Calumma uetzi

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First description:

Prötzel, Vences, Hawlitschek, Scherz, Ratsoavina & Glaw, 2018

Origin of the species name:

Frank Glaw of the Munich State Zoological Collection (Germany) had the idea to name the species after Peter Uetz. The German biologist has been running the Reptile Database, a platform with information from the species descriptions of all over 11,000 reptile species worldwide, since 1995. The database has been used for years by scientists as a free, reliable tool and is consistently referenced in scientific publications. Since 2006, Uetz has worked as a professor in the Center for Study of Biological Complexity at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (USA).

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Calumma uetzi

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Marojejy: -14.418305, 49.681549
Sorata: -13.674010, 49.420624


Two different populations of Calumma uetzi are known. One species population occurs in the Sorata Massif in northern Madagascar, the second in the Marojejy National Park in the northeast of the island, about 100 km to the south. The population in Sorata lives at altitudes of 1100 to 1500 meters, while the one in Marojejy is found at around 1300 meters. Calumma uetzi is a pure rainforest inhabitant and is not found in the lower rainforest or even outside the primary forest. It is found in very dense scrub on very thin branches. We have found it so far exclusively well above Camp Marojejya.

Appearance and size:

Calumma uetzi has been known as “the rainbow chameleon”. However, this description only applies to the population in Sorata. The males there show an impressive play of colors when excited, with a yellow body and a red lateral stripe framed by blue. However, the population in Marojejy (see photos) does not show these colors. in Marojejy, the males are beige to white with light blue spots. Both sexes bear a dark stripe on either side of the head, each extending from the nose over the eyelids to the occipital lobes. Females are more nondescript beige with indistinct white lateral stripe. The females from Marojejy show additional light blue spots all over the body. When excited, they turn almost black with conspicuous light accents on the helmet and nose.

Calumma uetzi grows only up to ten centimeters long, which is why it is one of the smaller chameleons. The occipital lobes are clearly notched but not completely separated. Both sexes carry a small dorsal crest, which may be interrupted by single larger tubercles in single individuals. Equally conspicuous is the upward projecting soft nasal process. On the forearms, the scaling is rather heterogeneous.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average temperature 26 26 26 25 25 23 23 22 23 24 25 26
Minimum temperature 24 24 23 23 22 21 20 19 20 21 22 24
Maximum temperature 30 29 29 29 28 27 25 25 25 27 28 30
Rain days 28 23 27 22 24 21 20 18 23 22 16 25

Marojejy mainly consists of rainforest that extends over the eponymic sacred mountain at elevations of 200 to maximally 2100 m above sea level. In the highest areas, climate is cool and vegetation sparse, but most chameleons live in the warmer dense rainforest below. Marojejy has different altitude levels, each with its own species living in its own climate. In the lowest altitude level it is very warm and humid, in the middle and high altitudes it becomes a little cooler, but not less humid.

In Marojejy, there is few difference between rainy and dry season. Humidity is always very, very high. In the rainy season, precipitation is more intense with rainfalls that may last for days and sometimes are accompagnied by heavy storms. In the dry season, temperatures are a little lower, but it never becomes really cold. And it still rains almost daily. It really cannot become dry in Marojejy during "dry" season. Humidity is the main key factor of this rainforest. In 2022, we measured relative humidity on various days during the rainy season, and the data can be found below.

2022 Luftfeuchtigkeit Marojejy 2022 Luftfeuchtigkeit Marojejy
2022 UVI Marojejy2022 UVI Marojejy 2015 UVI Marojejy

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 until 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, we have no ground temperatures for Marojejy available yet.

Since 2022, in addition to other climate data, we have been measuring air pressure at the locations we visit in Madagascar. The following data is from different days during the rainy season. On the X-axis is the time of day or night. In Madagascar, the day begins around 6 a.m., and night falls at 6 p.m. The Y-axis shows the atmospheric pressure in hPa.

2022 Luftdruck Marojejy 2022 Luftdruck Marojejy


The following photos show sections of the habitat of Calumma uetzi during the rainy season in Marojejy. The rainforest of Marojejy is located in a mountain range that consists almost entirely of ravines and steep slopes. At the altitude where Calumme uetzi occurs, the forest is crossed by many small streams. Many ancient giant trees are covered with endless moss. The undergrowth is very dense, the species especially likes shrubby plants with dense foliage. The soil is earthy and interspersed with countless rocks.

Below you will find some 360° images from Marojejys rainforest. With the mouse, you can rotate in all directions. If you click on the Theta logo, the images will open in an enlarged view in a separate window. There is also the possibility to run the pictures in full-screen mode. Have fun watching!

Regenwald im Nationalpark Marojejy, Region Sava, Nordost-Madagaskar, April 2022 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Nationalpark Marojejy, Region Sava, Nordost-Madagaskar, April 2022 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Regenwald im Nationalpark Marojejy, Region Sava, Nordost-Madagaskar, April 2022 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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