martes, 16 de junio de 2009
In Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park
On a prior trip to that park, I encountered several snazzy reptiles to admire, including the aptly-named leaf tailed gecko, Uroplatus phantasticus, pictured above.
No, that brown thing in the foreground isn't a leaf—that's really the gecko's tail! This leaf mimic is soft and fleshy and feels like velvet.
This next shot shows you this amazing critter's unbelievable mug. Even its eye is an example of astonishing adaptation to blend in with its surroundings.
The tail of another Uroplatus I found in Ranomafana resembles a well-decayed dead leaf. It's no small effort to look so unkempt—this is some highly evolved camouflage!
If you appreciate biodiversity and want to encounter unusual critters, place Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar near the top of your destinations life list. The Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments has helped me obtain permits and maintains a field station in the park. Check the Institute's website if you're planning a trip to Madagascar, or if you'd like to learn more about research in Ranomafana.