Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Accounts and photos of non-captive reptiles in their natural habitat outside of South Africa. Try to record with your account details such as time of day/night, temperature, weather conditions, lunar cycle, sex, rough age of reptile, and so on.

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Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Westley Price » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:14 pm

Hi Guys

My wife and I decided we need a break from work so we just took a week to go to a tiny little island adjacent to the tourist hotspot of Nosy Be, Madagascar. Nosy Sakatia is only roughly 3km x 6km in size, so very small and cosy. We stayed at Sakatia Lodge which was probably the best accommodation I have stayed at in my life. They have achieved the perfect balance between keeping it simple enough to force you to relax while still giving you some luxury. The views are out of this world. We chose this spot because my wife and I both enjoy snorkeling immensely and Sakatia Lodge has some of the best scuba and snorkeling spots in the world (IMO). Jacques, who is the in-house dive master was very helpful in showing us spots and IDing fish species.

Enough about the spot we stayed, I am sure you only want to read about the herps ;) Okay, I didnt actually find too many herps. My main starget species was Brookesia minima, but I horribly failed, but the species I did find were still fun.

The most common reptile species on the island is of course Phelsuma madagascariensis ssp. They are everywhere, from the inside of your bungalow to the top of your breakfast table. Very cool.

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Eating honey off the dinner table.

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This nice uniform patternless was quite cool.

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Juvi

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Next most common was the Hemidactylus sp. They are super abundant at night around lights. According to literature these are supposed to be H. mabouia, but having seen the former tons in my life I would beg to differ. These have super fragile skin and tear their skin purposely to try to slip from your grasp. I tried to be gentle with this one, and you can still see the damage.

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I also found what I think to be a different species of Hemidactylus. They are a lot more robust (no fragile skin), and the tubercles are a lot more enlarged. Any opinions? At first I thought this was just a juvenile of the above species, but changed my mind.

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The only wild chameleon species I found was Furcifer pardalis. They were often seen on trees very close to the coast and even overhanging the coastal rocks. Not as aggressive as I was led to believe.

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Larger specimen from Nosy Be.

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Females are much easier to spot.

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The lodge had some semi-captive Geochelona radiata. They are in very low open enclosures and are fed all the kombuis refuse.

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One of my favourite finds on the island was this little fellow. I immedaitely saw it was not the typical Phelsuma madagascariensis. Upon getting home I discovered it is most likely P. a. abottii, which was very cool. Hiding under a massive and delicious jackfruit.

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Another highlight for me was finding two Geckolepis maculata, which were too fast to catch, but luckily easy to approach. Note the funky fish scales.

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Second one making a dash for it

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Mudskippers are also everywhere, but difficult to photograph due to their skittish nature.

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Only skink species on the entire island (which I saw) Trachylepis gravennhorstii

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Then I found the first snake of the trip, Madagascar's version of out Mole Snake, Leioheterodon madagascariensis

Took these first two pictures as I was catching it as I was alone and afraid it could escape.

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Second and last wild species from the trip, Madagascarophis colubrina, reminds me a lot of Boiga.

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Found the tail tip unique, white and patternless, sort of pied like.

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Crabs on the beach

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Cool spider.

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Nice prehistoric looking cockroach

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Large Scolopendra sp.

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When I first saw this locust I thought it was misshapen, but clearly just a different build to what I am used to; large spherical head.

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Some gecko eggs simply glued onto a piece of drift wood. Guess that there are so many geckos around that there's no need to hide the eggs, haha.

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We also visited a local animal park with specializes in lemurs, but they also have a nice variety of reptiles.

Geochelone gigantea. These are larger than life! I would not mind having some in my garden, haha.

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Pyxis sp.

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One of my all-time favourites, Sanzinia madagascariensis (both phases, which is or will soon be two separate species).

Mandarin phase

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Normal phase

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Dyscophus antongili

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Crocodylus nilotica (not sure if this is one of the new species recently described).

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Oplurus cuvieri

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Zonosaurus sp.

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Next post to include the snorkeling pics...and a lot of them!
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Mitton » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:16 pm

Great stuff Wes, looks like you guys had a blast. Love that second snake, really cool looking.

Please post some pics of the lodge if you have any.

Thanks for shareing.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Westley Price » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:28 pm

Now the snorkeling pics. I dont have enough knowledge to ID all the animals, I just enjoy seeing and watching them.

Taking pics while snorkeling is also quite difficult as your body simply wants to float back up and one breath is only so long.

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These fellows are quite aggressive!

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Saw this turtle on four different occasions, chilling out, grazing.

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These two similar species I always saw together. I first though it was male and females being dimorphic, but the master diver showed me in his book that they are in fact different species.

