Madagascar

By Peter Petersen

Andasibe, Mantadia National Park

The arboreal Perinet chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) on a night walk.

The graceful Madagascar ground gecko (Paroedura gracilis) is nocturnal and a ground dwelling species.

The green bright-eyed frog (Boophis viridis) belong to the family Mantellidae. The family which also include the popular poisonous frog genus Mantella.

Even from above the green bright-eyed frog (Boophis viridis) is a beauty. 

We often found the green bright-eyed frogs (Boophis viridis) by sound. They have a very distinct call.

A small clearwater stream in the humid forest.

This perfectly camouflaged Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) is pretending to be part of the branch until the nerdy Danish ekspedition team have left the scene. Then its of to hunt for cockroaches again.

Even the structure of the body of the Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) mimics the bark.

 

A Close up of the hind limbs reviel that the toes of Mossy leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) even have a simular structure that mimics small thorns.

The Sakalava Fire-Millipede (Aphistogoniulus sakalava) is an endemic species of giant fire millipede. In 2006 an excellent revision of these species were made.

The giant fire millepede was on my bucket list so watching the Sakalava Fire-Millipede (Aphistogoniulus sakalava) in it's natural habitat was amazing. 

The Madagascar Jumping Frog (Aglyptodactylus madagascariensis) is an endemic species which is widespread on the Eastern side of the island.

The Eastern lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata lineata). This subspecies is only known from the central part of the Eastcoast of Madagascar.

The larvae eats dead wood the the imago (adult) of the Fungus Weevil (Tophoderes frenatus) actually eat fungi as the name hints.

Looking for the really interesting wildlife you need to go into the very dense forest.

This frog belong to the genus Guibemantis. It could be the Pandanus Frog (Guibemantis pulcher), Whitelined Madagascar frog (Guibemantis albolineatus) or (Marie Madagacsar frog (Guibemantis bicalcaratus).

This might look like a strange place to have a meeting but it turned out to be a perfect place to meet the Baron's Mantella (Mantella baroni).

This is Baron's Mantella (Mantella baroni). It's a close relative to the Madagascan Mantella (Mantella madagascariensis) but it can amoung others be told apart by the blue spots on its front limbs.

Small stream of clear freshwater runs through the undergrowth and supplies the forest with new life. 

The Madagascar forest scorpion (Grosphus madagascariensis). The biodiversity in this national park is amazing.

The "hairs" (called trichobothria) of the Madagascar forest scorpions (Grosphus madagascariensis) fluoresce more intensely under ultraviolet light than the rest of their body, making a distinct pattern of the species. That might be why some scientist suggests that scorpions have the fluorescent feature in order to find each other. Other theories include protection against sunlight and confusing their prey.

 

The White Madagascar Orchid (Aerangis articulata) is an epiphytic plant which is native to both Madagascar and the Comoro Islands.

Our scorpion expert and my friend the zookeeper Simon Boye Nielsen.

The Common Madagascar Skink (Madascincus melanopleura) is endemic to Madagascar. The genus holds at least 12 species.

The Madagascar Phaon Damselfly (Phaon rasoherinae) resting on a leave in the sun in the dark undergrowth of the forest.

The Short-horned Chameleon (Calumma brevicorne) is common in this region.

The Madagascar Eye Swallowtail (Papilio delalandei) has two eye-spots on it's front wings which mimics a large animal to avoid being eating. It is a common defense for butterflies.

The Ornamental Wandering Spider (Viridasius fasciatus) is fast and I did not get close enough for a good photo.

On a night walk we got really close to a Madagascar Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata).

The tail of the male Madagascar Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata) can add around 18 cm to the total length of the bird.

Protecting and preserving our rainforests is important and the white edged ear fungus (Earliella scabrosa) is a good example of why. This polypore possess anticancer activity according to recent studies. 

Humid Forests like these are still rich in undescribed and unknown species. Cures for current and future diseases may be hiding in this paradise. 

This seem to be species of Chicken mushroom (Laetiporus sp.) I am not sure which species this is. It might be new to science.

This fungus seem to be related to the Tree mushrooms (Pleurotus sp.).

This is a slime mould possibly the subspecies (Stemonitis fusca rufescens). This genus of slime moulds are found all over the world. 

The nocturnal Rufous Mouse Lemur (Microcebus rufus) also called Brown Mouse Lemur are among the shortest-lived of primates. The have a lifespan of only 6–8 years. Their small geographic range make them vulnerable.

