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Bradypodion baviaanense TOLLEY, TILBURY & BURGER, 2022

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymBradypodion baviaanense TOLLEY, TILBURY & BURGER 2022 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Cape Province)

Type locality: Bosrug trail, Baviaanskloof Mountains, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa (−33.534, 24.084, elevation 1,059 m asl).  
TypesHolotype: PEM R05865, adult male. Collected on 1 December 2003 by Krystal Tolley and Marius Burger.
Paratypes: PEM R04471, adult male. Bosrug trail, Baviaanskloof Mountains (−33.531, 24.087, 1 060 m asl). Collected on 1 December 2003 by Krystal Tolley and Marius Burger; PEM R04472, adult female. Bosrug trail, Baviaanskloof Mountains (−33.533, 24.084, 1 076 m asl). Collected on 1 December 2003 by Krystal Tolley and Marius Burger; PEM R04473, adult male. Bosrug trail, Baviaanskloof Mountains (−33.531, 24.083, 1 120 m asl). Collected on 1 December 2003 by Krystal Tolley and Marius Burger; PEM R27747, adult female. Bosrug trail, northern slopes of the Baviaanskloof Mountains (−33.521, 24.090, 1 071 m asl). Collected on 12 March 2021 by Colin Tilbury; PEM R08825, adult female. Farm Rooikrans, Scholtzberg (−33.583, 24.283, 1 003 m asl). Collected on 5 October 1988 by D. Laidler. All of the paratype localities are within the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Differs from all other species of Bradypodion, except B. barbatulum sp. nov. by the combination of the following characters: dwarfed body habitus with a maximum adult snout-vent length of <70 mm and tail length less than the snout-vent length in both sexes; a low casque (elevated less than 30° above the nape); gular grooves pale, with no widened melanotic zones; gular lobes are cone shaped and weakly developed; the flanks have a dorso-lateral clump of enlarged tubercles, as well as one or two other vague rows present, and the dorsal crest extends onto the base of the tail. Differs from B. barbatulum sp. nov. in having 3–4 tubercles between the anterior end of the canthi rostrales and the upper labials (versus 2–3 in B. barbatulum sp. nov.). Hemipenes differ from those of B. barbatulum sp. nov. by the presence of a prominent mucosal fold between the asulcal apical rotulae.

Description of the holotype (PEM R05865): An adult male, with snout-vent length 59.5 mm, tail length 45 mm, comprising 43% of the total length. Head short. Casque flat and low, not elevated above the dorsal keel. Cranial crests all low yet are conspicuous. Parietal zone flattened, parietal crest indistinct, indicated by a row of six slightly elevated tubercles smaller than those adjacent to the midline. The supra-orbital crests are separated across the head by 12 tubercles. The supra-orbital crests are formed by a row of prominent subconical tubercles that continue forward as a rugose canthus rostralis of enlarged subconical tubercles. Upper labials R11/L12; and lower labials R13/L15 (counted from the snout tip to the midpoint below the orbital rim. Four small, rounded tubercles separate the upper labials from the ends of the canthi rostrales. The canthal ridge and the zone above the nostril are clad in rugose subconical tubercles. Nares open postero-laterally from a cuff of nine small tubercles at a point approximately 40% along between the anterior orbital rim and the snout. Temporal crests composed of prominent conical tubercles, (5L/6R), the posterior tubercle being largest and acuminate. The ascending posterior temporal crest meets the lateral parietal crest and continues to the tip of the casque as a single row of tubercles. A prominent subocular tubercle is present. The gular crest is formed by 21 units, numbers 2–5 are small conical, composite lobules, whereas all the rest are simple low conical tubercles. Gular grooves shallow and unpigmented. Dorso-vertebral crest comprises 33 low conical tubercles between the nape and the point above the vent, some separated by 1–2 small tubercles, is lowest over the pelvic area and continues as a low crest along the proximal half of the tail. There is no ventral crest. Background scalation of the flanks of finely heterogeneous granules interspersed by scattered enlarged tubercles forming three vague rows in the midflank zone. There is no web of interstitial skin on the flanks. An enlarged tubercle is situated at the shoulder just above the insertion of the forearm.

Sexual dimorphism: Apart from obvious hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail and a slight increase in the rugosity of scalation in males, there are no other obvious morphological features to distinguish the sexes.

Colouration: Adult female (not collected): Head grey with a dark band extending from the posterior rim of the orbit below the temporal crest over the shoulder to just beyond the foreleg insertion. Nape pale yellow with a black lower border. White gular interstitial grooves separated by rows of pale orange tubercles. The gular grooves may be edged in pink. Superior and inferior temporal zones pale. Body background grey to light browns with a broad paler zone along the mid flank. Discrete rounded to oblong, pale centered, dark-edged blotches arranged in two rows, below the vertebral keel and over the flanks. Enlarged tubercles scattered over the flank may be orange, yellow or emerald-green. The abdomen has three dark-edged, pale-centred longitudinal stripes. Small dark blotches extend along the sides of the tail.

Variation: Meristic data on the three adult females and three adult males comprising the type series, as well as an additional 14 specimens examined in the field, show that the largest male measured 59.5 mm snout to vent and the largest female 63 mm. The average tail length as a percentage of total length was 46% in both sexes. Gular crest composed of between 4–12 small non-overlapping conical lobules anteriorly, followed by 4– 10 simple low conical tubercles. Shoulder tubercle present in most, but not all specimens averaging 3–5 times the diameter of surrounding tubercles. The dorsal crest comprises between 26–33 cones, spaced by 1–2 small low tubercles and extends onto the proximal one quarter to one half of the tail. The flanks have 2–3 vague or ill-defined rows of enlarged tubercles, with the uppermost row arrayed along the upper third of the flank.
EtymologyNamed after the Baviaansklo of Mountains, which is the range of mountains where this species occurs. To date, it has not been recorded from other mountain ranges. 
  • Tolley, Krystal A; Colin R Tilbury & Marius Burger 2022. Convergence and vicariance: speciation of chameleons in the Cape Fold Mountains, South Africa, and the description of three new species of Bradypodion Fitzinger, 1843, African Journal of Herpetology, - get paper here
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