even in pristine, remote habitats (Skerratt et al. 2007) some of them iconic such as the Australian Gastro-brooding Frogs (Rheobatrachus) and the neotropical Golden Toad (Incilius periglenes).

I wish to raise money for my associate partner, the Amphibian Survival Alliance (Amphibians.org) and their projects to eliminate the threats that Madagascar’s amphibians are facing, by doing something unusual and difficult.

THE PILGRIM’S WAY (UK)- WINCHESTER TO CANTERBURY SPONSORED WALK.
As a side hobby, on the weekends I re-enact 12th century Norman England with one of the UK’s premiere 12th century re-enactment societies, where I perform in unscripted and realistic combat displays. As a result, I own a lot of Norman period warriors attire, from real Maille (Chainmail as you may incorrectly know it), steel Helmets, heavy duty shields to even weaponry.

10486136_10205217603541285_4589040985074669392_n
Me in my very real armour, one of the many different forms of armour of a Norman warrior during the 12th century would have worn. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

I wanted to do something a bit different to Skydiving or Bungee Jumping, and I finally decided that I will do a certain walk known as the Pilgrim’s Way, a 119+ mile pilgrimage route from Winchester (Hampshire, UK) to Canterbury (Kent, UK), a journey taking 12-14 days in total. However, I am not just doing a walk, oh no, its far more interesting than that! I plan to do this wearing the full attire of a 12th century Norman warrior, head to toe clad in armour and clothing authentic to the period. (I will weigh all my clothing and equipment I will take I know what you are more than likely saying, “This has nothing to do with animals.” and “What does this have to do with Amphibians?” And my answer to that is, well, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with my passion and the conservation efforts currently taking place in Madagascar. Also, my own reasons for doing this walk has NOTHING to do with relgion, it is just something that I thought would be both challenging and interesting.

Anyway, I shall be posting again shortly and creating a section on my website that will be dedicated to my Fundraising event so please do share this page for now on Facebook, Twitter etc so we can all make a difference and save the Amphibians of Madagascar whilst we still can…

Thank you for reading,

Joshua Ralph
(MantellaMan)

Malagasy Nature Photographs – Maromizaha Reserve Speciale (Day Hike)11/04/15

Hi Everyone,

Within this photograph blog entry, I will be in the Maromizaha Reserve Speciale for an entire day hike through this amazing rainforest valley.

This particular day proved spectacular for a majority of Fauna and Flora species, from Chameleons to Amphibia, especially when it came to finding a very young Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) with an amazing colouration, miniture orchid species and amazing views from vantage points.

The amount of species I saw this day were as follows:

Mammals (Mammalia): 1
Amphibians (Amphibia): 15
Reptiles (Reptilia): 6
Invertebrates (Arthropoda): 9
Birds (Aves): 2

 

