One of our favourite creatures from our trip to Madagascar was the tiny Brookesia Chameleon. Brookesia is a genus of chameleons found only in Madagascar. Some of the species in this genus are considered to be the smallest chameleons in the world!
We photographed these tiny chameleons in Amber Mountain National Park in the North of Madagascar. The chameleons spend their lives in amongst the leaf litter, where they hunt minuscule insects. When they are disturbed they play dead and resemble a dried leaf… as a result they are also known as “Leaf-mimicking Chameleons”.
Madagascar is home to a diverse array of gecko species. Geckos are unique among lizards as they have the ability to stick to almost any surface! This is because gecko feet have special adaptations which are believed to generate attractive van der Waals forces between their toes and the surface they are on. Apparently, these forces are so strong that a gecko can support about eight times its weight hanging from just one toe on smooth glass! This is just one amazing gecko fact, read on to find out more about some of the incredible geckos that we photographed in Madagascar…
Lemurs are primitive primates found only in Madagascar. The ancestor of all lemurs was probably carried to Madagascar on a raft of vegetation from mainland Africa around 62 to 65 million years ago. Since that time, lemurs have evolved into many different forms in order to take advantage of different habitats and ecological niches. Today there are nearly 100 species of lemur and, during our time in Madagascar, we photographed a variety of different species.
Lemurs living today can be split into five distinct families:
Back in August we spent four weeks travelling around Madagascar. Our aim was to photograph as much of the Island’s unique wildlife as possible. We had an incredible time and were overwhelmed by the diversity of animal species that we came across.
The Island of Madagascar split away from mainland Africa around 160 million years ago. This isolation created a laboratory in which animals could evolve into weird and wonderful forms in order to fill different ecological niches. Madagascar is now home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic (i.e. they are found nowhere else on Earth).
Madagascar’s fantastic biodiversity is in part due to its highly varied habitats. These range from cool highland rainforests in East to arid deciduous and spiny forests in the West. We started our trip in the lush tropical rainforest of Amber Mountain National Park in the North of Madagascar.
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