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Rhampholeon bruessoworum BRANCH, BAYLISS & TOLLEY, 2014

IUCN Red List - Rhampholeon bruessoworum - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mount Inago Pygmy Chameleon 
SynonymRhampholeon bruessoworum BRANCH, BAYLISS & TOLLEY 2014
Rhampholeon sp. — BAYLISS et al. 2010: 17 (fig. 13)
Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum) bruessoworum — GLAW 2015 
DistributionMozambique (Zambézia: Mt. Inago)

Type locality: wet forest at the base of a granite inselberg of Mt. Inago, Zambézia Province, Mozambique (15 ̊04'51”S 37 ̊23'37”E, ca 1478 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: PEM R20375, adult female; Fig. 9A) collected by J. Bayliss, 5 September 2009
Allotype. An adult male (PEM R20376, Fig. 9B), same collecting details as holotype. Paratype. An adult female (PEM R20374), same collecting details as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The Mt. Inago Pygmy Chameleon is referable to Rhampholeon (subgenus Rhinodigitum) by possessing an unpigmented parietal peritoneum, claws that are strongly bicuspid, smooth plantar surfaces, and a rostral process. It can be distinguished from most other species in Rhampholeon (Rhinodigitum) by having deep inguinal (absent or indistinct in Rh. boulengeri, Rh. nchisiensis, Rh. uluguruensis, and Rh. moyeri) and axillary pits (also absent in Rh. nchisiensis). It differs from Rh. platyceps and Rh. maspictus sp. nov. in its small size (<5 mm SVL), relatively large rostral process in males, and weakly developed crenulations along the dorsal crest. It differs from Rh. chapmanorum in having a relatively large rostral process in males (small in both sexes in Rh. chapmanorum), and from all other members of the Rh. platyceps complex in Mozambique (i.e. Rh. maspictus sp. nov., Rh. nebulauctor sp. nov. and Rh. tilburyi sp. nov.) in having a relatively longer tail in both sexes. From all other Rhampholeon it is also genetically well differentiated, and all chameleons examined form a monophyletic clade. 
CommentSize. Presumably a small species, as all three specimens in the type series were sexually mature, with turgid testes or developing ova. Largest male - PEM R2376 (allotype) 39. + 17.1 = 56.1 mm; largest female—PEM R2374 (holotype) 47.5 + 15.3 = 62.7 mm.

Habitat: mid-altitude (~15 m) evergreen forest, composed of species such as Drypetes natalensis, Schefflera umbellifera and Newtonia buchananii; the mid-canopy layer (< 2 m) was dominated by Chrysophyllum gorungosum, Myrianthus holstii, bridelia sp. and Garcinia sp.

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet honours the contributions of the brothers Carl and Darren Bruessow to the protection of wildlife in southern Malawi, particularly via the Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust. 
  • Bayliss, J., Monteiro, J., Fishpool, L., Congdon, C., Bampton, I., Bruessow, C., Matimele, H., Banze, A. & Timberlake, J.R. 2010. Biodiversity and Conservation of Mount Inago, Mozambique. Report produced under Darwin Initiative Award 15/ 036; Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, Malawi, 32 pp
  • BRANCH, WILLIAM R.; JULIAN BAYLISS & KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY 2014. Pygmy chameleons of the Rhampholeon platyceps compex (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae): Description of four new species from isolated ‘sky islands’ of northern Mozambique. Zootaxa 3814 (1): 001–036 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - 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
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