Close to our house we found this Nose-horned Chameleon (Calumma nasutum).

An even smaller species is the Brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris). 

  

Some species of chameleon are known to store sperm in case they do you come across a partner for a while. The Brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) is one of those species. 

 

We found many specimens of the Brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) and in different habitats. We found most in the dense humid forests. 

In the forest canopy a group of Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) are watching us closely. 

There seem to be some confusion about this species and in the future it might be devided into several species. For now I call this Farquhar Half-toed Gecko (Hemidactylus mercatorius).

A Madagascar blue eyed Moth (Cyligramma duplex) in its last phase of the Imago. We found it on the door in our lodge.

A female Madagascar Magpie-Robin (Copsychus albospecularis) hunting insects on the branches in the forest undergrowth.

What I beleive is Cowans Bark Spider (Caerorostris cowani) was common in this area. Madagascar has over 11 species of bark spiders including the famous Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini).

My friend Ida with a happy walking stick Insect (Carausius morosus) climbing her face. This photo reminds me how much happiness nature and wildlife can give people. Lets protect our planet in any way we can. 

This is a female Perinet chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) also known as Malagasy side-striped chameleon. The species is endemic to humid primary forests in eastern and central Madagascar.

The Perinet chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) grow to about 20 cm TL.

We often found the Perinet chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia) along rivers.

This is a male Perinet chameleon (Calumma gastrotaenia).

The iconic Giraffe Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa) is endemic to Madagascar. This is a male on the host tree Trotroka (Dichaetanthera cordifolia). The female roles one egg in a leave and drop it to the ground for protection. 

We were lucky enough to see the critical endangered Indri (Indri indri). This species is to my knowledge not kept in any zoos worldwide.  

The Indri (Indri indri) is mostly eating leaves (folivorous). And they seem to target specific types. We only observed them eating the fresh light green young leaves.

I observed the Indri (Indri indri) seem to feed mainly on leaves from this tree. I have not yet be able to identify the species.

This Indri (Indri indri) came very close to the ground in search for fresh leaves. Meanwhile the other lemurs of the group is keeping an eye out for Fossa's which are the only terrestrial predator here big enough to eat them. Except for humans off course. 

The tail of the Indri (Indri indri) is only 5 cm long which is very unusual for a large species of lemur.

The Indri (Indri indri) is sexual mature between the ages of 7 and 9 years. With a gestation period around 120–150 days they only give birth every second to third year and they only have one infant.

Indri (Indri indri) have a grooming claw (claw-like nail). The grooming claw is used in personal grooming to rake through the fur or scratch, particularly around the head and neck. Almost all lemurs have this claw.

Sadly this is a face most people will never see in real life. The critical endangered Indri (Indri indri) is the largest of the lemurs. It can weigh up to around 10 kilos. The head and body lenght is around 70 cm.

The rare Indri (Indri indri) seem to sympatric with the Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema diadema).

The Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema diadema) is one of the most colorful and the second largest of the lemurs. It can reach 105 cm TL and weigh around 6.5 kilograms.

The Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema diadema) have a long tail even though it's the closest living relative to the Indri (Indri indri).

The Diademed Sifaka (Propithecus diadema diadema) eat fruit, flowers, seeds and verdant leaves.

Diademed Sifaka's (Propithecus diadema diadema) are skilled climbers.

The Diademed Sifaka's (Propithecus diadema diadema) are being monitored and tagged with radiotransmitters.

The dense undergrowth made it almost impossible to get close to the animals without scaring them away.

As you can see the density of the trees are amazing.

In this dense bottom of the forest we found a pair of Perinet Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia therezieni)

This is a male and female Perinet Leaf Chameleon (Brookesia therezieni) seemed unaffected by our presence and started mating behavior.

A male Broad Skimmer (Orthetrum azureum) a dragonfly endemic to Madagascar.

Another dragonfly we found here was the Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis selika). A beautiful purple species with red eyes that we found all over the Eastern part of the island.