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These two little clown fish were species. They resembled spanish dancers with their broad dresses swaying back and forth. Only about 20mm long,

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Larger one

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Probably one of the more beautiful fish I saw on this trip.

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Gorgeous little box fish

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Two varieties of brightly coloured flatworm

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These little sliver balls like like underwater bearings, but they are apparently some type of algae

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Coronet fish. These change colour within the blink of an eye.

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These bloody Scorpion fish are scary. They hang out vertically to make their spines look like sea grass and when a small fish passes below them...*GULP*

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I only saw two of these Network Pipe Fish on the entire trip. The first one evanded my camera and I was lucky to get this photo. about 60mm long

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Few sea cucumbers produce this sticky defense secretion. Make sure not to get it on you coz it's terribly difficult to get off.

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The venomous Stone fish

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Crocodile fish

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My battery died right after this pic. This looks like a Moray, but the face was slightly blunter than I am used to.

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Hope you guys enjoyed the pics as much as I enjoyed taking them :smt006
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Westley Price » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:31 pm

Thanx Eugene

Will post some pics of the lodge tomorrow.
"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby levi_20 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:27 pm

Thanks for sharing, beautiful post as always and nice to sea some ocean life!
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby reptile » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:43 am

Stop posting anymore pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are making me jealous... Hahahaha
Nice pictures, well done.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Mehelya » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:57 pm

Amazing photos. Love that Leioheterodon madagascariensis' coloring. Facial structure does seem similar to our Pseudaspis.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby reptile » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:01 pm

The first gecko is a real beauty, love it.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Westley Price » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:37 pm

Thanx guys.

Yeah the trip was real fun, but a week is just too short to do everything you want to do. Two weeks would be ideal.

Eugene, the few lodge pics for you. The lodge has got two sets of bungalows, the ocean bungalows (in which we stayed) and the nature bungalows, both equally nice.

View from the deck of the ocean bungalow (if the vegetation weren't as dense you would see the ocean to the right, haha).

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Nature bungalows from outside

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View from the bar area

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View from the restaurant

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The restaurant usually has a set menu (mostly seafood) which i loved. An example of the dishes, simple but delicious.

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They also have a Malagasy buffet once a week, which was awesome. Always fun to taste the local food.

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Then a few panoramics from a far. First one from the house reef looking back at the lodge on the right where all the boats are moored.

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And then one from the north of the lodge. Red arrow indicates where the lodge is.

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And a last farewell glance back as the boat takes us out back to the airport.

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"I am dying by inches from not having anybody to talk to about insects." - Charles Darwin
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby reptile » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:32 pm

It looks really cozy.
Westley Price wrote:Thanx guys.

Yeah the trip was real fun, but a week is just too short to do everything you want to do. Two weeks would be ideal.

Trips are always to short, hahahaha.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Ales » Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:56 pm

Amazing place, some awesome reptile finds.

That fish platter reminds me of how I was served in Croatia, a fish thrown over a fire, simple, but I can promise you it was the nicest fish I have eaten to date!
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Warren Klein » Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:06 pm

What a wonderful piece of paradise! looks like you had fun with all the lizards and that Leioheterodon madagascariensis must have been a fun capture too. I take it the Sanzinia were also captives but do you know if both phases also occur on that island?

The Madagascan crocodile is still currently known as C. niloticus. The recently described cryptic species C.suchus is found more in the interior of West Africa and unlikely the same as the Madagascan crocs which most likely originated from East Africa.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Westley Price » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:51 pm

Hi Warren.

Yeah both phases of the Sanzinia were in the captive collection and I am not sure whether the occur on Nosy Sakatia specifically, but certainly one of the phases occurs on Nosy Be (although I am not sure which). I found the Madagascarophis up in a tree. When I saw if from below my first thought was Sanzinia, so I was a tad disappointed, but still a decent find.

Thanx for the info on the C. niloticus. I am not sure why, but I had an idea in my head that niloticus was split into 5 or 6 species, but I am probably mistaken.
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Warren Klein » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:34 am

I can only imagine the excitement of finding a wild Sanzinia up a tree!

There are several proposed subspecies of Crocodilus niloticus but are not officially recognized. The Malagasy one would be C. niloticus madagascariensis of course ;) I believe there is also a place on the main island where locals have a tradition of hand feeding these wild Malagasy crocs!
An inaccurate naturalist is a pest and a danger, forever perpetuating illogical deductions and landing later naturalists in trouble. Damm and blast them all to hell in the most painful way. C.J.P. Ionides
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Re: Nosy Sakatia, Madagascar [Epic DUW]

Postby Nick Evans » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:22 am

Awesome post Wes! Nice to have something different on here, those underwater photos were really cool, especially the turtle! Thanks for sharing.
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