Tag Archive: madagascar

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Atheriniformes (Silversides)
Family: Bedotiidae (Madagascar rainbowfishes)

Genus/species: Bedotia madagascarensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Second dorsal fin is golden-yellow basally, with a dark red margin and broad black submarginal band. Anal fin similarly colored, but a golden-yellow zone is sandwiched between a narrow black basal and a broader black submarginal band. Males are conspicuously more colorful than females with more distinct markings and redder tails. Length to 9 cm (3.5in).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar’s coastal rivers. Found in well-shaded slow-flowing streams at altitudes up to 30 meters (100 feet) above sea level.

DIET IN THE WILD: Insects and their larvae, crustaceans and other small invertebrates.

REPRODUCTION: Sexes are separate. Fertilization is external. Eggs are broadcast in open water and not guarded.
Mortality/Longevity: Lifespan about 5 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Near Threatened (NT)
Limited range, habitat degradation and exotic predators such as (Gambusia holbrooki) and competitors (Xiphophorus spp.).

Sexes are separate. Fertilization is external. Eggs are broadcast in open water and not guarded.
Mortality/Longevity: Lifespan about 5 years.

LOCATION: Rainbowfish of  Madagascar  MD05


Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/343730/details

arkive  www.arkive.org/zono/bedotia-madagascariensis/image-G52355…

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Bedotia-madagascariensis.html

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/2721/0

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae (Geckos)

Genus/species: Phelsuma klemmeri


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dorsal color is brown to turquoise with turquoise bands. A black lateral line runs from the eyes to the hind legs. The head and neck are yellow. The ventral surface is whitish; scales are small and smooth. Adults are about 9 cm (3.5 in) long.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found only in northwest Madagascar among medium-sized bamboo in fragmented “bamboo islands.” When disturbed they hide in the cracks in older dead bamboo.

Phelsuma klemmeri 4813861605_40e1c52a37_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Insects, other invertebrates and soft sweet fruit, pollen and nectar. In the wild, they avoid the hotter part of the day and usually hunt and forage in the early morning, late afternoon, or right after a shower.

DIET IN CAPTIVITY: A variety of insects, including crickets and fruit flies, but will also eat fruit baby foods. They also eat fruits such as guava, papaya, and peaches.

REPRODUCTION: Females lay eggs every 3 to 5 weeks. Like most geckos, she usually lay two eggs at a time, often inside a hollow piece of bamboo. The babies are iridescent and look like tiny copies of the adults. Newborns weigh a mere 0.1 g at birth.

it is known from only two locations and occurs as a severely fragmented population, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of forest habitat within its range.

REMARKS: First described in 1990.

Geckos have very special feet that contain millions of hairs capable of producing electrical forces, probably van der Waals forces. These forces, which are molecular and not caused by a sticky substance, allow the gecko to attract any surface, even polished glass.

Rainforest Madagascar with Madagascar Tree Boa MA06


California Academy of Sciences Docent Rainforest Training Manual 2014

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/172981/0

phelsumania www.phelsumania.com/public/systematics/species/phelsuma_k…

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Kindom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinoptergii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Cichlidae (cichlids)
Subfamily: Etroplinae

Genus/species: Paretroplus menarambo

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: When young, Mearambos are a pale gold with black dots in a pin stripe pattern. As they reach adulthood, around 4 inches or 3 years of age, they are blue/gray to almost white with black dot pin stripes. The fins are edged in red, especially the tail. Max length : 12.8 cm (5 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar. Present in the freshwater flood plain lakes of the Bemarivo River, the major northwards-flowing tributary of the Sofia River in northwestern Madagascar. The species is now known to occur in a single lake of that system: Lac Tseny.

DIET IN THE WILD: Have teeth specially designed for crushing snail shells.

REPRODUCTION: Substrate spawner. Eggs are laid in a pit and will adhere to surfaces such as driftwood.

PREDATORS: Critically endangered species threatened by invasive species and over-fishing.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list: Critically Endangered (CR)
No data are available on the wild population; previously it was thought to have disappeared from its native range, but more recent surveys rediscovered the species in Lac Tseny Habitat degradation, the presence of invasive exotic species and overfishing account for its Critically Endangered status. Breeding populations of this species are maintained in captivity.

LOCATION Madagascar MA04


fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=57958

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/44492/0

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/211122/details

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Percifomes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)

Genus/species: Ptychochromis sp. “Tarantsy”

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Males are generally silver with a faint black strip mid-body and a spot on the gill plate. Females are darker in color overall, especially when breeding.
Length to 16cm (6.5 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tarantsy River and Lake Tarantsy, near Amboasary and Fort Duaphin, Madagascar.


REPRODUCTION: Substrate spawning egg layers.

REMARKS; Little information is available.

