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Flora and Fauna

The country of Baobabs

Baobab-Allee

What would Madagascar be without its giant landmarks, the mighty baobabs? Over here, they might be known as monkey bread, and have been famous as photo motives and in literatures for centuries. These huge trees, whose roots seems to grow into the sky, enchant everyone, and many baobabs are told to possess magic power. Madagascar has not less than seven …

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Guibé’s mantella

Mantella nigricans

You think poison dart frogs exist only at the Amazon? You are miles out! Madagascar has amphibians very similar to those, the Mantellas or coloured frogs. Like poison dart frogs, Mantella frogs produce a poison secreted via their skin, but it is completely harmless for human beings. Genetically, the Madagascan Mantellas are not related to poison dart frogs. Mantella frogs …

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Against the tide: A climbing Mantella

Mantella laevigata

Actually, Madagascan Mantellae all look very similar: Striking colours, small and slender, terrestrial frogs. But one steps out the line: The climbing Mantella (Mantella laevigata). This Mantella was described in 1913 by British zoologists Paul Ashleyford Methuen and John Hewitt, who did a seven months lasting expedition to Madagascar two years ago. The climbing Mantella grows up to maximally 29 …

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The carnivore among plants

Nepenthes madagascariensis

Carnivorous plants in Madagascar? Yes, there are! Two species of pitcher plants (Nepenthes madagascariensis and Nepenthes masoalensis) solely exist on the big island. You can find them in open, sunny areas on humid sandy soil along Madagascar’s east coast. In northern direction, they occur until Antongil bay and in southern direction until Tolagnaro (French Fort Dauphin). Mostly, large populations are …

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The Red-legged Golden Orb-web Spider

Nephila madagascariensis

Most travellers are more frightened by the sight of a spider, but the Red-Legged Golden Orb-Web Spider (Trichonephila inaurata madagascariensis) can teach some people otherwise. The female, including her legs, is as big as a human hand, the body is black with a golden-yellow, white-grey lined stripe on the back, the legs are broadly striped in black and red. The …

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The left-handed lemurs: Coquerel’s sifakas

Coquerel-Sifakas

With their typical teddy bear-like appearance, they wrap many travellers around their fingers: Coquerel’s Sifakas (Propithecus coquereli) wear a plush, snow-white fur, whereby the upper sides of the arms and thighs as well as the chest are deeply chocolate brown colored. With up to a half meter head-torso-length – in addition, another half meter tail – as well as approximately …

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The Malagasy leaf-nosed snake

Langaha madagascariensis male im Palmarium 2018

A nose that somehow resembles a frayed leaf and can be bent, and an elongated body: these are the most outstanding characteristics of the Langaha madagascariensis, one of many bizarre animals in Madagascar. The purpose of the bizarre nasal process has not yet been clarified. In males, it looks more like a Pinocchio nose than a leaf. The name of …

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A gecko jewel: Standing’s Day Gecko

Phelsuma standingi

In southwest Madagascar, between spiny forests and wooden huts, lives a gecko with triking colours: Standing’s Day Gecko (Phelsuma standingi). Who visits the dry, hot area between Morombe, Toliara (French Tuléar) and the national park Isalo, will sooner or later meet this beautiful reptile. It originally lives in dry and spiny forests, but today – contrary to many other, outdated …

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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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