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Elevational zonation of birds, insectivores, rodents and primates on the slopes of the Andringitra Massif, Madagascar

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A review is presented of the birds, lipotyphlans, rodents and lemurs occurring across an elevational transect from 720 to 2450 m within the 31160ha Parc National (PN) d'Andringitra in south-central Madagascar. The broad range of habitats within this reserve consists of lowland forest, montane forest, sclerophyllous forest, montane thicket, to open areas of bare rocks covered by geophytes. Eight different zones were surveyed across this elevational range for most of these four vertebrate orders. On the basis of these surveys and other sources of information, 106 species of birds, 16 species of Lipotyphla, 11 species of rodents (including two introduced species) and 13 species of primates are documented within the reserve. Surveys of the carnivores are incomplete, although eight species, three of which are introduced, have been recorded in the reserve. Forty-eight species of non-volant mammals are known from the Andringitra Massif, 43 of which are endemic to Madagascar. The highest species richness for birds was 85 species in the disturbed lowland forest at 720m zone and there was a subsequent reduction in the number of species at each site with increasing elevation. The two zones at 1210 and 1625 m with montane and mixed montane/sclerophyllous forest had the greatest species richness of non-volant mammals with 26 species (25 non-introduced). Lemurs showed decreasing species richness with increasing elevation. Small mammals showed broad elevational ranges and high species diversity in the middle to upper portion of the forest zone, with lipotyphlans peaking at 1990 m and rodents between 1625 and 1960 m. About 88 species of extant native rodents, carnivores, lipotyphlans and primates are currently recognized to occur on Madagascar. Thus, the PN d'Andringitra holds nearly 50% of the total known fauna of these groups from the island. This relatively small reserve plays a major role in safe-guarding a large proportion of the non-volant mammal fauna of Madagascar.
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Keywords: CONSERVATION; ECOLOGY; ELEVATIONAL DISTRIBUTION; LIPOTYPHLA; MADAGASCAR; PRIMATA; RODENTIA

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: World Wide Fund for Nature, BP 7, Ambalavao (303), Madagascar

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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