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Flora and Fauna

The real treasures of Madagascar

Astrochelys yniphora

An arched, golden shell, relatively long legs and alert, black, shining eyes: That is how the most precious tortoise on Earth looks like. It comes from Madagascar and is named ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) due to the large bony appendage on its breast shell. It serves males to turn over contrahents or females during mating season. And this is quite …

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The fruit gourmets: Black-and-white Ruffed Lemurs

Varecia variegata

Many people know them from zoos and animal parks: Black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). Besides Red Ruffed Lemurs and the Indri, they belong to the largest lemurs with a head-torso length of 40 to 60 cm, an additional 60 cm added for the tail. Weights of 3 to 4 kg are the average. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs exclusively live in the …

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Small but a kingfisher

Corythornis madagascariensis

Kingfishers inhabit many parts of the world. But Madagascar has, additional to the usual kingfisher with its blue blaze of colour, another extraordinary variant: The Madagascar pygmy-kingfisher (Corythornis madagascariensis). It bears its name rightly: The pygmy-kingfisher is only 13 cm in size and weighs only 20 grams. A real lightweight! This species also differs from its “big brother” in color: …

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The sky blue reed frog

Heterixalus madagascariensis

An especially pretty frog is the blue reed frog (Heterixalus madagascariensis) or Madagascar reed frog: There are yellow and sky blue variations, with yellow or orange arms, legs, hands and feet. In the sun, they often become almost white. Literature mentioned the sky blue frog for the first time in 1841: The French zoologist André Duméril and his assistant, Gabriel …

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The life of elephant birds

Before the arrival of humans, Madagascar was home to animal giants that went extinct by and by with the existence of humans on the island: A giant lemur has lived in Madagascar, besides him a gigantic eagle, an oversized Fossa and of course, one of the largest birds that have ever existed on Earth. Actually, there was not only one …

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The dinosaurs of Mahajanga

In 2003, news of a dinosaur find in Madagascar went around the world: In an archaeological site about 30 km away from Mahajanga (earlier Majunga) in the west of the country, scientists had found the large, almost fully preserved skeleton of a flesh-eating dinosaur. Similar to famous Tyrannosaurus rex, it was a dinosaur which walked on its feet with enormously …

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No fear of tiny spines

Gasteracantha thorelli

Rainforests are their home: Tiny, colorful, spiny creatures in spider webs. These are spiny orb weavers, and they do not really fit into the concept of a scary, quickly moving eightlegged spider. Their unusually shaped belly part does not look scary at all. In contrast to normal spiders, they even move rather slowly and ponderously, you might almost find them …

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Madagascar’s rarest bird of prey

Seeadler Nosy Hara

Mighty dark brown wings, a sharp beak and claws that easily spear through a fish: These are the characteristis of one of the rarest birds of prey in the world. It occurs only – how could it be otherwise – on the eighth continent. We are talking about the Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), Madagascar’s majestic largest bird of prey. …

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The paradise flycatcher

Paradise flycatcher

Small, but impressive! The Madagascar paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) is surely one of the most beautiful birds of the island, although it weighs only 12 g – that is the weight of a spoon full of rice. It belongs to the family of Monarchs and is a songbird. You can watch this bird all over the island, in spiny forests …

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The singing lemurs: Indris

Indri

Their songs belong to the most impressive that animal kingdom has: You can hear the Indris’ (Indri indri) voices in the forest kilometers away, and the sound a little sad. The parent couple of a family always starts the songs, thus marking its territory, communicating with other families and warning their own family members of potential hazards such as birds …

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