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Masika sipa

Clad in armour but hardly protected: The Radiated Tortoise

They have not changed for millions of years and still fascinate people all over the world: tortoises. A particularly beautiful species lives in the south of Madagascar: the Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata). Its history begins long, long before the first people came to Madagascar. But it was not until 1802 that the Englishman George Shaw described the Radiated Tortoise. He …

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Life in drought and heat – The Malagasy collared lizard

Chalarodon madagascariensis

Only few animals can survive in Madagascar’s dry, hot south for long. One of them is the Madagascar sand lizard (Chalarodon madagascariensis). Madagascar has no large iguanas like you probably know iguanas from America. Instead the local iguanas are rather small, agile and swift – they are so special, that they got their own family, which exists nowhere else on …

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Nosy Komba

Nosy Komba

Nosy Komba, in English Lemur Island, is the nickname of a small island in the canal of Mozambique on Madagascar’s northwest coast. It belongs to the Diana region and is only a few kilometres from the nearest village on land, Ankify. From the port of Doany it takes about twenty minutes by motorboat across the sea, from Nosy Be it …

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The Malagasy Tree Boa

Because of many old legends and fairy tales it has a dubious reputation, but actually it is a fascinating forest dweller: The Malagasy Tree Boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis). It lives mainly in the rainforests of Madagascar’s east coast, but has also conquered other habitats such as the hot, dry southwest and south of the country. Even on some islands as well …

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A short, but colorful life – The Madagascan moon moth

One of the most beautiful lepidopterans of the Earth, but first of all one of the largest, lives in Madagascar’s rainforests: The Madagascan moon moth or comet moth (Argema mittrei). With a wingspan up to 20 cm, it exceeds nearly all lepidopterans worldwide, only the Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) from Asia, belonging to the same family of emperor moths (Saturniidae), …

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Reniala reserve

Reniala: The name means as much as “mother of the forest”, which is the nickname of the baobabs endemic to this area. Location: Deep down at the southwestern coast of Madagascar, about 30 km away from the big city Toliara (Tuléar), there is the small village Ifaty-Mangily directly at the sea. You can reach it since 2016 via a well …

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Amber mountain national park

Amber Mountain: The name comes from the flowers of certain trees that cover the mountain and shine amber from afar. Location: The Amber Mountain  National Park is located in northwestern Madagascar in the Diana region. The nearest major city is Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) on the coast, about 30 km away. From the capital Antananarivo the park is located about 1000 …

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Renault 4 – The Malagasy Taxi

Everywhere in Madagascar’s towns and villages they travel as normal taxis: the Renault 4s. Elsewhere one sees them at most still as well maintained classic cars on exhibitions or in lover garages, on Madagascar however they belong to the completely normal street scene. But why the R4? As early as the end of the 1950s Renault wanted to plan a …

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Zombitse-Vohibasia national park

Zombitse-Vohibasia: The compounded name of this national park derives from two of three areas belonging to the park. Zombitse means as much as „dense forest“ and thus names the dry forest of the national park. Vohibasia is the savannah in front of this forest and means „hill of pistols“, which is attributed to conflicts between the people of the South …

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The giraffe necked weevil

One of the most famous, but also most bizarre bugs of Madagascar can be found in the eastern rainforests of the islands: Due to its longs neck, it is called giraffe necked weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa). The best time and places to find it are the national parks of Andasibe-Mantadia, Marojejy and Ranomafana in spring. In 1860, the French entomologist Henri …

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