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Furcifer voeltzkowi (BOETTGER, 1893)

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Voeltzkow’s chameleon 
SynonymChamaeleon voeltzkowi BOETTGER 1893: 120
Chamaeleo voeltzkowi — HILLENIUS 1963: 204
Chamaeleo rhinoceratus voeltzkowi — MERTENS 1966
Furcifer monoceras — SENTÍS et al. 2018
Furcifer voeltzkowi — GLAW et al. 2020 
DistributionNW Madagascar

Type locality: Antema, Bembatuka Bay according to the original label [Bombetoka according to Brygoo (1971)], Western Madagascar  
TypesHolotype. SMF 16375 (originally 6456,1a), adult male, collected by A. Voeltzkow in 1892 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium sized chameleon (SVL 101.3–116.1 mm; TaL 128.6–133.5 mm; TL 234.8–244.7 mm) with the males characterized by an ossified, abruptly narrowing and distally rounded rostral appendage, ossified portion of rostral appendage with a crenate edge, a high and bulged casque, a conspicuous gular crest not continuous with the ventral crest and cone-shaped dorsal crest cones that continue to the tail crest, a horizontal band on the body side composed of mainly one row of larger rounded scales, a heterogeneous scalation only above the lateral band and obvious axillary pits, postorbitofrontal serrated, prefrontal meeting the premaxillary process of the maxilla with a blunt end with two sharp small protuberances pointing anteriorly, rounded nasal aperture, diminutive supraorbital fontanelle, parietal extending towards the postorbitofrontal, and surangular separated from the prearticular.
Furcifer voeltzkowi is distinct from F. rhinoceratus by a conspicuously higher casque, smaller ratio of the rostral appendage to SVL, and the presence of an obvious gular crest. The more similar F. labordi differs from F. voeltzkowi by a higher number of peripheral scales on rostral appendage (13–17 vs. 10–12), the reticulate light lines that are consistently present on the body side, a thicker, more interrupted lateral band, and more homogeneous pholidosis in absence of larger rounded scales. In skull structure, the prefrontals of F. voeltzkowi and F. labordi differ in shape. The other species in the Furcifer rhinoceratus group (Glaw & Vences 2007), F. antimena, can be distinguished from F. voeltzkowi by the absence of gular and ventral crests, and by much larger dorsal crest cones in males (SENTÍS et al. 2018). 
CommentSynonymy: Hillenius (1959) synonymized C. labordi and C. voeltzkowi with Chamaeleo rhinoceratus and insisted on this conclusion in a subsequent paper (Hillenius 1963), but voeltzkowi was revalidated by SENTÍS et al. 2018. Hechenbleikner (1942) described Chamaeleo barbouri from Madagascar which is currently considered as synonym of Furcifer labordi (Hillenius 1959; Glaw 2015). The female holotype of C. barbouri (MCZ 7758, and one of the two female paratypes, MCZ 45505) had been received in exchange from the Senckenberg Museum in 1910 as C. lateralis, but without precise locality, collector's name and date of collection (Hechenbleikner 1942). According to this author, C. barbouri appears related to F. labordi, ‘with a casque of the general form of that possessed by labordi, but with a much weaker rostral protuberance (...).’ He furthermore states that ‘the dorsal crest, higher casque and greater nasal protuberance of labordi easily separate it from barbouri.’ From these statements it seems that Chamaeleo barbouri is more likely a junior synonym of Furcifer voeltzkowi rather than of F. labordi. However, if these statements are correct, the sex of the holotype and the two paratypes must have been given incorrectly as females in the original description (Hechenbleikner 1942). A reliable conclusion about the identity of C. barbouri is therefore not possible without studying the holotype of this taxon.

Abundance: F. voeltzkowi was only recently rediscovered in nature. It may be short-lived, similar to its sister species F. labordi, and thus only present during the rainy season. This is one of the species called “lost” and “rediscovered” by Lindken et al. 2024.

Distribution: see Glaw et al. 2020: 345 (Fig. 1) for a map. 
EtymologyNamed after Alfred Voeltzkow (1860 – 1947), German zoologist and botanist. 
  • Boettger, O. 1913. Reptilien und Amphibien von Madagascar, den Inseln und dem Festland Ostafrikas. Pp. 269-375. In: Voeltzkow, A. Reise in Ostafrika in den Jahren 1903-1905. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse. Vol. 3. Systematische Arbeiten. Schweizerbart’ sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Nägele und Sproesser, Stuttgart - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Glaw, F., Prötzel, D., Eckhardt, F., Raharinoro, N. A., Ravelojaona, R. N., Glaw, T., ... & Vences, M. 2020. Rediscovery, conservation status and genetic relationships of the Malagasy chameleon Furcifer voeltzkowi. Salamandra 56(4): 342-354 - get paper here
  • Hechenbleikner, H. 1942. A new chamaeleon (Chamaeleo barbouri) from Madagascar. Proc. New England zool. Club 19: 103-104
  • Hillenius, D. 1959. The differentiation within the genus Chamaeleo LAURENTI 1768. Beaufortia, Amsterdam, 8: 1-92.
  • Hillenius, D. 1963. Notes on chameleons I. Comparative cytology: aid and new complications in Chameleon-taxonomy. Beaufortia, Amsterdam 9: 201-218
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - get paper here
  • SENTÍS, MARINA; YIYIN CHANG, MARK D. SCHERZ, DAVID PRÖTZEL, FRANK GLAW 2018. Rising from the ashes: resurrection of the Malagasy chameleons Furcifer monoceras and F. voeltzkowi (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae), based on micro-CT scans and external morphology. Zootaxa 4483 (3): 549–566 - get paper here
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