Nosy Hara is an island in front of a bay not far from Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) in the north of Madagascar. The island is about 3.2 km² large and consists mainly of karst rock, which covers the island in layers and resembles the Tsingys. Panther chameleons live here in the partly gigantic trees of the dry forest, which squeeze themselves everywhere on the island between the rocks. But they also use larger bushes. Even in the mangroves, you can find an animal from time to time. Since Nosy Hara has been considered fady (taboo) by locals for decades, this local form of the panther chameleons could develop completely undisturbed. The entire island of Nosy Hara is a national park, but visitors are scarce. This is mainly due to the fact that Nosy Hara can only be reached by boat and there is neither running water nor electricity. So every supply (water, food, cooking facilities) has to be taken to the island, which means a considerable logistical as well as financial effort in Madagascar.
Appearance of the local form:
As a local form completely isolated from the mainland and other islands, Nosy Hara has developed very colorful and pretty panther chameleons. The males are green at rest, when excited yellow with dark, wine-red banding, while head and tail can be redder. On the head and throat, there are usually turquoise blue or green accents. We have noticed so far that the male panther chameleons here have narrower (and therefore a higher number of) stripes than other local forms.
It is illegal in Madagascar to take animals from protected areas or even national parks. Whoever finds this local form outside Madagascar can be sure that the chameleons were either exported illegally or that it is not this local form.
Table of weights
Since 2015, we have been measuring the weights of chameleons found by us in Madagascar, as far as the animals (and our scales) participate. In the long term, we aim to obtain an average weight in relation to snout-vent-length (measured from the tip of the nose to the cloaca) for each species from as many measurements as possible. It is important to know that all weights were measured towards the end of the rainy season (= best food supply), so these should be maximum weights on Madagascar. Triangular symbols in females mean not pregnant, round symbols mean pregnant. In Furcifer pardalis, contrary to our original assumption, it has so far turned out that there are no serious differences in the ratio of SVL to weight between the individual local forms.
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.
The climate on Nosy Hara is similar to that of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) on the coast: it is warm to hot, and relatively dry most of the year. The location as an island in the sea provides for a somewhat more humid climate, however, there are precipitations nevertheless mainly in the rainy season.
At night the temperatures drop only slightly and are still very warm (when camping you sweat very much).
Tageszeit = day time, Sonne = sun, Halbschatten = half shade, Schatten = shade
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.
Unfortunately, we have no ground temperatures for Nosy Hara available yet.
The dry forest of Nosy Hara nestles everywhere in the niches and gorges in the karst rock of the island. The ground is enormously rocky, the soil itself rather sandy. Where there are no rocks, there are many pebbles, some leaves and only in the wetter areas knee-high plants covering the ground. The panther chameleons on the island use both huge trees and large bushes as habitats, but usually do not leave the dry forest.
Below you will find some 360° pictures of Nosy Hara. With the mouse, you can rotate in all directions. If you click on the Theta logo, the pictures will open in an enlarged view in a separate window. There you also have the possibility to execute the images in full-screen mode. Enjoy!