Sunday, February 19, 2012

[Herpetology • 1996] Brookesia exarmata • a new dwarf chameleon (Reptilia, Chamaeleonidae) from the limestone outcrops of western Madagascar

Dwarf Chameleon (Brookesia exarmata)
Amber Mountain National Park, Madagascar

During fieldwork carried out in January-February 1995 in the Strict Nature Reserve No. 9 (western Madagascar), a new species of dwarf chameleon (genus Brookesia) was discovered on the western slopes of the Antsingy forest. The inaccessible habitat of this new taxon consists of dense subhumid tropophile forest growing among the limestone blocks belonging to the huge karstic complex of the Massif, where Brookesia exarmata sp. nov. is sympatric with Brookesia perarmata, a taxon likely endemic to the Antsingy forest, and Brookesia brygooi. The new taxon, formally described in this paper, is a small-sized chameleon whose total adult length ranges between 30 and 45 millimetres: this feature, together with the absence of a pelvic shield and the presence of a series of dorsolateral tubercles (or a few small dorsolateral spines), leads to Brookesia exarmata being ascribed to the Brookesia minima group. Brookesia tuberculata and Brookesia peyrierasi are ressurrected from the synonymy of Brookesia minima and a new identification key to these and to the other three species included in the Brookesia minima group is proposed.

Type locality: River Ambodyreana, Tsingy de Bemaraha, Antsalova, Fivondronana, Mahajanga Province, Madagascar.

Schimmenti G; Jesu R 1996. Brookesia exarmata sp. nov. (Reptilia, Chamaeleonidae): a new dwarf chameleon from the limestone outcrops of western Madagascar. ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY (MODENA) 63(2) 1996: 193-197