In Mantadia I found the Eastern lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata lineata) to be quite common and I often observed them eating insects in large plants belonging to the genus Pandanus

We found this relatively clearwater stream not far from our lodge. I noticed some fast fish swimming in between the aquatic plants. The current had a moderate to fast flow and the depth was up to around 80 cm. (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen)

 

I caught the endangered Katrana (Rheocles alaotrensis) This is a young male. The type locality of this species is the largest lake of Madagascar; Lake Alaotra and it is endemic to this basin. This stream is around 200 km Southeast of the lake. As far as I could see on maps this stream does not seem to be connected to the lake anymore, but this species can live in very small streams and these tiny streams are not in any maps because they are not permanent (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen)

 This is a female Katrana (Rheocles alaotrensis). This species belong to the family of Madagascar rainbowfishes called Bedotiidae. The fish was gently released after the photoshoot (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).

The stream was not on any maps but it was probably connected to the Vohitra river which were close.

The only aquatic plant we found in large quantities in this stream was the Madagascar laceleaf (Aponogeton madagascariensis). This species have a tuberous rhizomes where it stores nutrients in. I was surpriced to see them growing in shade of the forest as well as in full sunlight.

I could not resist picking up one of these amazing Madagascar laceleaf (Aponogeton madagascariensis). I have kept the plant in aquarium in the past. After the photo this plant was put back in the fine sand bottom. (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen)

The river bottom here was fine sand with pebbles.

In some areas with a little coarser stones. Looking much like the aquarium gravel used by aquarists.

In some areas of the streams where we found Katrana (Rheocles alaotrensis) the water was very shallow.

I found Katrana (Rheocles alaotrensis) fry between these roots. 

The Madagascar Girdled Lizard (Zonosaurus madagascariensis) grows to about 30 cm TL. We observed them eating cockroaches.

The Madagascar Hermit Spider (Nephilingis livida) grows to about 2,5 cm.

We found an undescribed species of Spined Moss stick insect (Parectatosoma sp.). This species is closely related to the Red Spined Moss stick insect (Parectatosoma hystrix).

The Westem Dwarf Gecko (Lygodactylus guibei) is almost impossible to spot. Amazing how well nature designed this animal. Natural selection have worked its wonders here. 

The Westem Dwarf Gecko (Lygodactylus guibei) is a diurnal species. 

I still have not been able to identify this marbled Madagascar forest scorpion (Tityobuthus sp.). There are around 2500 species of scorpions in the world that we know of. But there are still undescribed species out there.

In this swamp our guide told us about some special fish, that only lived here. We were very interested off course but shortly after we were very dissapointed. The fish in here did not belong in Madagascar. 

Sadly we caught introduced species in this national park as well. This Southern platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus) native to North and Central America from Mexico to Belize (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).

An opening in the swamp.

In the same swamp we found another introduced species. This Ornate ctenopoma (Microctenopoma ansorgii) native to Angola and Congo Dem. Rp.

In another swampy area we came across some cichlids. It was the Redbelly tilapia (Coptodon zillii) native to North and Central Africa. This species was introduced for human consumption.

Yes this was the toilet facility at the park.

Sadly this is how trash is handled most places in Madagascar. The infrastructure is underdeveloped and the country is very poor. The median age here is less than 20 years. In Europe it's more than double that. 

A Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris) was picking insects of the trash. 

Lemur Island in Andasibe, Mantadia National Park 

 
The critical endangered Black and White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) can reach 120 cm in lenght and weigh up to around 4 kilogram.

This Black and White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) is getting ready for a big jump. This species is arboreal and their diet consist of mainly of fruit. We observed them eating flowers and leaves too.

 The diurnal Black and White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata) normally comes down from the trees to drink from the streams and rivers.

You can get very close to the Black and White Ruffed Lemurs (Varecia variegata) on Lemur Island as my friend Ida here shows.

The gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) in its natural habitat. 

The gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) have better dexterity and hand–eye coordination than most lemurs. They are fast and can climb vertical on the giant bamboos.

The gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) is usually a very shy species. 

 

The gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) consume large quantities of bamboo which contain cyanide in an amount that would kill a human being.

The gray bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus) live in small groups of 3-5 animals.

Another species here is the Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons). The species live on  leaves, seeds, fruit, nectar and flowers depending on whats available.

This Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) is carrying a juvenile.

The fur color of the red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) is different from specimen to specimen even from same location. They can be a dark red-brown to a light gray. 

The red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) natural habitat varies a lot. From dense forest to the more dry spiny forest and rocks.

The red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) has a thick dense fur. This species can keep warm even in the most harsh environment. 

The ears of the Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) are smaller than in other lemurs of the same size. It's still unclear why that is.

