List of mammals of Madagascar

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This is a list of the native wild mammal species recorded in Madagascar. As of June 2014 (following the IUCN reassessment of the lemurs) there are 241 extant mammal species recognized in Madagascar, of which 22 are critically endangered, 62 are endangered, 32 are vulnerable, 9 are near-threatened, 72 are of least concern and 44 are either data deficient or not evaluated. All of the critically endangered species are lemurs. Most if not all of the 29 listed extinct species are believed to have died out in prehistoric times, following the first appearance of humans about 2000 years ago; none of these are known to have survived into the post-European contact period.[note 1]

The mammalian fauna of Madagascar is highly distinctive and largely endemic. The extant nonmarine, nonchiropteran taxa constitute (as of June 2014) 168 species, 40 genera and 9 families; of these, endemic forms make up all but perhaps one of the species,[note 2] all but one genus,[note 3] and all but three of the families.[note 4]

The following tags are used to highlight each species' conservation status as assessed by the IUCN; those on the left are used here, those in the second column in some other articles:

EX EX Extinct No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EW EW Extinct in the wild Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized population well outside its historic range.
CR CR Critically endangered The species is in imminent danger of extinction in the wild.
EN EN Endangered The species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
VU VU Vulnerable The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NT NT Near threatened The species does not qualify as being at high risk of extinction but is likely to do so in the future.
LC LC Least concern The species is not currently at risk of extinction in the wild.
DD DD Data deficient There is inadequate information to assess the risk of extinction for this species.
NE NE Not evaluated The conservation status of the species has not been studied.

Subclass: Theria[edit]

Infraclass: Eutheria[edit]

Superorder Afrotheria[edit]

Order: Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles)[edit]

The afrotherian order Afrosoricida contains the golden moles of southern Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar and Africa, two families of small mammals that were traditionally part of the order Insectivora. All the native tenrecs of Madagascar are believed to descend from a common ancestor that arrived 25–42 million years ago after rafting over from Africa[7][8] (where only 3 species of tenrecids, the otter shrews, survive).

Order: †Bibymalagasia (bibymalagasians)[edit]

Bibymalagasia is an enigmatic order represented by two extinct species of dog-sized, probably insectivorous mammals restricted to Madagascar. Although their relationships have been debated, they have been thought to belong to Afrotheria. Morphological analyses have tended to place them close to aardvarks (order Tubulidentata),[9] perhaps due to convergent specializations for digging.[10] Analysis of preserved collagen sequences, however, places them within Afrosoricida closest to tenrecs.[11] The two species differ in size and aspects of morphology.[10] They survived until as recently as 2150 BP.[12]

Order: Sirenia (manatees and dugongs)[edit]

Sirenia is an order of fully aquatic, herbivorous mammals that inhabit rivers, estuaries, coastal marine waters, swamps, and marine wetlands. All four species are endangered. The dugong ranges widely along coastlines from east Africa to Australasia. It and the tenrecs are Madagascar's only extant afrotherians.

Superorder Euarchontoglires[edit]

Order: Primates[edit]

Archaeoindris fontoynontii

The order Primates contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. It is divided into four main groupings: strepsirrhines, tarsiers, monkeys of the New World, and monkeys and apes of the Old World. Madagascar's 15 genera of extant nonhuman primates compares with 6 in Central America, 20 in South America, 23 in Africa and 19 in Asia. The endemic primates of Madagascar are the lemurs, the largest branch of strepsirrhines. Between 2000 and 2008, 39 new species were described, bringing the total number of recognized species and subspecies to 99;[13] by 2014, the number of extant species and subspecies recognized had increased to 105. Of these, the IUCN classified 24 as critically endangered, 49 as endangered, 20 as vulnerable, three as near-threatened, three as of least concern and four as data-deficient; two were yet to be evaluated. The common ancestor of Madagascar's lemurs is believed to have rafted across the Mozambique Channel from Africa[14][15][note 5] between 50 and 60 million years ago.[7][8] A number of lemur species larger than any now alive, ranging in size up to that of a gorilla, are believed to have gone extinct shortly after the arrival of humans. Strepsirrhines make up all of Madagascar's native primates species, but comprise only a quarter of those of Africa, the rest being simians. Madagascar's strepsirrhines occupy both diurnal and nocturnal niches, while all those outside Madagascar are nocturnal[16] and nearly all simians are diurnal (the only exception being Aotus, which lives where strepsirrhines are absent).[17]

Order: Rodentia (rodents)[edit]

Rodents make up the largest order of mammals, with over 40 percent of mammalian species. They have two incisors in the upper and lower jaw which grow continually and must be keep short by gnawing. Most rodents are small though the capybara can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb). All the native nesomyid rodents of Madagascar are believed to descend from a common ancestor that rafted over from Africa 20–24 million years ago.[7][8] There are about 39 nesomyid species in five subfamilies in Africa, compared to 27 in one subfamily extant in Madagascar. While nesomyids make up all of the native rodent species of Madagascar, they constitute less than 10% of those of Africa.

