Calumma tarzan Gehring, Pabijan, Ratsoavina, Köhler, Vences & Glaw, 2010
The Tarzan Chameleon
Calumma tarzan is found in only a tiny area of fragmented forest in central eastern Madagascar.
Morphology & Colouration:
Calumma tarzan is a medium-sized chameleon, reaching a maximum total length of 15 cm. It possesses a unique rostral ornamentation, consisting of a small spade-like projection, which is larger in males than females.
Ground colouration ranges from green to bright yellow. In males, the back of the head and neck are brown to blackish in colouration. When stressed, dark transverse bands appear along the body. A single white/yellow spot is present on each flank. A pair of white ventral bands runs the length of the body, as is typical for the C. furcifer group of chameleons.
Like most chameleons, C. tarzan is an arboreal, diurnal species. It roosts at night at the tips of branches at a height of 1-4 metres above the ground - apparently lower in juveniles.
Calumma tarzan is currently listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. It is thought to inhabit an area of less than 10km2, which is under heavy threat from deforestation.
Calumma tarzan does not closely resemble any other chameleon species, even those it is most closely related to, because of its unique rostral appendage, and stress colouration. A population of chameleons from a nearby forest fragment was described by Gehring et al. (2010), which may be conspecific with C. tarzan, but this remains unclear.
Photos are of the male holotype of the species, from Gehring et al. 2010.
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Gehring, P.-S., M. Pabijan, F.M. Ratsoavina, J. Köhler, M. Vences & F. Glaw (2010) ‘A Tarzan yell for conservation: a new chameleon, Calumma tarzan sp. n., proposed as a flagship species for the creation of new nature reserves in Madagascar' Salamandra 46(3):167-179