Madagascar Ericoid Thickets Habitat
The Cryptic warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi) is one of several bird species that are endemic to the Madagascar ericoid thickets. This ecoregion This disjunctive ecoregion includes the ericoid thicket habitats found above approximately 1800 metres on the upper slopes of Madagascar's four major massifs (listed from north to south): Tsaratanana (2876 m), Marojejy (2133 m), Ankaratra (2643 m), and Andringitra (2658 m). Tsaratanana is the most northern massif, at 14o latitude and Andringitra the most southern, at 22o latitude.
The upper montane sclerophyllous forest is dominated by plant species from the families Podocarpaceae, Cunoniaceae, and Pandanaceae, and the trees are shrouded with mosses, lichens, and epiphytes. At higher altitudes, this forest gives way to the ericoid thicket, which is dominated by the Asteraceae (Psiadia, Helichrysum, Stoebe, Stenocline), Ericaceae (Erica, Agauria, Vaccinum), Podocarpaceae (Podocarpus), Rhamnaceae (Phylica) and Rubiaceae plant families. A wide diversity of lichens and bryophytes are represented. Small, damp peat-filled depressions harbor specialized, endemic plants, while rock outcrops host a drought-tolerant flora including Aloe, Kalanchoe and Helichrysum.
Several endemic bird species such as Crossley's ground-roller (Atelornis crossleyi), Cryptic warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi) and Yellow-bellied sunbird-asity (Neodrepanis hypoxantha) occur in the upper portions of these mountains.
Example frog species found in this ecoregion are: the ecoregion endemic Ankafana Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus curtus); ecoregion endemic Dotted Madagascar frog (Guibemantis punctatus); the Endangered Andringitra Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus madecassus); and the Near Threatened Betsileo bright-eyed frog (Boophis rhodoscelis).
The ericoid thicket supports more than ten species of endemic and near-endemic reptiles including the geckos, Millotisaurus mirabilis and Lygodactylus arnoulti. Andringitra also has a newly discovered endemic Gekkonidae, Lygodactylus montanus. At least one amphibian (Boophis williamsi) is strictly endemic, and five other species are nearly endemic to the ecoregion. Two chameleon species are restricted to the high elevational zone of the Marojejy National Park (Calumma peyrierasi) and Andohahela National Park (C. capuroni). A new subspecies of day gecko (Phelsuma lineata) and a new species of plated lizard (Zonosaurus), as well as some anuran taxa, were discovered in the upper reaches of the Tsaratanana Massif.
Two mammals are considered endemic to this ecoregion or the ecotone between it and the upper limit of the subhumid ecoregion, both of which have been described as new genera over the course of the past few years, Monticolomys koopmani, known from the massifs of Ankaratra, Andringitra and Andohahela, and Voalavo gymnocaudus, apparently endemic to the Marojejy-Anjanaharibe-Sud massifs. The upper reaches of Tsaratanana have not been systematically surveyed for small mammals, and thus this area holds the possibility of yielding some great surprises.
Near endemic mammal species living at the middle to upper reaches of eastern mountains of the ecoregion include the Rice tenrec (Oryzorictes tetradactylus), found only in the south central highlands, Highland streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes nigriceps), several shrew-tenrecs (e.g. Microgale gracilis, M. gymnorhyncha, and M. monticola), and a species of tuft-tailed rat (Eliurus majori).
- Du Puy, D.J., and J. Moat. 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.. Editions de l ORSTOM, Paris.
- World Wildlife Fund & C.MIchael Hogan 2015. Madagascar eriocoid thickets. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2006Vulnerable(IUCN 2006)
Montane shrew tenrec
- Bronner, G. N.; Jenkins, P. D. (2005). "Order Afrosoricida". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 74. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- Afrotheria Specialist Group (Tenrec Section), Jenkins, P. & Goodman, S. (2008). Microgale monticola. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
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