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Brookesia antakarana RAXWORTHY & NUSSBAUM, 1995

IUCN Red List - Brookesia antakarana - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae (Brookesiinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymBrookesia antakarana RAXWORTHY & NUSSBAUM 1995: 537
Brookesia ambreensis RAXWORTHY & NUSSBAUM 1995: 534
Brookesia antakarana — NECAS 1999: 276
Brookesia ambreensis — NECAS 1999: 276
Brookesia antakarana — TOWNSEND et al. 2009
Brookesia ambreensis — TOWNSEND et al. 2009
Brookesia antakarana — SCHERZ et al. 2018 
DistributionMadagascar (Montagne de Ambre National Park)

Type locality: Antomboka River, Montagne de Ambre National Park, elevation 1050 m, Madagascar

ambreensis: Madagascar (Montagne de Ambre National Park); Type locality: Antomboka River, Montagne de Ambre National Park, elevation 1050-1100 m, Madagascar.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 200071
Holotype: UMMZ 203635 [ambreensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (ambreensis): A Brookesia with a complete series of 12, dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the body; no well-defined pelvic shield in the sacral region; no dorsal ridge (keel); no prominent pointed tubercles on the tail, chin or around the cloaca; supraocular cone rounded and does not project further forward than nostril; the horizontal distance between the snout tip and anterior margin of eye is less than the eye diameter; dorsal region of body unmarked, or with a thin dark. brown vertebral line; SVL up to 55 mm. Only two other species, Brookesia karchei and B. valerieae share the following combination of characters with B. ambreensis: series of dorsolateral pointed tubercles along body, absence of prominent pointed tubercles on tail, chin and around cloaca; absence of a dorsal ridge (keel) on body; absence of 3 pelvic shield. Brookesia karchei has an elongated snout; the horizontal distance, between the snout tip and anterior margin of eye, is greater than the eye diameter; the supraocular cone is pointed; and is not known to exceed 30 mm SVL. Brookesia valeriege has nine or ten dorsolateral pointed tubercles; the supraocular cone is pointed; and the dorsal body region may have elongated, dark brown, forward pointing chevrons or a pale vertebral line. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Description of holotype (ambreensis): Adult male in excellent state of preservation. Hemipenes everted. The testes are grey with brown spots, enlarged; left testes 2•5 mm long and 1•5 mm wide. Measurements in Table III. Head with lateral, orbital and posterior crests that form a dorsal helmet; divided into three regions by a pair of longitudinal parasagittal crests that start above the eyes and begin to converge before terminating at the posterior crest; between the parasagittal crests there is a pair of short parallel longitudinal crests, with a short median crest anterior and posterior to the parallel pair; posterior crest of helmet notched between parasagittal crests; three similar sized pointed tubercles on each side of posterior helmet crest, one at termination point of lateral crest, one at termination point of parasagittal crest, and one between parasagittal and lateral crests; two pointed tubercles on lateral surface of head, one just above posterior angle of mouth, and one below lateral crest in temporal region; orbital crest denticulated; supraocular cone rounded, does not project forward of the nostril; supranasal cone does not project beyond snout tip; horizontal distance between snout tip and anterior border of eye 0•9 times eye diameter; head longer than wide; chin and throat with longitudinal rows of slightly enlarged tubercles. Dorsal surface of body flat (without 3 dorsal ridge or keel); 12 dorsolateral pointed tubercles form a complete longitudinal line on the body; four slightly rounded tubercles dorsally at each pointed tubercle base; most posterior (12th) pointed dorsolateral tubercle attached to a lateral pointed projection of the body above insertion point of hindlimb and projects slightly backwards; 1st-11th pointed dorsolateral tubercles almost equally spaced and equal in size, pointing out perpendicularly from body; slightly enlarged, rounded tubercles form undulating longitudinal crests on either side of the vertebral line between 1st and 12th dorsolateral pointed tubercles; dorsal surface of tail with slightly enlarged rounded tubercles forming two longitudinal undulating crests that continue from tailbase to halfway down the tail; no well-defined dorsal pelvic shield in_ sacral_arca; lateral surface of body with short longitudinal rows of slightly enlarged rounded tubercles; venter with longitudinal rows of slightly enlarged, rounded tubercles; scattered, soft-pointed tubercles on limbs; no pointed tubercles around cloaca; no pointed tubercles on tail; continuous row of slightly enlarged, rounded tubercles form longi tudinal lines on ventral surfaces of tail. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Hemipenis (ambreensis): The hemipenis (Fig. 2) is clavatc and asymmetrical, bearing an apex with two similar-sized denticulated lobes, onc pointing vertically upwards from the truncus and the other pointing laterally from the truncus. Below the lateral pointing lobe there is a papillary field. On the side opposite to the lateral denticulated lobe, attached to the entire length of the truncus and apex, there is a thin, flattened, blade-like structure with a slightly crenulate border. In life, coloration of head, body, limbs and tail brown. Dark brown bars radiate from eye to lateral surfaces of head; a thin, dark brown vertebral line starts at neck and terminates at tailbase; chin and throat dark brown; ventral surfaces of body and tail pale brown, with dark brown blotching forming transverse bars on tail. After three months in formalin and three months in alcohol, the only change is 1 darkening of pale brown pigments of the head, body and tail, which has reduced the contrast of the pattern seen in life. