Brookesia thieli

CITES quotas
2011-13 each 100 specimens, 2014-16 each 500 specimens, 2017 for the first time 1000 animals, 2018-2023 each 500 specimens for legal export

First description:IUCN Red List: least concern

Brygoo & Domergue, 1969

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, named the species after the botanist Jean Thiel. Thiel had found most of the animals of the species in 1968 and brought them to Antananarivo.

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Brookesia thieli

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Andasibe: -18.913432, 48.414688
Fierenana: -17.928400, 48.257200
Moramanga: -18.947100, 48.230400
Anjozorobe: -18.398000, 47.882400
Ranomafana: -21.217701, 47.427979
Vohidrazana: -18.988928, 48.507729
Ambohiboatavo: -17.810802, 48.378983
Ambohitantely: -18.169340, 47.298889


Brookesia thieli is found in central-eastern Madagascar in the areas of Moramanga, Andasibe, Vohimana, and Anjozorobe. There is also a further population higher up in the north near Masoala. So far we have been able to find the animals in the rainforest of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Ranomafa National Park, and Anjozorobe.

Appearance & size:

These leaf chameleons reach a maximum size of 73 mm. At the back, a row of eleven spinous processes runs on both sides, which continues over the tail. Both sexes have tubercles at the chin. The basic color of these animals are different shades of brown, most individuals have a light-colored back and darker sides and belly. The projection above the nose is well developed.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature 23 24 23 23 22 19 19 19 20 21 22 23
Minimum temperature20 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.

Three examples of a daily course of temperatures in Andasibe in the rainy season can be found below. Both were recorded with data loggers in 2023.

2023 Temperaturen in Andasibe 2023 Temperaturen in Andasibe 2023 Temperaturen in Andasibe

The region around Andasibe with the associated forests of Mantadia, Mitsinjo and Analamazaotra lie in the eastern highlands of Madagascar at altitudes between 900 and 1250 m above sea level. During the day, the temperature may sometimes exceed 25°C, but the thermometer rarely climbs above 30°C, or only in sunspots. At night, temperatures plummet, especially during the dry season. 10° to 15° degrees are the rule.

Humidity in the rainforests around Andasibe is high all year round. During the rainy season it rains extensively every day, sometimes the rain lasts for days. But the dry season is not massively different either, except that it has slightly cooler temperatures overall and reaches lower temperatures at night. It still rains at least every other day. Rain, high humidity and a drop in temperature at night are therefore the central points of Andasibe's climate. In 2023, we measured relative humidity with data loggers on different days in Andasibe in the rainy season, the data can be found below.

2023 Luftfeuchtigkeit in Andasibe 2023 Luftfeuchtigkeit in Andasibe 2023 Luftfeuchtigkeit in Andasibe
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 (March, April) at the peak of activity of chameleons in Madagascar. We always measured the values that a chameleon could maximally reach in its habitat.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Morning 23,2 23,4 22,0 22,1 20,5 16,0 16,3 16,5 17,4 16,7 21,2 -
Midday 25,4 25,3 24,5 22,5 20,2 16,5 16,3 17,7 18,3 18,0 21,4 -
Evening 25,5 25,1 25,0 25,3 20,8 17,2 16,1 17,0 19,6 23,0 22,0 -

Between 21 March 2018 and 05 February 2019, we measured ground temperatures in the rainforest of Andasibe and surrounding areas (Analamazaotra, Andasibe, V.O.I.M.M.A. and Mitsinjo) about every other day - the table is the result of these measurements. Only in December no measurements were taken. detailed review can be found here. In total, we took 418 soil temperature measurements and measured an estimated 70 different locations in Andasibe and the surrounding area at a depth of 20 cm.

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 different days during the rainy season in Andasibe. 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. The Y-axis shows the atmospheric pressure in hPa.

2023 Luftdruck in Andasibe 2023 Luftdruck in Andasibe 2023 Luftdruck in Andasibe


The following photos show extracts from the habitat of Brookesia thieli in Andasibe and finding sites in Anjozorobe. The species hides well in the undergrowth, which consists of many small plants, loose branches, and few fallen tree trunks. The animals live on the thick layer of leaves and on very low branches and branches of bushes. In Anjozorobe, Brookesia thieli lives mainly in microhabitats heavily overgrown with ferns.

Here are some 360° pictures from Anjozorobe-Angavo. With the mouse, you can rotate in all directions. If you click on the Theta logo, the pictures open in an enlarged view in a separate window. There is also the possibility to execute the images in full-screen mode. Have fun watching it!

Regenwald im Schutzgebiet Anjozorobe-Angavo, Region Analamanga, zentrales Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald neben Reisfeldern im Schutzgebiet Anjozorobe-Angavo, Region Analamanga, zentrales Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Schutzgebiet Anjozorobe-Angavo, Region Analamanga, zentrales Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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