Superorder Laurasiatheria[edit]

Order: Eulipotyphla (shrews, hedgehogs, moles, and solenodons)[edit]

Eulipotyphlans are insectivorous mammals. Shrews and solenodons closely resemble mice, hedgehogs carry spines, while moles are stout-bodied burrowers. There is one species on Madagascar, which may or may not be endemic.

Order: Chiroptera (bats)[edit]

The bats' most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals. Of the 46 species, 22 genera and 8 families of bats present on Madagascar, 36 species but only Myzopoda and Myzopodidae are endemic (the family was formerly present, however, on the African mainland). Paratriaenops is endemic to Madagascar plus the Seychelles.

Order: Carnivora (carnivorans)[edit]

There are over 260 species of carnivorans, the majority of which feed primarily on meat. They have a characteristic skull shape and dentition. The native terrestrial carnivorans of Madagascar are all euplerids, which are believed to descend from a common ancestor that rafted over from Africa 19–26 million years ago.[8] Their closest relatives are the herpestids, the African and Eurasian mongooses. Malagasy mongooses are not "true" mongooses but rather are thought to represent an example of convergent or parallel evolution. About 30% of African terrestrial carnivoran species are herpestids.

Order: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates and cetaceans)[edit]

C. madagascariensis skeleton with H. amphibius skull

The even-toed ungulates are ungulates whose weight is borne about equally by the third and fourth toes, rather than mostly or entirely by the third as in perissodactyls. There are about 220 noncetacean artiodactyl species, including many that are of great economic importance to humans. Madagascar's only native artiodactyls are the extinct Malagasy hippos, which are believed to have descended from ancestors that managed to cross the Mozambique Channel from Africa in the late Quaternary, perhaps by swimming.[8] Two or three hippo colonization events may have occurred. H. lemerlei is thought to be a dwarfed form of Africa's H. amphibius, while H. laloumena was larger. C. madagascariensis may be more closely related to the African pygmy hippopotamus, C. liberiensis (the generic assignment of both pygmy forms has been in flux). Skeletal features indicate that Malagasy hippos were better adapted for running than African hippos. H. lemerlei remains have been found in the rivers and lakes of western Madagascar, suggesting a semiaquatic lifestyle similar to that of H. amphibious, while many C. madagascariensis remains have found in Madagascar's forested highlands, indicating a more terrestrial lifestyle.

Infraorder: Cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises)[edit]

Southern right whale, Île Sainte-Marie

The infraorder Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater. Their closest extant relatives are the hippos, which are artiodactyls, from which cetaceans descended; cetaceans are thus also artiodactyls.

Animals known of from Malagasy native tradition[edit]

See Fauna of Madagascar#Native names for extinct megafauna.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This list is derived from the IUCN Red List, which includes extant mammal species as well as four recently extinct species known from subfossil remains. To these have been added other species believed to have died out following the arrival of humans, as well as a few species known from Holocene remains whose extinction dates are poorly constrained. The taxonomy and naming of the individual species is based on those used in existing Wikipedia articles, supplemented by the common names and taxonomy from the IUCN, Smithsonian Institution, or University of Michigan where no Wikipedia article was available.
  2. ^ The tailless tenrec,[1] the common brown and mongoose lemurs[2][3] and the Madagascan pygmy shrew[4] are also present on the Comoros; all are thought to have been introduced.[5] The Madagascan pygmy shrew may also be present on Socotra, and some authorities have viewed it as conspecific with the widespread Etruscan shrew.[6]
  3. ^ The shrew genus Suncus is widespread in Africa and Eurasia.
  4. ^ The tenrec family, Tenrecidae, and the rodent family Nesomyidae are also present in Africa; the shrew family, Soricidae, is cosmopolitan. Madagascar has far more species of Tenrecidae and nearly as many of Nesomyidae as does Africa.
  5. ^ Mittermeier et al. 2006, pp. 23–26[3]


