Furcifer minor Gonther, 1879, Fianarantsoa, Betsileo, southeastern Madagascar.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Lesser chameleon; Malagasy: Sakosotoha. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
The species is 6-10 in (140-254 mm) in length, half of which is tail. Males have paired rostral horns, and females are hornless. Coloration in nongravid females is green with faint yellow and pink markings. Gravid females are spectacularly colored with vivid yellow bands and spots against a dark green or black background, with two purple spots adorning the anterior flank and a reddish-pink hue on the top of the head. Males are tan or blue with rust or dark brown stripes and blue eye turrets; they exhibit an orange patch bordered in black at the shoulder. Juveniles are green at birth.
The species is distributed across south-central Madagascar at elevations up to 5,414 ft (1,650 m) in western Ambositra, Am-batofinandrahana, Ambatomenaloha, Itremo, and northern Vinanitelo.
Extensive deforestation within the known range of distribution has reduced the habitat of this species to sparse anthropogenic vegetation, including fruit trees and bushes in close proximity to human habitation.
These chameleons may be aggressive toward conspecifics, but they are otherwise docile.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
The minor chameleon preys upon invertebrates.
Females lay 10-16 eggs as many as three times annually; eggs incubate approximately nine months before the young emerge.
The species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN based on a 20% population decline in 10 years, or three generations. It is listed on CITES Appendix II and included in the 1995 CITES moratorium on importation, but specimens are known to have been imported for the commercial pet trade through 2002.
Before 1993, net exports of wild-taken specimens equaled five, but 2,400 of the species had been harvested for the pet trade before the 1995 CITES moratorium on importation went into effect. Limited captive reproduction occurred with a second generation of offspring bred in captivity, but by 1998 no legal specimens remained alive in captivity. ♦
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