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Bowdoin College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Abstract

The micro leaf chameleon genus Brookesia is exclusively endemic to Madagascar and represents some of the smallest reptiles in the world. The newly-described species Brookesia micra is exclusively endemic to the islet Nosy Hara in the north of Madagascar, and is the smallest described Brookesia species member. There exists no density, behavioral, or habitat preference studies on B. micra. Here, the researcher presents preliminary density, behavioral, habitat selection, and natural history information on B. micra. A total of 117 B. micra had data collected on them between April 10 and April 23, 2015. Density was found to be 1950 B. micra/ha (assuming 70% detection) and through aerial analysis it is estimated that the population size of B. micra is between 70,000-95,000 individuals on Nosy Hara. This study found no significance of SVL between adult males and females, but did find significance between male and female juveniles/sub-adult SVL. This study also found no significance in roost height between males and females of adult and juvenile/sub-adult age classes. B. micra was significantly closer to tsingy outcroppings compared to trees both during the day and at night. In addition, higher abundance was positively correlated with slope, and a leaf litter-tsingy ratio of 1:1. However, B. micra was also found in abundance in habitats with little to no leaf litter, indicating that this is a tsingy-associated species. Defensive behavior such as perch release, dead leaf mimicry, and vibration were observed, as well as low movement between successive roost locations, a preference for slope, horizontal to head-up roost orientation preference, and a preference for dead twigs with small diameter as roost locations. The researcher supports the IUCN designation of near-threatened due to the high density and large estimated population size, but threats due to tourism and small range size could pose problems for the specie’s conservation.

Disciplines

African Studies | Animal Sciences | Other Animal Sciences | Zoology

 

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