 

The Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) was described in 2001. Until then it was considered a subspecies to the common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus).

 

I found the Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) very curious. It was very easy to get close to this species in general.

 

But on Lemur Island it's even easier than normal. In this place the lemurs are use to people visiting. This Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) here does not even seem to notice my friends Dan and Ida.

I found a female Broad Skimmer (Orthetrum azureum) a dragonfly endemic to Madagascar.

When somebody takes a photo of you while you are eating and you end up looking like a human. This photo of me and a Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) was taken by Simon Boye Nielsen.

Sunset over Lemur island.

Peyrieras Reptile Reserve

A female Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii). This species is the heaviest of all chameleons. It is omnivorous, eating most plants, insects, other lizards and might even take small birds.

The head of a mature male Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii). This guy might be more than 10 years old.

Male Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii)

My friend Ida with a Male Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii). The fascination of animals is shared by many people and hopefully this infatuation will help save the many endangered species of our planet. 

Young Male Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii parsonii) trying to escape the photographer.

This Parson's chameleon (Calumma parsonii parsonii) were a little less scared. This species is truly an amazing animal. Up close and personal you will see all the interesting features of their skin. 

A female Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti).

A female gravid Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti) showing her extreme colors possibly to scare of predators and as a signal for males that they are too late.

The Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) can grow up to 20 centimeters in lenght and live only in the Northern part of Madagascar.

Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)

This Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) seem to be a locality hybrid.

The full view of the same Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) locality hybrid.

Close up the skin of this Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) locality hybrid.

This unidentified chameleon (Furcifer sp.) is hunting an insect.

The largest predator on the island is the Madagascar crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus madagascariensis). Notice the Grasshopper (Locusta sp.) on its head.

The Madagascar crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus madagascariensis) is a subspecies of the Nile crocodile which is the second-largest reptile in the world. It can grow to over 1000 kilograms exceeding 6 meter. 

The Banded Commodore butterfly (Precis andremiaja) are found in different color variations throughout Madagascar.

The Tailless tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus) is one of the most common mammals on Madagascar and the only member in its genus. It is also the largest species in its family (Tenrecidae). They can grow up to around 2 kilograms and 39 cm in lenght. Above is an adult.

 

This is a young Tailless tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus) still living with its parents. Some tenrec's have specialized quills on their back which they use to sent out signal sounds for their young to follow so they dont get lost.   

The Betsileo Madagascar Frog (Mantidactylus betsileanus) here amoungst the floating aquatic plant called Mosquito fern (Azolla pinnata)

The Madagascan collared iguana (Oplurus cuvieri) is the largest of its genus. Preying mainly on crickets, grasshoppers and cochroaches.

A dead Madagascan moon moth (Argema mittrei) on a fern. The wingspan is 20 cm and the tail span 15 cm, This is one of the largest moths in the world.

Malagasy Giant Hognose Snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis).

The Madagascar Mocker Swallowtail (Papilio dardanus meriones) is a beautiful subspecies of butterfly endemic to Madagascar.

Ambalavao, Anja Park

The Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti) is the longest chameleon in the world. It can reach almost 70 cm TL. This specimen was hunting a butterfly.

I also observed The Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti) preying on grasshoppers and often found them in larger trees like this. 

Under the trees in the same habitat we found Bruno`s leaf Chameleon (Brookesia brunoi). This small species seem to prey mainly on ants.

 

Bruno`s leaf Chameleons (Brookesia brunoi) is mostly a terrestrial species but we found them on the lower branches near the forest floor as well. These guys are very difficult to spot but if you stand still for a while you will see them move.

The endangered ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) in its natural habitat.

 

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) are very social animals always together in groups.

 

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is a diurnal animal and very skilled climber.

Notice the grooming claw (claw-like nail) on its second toe. The grooming claw is used in personal grooming to rake through the fur or scratch, particularly around the head and neck. Almost all lemurs have this claw. 

 

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) spend a lot of time playing and the family members seem to have a very close bond.

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) faces are very destinct and it seem easy to recognize individuals in the group.

The ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) are lovely caring parents always helping each other.

When the juvenile ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) is older than two weeks they stay on their mothers back when travelling high speed.

  

 The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) are found in most habitats from the spiny dry forests to the montane humid forests.

I found groups of ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) usually counted between 5 and 25 individuals.

