Categories
Africa

Wild Elephant’s Foot Plants in Isalo, Madagascar

Yes, this is one of the rare succulents “trending” recently especially in Asia. Keeping them in pots at home is a really good hobby. Finding wild ones in their natural habits is just on another level.

Even photos of wild ones are not as easy to find as most other objects.

Here is one of the wild elephant’s foot plants I came across in Isalo, Madagascar.

It looks like Pachypodium rosulatum var. gracilius to me (but I have not studied botany so please let me know if it’s wrong)

All my field trips were fauna-focused hence I didn’t have much time to spend on the plants in Madagascar. (The animals kept me busy all the time) But I was just amazed by this unique plant I almost walked past by.

Also, the animals I studied rely largely on their unique habitats in Madagascar. Gotta have an idea about these interesting plants.

Only after I climbed up this mountain I could be eligible to comment on that mountain behind me.

Isalo is in the southwestern corner of the Province of Fianarantsoa, in the Ihorombe region. It is 720 km away from Madagascar’s capital city (Antananarivo). Not super far but due to road conditions it took me 3 full days to only get there. It’s for sure worth it.

Being completely different from the rest of Madagascar, Isalo is arid and hot, filled with deep canyons, sandstone domes, and flat-topped mountains.

Not as many animals here comparing to the rest of Madagascar. Mostly lemurs, desert lizards, boas, scorpions, and birds. Landscape and plants are uniquely amazing though. Over 70% of plants are endemic. This is exactly where the Elephant’s foot plants in my photos were.

(象牙宮 塊根植物 多肉植物)

Categories
Africa Americas Universal

How Could Black Lives Not Matter?

Africa was the birth-place of Homo sapiens.

Diamond, sugar, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum and cocoa beans, coffee – All happiness in life is from Africa!

#ICantBreathe #BlackLivesMatter
Categories
Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Wild Boar – Hong Kong Wildlife | 野豬 – 香港野生動物

The Wild boars (Sus scrofa) is also known as wild swine, common wild pig, or simply wild pig.

Sus scrofa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Genus: Sus
Species: scrofa

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

野豬, 山豬

Categories
Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Scarab Beetle – Hong Kong Wildlife | 金龜子 – 香港野生動物

Because of its glamorous metallic colors, these were the popular bugs Hong Kong kids used to spend their springs and summers finding them in the bush back in the 1970’s to 80’s.

There are over 30,000 species of scarabs in the world.

In Hong Kong, the more common scarabs include The green chafer beetles (Anomala cupripes and Anomala corpulenta)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea
Family: Scarabaeidae (Latreille, 1802)

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

金龜子, 金龜

Categories
Africa Universal

Wild Ploughshare Tortoise Is The Rarest Species I’ve Ever Found

Today is Endangered Species Day. (瀕危物種日)

The rarest animal I’ve ever found was the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). Only around 20 of them are in the wild. But that’s a subspecies of leopards. In terms of a full species, this is the rarest one in my experience.

Let me introduce the most endangered species I’ve ever found in the wild – the Ploughshare Tortoise of Madagascar.

It is also called Angonoka tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora).

Those big organizations will only tell you about the tigers, rhinos, marine mammals, etc. Probably it’s all about marketing which I have zero idea about.

Let me do something for this species which is TONS more endangered. Help me share this and spread the love before it goes extinct which could happen tomorrow or any day.

If you know of anyone on earth who’s ever seen one of these tortoises in the wild, definitely let me know!

Categories
Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Jumping Spider – Hong Kong Wildlife | 跳蛛 – 香港野生動物

These teeny weeny little spiders have huge eyes! Jumping spiders have 4 pairs of eyes – 1 principal pair that is movable and 3 secondary pairs that are fixed.

There are over 6,000 described species of jumping spiders in the world, making it the largest family of spiders at 13% of all species.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Salticidae (Blackwall, 1841)

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

蠅虎科

Categories
Africa Americas Asia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Harvestman – Hong Kong Wildlife | 盲蛛 – 香港野生動物

Before you want to learn about Harvestmen (also called Daddy longlegs or Harvesters), let me explain a little about invertebrate classification – Fun fact: They are not spiders.

Because of having 8 legs, these bugs are not insects. However, it does not necessarily make them spiders. There are many other bugs with 8 legs.

They are all arachnids (class Arachnida), such as ticks, mites, spiders (order Araneae), scorpions (order Scorpiones), vinegaroons (order Thelyphonida), and together with the Harvestman (order Opiliones). There are over 10,000 described species of harvestmen in the world.

