O’ Formosa

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten

2020-11

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten

©Ginny Lee

©Ginny Lee

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

The Formosan Yellow-throated Marten is a yellow and brown short-haired omnivore dwelling in mountain forests below 2,000 meters, though a few have settled at 3,850 meters in the woods near the North Peak Weather Station on Yushan. They look cute and small, but their claws and teeth make them deadly hunters, occasionally preying on mammals larger than they are.

Formosan Yellow-throated Marten 
Binomial name:Martes flavigula chrysospila

Black-naped Monarch

2020-10

Black-naped Monarch

©Sam Yeh / AFP via Getty Images

©Sam Yeh / AFP via Getty Images

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

One of Taiwan's local birds, the Black-naped Monarch has shiny blue feathers and unique breeding habits. These features make them popular among photographers. During their March-to-August breeding season, they carefully build their funnel-like nests. After mating, the female lays three eggs. The parents take turns caring for eggs as well as the chicks after they have hatched. The young ones grow up and start learning to fly in ten days.

Black-naped Monarch 
Binomial name:Hypothymis azurea oberholseri

Actias neidhoeferi

2020-09

Actias neidhoeferi

© 施禮正

© 施禮正

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

This enigmatically elegant moth is a member of Actias(Luna Moth)genus. It can only be found in Taiwan's mountainous areas above 2,000 meters where the Taiwan Fir and Taiwan Spruce grow. These plants are the only thing the moth's caterpillar eats. The adult moth has a very short life span after emerging from its cocoon, so if you have the chance to see one, consider yourself lucky for you have blessed by the Luna Goddess.

Actias neidhoeferi 
Binomial name:Actias neidhoeferi Ong & Yu

Morrison Stonecrop

2020-08

Morrison Stonecrop

© 李權裕

© 李權裕

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Hiking along sunny trails in mountain areas above 2,500 meters in Taiwan during summer, you may spot the Morrison Stonecrop with its bright star-shaped yellow blossoms and tiny succulent leaves. Its genus name, Sedum, is derived from Latin, "sedo," which means "to settle;" for they are mostly found well settled on rocky cliffs. There are more than 400 members in the stonecrop family, the Morrison Stonecrop being one of the eight species endemic to Taiwan.

Taiwan Edelweiss 
Binomial name:Leontopodium microphyllum Hayata

Taiwan Edelweiss

2020-07

Taiwan Edelweiss

© 黃源明

© 黃源明

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Taiwan Edelweiss, a glacial relict species, grows among the mountains at altitudes between 3,200m and 3,800m in Taiwan. Just as its relative in the Alps mountain range and the classic song about it, it blooms with fluffy bracts "small and white, clean and bright" from June to August. The tiny, fuzzy white hairs that cover the plant protect it from frost and ultraviolet radiation.

Taiwan Edelweiss 
Binomial name:Leontopodium microphyllum Hayata

Taiwan Barbet

2020-06

Taiwan Barbet

©黃基峰

©黃基峰

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Sometimes you can hear the high-pitched chirping of the Taiwan Barbet among the trees at parks, campuses, and forests at mid-to-low altitudes in Taiwan. They are not easy to see because their emerald feathers camouflage them well among the leaves. If you find one close up, you will notice it has a distinctive blue crown, golden forehead and larynx and a red area under its larynx. Its chirping resembles the rhythm of a monk striking the temple block, hence its nickname the "flowery monk."

Taiwan Barbet 
Binomial name:Psilopogon nuchalis

Taiwan Rhododendron

2020-05

Taiwan Rhododendron

©翁明毅

©翁明毅

Text|Snow RamConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

While hiking along the trails in Taiwan's central and southern mountain ranges in mid-spring, you may come upon the Taiwan Rhododendron's white bell-shaped flower blossoming. This beauty can grow to 20 meters, the highest among those belonging to the Ericaceae family in Taiwan. It is also Taiwan's only native species capable of forming a rhododendron forest.

Taiwan Rhododendron 
Binomial name:Rhododendron formosanum Hemsl.

White Dolphin

2020-04

White Dolphin

©Forestry Bureau

©Forestry Bureau

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Ocean Conservation Administration

This species of dolphin is found exclusively in the waters off the coast of Indo-Pacific islands, China, Hong-Kong and west coast of Taiwan. Its skin color changes from grey to pink or white as it matures. It is often spotted during March and April around the time of the sea goddess Mazu's birthday is celebrated. The dolphin seems to be joining the celebration, and thus its nickname "Mazu's fish."

Taiwanese White Dolphin 
Binomial name:Sousa chinensis taiwanensis

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis

2020-03

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis

©Shutterstock/glen photo

©Shutterstock/glen photo

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

Once considered exotic, Taiwan Quinoa is in fact a native species familiar to indigenous people in Taiwan for centuries. Known as "djulis" in Paiwan, "mukun" in Bunun, this brightly colored red and yellow quinoa grows well in dry, barren soil, making it suitable for hard times, and it is considered as nutritious as quinoa from South America.

Taiwan Quinoa / Djulis
Binomial name:Chenopodium formosanum

Taiwan Rosefinch

2020-02

Taiwan Rosefinch

©簡國祥

©簡國祥

Text|Cynthia LaiConsultant|Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute

The Taiwan Rosefinch, once considered a subspecies of the Vinaceous Rosefinch, is only found in nature in Taiwan. The male has striking red wine colored feathers, while the female has a simple brown appearance. These birds can be spotted in mountain ranges at about 2,000~3,000 meters. There they feed mainly upon seeds and small worms .

Taiwan Rosefinch
Binomial name:Carpodacus formosanus