Calumma gallus

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First description:IUCN Red List: endangered

(Günther, 1877)

Origin of the species name:

The German zoologist Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf Günther, then Director of the Zoological Department of the Natural History Museum of London (Great Britain), described this chameleon species in a few sentences. Unfortunately, he never revealed why he chose the Latin word gallus, which translates as Gallic or Gaul.

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Calluma gallus

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Ambavaniasy: -18.945400, 48.513700
Vohimana: -18.931944, 48.525238
Zahamena: -17.659726, 48.751831
Ampasimbe: -18.967300, 48.680000
Andapa: -14.662200, 49.651700
Andekaleka: -18.799800, 48.600500
Nosy Alanana (Ile aux Prunes): -18.050700, 49.460500
Karianga: -22.429000, 47.372100
Lokomby: -22.181524, 47.748642
Mahanoro: -19.900200, 48.809500
Vohidrazana: -18.985803, 48.482666
Ranomafana Est: -18.960900, 48.844200


Calumma gallus inhabits east and northeast Madagascar. They can be found in secondary vegetation with a high percentage of ferns. Mostly they live in habitats on steep slopes that are difficult to access. Additionally, plant cover in their habitats is extremely dense that makes finding these small chameleons very difficult. We have also found this species in two meters’ height yet.

Appearance and size:

With a total length of approximately 11 cm, this chameleon is among the smaller ones. Males have a long, pointed, and flexible nose appendage that has blue, violet, and green spots. Each nose is individual, there are no individuals with the exact same nose shape. Usually, the animals are brown-greyish, but when relaxed the males can become almost completely white with bright blue patterns. Females have a shorter, leaf-shaped, red nose appendage. Gravid females have their head dotted with blue. Otherwise, their color is brown-beige, dark brown when stressed. The casque is low but distinctly separated from the back. In Vohidrazana, females of Calumma gallus carry slightly longer rostral appendages, as shown in the following two photos.


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 pictures show the habitat of Calumma gallus at the rainy season in Vohimana. Some are even from finding places of this species. The habitat of this species consists of extremely dense bushes and thin trees. The ground is completely covered with ferns. The animals prefer to live right in the middle of these shrubs, between endless thin twigs and small-leafed plants. In many places, spiny plants are also among the shrubs but do not seem to bother this species.

Here are some 360° pictures from Vohimana. 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 Reservat Vohimana, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, März 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Reservat Vohimana, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, März 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Reservat Vohimana, Region Alaotra-Mangoro, östliches Hochland, Madagaskar, März 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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