Lemur of the Day: Red-Shouldered Sportive Lemur

Sportive lemurs are active at night, when they forage for food, and less social than brown lemurs or sifakas, tending toward solitary living. During the day, they doze in tree hollows, crooks, and dense areas of branches, usually alone unless they are raising young. With their large, night-adapted eyes, sportive lemurs wear a perpetually surprised expression. Our guides at Zombitse … Read more

Invertebrates of the Day: Butterflies

It’s not the best season for butterflies in Madagascar, but you wouldn’t know it from a visit to Zombitse National Park, where every break in the forest canopy meant a patch of sun filled with butterflies. I don’t have an insect book for Madagascar, so here are some pictures with no identification. I’ll have to research when I get home.

Bird of the Day: Madagascar Hoopoe

Early morning as the sun comes up is a great time to go birding, but it’s not a great time to take photos of birds. I had a devil of a time focusing on this one, and the low light situation made the photo grainy. But hey, I saw a Madagascar hoopoe (Upupa marginata)! Aren’t they cool? They aren’t woodpeckers, but … Read more

Reptile of the Day: Thicktail Day Gecko

Madagascar has many species of day geckos, so called because they’re diurnal (active during the day). We’ve seen several lived and peacock day geckos while in the rainforest, and here in Isalo we met a new one: the thick-tailed day gecko. I love its mottled coloring and the slight blue tinge to its tail.

Lemur of the Day: Red-Fronted Brown Lemur

We were only a few hundred meters into the dry forest at Isalo National Park when we heard rustling in the fallen leaves, followed by snuffling sounds that reminded me of a certain family member who likes to press her nose against the glass and snort like a pig. A quick scan of the surrounding brush identified the culprits: a troop of red-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons), so named for the reddish patch of fur on the foreheads of the males. Read more …

Invertebrate of the Day: Drop-Wing Dragonfly

Today was our first day hiking through one of Madagascar’s deciduous forests: Isalo National Park, a beautiful hilly area in the eastern part of the island. The deciduous forests differ from the rainforests in that they see little rain outside the spring cyclone season. It’s winter now in Madagascar, and many deciduous trees and bushes have already lost their leaves. … Read more

Plant of the Day: Poinsettia

Poinsettias (the shrub with the bright red leaves—shaped like flower rosettes—at the center of the photo above) are native to the Americas, but plenty are to be found in Madagascar. They were brought here as a decorative plant and, as often happens with garden introductions, got loose with the help of birds. Because it never freezes in Madagascar, poinsettias here … Read more

Invertebrate of the Day: Proboscis Bug

This bug gets its name from its huge proboscis (nose). The young ones, pictured, excrete a waxy, cottony substance as a defense against birds, who don’t like the texture. At about three months, they become adults — and much tastier, because they stop producing “cotton.” Instead, they develop mottled wings that serve to camouflage them. They keep the awesome red … Read more