Madagascar MA04


Greater Chicago Cichlid Association:  www.gcca.net/madagascan-cichlids/139-ptychochromis-sp-nor…

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Vetted Jenoh Gonzales Biologist, Steinhart Aquarium
California Academy of Sciences 1-7-15

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinoptgerygii
Order: Periciformes
Family: Chichlidae (Cichlids)

Genus/species: Paratilapia polleni

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Mid-sized cichlid, growing to 30 cm (12 in) in length; males grow up to a third again as large as females; black velvet basic coloration with pattern of blue and gold spangling. Distinct spot present in dorsal fin of juveniles and sexually quiescent adults.
Adult male fish are much larger than females and develop longer extensions on the dorsal and anal fins. They also tend to have a more rounded head shape.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to Madagascar found in freshwater at altitudes up to 1,500 m (5000 ft) and exhibit tolerance for a broad temperature range.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivorous, juveniles feed chiefly on planktonic crustaceans and insect larvae; larger fish are crepuscular predators with a preference for small fishes, but also take invertebrates as opportunity presents.

REPRODUCTION: Marakely parenting is a two-fish job. They are monogamous, biparentally custodial substrate spawners. Pairs defend a territory and both sexes assume a velvety black base coloration as spawning approaches. They excavate a gravel pit and spawn in it excluding other fish from area. Each egg has a long adhesive fiber that adheres to other egg fibers, forming a rope of eggs (up to a thousand) rolled into an egg mass. The male patrols the perimeter of the territory as the fry become mobile four days post-hatching. Both parents follow the school of fry, retrieving stragglers by mouth and spitting them back into the school. Parental care continues for about three weeks. These protective behaviors promote reproductive success common to many cichlid species.

PREDATORS: In the southern part of its range, the exotic spotted snakehead is both a competitor and predator. Paratilapia polleni have lived for up to 15 years in aquariums.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Vulnerable (VU)   Qualifies as Vulnerable on account of its limited distribution and fragmented habitat (mainly due to deforestation of river catchments) which are causing a continued decline in available habitat and the number of mature individuals in the population. 

A Marakely captive breeding program is supported by many aquariums and zoos.

REMARKS. The most primitive living representatives of the large Cichlidae family.  Some of Madagascar’s freshwater fish species have ancestors dating back to the Jurassic period.

Madagascar MA04


fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Paratilapia-polleni.html

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/16199/0

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Manual 2014

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Microhylidae

Genus /species: Scaphriophryne gottlebei


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Roundish, with a distinctive white, red, green and black pattern on the back and a grey belly. Adapted for both the underground and climbing lifestyles,S. gottlebei has horny tubercles on the underside of the hind feet for burrowing, and claws on the forefeet for clinging to vertical canyon walls. Length 20mm (7/8 inches) to 30mm (1.2 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Madagascar in open rocky dry forest and canyons amongst stone crevices. Despite its webbed hind feet, the painted burrowing frog is a poor swimmer. S. gottlebei is thought to climb only to escape drowning in flash flood water by finding small holes to rest in within the canyon walls of its habitat.


REPRODUCTION: Tadpoles mature in rocky pools eating detritus.



Madagascar rainforest


Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1019833/details

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/57998/0

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae (fangs slope towards each other in a pinching action)
Family: Nephilidae

Genus/species: Nephila madagascariensis


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have striped legs specialized for weaving (where their tips point inward, rather than outward as is the case with many wandering spiders). In females, the dorsal side of the abdomen has bright yellow markings surrounded by a light gray border. The rest of the body and legs are black with patches of brown. 4.8 – 5.1 cm (1.5 – 2 in) in females, not including leg span, with males being usually 2/3 smaller (less than 2.5 cm, 1 in). Named for yellow threads of their web shine like gold in sunlight not the color of the spider.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Various species of orb weaving spiders are widely distributed. They exist in the southern United States, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. Nephila madagascariensis madagascariensis is found on the island of Madagascar and certain parts of Southern Africa. 

Spinning web below

Golden Orb16121279421_89d739a11a_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Eat insects that get caught in their webs, primarily flying insects. They kill their prey with a venomous bite. While painful, a bite from this spider would not seriously hurt humans.

Golden Orb Weaver

LONGEVITY:: Females usually live about a year, and males about 6 mos.

REMARKS: Golden orb spiders weave large, strong webs out of golden-colored silk which can be as big as 2 m across. The silk strands are reputed to be five times stronger than steel and three times more elastic than Kevlar.
The oldest surviving genus of spiders, with a fossilized specimen known from 165 million years ago.

Rainforest, Madagascar


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California Academy of Sciences: Madagascar Golden Orb Spider exhibit 2014

 iNaturalist www.inaturalist.org/taxa/49758-Nephila


KINGDOM   Animalia

PHYLUM   Chordata

CLASS   Reptilia

ORDER   Squamata

FAMILY    Chamaeleonidae

GENUS/SPECIES  Furcifer  oustaleti



With a maximum length of 68.5 cm (27 in), it is often considered the largest species of chameleon.  Oustalet’s Chameleons are sandy brown and grey in color but, like most chameleons, they can change color depending on mood and temperature, or as a mode of communication.

Distinctive features of a chameleon lizard are its long tongue, its separately mobile eyes, its parrot-like feet and in many species, the ability to change color.       



 Widespread in Madagascar in the warm and humid coastal lowlands.  Has been introduced near Nairobi in Kenya.


One to 2 clutches of up to 60 eggs per year taking 7 months to hatch.

Chameleons may live more than 10 years in captivity.


 Rainforest Madagascar MA10

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