In my photo it is a Leiobunum sp of the harvestman family Sclerosomatidae with over 100 described species.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Opiliones
Family: Sclerosomatidae
Genus: Leiobunum

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

盲蛛目, 長腳盲蛛, 長腿叔叔蜘蛛, 盲蜘蛛

Categories
Africa Americas Asia Australia Europe Hong Kong Species Fact File

Green Sea Turtle – Hong Kong Wildlife | 綠海龜 – 香港野生動物

Did you know that sea turtles would come to Hong Kong?

There are 7 species of sea turtles in the world, and surprisingly all of them have been spotted in Hong Kong waters. How amazing!

Our most frequent visitor is the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Young turtles are carnivores, preying on crabs, shrimps, jellyfish, and squid. Adults are herbivores, feeding on seaweed.

It is an endangered species, but can be found in all tropical oceans around the world including Hong Kong. They even came ashore! Sham Wan in Lamma Island has a small population known to nest on a regular basis. Only 2 records of nesting outside Lamma Island: Once in Big Wave Bay Beach, Shek O in 2000. Another time in another big wave bay, Tai Long Wan Beach, Sai Kung in 2006.

Oh! Those mama turtles must be surfers. They love big waves!

Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Chelonioidea
Family: Cheloniidae
Subfamily: Cheloniinae
Genus: Chelonia
Species: mydas

See more of my encounters with Hong Kong Wildlife.

你知道海龜會到訪香港嗎?

世界上有7種海龜, 意想不到7種都曾經被發現出沒過於香港水域, 真的很神奇!

我們最常見的訪客是Chelonia mydas 綠海龜, 年輕的綠海龜是肉食性動物, 會吃魚蝦蟹及魷魚。成年的綠海龜是草食性動物 主要以海藻為食。

綠海龜是瀕危物種, 但可以在所有熱帶的海洋找得到, 包括香港, 牠們甚至會上岸! 南丫島的深灣沙灘是香港唯一經常有綠海龜產卵的地點, 於南丫島以外, 只有2次紀錄。於2000年一次在石澳大浪灣, 另一次於2006年在西貢大浪灣。

噢 綠海龜媽媽們必定是衝浪者, 牠們都喜歡大浪!

Categories
Africa Universal

Big Cats Roaming Freely In The Wild May Not Always Be The Lucky Ones

Everyone is talking about “Tiger King”. Now you probably have an idea how big cats are kept in captivity. You may think that they could have a better life if they were in their natural habitats. I have spent a lot of time in Africa, and I did not always see a paradise.

This is a lucky one rescued from canned hunting (being kept in a confined, fenced-in area for trophy hunting which is surprisingly legal in some African countries). ⠀
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I don’t know what to say. Nowadays we can’t just seem to tell our kids it’s okay to do anything they like as long as it’s not illegal. There are so many ridiculously wrong activities that are legal, such as canned hunting as an entertainment or a sport. ⠀⠀
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Legality is not a guide for morality.

Categories
Africa Americas

Why Kobe Bryant is called Black Mamba but The Snake is Not Black

One of my closest Black Mamba encounters in Ethiopia

Why did Kobe Bryant choose Black Mamba when there are cobra, viper, rattlesnake, tiger snake, krait, and 600 other venomous snakes in the world?

Let me recap a few cool things about this snake probably most people didn’t know:

Why “Black” Mamba When It’s Not Black?
Its body is not black but olive, yellowish-brown, khaki or gunmetal. It has a coffin-shaped head. When this coffin opens shows an unusually dark bluish-grey to nearly black mouth. Most other snakes have a regular pinkish mouth.

The Most Venomous?
No, the Black mamba is not the most venomous snake. Actually far from it. It’s only the 53rd most venomous snake in terms of toxicity of venom (0.264). ‭That is 264‬ times weaker than the most venomous snake (0.001).

The Largest?
No, the Black mamba is a very long snake (up to over 14 feet) but is still much smaller than the king cobra, not to mention the pythons and anaconda.

Eats Big Prey?
Not at all. It mainly feeds on small birds, bats or rodents that weigh only less than 6% of its body mass.

Then Why So Deadly?
It’s the speed. The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on earth. Even though its venom is far from the most toxic ones but still its bite can kill a human in less than 30 minutes.

I find this species harder to catch and handle than most other venomous snakes especially when in trees. Deadly offense and unbeatable defense at the same time. I’d say encountering/catching a King Cobra is a deadly experience. But when it comes to a Black Mamba in tree, IMHO, it’s an even worse nightmare…