Madagascar Subhumid Forests Habitat
The Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur (Hapalemur griseus aloatrensis) is strictly endemic to the Madagascar subhumid forests ecoregion. This ecoregion, coveris most of the Central Highlands of Madagascar, and boasts a considerable number of endemic species, found chiefly in the relict forest patches and also in some wetland areas. The rainfall here is approximately 1500 mm per year, although it may amount to as much as 2000 mm in the Sambirano area in the northwest and as little as 600 mm in the southwest.
The underlying geology of the ecoregion is mainly ancient Precambrian basement rocks that have been deformed and uplifted over millions of years. There are a few areas of more recent lava flows, and some alluvial deposits associated with wetlands. Vast grasslands now cover much of the central highlands at elevations ranging from 1000 to 1500 metres. The majority of this upland area was formerly forested, and native peoples have affected the fauna and flora through massive deforestation.
Many mammalian taxa are endemic to this ecoregion, including a number of lemurs and numerous shrews, tenrecs and rodents. A far larger number of species are near endemic, with the majority of these shared with the lowland forests to the east. At least 45 species of mammals are found only in the subhumid forest ecoregion and the lowland forest ecoregion of Madagascar and these include, for example, two species of bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur aureus and H. simus).
Of the endemic and near-endemic mammal species in the ecoregion, 12 species listed are on the IUCN Red List; nine species are considered vulnerable; two are endangered and one (the Alaotran gentle lemur) is critical. In the Analavelona forest a species of small mammal was recently discovered, Microgale nasoloi, that is only known from this site and the nearby Zombitse-Vohibasia Forest, the latter being classified in the Madagascar succulent woodlands ecoregion. In addition to the large number of mammalian endemics, there are many special status mammals in the ecoregion, including the Vulnerable Aquatic tenrec (Limnogale mergulus); the Near Threatened Aye aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis);
Two endemic bird species are found in the wetlands of this ecoregion, and others are confined to the subhumid forests or shared with other Madagascar ecoregions. In the wetlands, both the Alaotra little grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus) and the Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata), are considered critically endangered and may be extinct. In the forests the endemic species include, for example, a new genus and species only named a few years ago called the cryptic warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi), the yellow-browed oxylabes (Crossleyia xanthophrys), and the brown emutail (Dromaeocercus brunneus). Several other species of birds found here are limited to marshland habitats on Madagascar, including the slender-billed flufftail (Sarothrura watersi), Madagascar snipe (Gallinago macrodactyla), and Madagascar rail (Rallus madagascariensis). Further, Appert’s greenbul (Xanthomixis apperti), an endemic species with a very limited geographical distribution, is abundant on the upper reaches of the Analavelona Massif. More than 20 other bird species that occur in the subhumid forests of this ecoregion are shared only with the eastern lowland forests ecoregion.
The Madagascar subhumid forests hold more than twenty strictly endemic amphibians. Several groups of amphibians include more than one endemic species, such as the microhylids Rhombophryne testudo, Scaphiophryne goettliebi, the mantellids Vulnerable Elegant Madagascar frog (Spinomantis elegans); Mantella crocea, M. cowani, M. eiselti, Mantidactylus domerguei, and the Near Threatened Decary's Madagascar frog (Gephiyromantis decaryi); and the rhacophorids Boophis laurenti and B. microtympanum. Other notable amphibian endemics include:the Benavony stump-toed frog (Stumpffia gimmeli)/
There are a number of special status amphibians in the ecoregion including the Near Threatened Ambohimitombo bright-eyed frog (Boophis majori); the Vulnerable Andoany stump-toed frog (Stumpffia pygmaea); the Endangered Andringitra Madagascar Frog (Mantidactylus madecassus); and the Near Threatened Betsileo Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis rhodoscelis).
