has an exceptionally distinctive flora and fauna with over 90% of the
species in many groups found nowhere else. Madagascar is even
more remarkable at higher taxonomic levels. Despite being the
world's 45th largest country, Madagascar is second (after Australia) in endemic
vertebrate and vascular plant families and also is in the top
four in endemic genera for both groups. Madagascar is
part of the Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands biodiversity
An excellent overview of the island's
animals and plants is given in the book The Natural History of Madagascar
of Chicago Press). For recently discovered species
Best known of Madagascar's unique mammals are the lemurs which include five endemic families: the Aye-aye (ARKive) in the Daubentoniidae, the Indriidae includes Coquerel's Sifaka (ARKive) and the Indri (EDGE), the Lemuridae includes the Ring-tailed Lemur (ARKive), the Lepilemuridae includes Seal's Sportive Lemur (Google Books), and the Cheirogaleidae includes Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur (ARKive). Other endemic mammal families are the Eupleridae which includes the Fossa (EDGE) and the Malagasy Ring-tailed Mongoose (ARKive) and the Myzopodidae which includes the Eastern Sucker-footed Bat (EDGE). Other endemic mammals include the Lowland Streaked Tenrec (ARKive), the Short-tailed Shrew Tenrec (iNaturalist), the Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat (EDGE), the Red Forest Rat (flickr), and the Long-tailed Big-footed Mouse (EDGE).
Representatives of bird families found only in Madagascar include the Long-tailed Ground Roller (ARKive) and the Yellow-bellied Sunbird-asity (Field Museum). The Malagasy warblers (Creagrus) are also sometimes recognized as an endemic family, the Bernieridae. The three species of mesites (EDGE) are frequently considered to represent an endemic order, the Mesitornithiformes. Other endemic birds include the Helmet Vanga (ARKive), the Madagascar Serpent-eagle (EDGE), the Madagascar Pochard (ARKive), the Madagascar Crested Ibis (ARKive), the Madagascar Partridge (HBW), the Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (ARKive), the Gray-headed Lovebird (WPT), the Forest Fody (flickr), and the Giant Coua (HBW).
Madagascar's rich endemic chameleon fauna includes the world's largest species, Parson’s Chameleon (ARKive), and the world's smallest, a leaf chameleon Brookesia micra (ARKive). Labord’s Chameleon (ARKive) has the shortest lifespan of any land vertebrate, while the Radiated Tortoise (ARKive) has the longest documented one. Other endemic reptiles include an iguana Chalarodon madagascariensis (ARKive), the Yellow-headed Day Gecko (flickr), the Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (ARKive), a skink Sirenoscincus mobydick (Species New to Science), the Twig Mimic Snake (Reptile Database), Liophidium pattoni (flickr), the Madagascar Big-headed Turtle (ARKive), and the Flat-shelled Spider Tortoise (ARKive). The Madagascar Blind Snake (Serpent Research) is the sole member of the family Xenotyphlopidae and the three species of boa, including the Madagascar Ground Boa (ARKive), have recently been reclassified into the endemic family Sanziniidae.
Madagascar is the sole home to some of the world's most colorful frogs including the Golden Mantella (ARKive), the Harlequin Mantella (AmphibiaWeb), and the Blue-legged Mantella (ARKive). Other endemic frogs include the Common Tomato Frog (ARKive), the Madagascan Lined Frog (AmphibiaWeb), the Malagasy Rainbow Frog (EDGE), Angel's Madagascar Frog (EDGE), the Madagascar Jumping Frog (ARKive), Helena’s Stump-toed Frog (EDGE), the Ambana Web-foot Frog Paradoxophyla palmata (AmphibiaWeb), and the recently described Blommersia angolafa (BBC) and Boophis ulftunni (ARKive).
Freshwater fish restricted to Madagascar include an endemic family, the Madagascan rainbowfish or Bedotidae (Wikipedia). The Anchariidae is also frequently recognized as a second endemic fish family distinct from the Ariidae and includes Ancharius griseus (Madagroup AFC) and Gogo ornatus (PlanetCatfish). Other endemic freshwater fish genera include a silverside Teramulus (ARKive), a cave-dwelling sleeper goby Typhleotris (flickr), and several cichlids: Oxylapia (ARKive), Katria (Madagroup AFC), Paretroplus (Madagroup AFC), Paratilapia (ARKive), and Ptychochromis (ARKive).
Insect families confined to Madagacar include stick insects in Damasippoididae (Les phasmes de Madagascar), moths in Whalleyanidae (BOLD), beetles in Belohinidae (Google Books). Beetles unique to Madagascar include the Giraffe Weevil (BBC), the flower beetles Pygora poullaudei (eol) and Euchroea urania (zin.ru), a jewel beetle Polybothris sumptuosa (flickr), and a longhorned beetle Stellognatha maculata (flickr). Other endemic insects include the Dracula Ant (ARKive), the Giant Swallowtail (galerie-insecte.org), an endemic metalmark butterfly genus Saribia (flickr), the Madagascar Moon Moth (Jürgen Schian), the Sunset Moth (Wikipedia), the world’s largest mayfly Proboscidoplocia (BioFresh), a flatid bug Phromnia rosea (ARKive), and a grasshopper Phymateus saxosus (flickr).
Other endemic invertebrates families
include scorpions in Heteroscorpionidae (SEA
pdf file), springtails in Microfalculidae (Google
Books), amphipods in Austroniphargidae (Comune
di Verona pdf file), and earthworms in Kynotidae (ResearchGate).
Endemic species include the Madagascar Fire Millipede (diplopoda.de),
a huntsman spider Olios
Chameleon Ventures) living in snail shells, Darwin's Bark
genus of land snail Helicophanta
and a coral Stylophora
Vascular plant families found nowhere else include Physenaceae (MOBOT), Sarcolaenaceae (MOBOT), Asteropeiaceae (MOBOT), Barbeuiaceae (Tropicos), and Sphaerosepalaceae (MOBOT). Diegodendron humbertii is also sometimes considered to represent an additional endemic family (Google Books). Other endemic plants include Grandidier’s Baobab (ARKive), the medically important Madagascar Rosy Periwinkle (eol), the Octopus Tree (eol), the Flame Tree (ARKive), Euphorbia geroldii (ARKive), the primitive Takhtajania perrieri (Madagascar Catalogue), Melanophylla alnifolia (Tropicos), Humbertia madagascariensis (Tropicos), Kaliphora madagascariensis (Madagascar Catalogue), Diegodendron humbertii (Tropicos), Darwin's Orchid (ARKive), a rosewood Dalbergia xerophila (ARKive), the Forest Coconut (ARKive), the Forest Bismarckia (ARKive), and the recently discovered palm Tahina spectabilis (IISE).