DSC_0001
Early start for me on this day, I was up with excitement at 4am! Once it got to the time I had to be ready, it was light and I took some photographs of the slightly wilder parts of Andasibe Town, including these Rice Paddies! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0008
Round this outer part of Andasibe, you can find parts of the Forest that still exist. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0009
In these Rice Paddies, you can hear the continuious chorus of the Malagasy Canary Frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis), whom use these man-made pools to breed within. They are named the “Canary” Frog due to their ability to turn bright yellow during the mating season! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0003
Everything in the early mornings is just a beautiful mixture of lush greens. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0004
A fruit I started to eat a lot of during my time in Madagascar, in the form of “Mofo Akondro” (Banana Fritters) and this is grown in someones garden! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved
DSC_0016
My ride arrived and we stopped by the Association Mitsinjo Forest Station Office, to pick up a guest that me and Pierre (Paa) would guide through the Maromizaha Reserve Speciale for the day, this was Serge Pasquasy with his Wife and Brother in-law. However, Serge was still not awake as he had been wandering the roadside until 4am!! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0022
Whilst waiting for Serge to awaken from his slumber, I took some photographs of a Madagascan Wag-tail (Motacilla flaviventris) that had landed a few feet away from me. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0032
We eventually reached one of the far ends of the Maromizaha Reserve, ad we walked for approximately 45 minutes until we got to the Forests edge. We walked through countless fields of crops and turned out that once, not too long ago, all these agricultural lands were all Rainforest… A very sad sight to behold. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0033
However, we got there, to the edge of the Rainforest of Maromizaha but, we had a lot more walking to go still as it was only 8am by this time. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0031
Maromizaha Reserve Speciale Forest. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0052
Before long, we began to see the early risers of the forest. Including this, still very sleepy, Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0054
He wasnt very impressed with being disturbed by us and our persistant photography demands. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0061
Eventually, the sound of running water was brought to our attention, at some parts (inaccessible) large waterfalls! This was the first crossing we made on a narrower part of the stream. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0069
Wasn’t long before we found the Giant Emerald Pill-bugs (Zoosphaerium neptunus) of Maromizaha, which gather in vast numbers along the pathways. To what end, we still do not know entirely. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0071
Unfortunately, you can’t pick them up without them curling into their defensive balls but this was certainly large. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0090
Beautiful, lush rainforest stream, would you believe me when I say we still arent in the actual reserve yet? © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0077
We reached the Multipurpose Center Maromizaha Forest Shelter where Dr Valeria Torti and her team were staying whilst performing important research in the reserve on Lemur species. Just below the steps, there was part of the small stream, where there were hundreds of newly morphed Betsileo Jumping Frogs (Mantidactylus betsileanus). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0083
This newly morphed Betsileo Jumping Frog (Mantidactylus betsileanus) specimen was no bigger than half the size of my little finger nail! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0085
Above us, whilst searching the undergrowth for more M.betsileanus metamorphs, a Blue Madagascar Coua (Coua caerulea) was flying and perching over head, clearing watching us and waiting for us to leave! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0095
We continued our trek uphil, in search of a small family of Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema), we saw an unusual “plant” on a large tree, it was only until we got closer that we worked out what it really was. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0092
It was a young Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) specimen, blending into its surroundings amongst hanging plant species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0097
A close up of the Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) young. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0091
© 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0119
The Trek led further up-hill till we found the family of Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema) which had 5-7 members within it, including young. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0115
One of the younger Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema) members. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0126
A small Dypsis hildebrandtii palm specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0133
Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata mutata) Nest, it was incredibly low down but it was certainly no longer in use. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0135
Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata mutata) Nest © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0163
At an abandoned camping station deeping in the forest, on the way to the Maromizaha Waterfalls, we stumbled across a beautiful Madagascan Yellow-striped Water Snake (Thamnosophis lateralis) specimen, however with a blink of an eye (and flick of a camera shutter) it was gone. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0168
A smaller part of the stream, but a gorgeous sight! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0172
Gorgeous and very distinctive plant in the middle of the pathway. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0173
Almost perfectly clear waters of the Maromizaha waterfalls. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0170
There are numerous mini-waterfalls along the pathway! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0179
The cascading waters of Maromizaha, not a huge waterfall but certainly a pretty one! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0203
A close up of the falls, gorgeous and a lucky shot. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0225
There is a natural trench just above the actual falls obviously formed over thousands of years. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0219
We had a break and ate our lunch, couldn’t think of a better place to have it, so we all sat just like Pierre (Paa) here is in this photograph. We also searched the area for Baron’s Mantella (Mantella baronii) as it was a known locality, however the timing during the day was wrong and the sun was out with no rainfall. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0229
Camera shot of Serge and his wife, there is one of me he took somewhere!! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0147
A incredibly lucky find, a Thiel’s Pygmy Chameleon (Brookesia thieli) specimen, comepletely perfect in everyway and a species I was hoping to find dring my trip. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0148
Thiel’s Pygmy Chameleon (Brookesia thieli) © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0242
60ft later, we came across a Therezien’s Pygmy Chameleon (Brookesia therezieni) female with gorgeous colours! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0241
We made our way back to the abandoned camp site and looked about the ruins and found several Bulbophyllum sp. which were not in bloom. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0253
An adult Betselio Jumping Frog (Mantidactylus betsleanus) specimen, found quite close to wehere we found the metamorphs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0244
Not far from the M.betsileanus there was a Vakona Palm and amongst it, a single Beautiful Palm Frog (Guibemantis pulcher) specimen, typically where you would find members of the genus. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0246
Close up of the Beautiful Palm Frog (Guibemantis pulcher). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0267
We eventually made our way back, to head towards the mountain pathway and found a place where various different Orchid species were placed, including Bulbophyllum sp. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0263
Another Orchid species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0264
And another… © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0269
However, the most remarkable and amazing I cam across was this particular species. The Malagasy Thumb-nail Orchid (Angraecum chamaeanthus). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0270
This truly is miniture, the Angraecum chamaeanthus specimen is bearly an inch or so in length. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0273
Absolutely perfect, al in proportion aswell! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0274
Cyinorchis sp. a species which was really beautiful to find! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0279
And another beautiful and rather large species of flora, know as the Baron’s Balsam (Impatiens baronii). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0294
The vine growing Pink Oeonia (Oeonia rosea) orchid, was very unusual. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph = All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0300
Oeonia rosea is simply gorgeous looking, no doubts about it! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0301
As you can partly see, Oeonia rosea grows on vine-like stems. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0302
We eventually reached the top of the mountain-side, which hosted a marvellous view of the entire valley. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0313
© 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0305
All these photographs show the entire length of the forest we traversed that day! Isn’t far but there is lots of winding pathways. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0321
The beginning of our journey below! © 2015 – Joshua Ralgh – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0327
Not quite sure how he knew but Paa picked up a fallen bamboo cane and split it to reveal a Scolopendra sp. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph -All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0328
I keep several species of Scolopendra in my personal collection and have worked with them in a few Zoological collections, and even though i can handle them, they seriously sare the daylights out of me! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0340
We trekked further to the place where you go do rock climbing and absail down into a cave system at the top, unfortunately I wasn’t able to do this as it was to late in the day. © 2015 – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0341
© 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0347
That small crag is where you have to rock climb. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0348
Wide spread throughout the region, is the many different species of Guava Fruit, including the smaller Strawberry Guava (Psidium cattleyanum) comonly (incorrectly) called the “Chinese Guava” not because it originates from China, but due to being numerous and widespread. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0350
To mark the end of the journey, the hillsides of the surrounding region… How much of this used to be forest? © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