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Variation (ambreensis): Measurements of the eight paratypes are summarized in Table III. The following differences were found between the holotype and paratypes. UMMZ. 200076 has few pointed tubercles on throat; UMMZ 200077 has a slightly paler brown throat and dark brown blotching. The mutes of this species are smaller than the females. although the sample sizes are small: male SVL 44-52 mm (n = 7), female SVL 52-55 mm ("1 = 2). Sexual dimorphism (ambreensis): none. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Diagnosis (antakarana): A Brookesia with a complete series of 12-13 dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the body; the 11 anterior pointed tubercles (1st-11th) almost equal in size and spac ing; the most posterior (12th or 13th) pointed tubercles directed backward slightly on a pointed lateral projection of the body; a diamond-shaped pelvic shield in sacral region; no dorsal ridge (keel); pointed tubercles dorsally at the base of the neck; no enlarged pointed tubercles around the cloaca: body dorsally with three, dark brown, blunt chevrons; SVL up to 58 mm. Only two other species, Brookesia stumpffi and B. griveaudi, share the following combination of characters with B. antakarana: series of dorsolateral pointed tubercles along body, absence of a dorsal ridge (keel) on body, absence of pointed tubercles around cloaca, and a well-defined pelvic shield. Brookesia stumpff and B. griveaudi have 9-10 obvious pairs of dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the body, lack pointed tubercles dorsally at the base of the neck, and lack chevron markings between the dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the body. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Description of holotype (antakarana): Adult male in excellent state of preservation. Hemipenes everted. Testes pale grey with fine brown spots, enlarged; left testis 2 mm long and I mm wide. Head with lateral, orbital and posterior crests that form a dorsal helmet; helmet divided into three regions by a pair of longitudinal parasagittal crests that start above the eyes and begin to converge before terminating at the posterior helmet crest; between parasagittal crests a short median longitudinal crest; posterior helmet crest notched between parasagittal crests; three similar-sized, pointed tubercles on each side of posterior helmet crest, one at termination point of lateral crest, one at termination point of parasagittal crest, and one between parasagittal and lateral crest; two-pointed tubercles on lateral surface of head in temporal region, just above posterior angle of mouth and below lateral crest; orbital crest strongly denticulated; supraocular cone rounded and does not project forward of the nostril; supranasal cone does not project beyond snout top; horizontal distance between snout tip and anterior border of eye equal to eye diameter; head longer than wide; chin and throat with longitudinal lines of small, slightly enlarged tubercles in four rows. Dorsal surface of body flat (without a dorsal ridge or keel); 12 dorsolateral pointed tubercles form a complete longitudinal line on the body; three enlarged, rounded, tubercles dorsally at base of each dorsolateral pointed tubercle; posteriormost (12th) dorsolateral pointed tubercle attached to a pointed lateral projection of the body above insertion of hindlimbs and directed slightly backwards; lst-lith anterior dorsolateral pointed tubercles almost equally spaced and equal in size, perpendicular to body; pointed tubercles form a forward-directed chevron dorsally on the neck anterior to dorsolateral pointed tubercles; slightly raised, round, tubercles form posteriorly directed chevrons on the vertebral line between 1st and 10th dorsolateral pointed tubercles; a well-defined, dorsal pelvic shield forms an almost square-shaped diamond in the sacral area; body laterally with well-separated, soft-pointed tubercles which do not form rows; venter with faint longitudinal rows of slightly enlarged tubercles; scattered soft-pointed tubercles on limbs; no pointed tubercles around cloaca; 17 small-pointed tubercles on tail forming a longitudinal dorsolateral row from tailbase nearly to tail tip; continuous rows of small-pointed tubercles form longitudinal lines on ventral surfaces of tail. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Hemipenis (antakarana): The hemipenis (Fig. 2) is clavate and asymmetrical, bearing an apex with two similar-sized® denticulated lobes. Below one of the lobes there is a papillary field. There are no lateral projections on the truncus and apex. Coloration in life (antakarana): coloration of head, body, limbs and tail are brown. Dorsal and lateral surfaces of head dark brown; dark brown bars radiate from eye on to lateral surface of head; dark brown spots on the supra- and infralabials; tubercles on dorsal surface of neck dark brown; three dark brown forward pointing chevrons on vertebral line of body at level of 4th, 7th and 10th pair of dorsolateral pointed tubercles, each chevron blunt, with an internal apical angle of 90°; pelvic shield dark brown on edges and with a broken, dark brown, vertebral line; tail dorsally with dark brown blotches; chin and throat brown, with two longitudinal rows of dark brown blotches; venter dark brown and unspotted; tail pale brown below, with dark brown blotching forming transverse bars on posterior ventral half of tail.

