Madagascar - Island of the Lemurs - Nature
Travel pictures from Madagascar
by Günther Eichhorn
Madagascar has widely varying climates. The east coast and the east side of the mountain range along the east coast is rain forest area (wherever there is forest left). In the center and western parts of Madagascar it is quite dry. You can find grass lands there like the savannas in Africa. A unique ecosystem is the Spiny Forest. It consists of dry-adapted vegetation like cactuses, euphorbias, and several indigenous plants, most of them succulents or plants with thorns. It can grow as a quite impenetrable forest.
Unfortunately Madagascar is loosing its natural resources fast. Only 10% to 15% of the forest cover is left, and more is disappearing at an alarming rate. I visited 3 nature reserves and here are some pictures that I took of the wildlife in Madagascar.
The most impressive animals are the Lemurs. They come in sizes from mouse-size to about 60 cm tall. Some of them are nocturnal, others are diurnal. Some of them are solitary, like the mouse lemurs, others, like the ring-tailed Makis come in groups of 20-30.
Another group of animals that is quite spectacular are the reptiles (chameleons, geckos, and lizards). I saw some quite spectacular examples of those.
And of course the insects are well represented with some strange creatures like the giraffe beetle and walking sticks. Unfortunately mosquitoes are very well represented as well, which makes mosquito repellent and malaria prophylactic important. But this is a small price to pay for the opportunity to see this unique fauna and flora.
If you know the name of any of the animals or plants that are not named in these pages, please let me know so I can add the names to my pictures.
See also the pictures about People in Madagascar
Here are some of the pictures from my trip about nature in Madagascar.
|The eastern coast and the east side of the coastal mountains is rain forest. (859k)||Rain forest in eastern Madagascar. (801k)||Tree ferns grow quite tall in the rain forest. (1036k)||Fern leaf with spores. (590k)||The central part of Madagascar is savanna. (620k)|
|Some of the drier areas are carst-like with succulent vegetation that can store water. (841k)||There are interesting rock formations in the mountains. This is the Crocodile. (684k)||Acacia tree in the central savanna area. (731k)||Bamboo in the rainier parts of Madagascar. (1111k)||Another type of vegetation cover is the Spiny Forest. It consists of trees and bushes with thorns and succulents. This is an Alludia Procera. It is a tree, not a Euphorbia. Its wood is used for building houses, etc. (1032k)|
|Spiny Forest at dusk. (458k)||Another view of the Spiny Forest. (1048k)||A closeup of the Alludia Procera. It shows the small leaves, alternating with thorns. (850k)||A succulent tree called Kalauchoa (Euphorbia plagiantha), a plant endemic to Madagascar. (1108k)||A small succulent plant. (887k)|
|Another plant of the Spiny Forest, sporting thorns on the central rib of the leaves. (750k)||This is a small plant with a woody stem, only about 40 cm high. It is called Elephants Foot (Pachypodium). It looks like a small version of a Baobab. (899k)||Baobab (Adansonia sp.). These strange looking trees grow in the central parts of Madagascar. (718k)||Another baobab. This one is much thinner, but much taller. (743k)||The travelers tree (Ravenala madagascariensis) is indigenous to Madagascar. It is a relative of the Bird-of-Paradise Flower. Its leaves grow in a flat fan shape. (940k)|
|A larger travelers tree (Ravenala madagascariensis). (558k)||The stem of this plant continues growing out of the top of the fruit stands, and keeps growing more fruit stands like pearls on a string. (817k)||Close-up of the fruit stand with the stem growing out of the top. (493k)||Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus). (825k)||The fruits of a plant called Daniella. They have a vibrant blue color. (668k)|
|Trumpet flower. (598k)||A large blooming aloe. (774k)||Water lily. (697k)||Pitcher plant (Nepenthes madagascariensis). This is a carnivorous plant. The fly on the inside of the top lid is living dangerously. The inner walls of the pitcher are very smooth and there is a liquid in the bottom of the pitcher. If a fly falls into the pitcher, it will not be able to climb up the wall to get out of the liquid. The liquid contains enzymes that digest the fly. (401k)||An ant soldier. Note the big head and mandibles. (617k)|
