Images of dry tropical habitat: Madagascar II

Click on a thumbnail for a larger image. The thumbnails are arranged into 2 categories: Plants (and a fungus), and Animals. The number by each photo corresponds to its caption below .

Plants (and a fungus)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

1. Madagascar is full of strange plants. The plant in the foreground is one of the coralliform Euphorbias that are so diverse on the island, so named because the odd branching of the stems reminded early botanists of corals.The tree in the background is Alluaudia comosa (Didieriaceae). Photographed near Tulear in the southwest.
2. Alluaudia comosa near Tulear. This strange tree has branches that are very thick at the base and then taper almost immediately to fine, spiny branchlets. Tulear's landmark plateau La Table can be seen in the background.
3. Bismarckia palms on the plains in the Isalo area, in the southern central part of the island.
4. Flower of Phylloctenium, a prickly shrub in the Bignoniaceae family. This one was found in the Mikea Forest on the southern part of the west coast.
5. and 6. Flower and fruit of Grewia sp. (Malvaceae), an important component of dry vegetation in Madagascar and other parts of the Old World. This was found in the Mikea Forest.
7. Earthstar fungus from the Mikea forest.
8. Flowers of a plant in the Malpighiaceae from the Mikea Forest.
9. The spiny branches of Azima tetracantha (Salvadoraceae), photographed on the west coast.
10. A low-growing tuberous Euphorbia growing among the quartz in southern central Madagascar.
11. Nepenthes madagascariensis (Nepenthaceae), a carnivorous pitcher plant, and the fern Gleichenia (Gleicheniaceae)growing in a seep in the southeast.
12. The fat-bellied bottle palm Dypsis decipiens groing in the central southern part of the island.
13. The dense inflorescence of the liana Combretum (Combretaceae) is borne directly on the trunk near the ground. This one was photographed in dry forest in the Ankarana Reserve in northern Madagascar.
14. Another view of Erblichia (Turneraceae) from Ankarana. Look at the brush- like stigmas!
15. The fruit of this Uncarina species from northern Madagascar is covered with very sharp miniature grappling hooks. Uncarina is in the Sesame Family (Pedaliaceae).


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

1. Furcifer oustaleti, a common chameleon in northern dry areas.
2. Furcifer verrucosus is common in parts of the south. It bears striking white, black, green, and turqoise spots when alarmed.
3. - 5. Phelsuma geckos are a perfect example of how Madagascar is different from other parts of the world. In most places, lizards in the gecko family are active at night. Phelsuma geckos are active in the day. Geckos from other areas for the most part have colors that blend in well with their surroundings. Phelsuma geckos are often blazingly bright colors, such as 3. and 4., Phelsuma madagascariensis, photographed in the far north. . 5. is Phelsuma mutabilis. It can change color very quickly. When I found this one in the southeast, it was bright green and turquoise. After it saw me, it quickly lost these bright colors.
6. Madagascar is wonderful for its lack of snakes poisonous enough to be dangerous to people. This is Mimophis mahafalensis from the southeast (thanks to Chris Raxworthy for the ID!).
7. Acrantophis dumerilii, a boa from the dry south.
8. A Leioheterodon geayi eating a Chalarodon lizard in the Mikea Forest.
9. Dromicodryas bernieri in the Mikea Forest.
10. A "pill millipede" from the southeast. These short, fat millipedes act just like sowbugs: when alarmed, they curl up in tight balls!

home - people - research - images of the dry tropics - exploration - acknowledgements

Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria
Copilco, Coyoacán A. P. 70-367
C. P. 04510, México, D. F.

(52) 55 5622-9127 fon (52) 55 5555-1760 fax

all material © 2002 Mark E Olson  except Euphorbia and Dypsis  which are ©1999 Simon T Malcomber