The ears of the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) are relatively large compared to other lemurs and they are covered in hair.

The young ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) drink their mothers milk for the first 5 month of their lifes. 

The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) normal lifespan in the wild is 16 years even though they in captivity can grow up to 33 years old. 

The habitat here is very diverse here. Dry mountains and green canyons.

A Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) resting in the sun on a hot rock.

The four markings on the side of Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) is a key to the ID of the species.

 

The geographic range of Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) is from the Southern tip of the island as far North as the City of Antsirabe.

I observed these Dumeril's Madagascar Swifts (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) fighting for territory at least for 10 minutes.

Another closely related lizard is present here too. Grandidier's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus grandidieri) is recognized by the dorsal stripe and the hexagonal scales in the same region.

Rain is coming and we were witnesses to an amazing weather change. The sunlight was bright and the background was dark.

As the rain came closer the green color of the trees became mesmerizing and I was not sure the camera would capture the atmosphere but I think you see it too right?

I have never seen er weather like this. It was quite impressive.

The endemic Lateral water snake (Thamnosophis lateralis) is a common snake all over Madagascar.

This Lateral water snake (Thamnosophis lateralis) was released unharmed again after a closer examination.

Ranomafana National Park

Ranomafana river runs in the canyon along the road through the Ranomafana national park.

Simon here tries to catch some small fast fish in the muddy river of Ranomafana river (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).

I finally caught some of the fish we spotted from above the surface. But I could not beleive it. It was an introduced species that did not belong on Madagascar (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).

I caught this young male of a Green swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii). This species is native to North and Central America from Mexico to northwestern Honduras (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).

Even wet the Brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) is perfectly camouflaged. 

 

 The Brown leaf chameleon (Brookesia superciliaris) often stay absolutely still when think they are caught. But they will keep an eye on you all the time.

What I beleive is the Central Madagascar Frog (Mantidactylus opiparis) is well camouflaged on the forest floor. 

 

Even though the weather was not good for birdwatching that day we were lucky enough to see this Velvet asity (Philepitta castanea).

 

What I beleive might be the real Madagascar Centipede (Scolopendra madagascariensis). 

The Redleg Orbweaver (Trichonephila inaurata). The two small ones are males. The web of this species is extremely strong.

 

Sadly this was the best photo I got of the Red-bellied Lemur (Eulemur rubriventer). This female was very shy and fled into the forest.

The beautiful Madagascar edgy frog (Gephyromantis ceratophrys) out in the rain hunting insects.

This frog belong to the genus Blommersia. It is probably the Moramanga Madagascar frog (Blommersia blommersae) or Sarotra Madagascar frog (Blommersia sarotra). Without molecular data it is impossible to determine.

We only found the Sculpted Madagascar frog (Gephyromantis sculpturatus) in Ranomafana.

The Sculpted Madagascar frog (Gephyromantis sculpturatus) is endemic to Madagascar.

A Porcelain fungus (Oudemansiella sp.). This fungus almost looked like glass. I have not been able to identify this species. It might be an undescribed species.

Mania River

 

The Mania river is in Fianarantsoa, Manandriana. The broken Fatihita bridge has been replaced with the new brigde (The one I made this photo from).

 

The water in the mania river is very muddy and alkaline. Large calcium rocks, mud and sand seem to dominate this habitat.

We did not spot any fish in this river.

The current was fast to moderate.

 Madagascars flag.

 

An old abandoned house.

 

Antananarivo

The capital of Madagascar view from a car. The majority of the city is poor and give a good pictures of the rest of the country.

Looking at the average cars here it's like going back at least 20 years compared to Europe.

In the middle of the largest city on Madagascar called Tana we found the Western lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata elanthana).

 The Western lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata elanthana) seem to thrive in the gardens.

I observed the Western lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata elanthana) eating small flies and drinking nectar from the flowers of the palm trees.

Even climbing the pipes and walls of the hotel building. The Western lined day gecko (Phelsuma lineata elanthana) were present in great numbers here.

The view from the hotel window. The palms you see here is the day gecko habitat from the photos above.

Outside the city in a paddy field I spotted this Malagasy Kingfisher (Corythornis vintsioides) it was hunting amphibians.

The paddy fields are used to wash and dry clothes and keep fish for human consumption.

Isalo National Park

Our team from the right Dan Olsen, Ida-Mari Henriksen, Simon Boye Nielsen and me Peter Petersen.