There are at least 25 strictly endemic reptiles in this ecoregion. These numbers include historically described species as well as newly identified taxa. Numerous speciess of chameleon and dwarf chameleon only occur in this ecoregion, including Calumma oshaughnessyi ambreensis, C. tsaratananensis, Furcifer petteri, Brookesia ambreesis, B. antakarana, B. lineata, and B. lolontany in the northern and northwestern portion; and C. fallax, F. campani, and F. minor in the central and southern portions. Otpher lizard species endemic to the ecoregion include the skinks Mabuya grnadidieri, M. madagascariensis, M. nancycoutouae, Amphiglossus meva, and Androngo crenni; the geckos Lygodactylus blanci, L. decaryi and Phelsuma klemmeri, and the Plated lizard Zonosaurus ornatus. There are also a few endemic species of snakes including Pseudoxyrhopus ankafinensis, Liopholidophis grandidieri, and L. sexlineatus.
- Du Puy, D.J. and Moat, J. 1996. A refined classification of the primary vegetation of Madagascar based on the underlying geology: using GIS to map its distribution and to assess its conservation status. In W.R. Lourenço (editor). Biogéographie de Madagascar, pp. 205-218, + 3 maps. Editions de l’ORSTOM, Paris. ISBN: 2709913240
- World Wildlife Fund and C.MIchael Hogan/. 2015. Madagascar subhumid forests. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2000Critically Endangered
- 1996Critically Endangered
- 1994Endangered(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
- 1990Endangered(IUCN 1990)
Hunting for food and capture for pets also have reduced its numbers through the years. Local people employ a variety of hunting and trapping methods. Direct pursuit by dogs is the most common, but they may also be captured by using a harpoon, a snare, a stick to knock them out or into the water, or by burning their reed bed habitat, causing them to flee into the hands of waiting hunters. More than 1,000 lemurs have been hunted annually in some years (Mutschler et al. 2001).
Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur
The Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis), also known as the Lac Alaotra gentle lemur, Alaotran bamboo lemur, Alaotran gentle lemur, or locally as the bandro, is a bamboo lemur. It is endemic to the reed beds in and around Lac Alaotra, in northeast Madagascar. This lemur is the only primate specifically adapted to living in papyrus reeds. Unlike other bamboo lemurs, the Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur does not eat bamboo; instead, it feeds on the stems of papyrus reeds, shoots of the grass Phragmites communis, and two other species of grasses (Echinochloa crus-galli and Leersia hexandra).
Its tail and body are both 40 cm on average, and it weighs between 1.1 and 1.4 kg, with males slightly larger than females. Its dense, woolly fur is a gray-brown on the back, lighter gray on the face and chest, and chestnut brown on the head and neck.
The classification of the bandro is disputed, with some classifying it as a subspecies of Hapalemur griseus, while others see it as a separate species. Current genetic data do not support species status. Mitochondrial DNA sequences from the two populations H. g. griseus and H. g. alaotrensis are interspersed with each other on the phylogenetic tree. Moreover, average genetic distances between the two subspecies are within the range of within-taxon comparisons and not in the range of between-taxon comparisons. A final assessment of species versus subspecies status requires filling in gaps in sampling and the use of nuclear loci. GenBank, the universal repository for genetic sequence information, has not accepted the species status of the Aloatran lemur and lists it as a subspecies.
The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has a Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur conservation program.
- Andriaholinirina, N. et al. (2014). "Hapalemur alaotrensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
- "Checklist of CITES Species". CITES. UNEP-WCMC. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 116. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Mutschler, T. (1999). "Folivory in a Small-Bodied Lemur". In Berthe Rakotosamimanana; Hanta Rasamimanana; Jörg U. Ganzhorn; Steven M. Goodman. New Directions in Lemur Studies. pp. 221–239. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-4705-1_13. ISBN 978-1-4613-7131-1.
- Mittermeier, Russell A., Konstant, William R., Hawkins, Frank , Louis, Edward E., and Langrand, Olivier (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar (2nd edition ed.). Conservation International. pp. 222–225. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
- Pastorini, J., Forstner, M. R. J. and Martin, R. D. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of gentle lemurs (Hapalemur). Evolutionary Anthropology 11, 150-154.
- Figure 1 of Pastorini, J., Forstner, M. R. J. and Martin, R. D. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships of gentle lemurs (Hapalemur). Evolutionary Anthropology 11, 150-154
- NCBI taxonomy database: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi
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