So my research was focusing primarily on reptiles. I have a lot of experience working with reptiles of all kinds in Madagascar. I have worked in the dry spiny forest once before in 2005, but never for such a long period, and never quite so exhaustively (back then I was only in the spiny forest for five days – not quite seven weeks). My main research interests lie in the evolutionary history of a group of geckos, which are found mostly in rainforest, so working in dry spiny forest was a bit of a broadening of interests.
I am not going to go on about the reptiles – I’m just going to show you some of the better pictures, as that’s what you’re here for, after all. Hopefully the captions will pretty much explain everything.
First: a snake from my favourite genus 😀
Lycodryas pseudogranuliceps climbing down a tree
All the while, flicking its tongue in and out
L. pseudogranuliceps against the leaf of a medicinal plant
Slithering down a branch
Playing with the depth of field - deep.
Playing with the depth of field - shallow
S. granuliceps on a branch - the first photo of this individual I took.
He adopts a typical tree snake pose
The light was very difficult to work on this occasion
And then he wouldn't stay still
When the light was right, you could almost see through this snake
Moving over leaves
A really active individual - hard to handle, but worth it
The Mouse Meal
He kept approaching me, as the tallest nearby tree-like thing.
A Madagascarophis meridionalis (?) devouring a mouse
Eating back feet first is a common method of consumption
The mouse is long dead by the stage, having been constricted to death during the original attack
The mouse is significantly larger than the head of the snake
Slowly, the snake progresses down the body of the mouse
Nearly finished the meal
Some fun with the same snake the next day
The tongue flick
A head macro of the M. meridionalis (?) flicking its tongue out
And one last snake shot:
These snakes rely primarily on smell/taste to sense predators and prey
And then there were tortoises:
A new species of snake for our survey - but we failed to catch this one!
Charlie, the tortoise
A bit of a different view of Charlie
One of the largest tortoises we found
A Trachylepis elegans on a tree - unusual for these typically terrestrial lizards
Lizards are easy to get close to if you know how
And geckos – I tried to do more context shots than I have done before. I think it went well:
Trachylepis aureopunctata, in the log where it was found
Hemidactylus mercatorius on a tree in the forest
Geckolepis typica, in its day-time roost
A Phelsuma mutabilis at rest on a tree
A male P. mutabilis on its family tree
And, of course, chameleons:
The biggest chameleon we found. An enormous male
A young male spiny chameleon
A chameleon stares at me through the lens
These usually bland coloured chameleons can be quite colourful sometimes