Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean, separated from the African continent by the 400 kilometer wide Mozambique Channel. The island is the world’s fourth largest, covering an area of 592,000 square kilometers; it is more than twice the size of the United Kingdom. The coutry has been recognized as one of the world’s highest priority hotspots and one of the top mega-diversity countries. Madagascar’s most striking feature is its high levels of endemism. Because Madagascar broke off from the Gondwanaland supercontinent more than 160 million years ago, the hotspot is a living example of species evolution in isolation. Despite close proximity to Africa, the island does not share any of the typical animal groups of nearby Africa. Instead, they have evolved on their own, on a micro-continent with different climatic zones.
MADAGASCAR, The land of Endemism
Madagascar's isolation from other land masses has led to the evolution of a large proportion of endemic animal species and the absence of many species found on neighboring continent. Large mammals, large predators and venomous snakes are absent to the island.
*All of the island 103 species of lemurs, 90% of its land mammals(carnivores and insectivores), half of its 280 species of birds, and 90% of its 340 reptile species(chameleons, geckos, snakes, tree-frogs and tortoises), and at least 215 amphibian species are found nowhere else on earth.
*The country has over 100 000 invertebrate fauna including earthworms, insects, spiders and 4000 moth and 500 butterfly species.
*The island fauna tended to be dwarf compare to the neighboring continent, such as the new species of tiniest Leaf chameleon (Brookesiamicra) just 10mm from the head to the end of the tail, small enough to stand on the head of a match.
Madagascar’s flora is unique,about 80% of its 14000 flora species are found nowhere else including 7 endemic plant families and classified as rare and vulnerable
* Asteropeiaceae, Sarcolaenaceae and Sphaerosepalaceae...
* The family Didiereaceae, composed of four genera and 11 species, is limited to the spiny forests of southwestern Madagascar.
*Four-fifths of the world's Pachypodium species are endemic to the island.
* Three-fourths of Madagascar's 1000 orchid species.
*170 palm species, three times as many as on all of mainland Africa; 165 of them are endemic.
*The Takhtajaniaperrieri, the only Afro-Malagasy member of the primitive family Winteraceae was rediscovered in the northern
Madagascar(Anjanaharibe Special Reserve).
Many native plant species are used as herbal remedies for a variety of afflictions.
MADAGASCAR, A top conservation priority for Primates
LEMURS have been characterized as "Madagascar's flagship mammal species" by Conservation international.These primates have adapted to a wide range of habitats and diversified into numerous species.
Madagascar is considered as a top conservation priority for primates, and ranks the 2nd highest primate diversity, with 5 living lemur families, 14 genera and more than 103 species.
The living lemur are tree dwelling and range from world’s smallest primate, the Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur weighing only 25grams to the largest lemur, the Indri weighing more than 8kilograms.
The Aye-aye,the only representative of the family Daubentonidae is one of the highest priority lemur for conservation.
With the loss of forest cover caused by human activities such as slash and burn agriculture, bush fires and logging, most of the lemurs are gone forever.
A new tiniest Leaf chameleon(Brookesiamicra)had been discovered few years ago in the nothern region.
This species is the world's tiniest reptile species ,just 10mm from the head to the end of the tail, small enough to stand on the head of a match.
Two new lemur species have been discovered in 2016 in Ifaty spiny forest ,by Mosa a bird guide at Ifaty forest, such as “ Black Shoulder ‘s Sportive Lemur “ and new species of Mouse Lemur which are not recorded yet by scientists.