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Prötzel, Vences, Hawlitschek, Scherz, Ratsoavina & Glaw, 2018
Origin of the species name:
David Prötzel from the State Zoological Collection Munich (Germany) dedicated the species to his girlfriend Julia Forster.
Up to now, Calumma juliae is exclusively known from a very small forest area near Moramanga in the eastern highlands of Madagascar. It is rather a remnant of forest, which is already almost completely surrounded by rice and cornfields. Whether the species occurs in other forest remnants of the region is not yet known. However, one must currently assume that the distribution area of the species is not only minutely small but also highly threatened by deforestation.
Look and size:
Calumma juliae belongs to the small chameleons. The females are only 10 to 12 cm long including tail. Characteristic for Calumma juliae are small occipital lobes which are not separated from each other in the middle when viewed from above. The dorsal crest consists of 11 to 14 tubercles.
The females of this species are greyish-beige to reddish-brown in color and have a small, round nose extension with light green scales. Excited animals have light green patterns on the head. The eyelids have bright blue stripes arranged in a circle, in addition, a dark horizontal stripe can run from the nose to the occipital lobes. On the arms and legs, there are slightly larger scales, which are also colored light green, than on the body
Good to know:
Up to now, no male of Calumma juliae has ever been found – therefore it is not yet known what it looks like. It is also unclear whether males exist at all or whether this species – which would be very unusual for chameleons – is possibly capable of parthenogenesis, i.e. reproduction without males.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The following photos show parts of the habitat of Calumma juliae near Moramanga. The small chameleons live here mainly in dense undergrowth between trees with very thin branches.