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Rhampholeon viridis MARIAUX & TILBURY, 2006

IUCN Red List - Rhampholeon viridis - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesGreen pygmy chameleon 
SynonymRhampholeon (Rhampholeon) viridis MARIAUX & TILBURY 2006
Rhampholeon (Rhampholeon) viridis — GLAW 2015 
DistributionTanzania (South Pare mountains)

Type locality: Tanga region, South Pare mountains, from a patch of forest next to the Hingili stream, just north of the Shengena Mountain FR [4°14' 50" S, 37°59'28" E], 1450 m elevation. 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: NMZB 16905 (field tag CT 119), male; allotype NMZB 16906 (CT 120), female, 4 July 2001. Collected by Colin and Douglas Tilbury. 
CommentDiagnosis (Fig. 7). Chamaeleonidae, Rhampholeon (Rhampholeon). With the characters of the subgenus. A small chameleon (maximum TL 89 mm) with a tail 34-46% of TL in males and 33-34% in females. Low casque. Small rostral process represented by a bulge barely projecting over the front of the snout, barely visible in males, somewhat larger in females. Temporal crest is distinct. Dorsal keel variable in outline from almost smooth to strongly crenulated. Hemipenis with
prominent calyces on the truncus and broad paired apical horns arising from mucosal folds bearing up to nine papillae typically alternating rounded and sharp papillae on the outer edge of the horn. Axillary pits and inguinal pits present, the latter less distinct. Claws simple. There may be one or two slightly enlarged accessory plantar tubercles present at the base of the claws. Soles of feet smooth/cobblestoned as opposed to spinous. The male hemipenis is distinct from other species of Rhampholeon. The specimens from North Pare bear typical reddish patches.

Differential diagnosis: The simple claws of this species immediately place this form within the group of pygmy chameleons that only includes Rh. spinosus and
Rh. temporalis. The former species differs from Rh. viridis by the prominent ovoid rostro-nasal projection found in both sexes. Apart from the striking hemipenal
differences between males of viridis and temporalis (breadth of the apical horns and shape of the papillae on the horns, see Figs 2 and 11), they appear very similar in external morphology. Differences between the two are subtle but may be seen in the more pronounced dorsal crest and the conspicuous temporal crest of viridis. Perhaps the best distinguishing feature between them is that the accessory plantar spines in temporalis are usually well developed and prominent but are inconspicuous to rudimentary in viridis. 
EtymologyThe specific name derives from Latin viridis (green) and refers to the rich green colour of the males. 
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
  • GOSTNER, Alexander 2009. Zur Haltung und Nachzucht von Rhampholeon (Rhampholeon) viridis. Chamaeleo 19 (1): 37 - 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
  • 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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