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Bradypodion occidentale (HEWITT, 1935)

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Western Dwarf Chameleon
G: Wüstenzwergchamäleon, Namaqua-Zwergchamäleon 
SynonymLophosaura ventralis occidentalis HEWITT 1935: 297
Lophosaura ventralis — BROCK 1941
Bradypodion pumilum occidentale — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997
Bradypodion occidentale — NECAS 1999: 275
Bradypodion occidentale — TILBURY 2010: 290 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Little Namaqualand, W Great Namaqualand), SW Namibia

Type locality: Namaqualand, Cape Province, S. Africa  
TypesHolotype: SAM 933. 
DiagnosisDescription: “This subspecies differs from the Grahamstown subspecies, now regarded as typical of ventralis, in the much stronger development of the anterior gular lobes, in the larger lateral tubercles of the body, and in the form of the c;asque posteriorly.
The scaling of the sides of the body will probably be always sufficient to distinguish the two forms. The second gular lobe is largest, being somewhat folded up, but when flattened out is 1.5 times as broad as the orbit: the first lobe is subequal to the orbit in breadth, and the third rather small: the following lobes are all narrow. Dorsal crest of rather pointed tubercles, for the most part in continuous series: this crest extends well into the basal half of the tail, and is nearly in continuous series. About the middle of the flanks is a single row of large rounded flattened tubercles, not much separated from each other. A few scattered enlarged tubercles, but smaller than the above series, ventro-laterally. On each side of the throat a well defined line of slightly enlarged tubercles reaching nearly to the base of the forelimb. Head tubercles all well developed: on the snout they are large and subconical: the casque is continued well backwards, but the hinder portion behind the temporal crest is not nan-owed and laterally compressed as in ventralis but for some distance retains about the same width as in the temporal region.
The South African Museum has six specimens referable to this subspecies; the type adult female, subadult female and four immature. In three of the immature specimens, the posterior portion of the casque is more triangular in outline than in the type, more pointed and rather shorter: but none of them are laterally compressed. The most anterior gular lobe is generally the largest. In one specimen from Port Nolloth, there is a more or less distinct double series of enlarged tubercles laterally: but the upper row is better defined and its tubercles considerably larger than those of the lower row-in typical ventralis of the Eastern Province two rows are normal, but the enlarged tubercles are much smaller than in occidentalis, and the two rows more discontinuous and more ill defined than in the latter” (from Hewitt 1935: 297). 
CommentDistribution: For a map see TOLLEY et al. (2004). 
EtymologyNamed after L :. occidens (occidentis > occident) place of the setting sun, west; -alis/is/e adjectival suffix: western, denoting the western distribution in South Africa and Namibia as compared with other Bradipodion species (Charles Klaver, pers. comm., 11 Jan 2023). 
  • ANDERSON, C. V. & TOLLEY, K. A. 2013. Bradypodion occidentale (Hewitt, 1935) Reproduction /Colour. African Herp News (59): 40-42 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Branch, Wiliam R., Krystal A. Tolley and Colin R. Tilbury 2006. A new Dwarf Chameleon (Sauria: Bradypodion Fitzinger, 1843) from the Cape Fold Mountains, South Africa. African Journal of Herpetology 55 (2):123-141. - get paper here
  • Brock, G.T. 1941. The skull of the chameleon Lophosaura ventralis (Gray): some developmental stages. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 110: 69–137.
  • Dobiey, M. 2005. Bradypodion occidentale HEWITT 1935 - Namaqua-Zwergchamäleon. Reptilia (Münster) 10 (56): 51-54 - get paper here
  • Dobiey, M. 2006. Bradypodion occidentale. Reptilia (GB) (45): 43-46 - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Hewitt, J. 1935. Some new forms of batrachians and reptiles from South Africa. Rec. Albany Mus. 4: 283-357
  • Klaver, Ch. J.J. & Böhme,W. 1997. Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich, 112: XIV, 1-85
  • Necas, Petr 1999. Chameleons - Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt; 348 pp.; ISBN 3-930612-04-6 (Europe)<br />ISBN 1-57524-137-4 (USA, Canada)
  • Schmidt, W. & Breuer, A. 1998. Bemerkungen zur Haltung von Südafrikanischen Zwergchamäleons. CHAMAELEO 20: 10-16 [AG Chamäleons Mitteilungsblatt]
  • 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
  • Stuart-Fox, D. & Moussalli, A. 2007. Sex-specific ecomorphological variation and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion spp.). J. evol. Biol. 20: 1073-1081 - get paper here
  • Stuart-Fox, D.; Moussalli, A. & Whiting, M.J. 2007. Natural Selection on Social Signals: Signal Efficacy and the Evolution of Chameleon Display Coloration. American Naturalist 170 (6): 916-930 - 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.
  • Tolley, K. & Burger, M. 2007. Chameleons of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town,100 pp.
  • Tolley, Krystal A.; Colin R. Tilbury, William R. Branch and Conrad A. Matthee 2004. Phylogenetics of the southern African dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30 (2): 354-365 - get paper here
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