Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 10, pp 1791–1807

Reptile, amphibian, and lemur diversity of the Malahelo Forest, a biogeographical transition zone in southeastern Madagascar

  • Jean-Baptiste Ramanamanjato
  • Peter B. Mcintyre
  • Ronald A. Nussbaum

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020325415489

Cite this article as:
Ramanamanjato, JB., Mcintyre, P.B. & Nussbaum, R.A. Biodiversity and Conservation (2002) 11: 1791. doi:10.1023/A:1020325415489


Ambatorongorongo Mountain lies at the historical intersection betweenhumid, spiny, and littoral forests in southeastern Madagascar. We report theresults of surveys of the herpetofauna and lemurs occurring in Malahelo Forest,a small (<25 ha) forest fragment lying on the western slope ofAmbatorongorongo Mountain. There are at least 41 reptile, 11 amphibian, and 7lemur species in this forest, including several that are endemic to southeasternMadagascar and are at severe risk of extinction. The species richness of theMalahelo fauna is comparable to that of even the largest forest reserves in theregion. We also evaluate the similarity of the Malahelo herpetofauna to that ofnearby humid, spiny, and littoral forests to assess the biogeographic affinitiesof its amphibians and reptile assemblages. Both groups contain speciescharacteristic of each of the three surrounding forest types, but thebiogeographic patterns appear to differ for amphibians and reptiles. Overall,the herpetofauna and lemurs of the Malahelo Forest indicate that it is a remnantof a biogeographic transition zone between the major forest types ofsoutheastern Madagascar. The combination of high species richness, regionalendemics, and unique herpetofaunal and lemur assemblages should make MalaheloForest a high conservation priority, and we give recommendations for protectingwhat remains of this important transitional forest.

Ambatorongorongo Amphibians Biogeography Herpetofauna Lemurs Madagascar Malahelo Forest Reptiles Transitional forest Zoogeography 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Baptiste Ramanamanjato
    • 1
  • Peter B. Mcintyre
    • 2
  • Ronald A. Nussbaum
    • 3
  1. 1.QIT Madagascar Minerals S.A.Fort-DauphinMadagascar
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyAnn ArborUSA

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