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Calumma tarzan


This chameleon, endemic to a tiny area of Madagascar, is named after the fictional character Tarzan!

The nearest village to the range of this species was previously known as ‘Tarzanville’ (now Ambodimeloka), and researchers hope this name will inspire conservation of this Critically Endangered species.

Chameleons of the genus Calumma diverged from all other living chameleons around 40 million years ago. Humans, on the other hand, diverged from their nearest relatives less than 10 million years ago!

This chameleon is threatened by the ongoing clearance and destruction of its remaining habitat. Slash and burn farming and logging impact the forest and illegal gold mining is thought to be occurring in the habitat.

Fortunately, there is no evidence of this species being collected for the wild for international trade. The tiny range of this species (less than 10 km²) means it is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. It is unclear whether it occurs in any protected areas. Much more additional research is needed to determine the full extent of this species’ distribution and population status.

  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Chamaeleonidae
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 7.2cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.49 (?)
ED Score: 14.136 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This chameleon is endemic to a tiny region of eastern Madagascar.

Habitat and Ecology

It is known only from lowland moist forest. Like many other Malagasy chameleons, it roosts in low forest vegetation.

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Alain Rakotondrina

  • Project name: Saving the critically endangered Tarzan chameleon.
  • Project site: Tarzanville, Ambatofotsy and Ankorabe
  • Active: 2020 - 2022
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