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Chamaeleo monachus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA CHAMAELEONIDAE

Scientific Name: Chamaeleo monachus
Species Authority: (Gray, 1865)
Common Name/s:
English Socotran Chameleon
Synonym/s:
Chamaeleon monachus Gray, 186
Taxonomic Notes: According to the phylogenetic tree by Macey et al. (2008) Chamaeleo monachus is the basal taxon of all other species of the Chamaeleo chamaeleon species group, and originated by an early vicariant isolation when Socotra detached from the other Gondwanan plates.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-07-12
Assessor/s: Sindaco, R., Grieco, C. & Riservato, E.
Reviewer/s: Bowles, P., Cox, N.A. & Tolley, K.
Justification:
This species has a restricted distribution, with its extent of occurrence (3,625 km²) and area of occupancy (132 km²) both within the threshold for listing as Endangered applying criteria B1 and B2. Additionally, it occurs at only a few locations (possibly less than five) because the main threat is widespread overgrazing, which can be inferred to reduce both the habitat quality and area of occupancy of this species. It therefore appears to meet the criteria for listing as Endangered under B1ab(ii,iii)+B2ab(ii,iii). However, the chameleon is not confined to well-vegetated habitats and also utilizes palm plantations, and it appears that current levels of overgrazing, although possibly sufficient to lead to population declines, do not represent a threat to its survival. In addition, any commercial exploitation is presently limited. For this reason the species is listed as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is endemic to Socotra island, the largest island of Socotran archipelago, with an area of 3,625 km² which is here treated as the lizard's extent of occurrence. It has an estimated area of occupancy of 132 km².
Countries:
Native:
Yemen (Socotra)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species has a scattered distribution but is present on the whole island, especially where the vegetation cover is densest (Razetti et al. 2011). Size and trend of population are unknown, as usually only single individuals are found.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species was found in palm groves, Tamarix bushland, Ficus trees along wadis, Euclea shrubland and low bushland, from the sea level up to 1,004 m, especially where the vegetation cover is particularly dense.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The presence of widespread overgrazing could be a possible future impact on C. monachus populations, as goats are destroying vegetation and the species was found especially where the vegetation cover was the best. It can be presumed that the chameleon's area of occupancy has already decreased due to vegetation loss caused by overgrazing, however, as the species is found (albeit less commonly) in less well-vegetated areas, it is probably resilient to the current level of threat. Future improvements in veterinary care may lead to an increase in goat numbers and the impact they will have on the vegetation will pose a risk to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Institution of fenced conservation areas (enclosures) around the island, where goats cannot enter and where vegetation can grow without disturbance, would realistically help the species to develop and reproduce without threats.
Citation: Sindaco, R., Grieco, C. & Riservato, E. 2011. Chamaeleo monachus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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