 

Malagasy Nature Photographs – Mitsinjo Forest Reserve & Parc a Orchidees (Nocturnal Walk) 4

Hi Everyone,

Within this photograph blog entry, I will be in the Mitsinjo Forest Reserve (Analamazaotra Forest Station) and the Parc a Orchidees (Orchid Park) for another night hike (You do see so much at Night, my focus was upon nocturnal walks after a while, going on them every day).

This particular evening was fantastic for finding Chameleon species it seemed, especially when it came to finding young Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne), Perinet Striped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) and Pygmy Leaf-nosed Chameleons (Calumma nasutum).

The amount of species I saw this night were as follows:

Mammals (Mammalia): 1
Amphibians (Amphibia): 10
Reptiles (Reptilia): 5
Invertebrates (Arthropoda): 12
Birds (Aves): 0

DSC_0004
Beautifully coloured Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) hatchling specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0001
Without having to venture to far, we came across a very young Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) specimen, just off the stone steps that lead down to the entrance of the forest. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0006
It was so small, couldn’t have been very old at all. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

 

DSC_0007
Not far away though, I could hear the sound of a Flamed Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis pyrrhus) calling. Positioned perfectly upon this little collection of leaves. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0009
Once disturbed however, he decided it was time to move, perhaps to a less obvious (to the human eye) position. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph.
DSC_0011
It appeared that it was the time of emergence for the offspring of my species of Chameleon, as we found several if not more Perinet Striped Chameleons (Calumma gastroteania) in single area. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0023
And another Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) hatchling, found deeper within the forest this time! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0025
My second Amphibian species for the evening was another I hadn’t encountered before, Boulenger’s Jumping Frog (Gephyromantis boulengeri). Seemed completely unphased by me observing it. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0027
Boulenger’s Jumping Frog (Gephyromantis boulengeri). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0043
Here we go again, another species of Malagasy Arachnid that is unknown. Beautiful and striking colouration. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0033
A young male Malagasy Common Canary Frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis) specimen making his waythrough the forest, coming from the direction of the Parc a Orchidees lake. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0041
There happened to be quite a few Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis specimens making their way from the lake, really can’t wait to see them in their breeding colours! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0028
What I did love, was coming across (upclose this time) one of the smaller species of the Calumma genus, the Pygmy Leaf-nosed Chameleon (Calumma nasutum). Dangling from the smallest of twigs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0035
One of the first of many Green Bright-eyed Frogs (Boophis viridis) specimens I came across during my travels. So Vibrant. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0050
Doesn’t matter how many times I came across them, Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) never fail to make me smile! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0052
Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is such a stunning species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0053
Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0049
And this is what happens when they panic whilst you are holding them! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0057
An amphibian species to through into the mix, another I hadn’t come across until this night, the Betsileo Reed Frog (Heterixalus betsileo). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0054
There were a few of these Mantid species scattered throughout the Parc a Orchidees, some in quite close proximity to each other. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0079
We may have seen quite a few hatchling Calumma brevicorne specimens however, this was the first we encountered in adult form that evening. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0080
As you can see, this female Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) was not to happy about being woken up! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0075
As the evening drew to an end, we unexpectedly stumbled across this absolutely stunning male Christopher’s Parson’s Chameleon (Calumma parsonii cristifer). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0062
This Calumma parsonii cristifer was the most strikingly coloured I have ever seen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0069
Perfect twin horns upon his snot and a gorgeous colouration. Amazing find to round of a great evening. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

