by Oskar V. Conle & Marina Friede (2. 2000)
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After a tiring 10-hour flight, we arrived early in the morning on the main-island of the Seychelles (Mahé). Leaving the plane, we were fascinated by the tropical paradise with all its biodiversity and colours.
Leaving the baggage claim at the airport, we directly went on our bus, ready to take us to the hotel Berjaya Beach Resort at Beau Vallon. The bus driver drove as if he would like to commit suicide. The quality and amities of our suite was great. The high humidity and temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius made us a little tiered on the first day.
After receiving our car (it was a Suzuki Samurai, which is however the worst car of the world! In addition to that, the tread of the tiers were absent!), we started exploring the Island and had a look for good collecting locations.
The Island Mahé is about 27km long and measures about 8km at its broadest side. In the centre of the island there are several granite-mountains, reaching up to 905m (Morne Seychellois). The base of these mountains reaches down to the white beaches. In total the Island Mahé contains 154km² of land. The capital, called Victoria, is a small town with village-like character, containing about 30.000 inhabitants and one traffic light.
Altogether there are about 65.000 people inhabiting Mahé. Most of them having African roots.
In the Seychelles you find the most beautiful beaches of the world. The sand is white like snow and very smooth. Mahé´s longest beach is the Beau Vallon Beach (several kilometres long) which is situated in the north-west of the island. One of the most beautiful beaches is the beach of Grand Anse, but swimming is not possible there because of the dangerous current.
In the national park and also in other places on the Island there are beautiful, lonely bays surrounded by coconut palms, inviting you to go swimming.
In the evening you will see the flying foxes looking for fruits and flying around.
Anybody who likes snorkelling or diving will love Mahé: The underwater fauna is very rich and colourful. Many of the small corral-reefs are only a few meters away from the beaches.
For collecting phasmids, Mahé turned out to be not very successful. Stickinsects are not very common on this island. When looking for them very carefully, especially more than 100m above sea level and after 9 o’clock in the evening, some specimen can be found. We collected at many different locations on the whole island. The best collecting results were obtained at the mountain paths at Grand Anse, at the satellite-station at La Misère and at the Rue Foret Noire (300m above sea level). Although looking for stickinsects for five days, we only found two species. Carausius sechellensis and Graeffea seychellensis of which we only found one specimen.
Altogether we found about 40 larvae and 20 adults of Carausius sechellensis. Other species known from this island, like Carausius alluaudi, Carausius gardineri or Phyllium bioculatum were only seen in drawers of the Museum in Victoria.
Carausius sechellensis can be found on several low-growing shrubs. They also eat different species of ferns. The specimens were usually found between 30 and 200cm above the ground, sitting on their foodplants.
Under a sea level of 100m we did not find any stickinsects. They seem to avoid going too close to the beaches on Mahé.