|A bright yellow wasp. This one was sitting on the strap of my backpack. (668k)||Wasp nest. (743k)||Some of the grasshoppers are huge. This one was about 15 cm long. (720k)||Lots of spiders with beautiful spider webs. (813k)||This is a crab spider. (495k)|
|Spider pair. The male is the little one. (513k)||The giraffe beetle (Trachelophorus giraffa) is an odd looking beetle. It has a long neck with a kink in it. The head is tiny at the very top of the neck. (595k)||Praying mantis. (616k)||There were lots of beautiful butterflies. (959k)||Another butterfly. (814k)|
|There were also lots of moths. (503k)||Nicely colored moth. (570k)||This moth is very well camouflaged. (654k)||Dragon flies are everywhere there is water. They come in amazing varieties. (701k)||This one has transparent wings with black stripes at the end. (650k)|
|Red dragonfly. (445k)||Blue-green dragonfly. (608k)||Mating dragonflies. They are quite the contortionists. (713k)||The walking stick has one of the best camouflages that I have ever seen. I have other pictures in which it is almost impossible to identify the insect. (574k)||Black scorpion (Pandinus imperator). (665k)|
|Radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) in the Spiny Forest. (1108k)||This snake is harmless. There are no poisonous snakes or insects in Madagascar. (776k)||Geckos are everywhere, some of them in beautiful colors. (760k)||A closeup of one of the colorful geckos. (695k)||I spent two evenings watching geckos hunt. It was fascinating. This gecko has just caught a moth. They sit completely motionless for long periods of time near a light. When a moth lands close enough, they position themselves towards the moth and then grab it. They are incredibly fast when they pounce on the moth. (604k)|
|Chameleons are fascinating creatures. This one was large with a body length of about 30 cm. Its tail fell prey to some predator. (578k)||This is a small but colorful chameleon. Its body length was only about 6 cm. (653k)||Another one of the more colorful chameleons. (715k)||Closeup of a chameleons head. (613k)||Closeup of a chameleons head. (735k)|
|Madagascar Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata). (548k)||A flock of egrets. (775k)||A female Madagascar kestrel (Falco newtoni). (586k)||A Crested Drongo (Dicrurus forficatus). (707k)||A fruit bat (Eidolon dupreanum) in flight. We visited a nesting tree of fruit bats. They are very large bats with a wingspan of over 1 m. (650k)|
|A tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus), a small animal similar to a hedgehog. This one was a juvenile, only about 12 cm long. (756k)||Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans). (711k)||A Malagasy Civet (Fossa fossana), a cat-sized carnivore. (944k)||Now to the Lemurs. This is an Indri Indri (Indri indri indri), the largest of the still living lemurs. Lemurs are primitive primates that live only on Madagascar. (617k)||A black and white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata variegata). (638k)|
|A white-footed sportive lemur (Lepilemur leucopus). This is a nocturnal lemur. (742k)||A mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). This is the smallest of the living lemurs. It is about mouse-sized and nocturnal. (873k)||Grey bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus). (647k)||Closer view of a grey bamboo lemur. (587k)||Red bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer). (742k)|
|Red bellied lemur, eating a banana. (673k)||Brown lemur or Gidro (Eulemur fulvus). (653k)||Another brown lemur. (770k)||A brown lemur drinking water. (813k)||Brown Lemur Head. (594k)|
|A group of ring-tailed lemurs or Makis (Lemur catta). These are the most inquisitive of the lemurs. They go into your hotel room and check out your luggage if you leave the door open. (1107k)||A pair of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) relaxing. (571k)||They usually hold up their tail like this. (722k)||Ring-tailed lemur walking. (558k)||A ring-tailed lemur leaping between trees. (603k)|
|Ring-tailed lemur perched on a treetop. (690k)||Closeup of a ring-tailed lemur. (500k)||A Verreaux's Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), another species of lemur. (k). (716k)||Closeup of a Verreaux's Sifaka. (597k)||The Verreaux's Sifaka always walk upright. (649k)|
|They hop, skip, and jump when they are on the ground. (669k)|
All pictures are © Günther Eichhorn
Madagascar - Island of the Lemurs - Nature on guenther-eichhorn.com
Main Madagascar page
Landings Aviation Server