Brookesia ramanantsoai

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First description:IUCN Red List: endangered

Brygoo & Domergue, 1975

Origin of the species name:

Édouard-Raoul Brygoo (later working at the Natural History Museum in Paris, France) and Charles Antoine Domergue of the then Institut Pasteur in Antananarivo, Madagascar dedicated this chameleon species to the zoologist Guy Ramanantsoa. Ramanantsoa worked at the University of Antananarivo and also dealt with chameleons at times. He had described the species Calumma ambreense a year earlier.


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Brookesia ramanantsoai

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Andasibe: -18.931619, 48.431168
Vohimana: -18.917979, 48.512535
Mandraka: -18.911900, 47.920000
Ambohiboatavo: -18.997044, 47.845287

Brookesia ramanantsoai can be found in the eastern highlands of Madagascar. Originally these small chameleons are known from the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, but we have never been able to observe them there. However, only 25 km east of Andasibe is the Vohimana reserve. There you have much better chances to spot Brookesia ramanantsoai. Also west of Andasibe, in some small forest patches near Mandraka, the species is resident. Not far from Mandraka is Lake Mantasoa, near where the species was first found. The entire distribution range of Brookesia ramanantsoai is relatively high, at about 1000 to 1300 m above sea level.

Appearance and size:

Brookesia ramanantsoai belongs to the minima group and is accordingly small. From the tip of the nose to the tail it measures just 41 to 44 mm. Instead of a pelvic shield, they carry only two pelvic spines. In the anterior half of the body, there are two better developed latero-vertebral tubercles, the others are barely developed. Purely visually, the species is indistinguishable from Brookesia dentata, but research is still lacking here. Genetically the two species are different and also occur in two completely different habitats.



Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature 23 24 23 24 21 19 19 19 20 21 22 23
Minimum temperature 20 20 20 19 18 15 15 15 15 16 18 19
Maximum temperature 27 27 27 27 25 23 23 23 24 25 26 27
Rain days 27 24 26 19 17 18 21 20 15 16 20 25

We have collected the data given above over several years with thermometers and hygrometers at the finding places of the chameleons. "Average temperature" means that values of a whole month have been calculated to one average value per month. For example all measured minimum temperature values of February have been calculated to one average minimum temperature for February. In plain language, this means single peak values of a day may be a little higher or lower than the average minimum and maximum temperatures. It is possible that a location has an average maximum temperature of 29°C, but one day during that month it had 33°C or even 35°C there.

An example of a daily pattern of temperatures in Vohimana during the rainy season can be found below. It was recorded in 2023 with data loggers.

2023 Temperaturen in Vohimana

Climate in Vohimana is comparable to region Andasibe-Mantadia. It is also located in eastern highlands on eleveations about 1000 m above sea level. Accordingly, nights can become rather cool with temperatures around 15°C.

During rainy season, it rains daily and intensively. Temperatures reach 25 to 28°C during daytime, in sunny places a little more. In dry season, temperatures are lower and it does not rain daily but still regularly. In 2023, we measured relative humidity with data loggers on several days in Vohimana during the rainy season, the data can be found below.

2023 Luftfeuchtigkeit in Vohimana
2014 UVI Andasibe 2016 UVI Andasibe Tageszeit = day time, Sonne = sun, Halbschatten = half shade, Schatten = shade

We have measured UVB data with a Solarmeter 6.5 in spring (beginning of April) at the peak of activity of chameleons in Madagascar. We always measured the values that a chameleon could maximally reach in its habitat.

Unfortunately, no ground temperatures are yet available for Vohimana. However, for Andasibe, which is only a few kilometres away and also located in the eastern highlands of Madagascar, soil temperatures are available here.

In 2023, in addition to other climate data, we also measured the air pressure at the locations we visited in Madagascar. The following data is from a full day during the rainy season in Vohimana. On the X-axis is the time of day or night. In Madagascar, the day begins around 6 am and night falls at 6 pm. TheY axis shows the atmospheric pressure in hPa.

2023 Luftdruck in Vohimana


The following photos show sections of the habitat of Brookesia ramanantsoai during the rainy season in a small reserve near Mandraka. Both in Vohimana and near Mandraka the chameleons tend to occur on slopes. Delicate, small plants and many ferns grow. Leaves and deadwood cover the ground but do not form as thick a layer as in other parts of the forest. For roosting, Brookesia ramanantsoai often seek out the higher, wide, mossy roots of large trees, like other leaf chameleons of the minima group.

Below you will find some 360° images from Analamazaotra (Andasibe). With the mouse, you can rotate in all directions. If you click on the Theta logo, the images will open in an enlarged view in a separate window. There is also the possibility to run the pictures in full-screen mode. Have fun watching!

Regenwald im Nationalpark Andasibe-Mantadia (Analamazaotra), Andasibe, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Nationalpark Andasibe-Mantadia (Analamazaotra), Andasibe, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


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