Lonely Planet Writer

Photos: Mysterious island dwellers

moaiIslands in literature have long been used by authors to create an aura of mystery: The Odyssey, The Tempest, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mysterious Island. This device has been used so persistently that it has become a predictable cliché in nearly every medium: if Prince Valiant washes up on an uncharted island after getting lost in a fog, or if Scooby-Doo visits an abandoned amusement park on Skull Island, you can be pretty confident that something mysterious is about to happen.

Cliché or not, this has a basis in reality: weird and wonderful things do happen on islands. Travelers fly great distances to see the striking moai of Rapa Nui or the dramatic otherworldly landscapes of Hawaii. Looking through the photos coming in for the Lonely Planet 100 million stories photo competition, some travelers are going to great lengths to spot rare wildlife on islands as well. Islands are hotbeds of biodiversity, with many island groups having unique and unusual endemic species that can't be found anywhere else in the world. In some cases the ranges of these organisms are so small that you can tell where the photographs were taken down to the group of islands or even a single island simply by identifying the species in the photograph.

Can you figure out where the following photos of mysterious island denizens were taken? (Answers at the bottom of the page)










Answers and credits for these beautiful photos below — don't scroll down if you're not ready for the answers!

Do you have some fabulous wildlife photos? There' still time to submit these and any other travel photos photos to the Lonely Planet 100 million stories photo competition for a chance to win a trip for two around the world and other prizes!


If wildlife is your passion, be sure to check out Lonely Planet's A Year of Watching Wildlife, a week-by-week guide to what to see when around the world - the ultimate planning tool for your next wildlife adventure.




Answers and photo credits:

1. Philippine tarsier from Bohol, Philippines (it's very difficult to distinguish tarsier species, so congratulations if you got this right!) - photo by Tim Bray [See original]

2. Komodo dragon from Rinca, Indonesia (neighbor of Komodo - also found on other surrounding islands) by Ethan Daniels [See original]

3. Proboscis monkey from Borneo - this picture is from near Sandakan in Sabah, Malaysia by Hayley Cox [See original]

4. Snow monkey or Japanese macaque from Nagano, Honshu, Japan by Virginia Middleton [See original]

5. Galapagos giant tortoise from the Galapagos Islands by Lizan Beers [See original]

6. Tasmanian devil from Tasmania by Jerrem Beresford [See original]

7. Grandidier's baobab tree from Madagascar by Thom Vandevenne [See original]

8. Kea from Mt Cook National Park on the South Island of New Zealand by Esther Sibbald [See original]

9. Dragon's blood tree from Suqutra (Socotra), Yemen by Vladimir Melnik [See original]

Top photo: Moai of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) by Melanie Le Page