Calumma cucullatum

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First description:

(Gray, 1831)

Origin of the species name:

The English zoologist John Edward Gray was very brief in his description of this chameleon species: it consists of just keywords instead of a coherent sentence. In 1831 Gray was busy cataloging the reptile collection of the zoological department of the British Museum in London (Great Britain). One may assume that Gray borrowed the name of the chameleon species from the Latin cucullare. It means “hood” in English and probably describes the “hooded”, large occipital lobes of these chameleons.

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Calumma cucullatum

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Ambavaniasy: -18.945400, 48.513700
Marojejy: -14.429360, 49.693909
Tampina: -18.524100, 49.279100
Vohidrazana: -18.950778, 48.548927
Ampasinambo: -19.349200, 48.713600
Anandrivola: -15.831150, 49.686012
Fotsialana: -17.766833, 48.955078
Toamasina: -18.155400, 49.409800
Masoala: -15.697086, 50.103149
Tampolo: -15.750458, 49.996719


The habitat of Calumma cucullatum extends from the eastern foothills of the central highlands of Madagascar of Vohidrazana to the evergreen rainforests of the Masoala National Park. Preference is given to dense rainforest areas. This type of chameleon is extremely difficult to find. Our finds are limited to the west of Masoala National Park and a small area near Vohidrazana.

Appearance & size:

Calumma cucullatum is one of the larger chameleons with a total length of 31 to 38 cm. At the casque, they wear large occipital lobes connected at the upper base. They can be spread when excited to look more impressive. With some males, the rust ridge ends in two small snub noses. The dorsal crest alternately shows small and greatly enlarged conical scales, which are lacking in the throat and on the belly. The males are reddish-brown or grey and show a broad lateral stripe in stress, which extends from the corners of the mouth to the tail. The eyelids and a stain behind the shoulder are dyed blacks. The females are brown-green and shimmer yellowish at the throat and in the shoulder area.


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 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.

The region around Andasibe with the belonging forests Mantadia and Analamazaotra is located in Madagascar's eastern highlands at elevations between 900 and 1250 m above sea level. Thus temperatures sometimes reach temperatures above 25°C, but thermometers rarely climbs above 30°C or only in sunny places. At night, temperatures always drop to 10° to 15°C.

Humidity in Andasibe's rainforest is high all year long. During rainy season, it rains intensively every day, sometimes rain even lasts for days. But also dry season does not differ much besides the fact of cooler temperatures. It still rains at least every other day, in most years more often. Rain, humidity and temperature drop at night are the key features of the region around 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.

Unfortunately, we have no ground temperatures for the region of Andasibe available yet.


The following photos show parts of the habitat of Calumma cucullatum in Vohidrazana and Marojejy. The forest area of Vohidrazana, where the animals still occur, is located on a very steep slope and is difficult to access. It is full of secondary vegetation with thin trees and lots of bushes.

In the following, you will find some 360° pictures of the area near Vohidrazana. With the mouse, you can turn in all directions. If you click on the Theta logo, the pictures will open in a separate window in an enlarged view. There you also have the possibility to view the pictures in full-screen mode. Have fun while watching!

Regenwald im Schutzgebiet Maromizaha, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Schutzgebiet Maromizaha, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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