  1. ^ Afrotheria Specialist Group (Tenrec Section); Vololomboahangy, R. & Goodman, S. (2008). "Tenrec ecaudatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014-06-21. 
  2. ^ Pastorini, J.; Thalmann, U.; Martin, R. D. (2003). "A molecular approach to comparative phylogeography of extant Malagasy lemurs" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100 (10): 5879–5884. Bibcode:2003PNAS..100.5879P. doi:10.1073/pnas.1031673100. PMC 156295Freely accessible. PMID 12719521. 
  3. ^ a b Mittermeier, R.A.; Konstant, W.R.; Hawkins, F.; Louis, E.E.; Langrand, O.; Ratsimbazafy, J.; Rasoloarison, R.; Ganzhorn, J.U.; Rajaobelina, S.; Tattersall, I.; Meyers, D.M. (2006). Lemurs of Madagascar. Illustrated by S.D. Nash (2nd ed.). Conservation International. pp. 23–26 and 272–274. ISBN 1-881173-88-7. OCLC 65171602. 
  4. ^ Desvars, A.; Naze, F.; Vourc'h, G.; Cardinale, E.; Picardeau, M.; Michault, A.; Bourhy, P. (July 2012). "Similarities in Leptospira Serogroup and Species Distribution in Animals and Humans in the Indian Ocean Island of Mayotte". American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 87 (1): 134–140. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0102. PMC 3391038Freely accessible. PMID 22764304. 
  5. ^ Weyeneth, N.; Goodman, S. M.; Appleton, B.; Wood, R.; Ruedi, M. (2011-03-28). "Wings or winds: Inferring bat migration in a stepping-stone archipelago". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 24 (6): 1298–1306. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02262.x. PMID 21443643. 
  6. ^ Hutterer, R. (2005). "Suncus madagascariensis". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  7. ^ a b c Kinver, M. (2010-01-20). "Mammals 'floated to Madagascar'". BBC News web site. BBC. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Ali, J. R.; Huber, M. (2010-01-20). "Mammalian biodiversity on Madagascar controlled by ocean currents". Nature. Nature Publishing Group. 463 (4 Feb. 2010): 653–656. Bibcode:2010Natur.463..653A. doi:10.1038/nature08706. PMID 20090678. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  9. ^ Horovitz, I. S. (December 2004). "Eutherian Mammal Systematics and the Origins of South American Ungulates As Based on Postcranial Osteology". Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History. 36: 63–79. doi:10.2992/0145-9058(2004)36[63:EMSATO]2.0.CO;2. 
  10. ^ a b MacPhee, R. D. E. (1994). "Morphology, adaptations, and relationships of Plesiorycteropus, and a diagnosis of a new order of eutherian mammals". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History. 220: 1–214. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  11. ^ Buckley, M. (2013). "A Molecular Phylogeny of Plesiorycteropus Reassigns the Extinct Mammalian Order 'Bibymalagasia'". PLoS ONE. 8 (3): e59614. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...859614B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059614. PMC 3608660Freely accessible. PMID 23555726. 
  12. ^ Burney, D. A.; Burney, L. P.; Godfrey, L. R.; Jungers, W. L.; Goodman, S. M.; Wright, H. T.; Jull, A. J. T. (July 2004). "A chronology for late prehistoric Madagascar". Journal of Human Evolution. 47 (1–2): 25–63. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2004.05.005. PMID 15288523. 
  13. ^ Mittermeier, R., Ganzhorn, J., Konstant, W., Glander, K., Tattersall, I., Groves, C., Rylands, A., Hapke, A., Ratsimbazafy, J., Mayor, M., Louis, E., Rumpler, Y., Schwitzer, C. & Rasoloarison, R. (December 2008). "Lemur Diversity in Madagascar". International Journal of Primatology. 29 (6): 1607–1656. doi:10.1007/s10764-008-9317-y. 
  14. ^ Horvath, J.; et al. (2008). "Development and application of a phylogenomic toolkit: Resolving the evolutionary history of Madagascar's lemurs" (PDF). Genome Research. 18 (3): 489–99. doi:10.1101/gr.7265208. PMC 2259113Freely accessible. PMID 18245770. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  15. ^ Garbutt, N. (2007). Mammals of Madagascar, A Complete Guide. A&C Black Publishers. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-0-300-12550-4. 
  16. ^ Mittermeier, R. A.; Rylands, A. B.; Konstant, W. R. (1999). "Primates of the world: An introduction". In Nowak, R. M. Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 4–6. ISBN 978-0-8018-6251-9. 
  17. ^ Cawthon Lang KA. 2005 July 18. Primate Factsheets: Owl monkey (Aotus) Taxonomy, Morphology, & Ecology. Accessed 2015 March 26.
  18. ^ Goodman, S. M.; Helgen, K. M. (2010-02-25). "Species limits and distribution of the Malagasy carnivoran genus Eupleres (Family Eupleridae)". Mammalia. 74 (2): 177–185. doi:10.1515/mamm.2010.018. 
  19. ^ Cerchio S.; Andrianantenaina B.; Lindsay A.; Rekdahl M.; Andrianarivelo N.; Rasoloarijao T. (2015). "Omura's whales (Balaenoptera omurai) off northwest Madagascar: ecology, behaviour and conservation needs" (pdf). The Royal Society Publishing. The Royal Society Open Science. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  20. ^ Madagascar Country Profile - Project GloBAL Home[permanent dead link]. Duke University Retrieved on 13 June 2014
  21. ^ Sea Alarm Foundation. 2010 Madagascar - Country Wildlife Response Profiles - A Summary of oiled wildlife response arrangements and resources worldwide. Retrieved on 13 June 2014

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