Many Malagasy animals display behavioural and physiological characteristics that have long disappeared in continental fauna, a phenomenon particularly visible in mammals like lemurs and the insectivorous tenrecs.
With a name meaning soul of the dead, lemurs are the most emblematic animals of Madagascar. About 32 species of this primate have been discovered but the inventory is not complete yet as new species have been recently found, such as the Lepilemur Seali or the 300g Mirza Zaza. The most famous lemurs are the Indri Indri (the tallest), the ring-tailed Maki and the strange-looking Aye Aye.
Reptiles and amphibians
95% of species are endemic. One can find here frogs with unexpected colours such as the bright red Dicophus Antongilii. Just like lemurs, chameleons and lizards are emblematic of Madagascar where 2/3 of world-known species live – from the shortest (less than 10 cm) to the longest (more than 70 cm). Over 70 species of venomous snake exist in Madagascar but none of them is deadly. There are three species of boa, within a family that is found in South America and Asia, but not in Africa.
There are 100 000 species of invertebrates among which the Comet, the biggest butterfly in the world or the red and white giraffe beetle
Madagascar is a paradise for ornithologists with 285 bird species, of which 110 are endemic: Couas, Vangidae, red owl or the Pygargue of Madagascar. Birds here nests in the rainforests and water sites along the coastlines for great gatherings.
Tenrecs are unusual insectivores that have radiated into ecological niches filled in other lands by hedgehogs, mice, shrews, opossums, and even otters. While a few species of tenrecs are found in central Africa, they are most diverse in Madagascar which has around 30 species.