Reptiles in Madagascar


       Furcifer verrucosus (Warty Chameleon)

       Mimophis mahfalensis (Common Big-eyed Snake)

       Pyxis arachnoides (Spider Tortoise)

Most of Madagascar’s reptiles are found nowhere else. In 2003, about 90% of the 346 reptile species found on the island were classified as endemic species. Madagascar inhabits three families of marine reptile fauna (two families of sea turtles and one family of snakes) and eleven families of nonmarine reptiles (Raxworthy 2003).  













Fifty-five reptile species have so far been found by our researchers and Raselimanana (2008) on the Mahafaly Plateau. The majority of reptiles are lizards like the Warty Chameleon (Furcifer verrucosus) (67 %), followed by snakes (29%) like the Common Big-eyed Snake (Mimophis mahfalensis). Only two species of turtles are common in this area: The Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) and the Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata). Both species are critically endangered.  


       Phelsuma mutabilis (Dickschwanzgecko)




The majority of lizards are geckos like the Thick Tail Gecko (Phelsuma mutabilis) and skinks. Most commonly found are the diurnal Chalarodon madagascariensis, Trachylepis elegans and Tracheloptychus madagascariensis. At night Geckolepsis typica and Paroedura picta are often encountered.





At least six species are classified as near threatened up to critical endangered, including the two tortoise species and the gecko, Paroedura maingoka.






Back to Summary


Go directly to more details about the species diversity on the Mahafaly Plateau by clicking on the animal classes and plants below:



  • A.P. Raselimanana (2008). Herpétofaune des forêts sèches malgaches. Malagasy Nature, 1, 46-75.
  • J.C. Raxworthy (2003). Introduction to the reptilians. In: The natural history of Madagascar. S. Goodman, J.P. Benstead (eds). pp. 934-949. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, London.




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