Bored at work? Looking for a distraction? Look no further as it’s time to play ARKive’s Six Degrees of Separation. Let me start by congratulating our winner from last time – Catherine Hayward! Well done! Any chain that involves Darwin immediately gets my seal of approval, especially as it’s Darwin’s 202nd birthday this month.
A Madagascan twist
In honour of the BBC’s fantastic Madagascar series that’s showing in the UK at the moment, I thought my next challenge should involve only those species that occur on this fantastically bizarre island. Nick Garbutt’s recent ARKive blog highlights the bleak future that Madagascar’s wildlife currently faces, with only 7-8% of the island’s forests remaining. I thought I’d take the opportunity to showcase some of the many weird and wonderful Malagasy species by getting from the ferocious fossa to the stupendous silky sifaka in just six steps. Here’s my attempt….
Ring-tailed lemurs spend about two-thirds of their time up in the trees. One tree you certainly won’t find them hanging out in is Grandidier’s baobab – the trunk of this tree is too smooth for them to be able to climb it!
Grandidier’s baobab is named after Alfred Grandidier, a 19th century French naturalist and explorer who studied the wildlife of Madagascar. He is also responsible for the scientific name of the giant-striped mongoose, Galidictis grandidieri.
Giant striped mongoose
Deforestation means that much of Madagascar’s wildlife has become isolated in pockets of remaining forest. The giant-striped mongoose is only found in a very small area in the southwest of the island, which is also where the blue-legged mantella is found.
Over 80% of Madagascar’s wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, so you’ve got plenty of bizarre and brilliant species to choose from! My fossa → silky sifaka chain is a bit mammal-heavy I think, so I challenge you to use less furry and more feathery or scaly species in yours!
Bonnie Metherell, ARKive Media Researcher