 

Malagasy Nature Photographs – Mitsinjo Forest Reserve & Parc a Orchidees (Nocturnal Walk) 3

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back, in this photograph blog entry, I will be in the Mitsinjo Forest Reserve (Analamazaotra Forest Station) and the Parc a Orchidees (Orchid Park) for a night hike (which would have been the third time I entered the forest at night – at this point I had pretty much worked out that going out on Nocturnal walks was in fact the best time to go.)

I came across a great and varied amount of species for this night of hiking in the rainforest, some of these species such as younger specimens of the Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) – which I have found quite common to stumble across -, the Graceful Ground Gecko (Paroedura gracilis) and the Malagasy Scops Owl (Otus rutilus) were all amazing to see. Some of them were highly unexpected however including the Otus rutilus specimen that I really wasnt banking on seeing, especially as I have only been managing to hear them.

The amount of species I saw this night were as follows:

Mammals (Mammalia): 2
Amphibians (Amphibia): 5
Reptiles (Reptilia): 3
Invertebrates (Arthropoda): 12
Birds (Aves): 1

DSC_0007
Flamed Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis pyhrrus) male specimen that we found on his platform, calling with his beautiful song. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0011
Along the treks within the forest, you would come across several of these completely stunning Dragonfly species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0012
Seeing these Dragonfly wasn’t difficult, infact you only had to shine your headtorch to reveal their position. Their wings acting like a neon sign, giving themselves away. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0013
Andasibe Eyed Butterfly (Heteropsis andasibe) specimen, freely hanging from his nocturnal perch. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0014
A Green Ariel Branch Orchid (Aeranthes ramosa) specimen found within the Parc a Orchidees. Beautiful species in its simplicity. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0015
Regardless of its colouration, it is still a beautiful species with its petal formation. Always a pleasure to see Orchid species in the wild. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0024
This stunning Malagasy Scops Owl (Otus rutilus) specimen didn’t even budge from his perch. We must have be no closer than 5 feet away from him when I took this photograph. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0030
Needless to say, this particular O.rutilus wasn’t best impressed with being disturbed for a photoshoot and certainly didnt enjoy our meeting, even if I did! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0033
My guide walked completely past this young Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) specimen, which made me laugh as it was quite obviously scurrying around the pathway as noisely as it could! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

 

DSC_0040
Such a tiny creature, what I couldnt capture in a still photograph was its quills performing their stridulation behaviour, clearly communicating with siblings etc. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0054
This was/is the first time I saw this species in the wild, a Graceful Ground Gecko (Paroedura gracilis) male specimen. Ironically, my first meeting with this species was not upon the ground but 4 foot on a branch. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0060
Was incredibly fortunate to be able to get so close and take these photographs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0067
At this point, I spooked the Paroedura gracilis and in seer panic I instinctively caught him in mid air (obviously from my days working at Sparsholt College catching animals jumping out of their cages when students entered their exhibits). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0068
This stroke of luck did give me the benefits of being able to take some photographs of its gorgeous patterning! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0069
After our brief encounter, I decided it was time to stop stressing him and let him go. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0042
Not entirely sure what the species is, but this isnt anything new. A majority of Madagascar’s animalia (especially Arthropoda) are undescribed and possibly new species. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0043
Yet again, I have no idea what these are on this Vakona Leaf, but there was over 50 of them along the leaf itself. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0072
A Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female, yet again another one that appears to be carrying eggs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0073
A species I like to call the “Ying & Yang Moth” (Unknown sp.), which are incredibly common to see, so it is suprising they havent been described properly yet. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0074
The feathering on the bottom edges of the wings fascinate me. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0076
You don’t expect to see unusual or amazing animals and their behaviours on ventures through the forest, you just come across them! Especially with this little/big chap we found in a tree. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0079
After much discussion, it has been concluded that this could well be a White-tailed Antsangy (Brachytarsomys albicauda), really was amazing to see this random creature! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0083
As always, great to see these Grandidier’s Giant Frogs (Mantidactylus grandidieri) specimens jumping and swimming around the stream within the Mitsinjo Forest. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
DSC_0084
A rather large Grandidier’s Giant Frogs (Mantidactylus grandidieri) specimen, the biggest I have seen so far. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Part 2: The Island of Marvels. 01/03/15 – 6.30am to 12.30pm

01/03/15 – 6.30am to 12.30pm
Mitsinjo Breeding Facility, Andasibe – First Time at the Facility.