On the surface everything looks dry and almost like a desert

 

The flower of Livingstones orchid (Eulophia livingstoneana)

The Red-fronted Brown Lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) is a diurnal species which inhabit the trees in the canyons of Isalo.

Another lemur present here is the Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur catta). I observed them eating fruits mostly. The often came in groups of 5-30 individuals.

 

A Male Madagascar Magpie-Robin (Copsychus albospecularis).

A female Madagascar Magpie-Robin (Copsychus albospecularis).

 

Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) lives in the dry areas of Isalo. We found them on the cliffs mainly.

This young curious Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) came very close and followed my every move. 

 

The Dumeril's Madagascar Swift (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) can climb vertical cliffs and they are extremely fast.

  

The Dumeril's Madagascar Swifts (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) seem to be social animals. We found them often in smaller groups.

The pattern of the Dumeril's Madagascar Swifts (Oplurus quadrimaculatus) varies a lot.

The temperature in Isalo during the day is extremely high so remember lots of water on this hike (This photo was taken by Simon Boye Nielsen)

 

The bottle-shaped trunk of the Elephant's Foot Plant (Pachypodium rosulatum) is used to store water during the very hot and long dry season. 

 

The Elephant's Foot Plant (Pachypodium rosulatum) is flowering normally between February and late May. In the hot dry season all leaves fall.  

 

This Male Forest Rock-Thrush (Monticola sharpei) was hunting ants and other insects in a fresh green canyon deep.

The Forest Rock-Thrush (Monticola sharpei) is endemic to Madagascar.

In this harsh environment the small streams that run through the canyons are important to all life here. The water here were crystal clear.

The water is filtered through pebles, sand and plant roots and ends up in clearwater pools deep in the canyons. A pure green paradise.

This time only the rock is in focus. Sadly this was my best photo of the Madagascar Wagtail (Motacilla flaviventris) but at least also my best image of an Isalo rock.

The Isalo Rattlebox (Crotalaria isaloensis) is endemic to this national park in Madagascar. We were lucky enough to see them in bloom.

The bio diversity in the green canyons were amazing.

All life from above came in here to drink the clean water.

Because the canyon were so narrow you could easily see the animals that came down for a drink.

The Madagascan hoopoe (Upupa marginata) is endemic to the island and are of some scientists regarded as a subspecies (Upupa epops marginata)

This pair of Madagascan hoopoe (Upupa marginata) is resting in the shade on a calcium rock formation.

 

This is a male Souimanga Sunbird (Cinnyris sovimanga). This species belong to the family Nectariniidae which eat nectar from the flowers and there by works and important pollinator. 

What seem to be a black tarantula was hiding in this burrow. The Black Madagascar tarantula (Encyocrates raffrayi) inhabits the northen part of the island but from this place no species are described that fit this appearance.  

 

A typical rock formation in Isalo.

 

In this rocky terrain we found the Madagascar rock scorpion (Opisthacanthus madagascariensis)

My friend the experienced zookeeper Simon Boye Nielsen (our scorpion expert) carefully picked up the Madagascar rock scorpion (Opisthacanthus madagascariensis) for closer examination

  

The Madagascar rock scorpion (Opisthacanthus madagascariensis) was the first scorpion that scientist discovered had a venom that contains sex-specific compounds. The male and female are not equally venomous.

Well camouflaged this Madagascar Lark (Eremopterix hova) was only revealed by its shadow and beautiful song. 

A pair of Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis) found a source of water between the rocks.

The Madagascar Bee-Eater (Merops superciliosus) are common in Isalo. I observed them eating bees, wasps and what seem to be ants.

The Madagascar Bee-Eater (Merops superciliosus) were usually in groups but we also saw some solitaire animals.

Most of Isalo is dry and very hot but in the small narrow canyons clear freshwater streams flows and a tropic paradise is made  (This photo was taken by Dan Olsen).  

 

A special thanks to: 

Nikolai Filskov (Aves, Chamaeleonidae)

Niels Arnoldi Buus Pedersen (Chamaeleonidae)

Jakob Rademacher (Serpentes)

Nicholas Palm (Gekkonidae)

Henrik Bringsøe (Anura)

Prof. Dr. Miguel Vences (Mantellidae)

Thomas Læssøe (Fungi)

Prof. Wilson Lourenço (Scorpiones)

Simon Boye Nielsen (Scorpiones