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58. Mount Namuli Pygmy Chameleon

Rhampholeon tilburyi

About

The Mount Namuli Pygmy Chameleon is an incredibly small species with an size range of just 3.3-5 cm!

The Mount Namuli Pygmy Chameleon is part of the pygmy chameleon or African leaf chameleon genus of Rhompholeon, which diverged from all other genera of reptiles around 43 million years ago, around the time that humans and squirrel monkeys shared a common ancestor during the Paleogene era.

The Mount Namuli Pygmy Chameleon is a forest specialist and is confined to very fragmented forest patches on Mount Namuli in Mozambique. The total area of these forest patches are only 12.5 km2. This species is unable to move between areas of forest and so habitat loss poses a major threat to this tiny species. In the Mount Namuli area forest habitat is being lost at a very fast rate as it is cleared for agricultural crops and tea plantations. The area of cleared forest has increased five-fold over a five year period.

There is currently no habitat protection and the species does not occur in any protected areas. Nevertheless, 12.5 km2 of forest does remain. This could be enough to protect this species in the wild but, if habitat destruction continues, other conservation measures will have to be considered such as translocation and captive breeding programmes.

  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Chamaeleonidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: unknown
  • Size: 33-50mm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.70 (?)
ED Score: 17.661 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

The species is found on Mount Namuli, Zambezia Province, Mozambique.

Habitat and Ecology

This species is a forest specialist that perches on low bushes during the night, but forages on the forest floor during the day. It is found in evergreen temperate forest and has been recorded in higher altitude montane forest.

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