Being my first proper day in Madagascar, I was ecstatic and with all the excitement I was up ready to go at 6.30am hours earlier than was needed! Devin came to meet me for us to walk together on my first day, so I could get my bearings and know my way around the village and road towards the facility.

442

I remember walking through the town and noticing every little detail around me, from the smell to the sights that surrounded me but the one obvious thing was that I was the new guy in town. Let’s just say that I learnt the common Malagasy greeting incredibly quickly, I had to say it to everyone, out of politeness but also because I wanted to be friendly! On our way out of the edge of town, on the main road that takes you towards the National Parks, I noticed an extremely well preserved (Almost new-like) building with big capital letters on the sides of it stating “ANDASIBE”. I asked Devin exactly what the place was and why it appeared abandoned when it looked so new, well it turns out I actually knew this building, as a hotel from reading about Sir David Attenborough’s adventures in the 60’s. This was the Andasibe Train Station Hotel, and it had accommodated quite a few celebrities including Gerald Durrell, Prince Phillip and of course Sir David. Devin reminded me that the corner (directly where a restaurant now sits – where I eat most the time) as Sir David described, had rainforest right outside his window with Diadem Sifaka amongst the trees, a disturbing thought considering that the rainforest had disappeared so much since then.

04

After a 45 minute walk and a struggling uphill climb to the facility, which just proved how unfit I had became, we arrived at the Mitsinjo Breeding Facility, something I was eagerly waiting to see for well over a year. The first thing you notice about the building, once you open the gate, is the vast amount of logos from various organisations across the world that support the project, it truly was an impressive and fantastic sight to see, all except on of the logos (which I will explain later on).

102

We entered and already I was impressed with the protocols and procedures we had to go through before even entering the facility! Provided for the staff members, volunteers, PhD students and Researchers, are either Foam Crocs or Wellington Boots that are just for use within the facility main building. Your clothes must be clean before you are allowed to enter also, so no patches of mud (Luckily, I fully disinfected my clothes prior to leaving the UK using Virkon and Anigene) just incase a lethal pathogen maybe present upon your person. I was extremely excited and full of anticipation to actually just get in and view the facility and the legendary and highly important wild caught founders of the Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) species.

DSC_0001

As I entered finally, straight away I was presented with a vast quantity of Fruit Fly (‘SiSi’ in Malagasy), Spring-tail, Tropical Woodlice, and Crickets cultures, incredibly overwhelming considering the amount I am normally used to. It was impressive, to say the very least!

Justin Claude Rakotoarisoa looking after some of the F1 generation wards within the facility. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Justin Claude Rakotoarisoa looking after some of the F1 generation wards within the facility. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Then we approached a set of heavy wooden doors, allowing access to the frog research and collection room, which is home to over 800 specimens, of 8 different species within the Conservation and Husbandry Research programmes. The obvious and main focus of the facility though is the famous and entirely beautiful Golden Mantella (Mantella aurantiaca) specimens, classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. However, what makes these particular specimens so important is not as well known of to the outside world, which goes back to one of the logos upon the wall of supporters. The wild caught founders were once found in the Ambatovy locality within the North-western part of the Torotorofotsy Wetland reserve, however a few years previous, it was discovered that this particular area had a vast amount of Nickel within it. So the Ambatovy Nickel Mining Company got permission to destroy the habitats as long as they contributed and removed the specimens of Mantella aurantiaca from the remaining four ponds and give them to Association Mitsinjo.

One of the original Wild Caught founding specimens from the Ambatovy locality of the Torotorofotsy, now found only at the Mitsinjo Conservation Facility. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
One of the original Wild Caught founding specimens from the Ambatovy locality of the Torotorofotsy, now found only at the Mitsinjo Conservation Facility. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Just like that, the Ambatovy locality was wiped out and declared extinct in the wild (hopefully this may make you think about where the nickel in some of your purchases comes from), these beautiful and remarkable specimens were the last of their kind from the area they should be within.