Coloration in preservative (antakarana): After three months in formalin and three months in alcohol, the pale brown pigments of the head, body and tail have become grey, otherwise coloration is unchunged. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Variation (antakarana): Measurements of the ten paratypes are summarized in Table III. The following variation was found between the holotype and paratypes. UMMZ 200068 has one dorsolateral pointed tubercle on the tail. UMMZ 200069 has an additional pair of short parallel crests on the head, anterior to the median head crest; no spotting on throat; and seven dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the tail. UMMZ 200070 has the 2nd, left dorsolateral pointed tubercle of the body positioned immediately behind the 1st, resulting in unequal spacing of the left row of pointed tubercles; 11 dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the tail; and chevrons between the 5th. 8th and 10th dorsolateral pointed tubercles of the body. UMMZ 200072 with anterior ridges of the pelvic shield that do not unite by 3 mm on the vertebral line; 16 dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the tail: and a chevron marking only between the 4th dorsolateral pointed tubercles of the body. UMMZ 203641 has 13 dorsolateral pointed tubercles on the body, the anterior 12 being equally 04=470 4. spaced and equal in size. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Size (antakarana): Three of the four female paratypes are larger (SVL 55-58 mm) than all seven male types (SVL 45-52 mm) suggesting sexual differences in body size. No other obvious external sexually dimorphic features were found. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995)

Measurements: see Table III. (Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1995) 
CommentThis species was paraphyletic with respect to B. ambreensis (TOWNSEND et al. 2009). Scherz et al. 2018 synonymized Brookesia ambreensis with B. antakarana.

Abundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after the Antakarana people and region in N Madagascar where the species occurs.

B. ambreensis is named after the type locality, Montagne de Ambre. 
References
  • D’Cruze, N.; Köhler, J.; Franzen, M & Glaw, F. 2008. A conservation assessment of the amphibians and reptiles of the Forêt d’Ambre Special Reserve, north Madagascar. MADAGASCAR CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT 3 (1): 44-54 - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Necas, P. & Schmidt, W. 2004. Stump-tailed Chameleons. Miniature Dragons of the Rainforest. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 256 pp. [review in Elaphe 14 (1): 24]
  • Necas, P. & Schmidt, W. 2004. Geheimnisvolle Mini-Drachen: Die Erd- und Stummelschwanzchamäleons der Gattungen Brookesia und Rhampholeon. Reptilia (Münster) 9 (48): 18-27 - get paper here
  • Necas, P. & Schmidt, W. 2004. Mysterious Mini-Dragons: the stump-tailed chameleons Brookesia and Rhampholeon. Reptilia (GB) (35): 10-21 - get paper here
  • Necas, Petr 1999. Chameleons - Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt; 348 pp.; ISBN 3-930612-04-6 (Europe) ISBN 1-57524-137-4 (USA, Canada)
  • Raxworthy, C. J. & R. A. Nussbaum 1995. Systematics, speciation and biogeography of the dwarf chameleons (Brookesia; Reptilia, Squamata, Chamaeleontidae) of northern Madagascar. Journal of Zoology 235: 525-558. - get paper here
  • Scherz, M. D., F. Glaw, A. Rakotoarison, M. Wagler & M. Vences 2018. Polymorphism and synonymy of Brookesia antakarana and B. ambreensis, leaf chameleons from Montagne d’Ambre in north Madagascar. Salamandra 54 (4): 259-268 - 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
  • Townsend, T.M.; Vieites, D.R.; Glaw, F. & Vences, M. 2009. Testing Species-Level Diversification Hypotheses in Madagascar: The Case of Microendemic Brookesia Leaf Chameleons. Systematic Biology 58 (6):641–656 - get paper here
 
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