Desert Shrubland

The south and west of the island of Madagascar is very dry. The habitats here included the 'Spiny Forest' and succulent shrublands. They are unique ecosystems in a unique country...

Class Insecta

Order Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies

Family Noctuidae


An Owlet Moth.

Class Reptilia

Testudines: Turtles

(Isalo Lodge)

Astrochelys radiata, 'Radiated Tortoise'. Distinctive patterns on shell give common name. Found only in dry habitats in southern Madagascar. Rare in the wild, they are commonly introduced into lodges and parks around Madagascar.

Lizards & Snakes

Family Opluridae: 'Madagascan Iguanas'

Oplurus quadrimaculatus, 'Dumeril's Madagascar Swift'. Usually found on rocks. Endemic to drier habitats in southern and central Madagascar. Sometimes quite tame.

You know how your mum used to say she had eyes in the back of her head? Well this guy really does...

Chalarodon madagascariensis, 'Three-eyed Lizard'. Distinct dark spot on top of head is the parietal/pineal eye, the 'third eye' of the common name. Most lizards have this, but in this species it quite marked. Endemic to the spiny forest and succulent shrublands of southern and western Madagascar. 

Family  Gerrhosauridae: Plated Lizards

Skink-like lizards that are usually chunkier and distinguished by a very 'flattened' look. The family is found only in Africa and Madagascar. In the latter country they are quite common and easily noticed when they rustle loudly in amongst leaf litter on the forest floor, and often stop still to allow easy viewing.

Tracheloptychus madagascariensis, 'Madagascar Keeled Plated Lizard'. Has distinctive three stripes running along back. Endemic to the dry forests of southern and western Madagascar.

Family Chamaeleonidae

(Isalo, Madagascar)

Furcifer oustaleti, 'Malagasy Giant Chameleon', 'Oustalets's Chameleon'. Probably the most widespread and commonly seen of Madagascar's endemic chameleons, especially in more open habitats and including human habitats. 

Class Mammalia

(near Isalo National Park)

Lemur catta, 'Ring-tailed Lemur'. Found in the dry spiny forest and gallery forests along rivers in arid areas of south-western Madagascar.

Places to experience the Madagascar desert shrublands

Isalo National Park

An edited version of one of my introductory lectures that I give on expedition ships about the people of Madagascar

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