Thank you for reading, to be continued…

Joshua Ralph
(MantellaMan)

Malagasy Nature Photographs – Mitsinjo Forest Reserve & Parc a Orchidees (Night) 2

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back, in this photograph blog entry, I will be in the Mitsinjo Forest Reserve (Analamazaotra Forest Station) and the Parc a Orchidees (Orchid Park) for a night hike (which would have been the first time I entered the forest at night!

I came across a great amount for my first night of hiking in the rainforest and some of these species such as the Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) and the Short-horned Elephant Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) I was simply dying to see after reading about them and working with them for so long!

The amount of species I saw this night were as follows (Not all I managed to photograph unfortunately, I am not that great at photography!):

Mammals (Mammalia): 3
Amphibians (Amphibia): 7
Reptiles (Reptilia): 4
Invertebrates (Arthropoda): 9

Five minutes into the walk and BAM! we come across a Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) male specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved
Five minutes into the walk and BAM! we come across a Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved
Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) male specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
These yellow quils are the Tenrecs main method of communication, using what is known as 'Stridulation' where they will rub them together to create a sound that can be hear by other specimens. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
These yellow quils are the Tenrecs main method of communication, using what is known as ‘Stridulation’ where they will rub them together to create a sound that can be hear by other specimens. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Malagasy Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila inaurata madagascariensis) specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Malagasy Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila inaurata madagascariensis) specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) adult specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) adult specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) adult specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis) adult specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female full of eggs. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female full of eggs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female full of eggs. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Perinet Stripped Chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) female full of eggs. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Pygmy Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) female specimen, the male is slightly further up the small tree. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Pygmy Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) female specimen, the male is slightly further up the small tree. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Pygmy Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) male specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Pygmy Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Grandidier's Giant Frog (Mantidactylus grandidieri) male specimen that we watched calling prior to this photograph. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Grandidier’s Giant Frog (Mantidactylus grandidieri) male specimen that we watched calling prior to this photograph. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Böhmei's Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis boehmei) male specimen, on his calling platform. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Böhmei’s Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis boehmei) male specimen, on his calling platform. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis madagascariensis) male specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis madagascariensis) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis madagascariensis) male specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis madagascariensis) male specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Unknown Butterfly species, a very common occurance with a lot of Madagascar's Arthropoda. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Unknown Butterfly species, a very common occurance with a lot of Madagascar’s Arthropoda. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Hairy-eared Mouse Lemur (Allocebus trichotis) emerging from its nest, a rare sight to see in the wild. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Hairy-eared Mouse Lemur (Allocebus trichotis) emerging from its nest, a rare sight to see in the wild. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Hairy-eared Mouse Lemur (Allocebus trichotis) emerging from its nest, a rare sight to see in the wild. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Hairy-eared Mouse Lemur (Allocebus trichotis) emerging from its nest, a rare sight to see in the wild. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Canary Frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis) female specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Madagascan Canary Frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis) female specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Unknown Butterfly species, a little pattern forming isn't there? © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Unknown Butterfly species, a little pattern forming isn’t there? © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Short-horned Elephant Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) female specimen asleep in a tree (or was). © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Short-horned Elephant Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) female specimen asleep in a tree (or was). © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Short-horned Elephant Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) female specimen. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Short-horned Elephant Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) female specimen. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Dead-leaf Moth (Known sp.) amazing camouflage, couldnt see it at first! © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Dead-leaf Moth (Known sp.) amazing camouflage, couldnt see it at first! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Ying & Yang Moth (Unknown sp.) I must admit, the markings are so beautiful and cryptic! © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Ying & Yang Moth (Unknown sp.) I must admit, the markings are so beautiful and cryptic! © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Goodman's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) specimen, I was literally only 4ft away from this. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Goodman’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) specimen, I was literally only 4ft away from this. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.
Goodman's Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) specimen, I was literally only 4ft away from this. © 2015 - Joshua Ralph - All Rights Reserved.
Goodman’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara) specimen, I was literally only 4ft away from this. © 2015 – Joshua Ralph – All Rights Reserved.

Anyway, that’s your lot for tonight, if you are wondering why these entries are so short and are not containing very much information, it is because I will write about these animals properly, within more in-depth blog posts in the future.

Hope you enjoyed these photographs, please give me a like, recommendation or a share!

Joshua Ralph
(MantellaMan)