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Trioceros affinis (RÜPPELL, 1845)

IUCN Red List - Trioceros affinis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesRuppell's Desert Chameleon
G: Abyssinisches Chamäleon (Rüppels Originalname) 
SynonymChamaeleon affinis RÜPPELL 1845: 300
Chamaeleo abyssinicus — FITZINGER 1843 (nomen nudum)
Chamaeleon affinis — GRAY 1865: 347
Chamaeleon affinis — WERNER 1911: 27
Chamaeleo affinis — MERTENS 1966: 6
Chamaeleo (Trioceros) affinis — KLAVER & BÖHME 1986: 59
Chamaeleo (Trioceros) affinis — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997
Chamaeleo (Trioceros) affinis — NECAS 1999: 143
Trioceros affinis — TILBURY & TOLLEY 2009
Trioceros affinis — TILBURY 2010: 552
Triocerus affinis — CAMPBELL & DENZER 2020 (in error) 

Type locality: Abessinien (= Ethiopia)  
TypesLectotype: SMF 16402 (fide MERTENS 1967: 64), Paralectotype: NHMUK 1946.8.21.9 (original number NHMUK 1845.7.22.27), female. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “Mit Ch. senegalensis nahe verwandte Art, von welcher es sich nur unterscheidet durch den Mangel eines beschuppten Kiels an Hals und Kehle”
[Rüppels original diagnosis]

Re-description of the lectotype. The adult male lectotype (SMF 16402) of Trioceros affinis is a small-sized and slender chameleon without outstanding ornamentation on the body and head. It has a total length of 148.3 mm (snout-vent length of 68.9 mm and a tail length of 79.4 mm) (Fig. 1A). The tail is slightly longer than the rest of the body (RTL 0.54), heavily thickened at the base due to the presence of hemipenes situated in their pockets. The extremities are thin, the hind legs are slightly wider in diameter but equal in length.
The head is relatively short and blunt (HW/HL 0.52) with a low casque (RCH 0.85) merely exceeding the level of the neck (RCN 0.2). The head surface is covered with slightly enlarged flattened scales, which are more convex and slightly rugose between the canthi rostrales (Fig. 1B, C; see Suppl. material 3: Dorsal head views). The head crests, typical for the genus Trioceros, are well developed and ornamented with slightly enlarged, convex scales. The canthus lateralis is well developed in all its parts. It starts with two paramesial scales on each side of the head, builds a margin of the low casque, continues as slightly less expressed supra-ocular crest with a more warty appearance on the canthus rostralis, which conjoin just above the tip of the snout forming a low ridge. The parietal crest consists of 5 scales merely larger than the surrounding ones, building a faint yet sharp medial ridge on the top of the casque. The temporal crest, consisting of 6 enlarged scales is expressed as a lateroventral emargination of a rugose triangular field below the lateral crest just behind the orbit and posterodorsally from it. It reaches the canthus lateralis proprius at about half of its length where it fuses with it. There are 16 upper labials and 16 lower labials on both sides of the head. The eye turrets are covered with a granular homogeneous scalation. The nostril is situated at half distance between the tip of the snout and rostroventral margin of the orbit. The body is covered with subhomogenous scalation, the standard scales are convex, not flat, of sub-circular or sub-oval form and of approximately same size all over the body, tail and extremities, with a tendency to become smaller ventrally towards the midventral line and on the distal part of the tail towards the tail tip. On the flanks, they are ordered in more or less longitudinal or diagonal long fields (running in craniodorsal-caudoventral orientation) that are grouped in rows of two (rarely three) scales. Here no interstitial skin is exposed, with the exception of the gular region, where lateroventrally, an inconspicuous groove can be observed between the slightly enlarged, spindle-shaped scales. There is one irregular, interrupted line of 8 significantly enlarged lenticular scales (the largest ones are about 3 times longer and 2 times wider than the surrounding standard scales). These scales are separated from each other by 3–7 standard scales, oriented longitudinally at about 2/3 of the body height and range from the shoulder to the pelvic region.
Anteriorly, the dorsal crest runs posteriorly of the casque, extending as a continuous well-developed, but low, crest consisting of conical scales of about double width and double height compared to the surrounding standard scales. The dorsal crest reaches in its described form the level of the groin, decreasing in height and formed by smaller subconical scales up to the first 1/4 of the tail with a more inconspicuous appearance. Dorsolaterally on both flanks, the first line of scales bordering the dorsal crest is slightly enlarged.
The gular crest is absent, instead, a rather narrow triangular field scattered with significantly smaller granular scales is present and ranges from the mentum to the arch of the hyoid. The ventral crest consists of a slightly enlarged, midventral line of scales ranging from the shoulder to the frontal margin of the cloacal fissure, which is separated into two parallel rows just along the umbilical scar, and ends at the ventral part of the tail (Koppetsch et al. 2021). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Koppetsch et al. 2021: 169 (Fig. 3). 
  • CAMPBELL, PATRICK D; WOLFGANG DENZER 2020. Annotated catalogue of chameleon types in the collection of the Natural History Museum, UK (NHMUK) (Reptilia: Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). Zootaxa 4742 (3): 481–500 - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp. - get paper here
  • Glaw, F. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of chameleons (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae). [type catalogue] Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): 167–246 - get paper here
  • Gray,J.E. 1865. Revision of the genera and species of Chamaeleonidae, with the description of some new species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 340-354 - get paper here
  • Klaver, C. & BÖHME,W. 1986. Phylogeny and classification of the Chamaeleonidae (Sauria), with special reference to hemipenis morphology. Bonner zool. Monogr. 22: 1-64. - get paper here
  • Koppetsch, T., Nečas, P., & Wipfler, B. 2021. A new chameleon of the Trioceros affinis species complex (Squamata, Chamaeleonidae) from Ethiopia. Zoosystematics and Evolution, 97: 161
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2006. Lizards of Ethiopia (Reptilia Sauria): an annotated checklist, bibliography, gazetteer and identification. Tropical Zoology 19 (1): 21-109 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1967. Die herpetologische Sektion des Natur-Museums und Forschungs-Institutes Senckenberg in Frankfurt am Main nebst einem Verzeichnis ihrer Typen. Senckenbergiana Biologica 48: 1-106 - get paper here
  • Mertens, Robert 1966. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich 83: 1-37
  • 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)
  • Rüppell, E. 1845. Verzeichnis der in dem Museum der Senckenbergischen naturforschenden Gesellschaft aufgestellten Sammlungen. Dritte Abteilung: Amphibien. Mus. Senckenbergianum 3 (3): 293- 316
  • 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
  • Spawls, Stephen 1994. The herpetofauna of Ethiopia. Part 2. The forests and the mountains. Reptilian 2 (10): 7-14
  • Tilbury, C. 2010. Chameleons of Africa: An Atlas, Including the Chameleons of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt M., 831 pp.
  • Tilbury, C. R. & Tolley, Krystal A. 2009. A re-appraisal of the systematics of the African genus Chamaeleo (Reptilia: Chamaeleonidae). Zootaxa 2079: 57–68 - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1911. Das Tierreich - Chamaeleonidae. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 27: xi + 52 pp. - get paper here
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