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Trioceros wolfgangboehmei KOPPETSCH, NEČAS & WIPFLER, 2021

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymTrioceros wolfgangboehmei KOPPETSCH, NEČAS & WIPFLER 2021
Trioceros affinis RÜPPELL,1845 
DistributionEthiopia (Bale mountains)

Type locality: Dinsho (3,130 m a.s.l. / 7°06'10"N, 39°47'25"E), Bale Mountains, Ethiopia  
TypesHolotype: ZFMK 84811, adult male, collected by Petr Nečas on the 6. August, 2004
Paratypes: ZFMK 84812, adult female, with the same locality and collecting data as the holotype; ZFMK 84813, adult female, Goba (2,740 m a.s.l. / 7°00'36"N, 39°57'28"E), Bale Mountains, Ethiopia collected by Petr Nečas on the 7. August, 2004; ZFMK 63063, adult female, 10 km from Goba (2700 m a.s.l.), Bale Mountains, Ethiopia collected by Colin Tilbury in October 1996. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Trioceros wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. is a small-sized chameleon of the Trioceros affinis species complex (sensu Ceccarelli et al. 2014). It can be distinguished from all other members of the same species complex by the following combination of characters: (1) presence of a prominent and well-developed dorsal crest consisting of a relatively low number of significantly pointed and enlarged conical scales, forming a single row and reaching along the anterior half the tail; (2) top of the casque posteriorly raised above the dorsal crest; (3) heterogeneous body scalation with both small scattered standard scales and enlarged flattened platelike scales; (4) long canthus parietalis formed by 9–12 slightly enlarged scales; (5) rugose head scalation consisting of enlarged scales forming the cranial crests that fill the area between the lateral and temporal crest and the posterior rim of the orbit; (6) relatively high number of flank scales at midbody (53–59); (7) relatively short snout-vent length (up to 66 mm); (8) a unique hemipenial morphology including shallow calyces with smooth margins on the truncus, four pairs of thick, pointed and thorn-like papillae and two pairs of non-serrated rotulae (Koppetsch et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Trioceros wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. can be distinguished by a unique combination of morphological features from the other representatives of the genus Trioceros occurring in Ethiopia (see the key to the Ethiopian Trioceros provided in Koppetsch et al., 2021). It can be separated from T. bitaeniatus by lacking a midventral gular crest composed of conical scales; the absence of a dorsal crest with isolated groups of 3–5 enlarged scales; the lack of a low but prominent parietal crest and in not showing two longitudinal rows of enlarged flattened scales on the flanks forming a pair of lateral stripes differentiated in colour. Also, T. harennae differs from the newly described species by possessing a single gular crest that is conspicuously well-developed and formed by long, sometimes even laterally flattened scales. T. balebicornutus can be distinguished by a conspicuous gular crest and the shape and arrangement of the rostral scales. Males have a pair of rostral horns, while females show a pair of rostral pointed conical scales (or rugose and prominently enlarged warty scales in some females). The new chameleon Trioceros wolfgangboehmei sp. mnov. shows the closest morphological resemblance to T. affinis and is considered as a member of the T. affinis species complex (sensu Ceccarelli et al. 2014). Also, previous phylogenetic analyses revealed that populations of T. affinis from Addis Abeba show about 5% sequence divergence in the genetic marker ND4 (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4) compared to individuals from the type locality of T. wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. (Ceccarelli et al. 2014). T. affinis sensu stricto, as defined by the lectotype specimen (Fig. 1), differs from T. wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. by having a less prominent dorsal crest consisting of a relatively higher number of smaller conical scales reaching to the base of the tail, a flat casque not raised above the level of the dorsal crest, no rugose and only slightly enlarged scales on the head and by showing a shorter canthus parietalis formed by a lower number of slightly enlarged scales. Although the new species shares single characters, but not in combination with each other or the exclusive scalation patterns described above, with some T. affinis populations e.g. from south-western Ethiopia, like a heterogeneous body scalation, relatively high number of flank scales at midbody and a relatively short snout-vent length, these characteristics are useful when distinguishing between new species and T. affinis specimens without precise indication of origin. Concerning its hemipenial morphology, Trioceros wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. is distinct from T. affinis, which shows serrated rotulae (also present in T. balebicornutus) and slightly deeper calyces (Fig. 4) (Koppetsch et al. 2021).

Color in life: The ground body colour of living specimens of Trioceros wolfgangboehmei sp. nov. is yellowish, brownish or even bright green and varies in different individuals (Figs 6, 7). Most specimens show a prominent bright white temporal spot posterior of the orbit formed by enlarged flattened scales (Figs 6, 9). A dorso-lateral bright white or slightly orange longitudinal stripe can be found in many individuals. This dorsolateral stripe often is continuous, spreading along the flanks, but can be interrupted and form a Y-shaped pattern laterally (Fig. 8). This dorso-lateral pattern is corresponding with the occurrence of enlarged and flattened scales. The colour of the dorsal crest only slightly differs from the background colouration by being a little bit darker or brighter. A white stripe is present on the weakly expressed ventral crest. The throat region is usually of lighter colour in comparison to the ground colour. In some specimens, a beige ground pattern with slight reddish stripes can be found in the head region around the orbit. It ranges from dorsal to the nostrils around the entire eye turret to the casque and is bordered posteriorly by the temporal crest (Fig. 7). The limbs exhibit the same colour as the body, though they are coloured beige or yellowish medially (Koppetsch et al. 2021). 
CommentGroup: Trioceros affinis complex.

Distribution: see map in Koppetsch et al. 2021: 169 (Fig. 3). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet honours Wolfgang Böhme, senior herpetologist at the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn, Germany, for his numerous contributions to research on chameleons, for his outstanding and ongoing herpetological research in general, and, last but not least, for his continuously generous support of the first as well as second author and numerous junior zoologists. The species epithet is a noun in the genitive case. 
  • Ceccarelli, F. Sara et al. 2014. Evolutionary relationships, species delimitation and biogeography of Eastern Afromontane horned chameleons (Chamaeleonidae: Trioceros). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - 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
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