Creatures of the Lost Forest


Hi, my name is Mai, and I'm excited to tell you about my expedition to collect terrestrial leeches in "The Lost Forest" of Madagascar. This remote forest is remarkably pristine, and it's easy to think of it as Madagascar's "backyard". I did a lot of looking around for creatures--just like you're doing in your own backayrds--but I also used the blood in the guts of leeches to determine which animals they’ve fed on. This, in turn, helped me identifiy the animals that live in the forests from which the leeches were collected. Leeches are proving to be a valuable tool in conservation as they are able to retain the blood of their hosts for months, making it easy for scientists like myself to extract and sequence for biodiversity analysis. I'm finding that Madagascar is home to so many different and unique species. Let me show you some of my favorite creatures that live in "The Lost Forest."

What does this creature or plant look like?:

Leeches are classified as worms and they resemble inchworms most closely because they move in the same manner! They range in color from dark brown to orange and are embellished with quite detailed patterns. Madagascar is also home to many different types of lemurs--110 lemur species to be exact! Eastern grey bamboo lemurs are smaller than a house cat and weigh about two pounds. They look like teddy bears!