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Prötzel, Scherz, Ratsoavina, Vences & Glaw, 2020
Calumma emelinae is known from various remnants of rainforest on the east coast of Madagascar, which are more than 750 m above sea level. The previous sites are located between Anosibe an’Ala in the central-east and Lake Alaotra, one of the most important rice-growing areas. So far we have always found the species in a small forest near Moramanga. Although Calumma emelinae is found in and around one of Madagascar’s most famous national parks, Andasibe-Mantadia, we have not been able to discover the species there during any of our numerous visits. Another population of Calumma emelinae lives in the region of the Makira Plateau in northern Madagascar. Since it is largely inaccessible to travelers, there are hardly any photographs of it so far.
Look and size:
Calumma emelinae does not grow very large. With only 8.3 to 10.3 cm from nose to tail tip, this species is already fully grown. Both sexes have a round nose appendage, which is smaller in females than in males. The rostral scale directly under the nose is not integrated into the rostral appendage itself in Calumma emelinae. In males, the casque is very low (only 0.5-1.1 mm), and the dorsal crest varies in the number of spines. The females do not wear a dorsal crest. The males of Calumma emelinae are prettier in color than the females: The females are grey-white with light green spots, which makes especially arms, legs and head look very green. The rostral appendage of females may have some light blue scales.
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.
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.
The following photos show parts of the habitat of Calumma emelinae during the rainy season near Moramanga. This is a tiny rainforest fragment that is almost exclusively bordering on secondary vegetation and is very much threatened by deforestation. However, the chameleons only live within the intact forest and are not found outside on the edges of rice fields or similar. Calumma emelinae hides very well in dense bushes and likes to live high up in the trees.