Calumma radamanus

Calumma radamanus, Nosy Mangabe 2015
Calumma radamanus, Nosy Mangabe 2015
Calumma radamanus, Nosy Mangabe 2015
Calumma radamanus, Nosy Mangabe 2015
CITES quotas
no legal export possible

First description:

Mertens, 1933

Origin of the species name:

The German biologist Robert Friedrich Wilhelm Mertens, later director of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Francf.rt (Germany), named this chameleon species after the place where it was found, the Col de Pierre Radama, a place north of the Bay of Antongil. Today this place no longer exists in Madagascar. However, it was probably named after King Radama I, one of the most famous kings of the Merina ethnic group. The chameleon that Mertens described came from a Madagascar expedition of the Swiss anatomist Hans Bluntschli in 1931.

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Calumma radamanus

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Ambaton d’Radama: -15.274912, 49.733734
Nosy Mangabe: -15.495700, 49.767700
Makira Massif: -15.372922, 49.667130
Masoala: -15.506619, 50.169067
Tampolo: -15.723284, 49.993286


Calumma radamanus is only native to the rainforests around the Bay of Antongil in northeast Madagascar. This includes the Masoala National Park with its paradise island of Nosy Mangabe and the nearby forests of Tampolo and Analalava. The nearby Makira massif is also home to Calumma radamanus. From other areas of Madagascar similar-looking chameleon species have been named, but they are genetically different from Calumma radamanus and are therefore considered Calumma cf. radamanus until their final taxonomic classification.

Look and size:

Calumma radamanus belongs to the small chameleons with a total length of 7.7 to 9.3 cm. Both sexes have a round, downward-pointing rostral appendage. The rostral scale directly under the nose is integrated into the rostral appendage in this species. The males of Calumma radamanus wear a small only a little elevated casque (only 0.8-1.5 mm). Some males have a dorsal crest with six to eight spines. The body color of the males is beige with greenish scales, a white lateral stripe and three blue spots on the body side. The nose is often turquoise. The females are often simply beige. Many Calumma radamanus have a dark stripe running from the nose over the eyelids to the helmet.

Good to know:

Until 2020 this species and similar-looking chameleons belonged to Calumma cf. nasutum (cf. = confer = compare; denotes a similar species, but it is already known that it is not exactly the species named after the cf.) Only in 2020 Calumma nasutum was defined more precisely by Prötzel, Scherz et al. and Calumma radamanus was revised. There are still countless, very similar-looking species all over Madagascar, which are considered Calumma cf. radamanus and probably contain several, as yet undefined, chameleon species. Due to years of problems with the lack of genetic differentiation of different species, countless chameleons have been exported under the name Calumma nasutum since 2014. Most of these chameleons belong to Calumma radamanus or Calumma cf. radamanus. Calumma nasutum has a CITES quota for legal export, but Calumma radamanus actually does not.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature 24 25 24 24 23 21 20 20 21 22 23 24
Minimum temperature 20 21 20 20 18 17 16 16 17 17 19 20
Maximum temperature 28 29 28 28 27 25 25 25 25 27 27 28
Rain days 26 23 25 19 17 18 21 21 16 17 20 24

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.

Climate on Nosy Mangabe is a very humid place. It is raining all year long with especially intense precipitation during rainy season. The rainforest of this island reaches right to the edge of the beach, and is an old forest with many huge trees and much undergrowth.

Temperatures on Nosy Mangabe are rather constant all over the year with few variation. Temperatures during daytime reach 25°C, in rainy season they might be around 30°C. Instead dry season has cooler temperatures, but only few °C less: It is still warm with around 25°C during the day. At night, temperature drops only few degrees.

2015 UVI Nosy Mangabe
Tageszeit = day time, Sonne = sun, Halbschatten = half shade, Schatten = shade

We have measured UVB data with a Solarmeter 6.5 in spring (end of March) 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 Nosy Mangabe available yet.


The following photos show parts of the habitat of Calumma radamanus during the rainy season in Masoala and on Nosy Mangabe. In both regions, the intact rainforest still prevails but is bordered by secondary vegetation. Calumma radamanus is mainly found directly in the rainforest, in closed forest areas with a lot of undergrowth. The animals prefer bushes and trees with very thin, narrow branches and many small leaves.


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