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Rhampholeon acuminatus MARIAUX & TILBURY, 2006

IUCN Red List - Rhampholeon acuminatus - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesNguru pygmy chameleon 
SynonymRhampholeon (Rhinodigitum) acuminatus MARIAUX & TILBURY 2006
Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum) acuminatus — TILBURY 2010: 161
Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum) acuminatus — GLAW 2015 
DistributionTanzania (Nguru mountains)

Type locality: Tanzania, Morogoro region, Nguru mountains,
Nguru South Catchment FR, Komkore Forest above Ubili village [6°2'29" S; 37°30'40.5" E], elevation 1500–1600 m. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: MHNG 2645.001 (field tag TZ 414), male, 21 October 2000. Collected by J. Mariaux & S. Loader. 
CommentDiagnosis. Chamaeleonidae, Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum). With the characters of the subgenus. A small chameleon with SVL 47–57 mm (maximum TL 82 mm) and a tail 25–30% of TL. Adults are unmistakable due to their large discoid and vertically flattened rostral process (up to 5 × 3 mm) projecting forward off the rostrum (Figs 6-7), spinous supra-orbital and other cranial projections, prominent casque, exaggerated dorsal crest and numerous spines on the body, limbs
and tail. No axillary or inguinal pits. Claws bicuspid. Parietal peritoneum unpigmented.

Differential diagnosis. Among the pygmy chameleons, only Rh. spinosus presents a similar rostral process. However, Rh. spinosus has a more rounded rostral proc-
ess, numerous spiny tubercles on the gular region, a slender overall appearance, and a significantly longer tail (up to more than 40% of TL); furthermore it is not
sympatric with Rh. acuminatus. Although several other species, like Rh. uluguruensis and related taxa, also have rather conspicuous naso-rostral processes, these are more cylindrical and much smaller. Furthermore these species do not show the characteristic body spines seen in Rh. acuminatus, thus making confusion unlikely. 
EtymologyFrom Latin acuminare (to sharpen), in reference to the numerous sharp spines found on the head and body. 
References
  • FISSEHA, MAKDA; JEAN MARIAUX, MICHELE MENEGON 2013. The “Rhampholeon uluguruensis complex” (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae) and the taxonomic status of the pygmy chameleons in Tanzania. Zootaxa 3746 (3): 439–453
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Mariaux, Jean and Colin R. Tilbury. 2006. The pygmy chameleons of the eastern Arc range (Tanzania): Evolutionary relationships and the description of three new species of Rhampholeon (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae). The Herpetological Journal 16 (3): 315-331
  • Müller, R. & hildenhagen, T. 2009. Untersuchungen zu Subdigital- und Subcaudalstrukturen bei Chamäleons (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae). Sauria 31 (3): 41-54 - get paper here
  • Rovero, F., Menegon, M., Fjeldså, J., Collett, L., Doggart, N., Leonard, C., Norton, G., Owen, N., Perkin, A., Spitale, D., Ahrends, A., Burgess, N. D. 2014. Targeted vertebrate surveys enhance the faunal importance and improve explanatory models within the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12246 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, W.; Tamm, K. & Wallikewitz, E. 2010. Chamäleons - Drachen unserer Zeit. Natur und Tier Verlag, 328 pp. [review in Reptilia 101: 64, 2013] - get paper here
  • Tilbury, C. 2010. Chameleons of Africa: An Atlas, Including the Chameleons of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt M., 831 pp.
 
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