Color variation “yellow giant”


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Yellow giant

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Vohimana: -18.926261, 48.504982
Anosibe An\'Ala: -19.438100, 48.206100

Vohimana is approximately 15 km away from Andasibe-Mantadia national park in eastern Madagascar, only about 160 km and few hours by car via RN2 away from the capital Antananarivo. Andasibe-Mantadia, earlier called Perinét, is the most visited national park of Madagascar and hence well structured. Vohimana reserve is a much less visited part of the area with less infrastructure and some hut villages. The elevation here is approximately 900 m above sea level. People here earn their money partially from ecotourism, but most still cultivate rice, corn, or bananas or keep zebus. This place is where you can find the color variation “yellow giant” of Calumma parsonii parsonii, directly above the habitat of Calumma gallus.

A second discovery site for this color variation in the eastern highlands of Madagascar is Anosibe an’Ala, a village about 80 km south of Moramanga. Travelers hardly get astray here.

In both regions, Calumma parsonii parsonii inhabitants rainforests as well as coffee plantations. In summer 2016, one male of this color variation was found close to Analamazaotra (to be more specific, in front of a hotel). Analamazaotra is part of Andasibe-Mantadia national park, but in exactly this part, there had been no Calumma parsonii parsonii found yet. We assume that this animal might have been brought by local people from Vohimana or other nearby regions just for tourists. To our knowledge, no other yellow giants have been seen there.

Appearance & size:

The color variation living here is pale yellow-greenish reaching into soft orange. When stressed or fired up, they show dark bands. Adult males have deeply yellow heads, partially with orange-colored eyelids. Females are bright green with dark green cross bands. Young males are partially confused with “orange eyes” because they often do not yet show so much yellow body color. Since the habitats of both variations do not overlap in Madagascar avoiding all likelihood of confusion in the wilderness.

Table of weights

Gewicht = weight, Kopf-Rumpf-Länge = snout-vent-length, Weibchen = female, Männchen = male, Jungtier = juvenile

Since 2015, we measure weights of all chameleons found by us in Madagascar, as long as the animals (and our scales) cooperate. Until now, we have only a few weights yet, but on a long-term base, we want to get a preferably high number to get an average weight with regard to snout-vent-length (measured from the tip of the snout to the cloaca) for each species. That means our up to date tables cannot tell that much yet, but the might be a first reference. It is important to know that all weights were taken at the end of the rainy season (= best food range), so we suggest these may be maximal weights of these animals in Madagascar. Triangular symbols for females mean not gravid, round symbols mean gravid.


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


In Vohimana, we usually find these animals each year in some residues of rainforest and certain coffee plantations. Both habitats share relatively low, gnarled trees with widely protruding crowns. Branches are partially covered by lichens and moss. Dense undergrowth covers the ground in Vohimana. Instead in coffee plantations, there is mainly a thick foliage layer with some smaller plants beneath. The animals are rather site-related.

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, April 2018 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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