Trioceros laterispinis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Trioceros laterispinis (Loveridge, 1932)
Common Name(s):
English Spiny-sided Chameleon, Spiny-flanked Chameleon
Chamaeleo laterispinis (Loveridge, 1932)
Chamaeleo laterispinis ssp. brookesiaeformis Böhme, 1982
Chamaeleon laterispinis Loveridge, 1932
Taxonomic Notes: There is some uncertainty regarding the taxonomic status of the presumed Southern Highlands population of this species. It was originally considered a sub-species (Trioceros laterispinis brookesiaformis) but was later synonymised (Böhme 1987). There is only one specimen from the Southern Highlands, and its actual collection locality (Kibau Iyayi) is not certain. The existence of this population significantly affects this species' extent of occurrence and both its occurrence in this area and taxonomic status needs to be verified.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-08-29
Assessor(s): Tolley, K. & Menegon, M.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Anderson, C.V. & Tilbury, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tolley, K. & Jenkins, R.K.B.
Trioceros laterispinis is listed as Endangered on the basis that this species has an area of occupancy of 538 km2, and within this, the species occurs as a severely fragmented population. There is a continuing decline in the quality of its forest habitat due to degradation of forest, and ongoing declines in area of occupancy are inferred due to encroachment.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains where it is found in both forest fragments and degraded forest. Localities include Kigogo Forest Reserve and Mufindi area (Tilbury 2010, Menegon and Salvidio 2005), suggesting the species has a small area of occupancy. An additional specimen from a poorly-described locality understood to be "Kibau Iyayi", collected in 1929 (see Böhme 1982), cannot be assigned with confidence as this name refers to several places within this general region. This may represent either a locality within the known range, or could indicate that the species once had a larger distribution outside the Udzungwas, as far west as the Makambako Gap, a low-elevation area in the Njombe region of the Southern Highlands. Because this latter record is in doubt, it is not considered a valid locality record at this time.
Countries occurrence:
Tanzania, United Republic of
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:538Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:2725
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Lower elevation limit (metres):1300
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is apparently rare (Tilbury 2010). It is not common in villages and other agricultural lands. The extent of forest within its distribution is becoming smaller due to human activities, and it is presumed that chameleon subpopulations are declining. The lizard's existing forest habitat is already heavily fragmented within a matrix of largely unsuitable agricultural land, and becoming more fragmented as a result of ongoing agricultural expansion, and the population is considered to be severely fragmented.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits Afrotemperate forest in the Udzungwa Mountains, but can be sometimes found in disturbed areas adjacent to forests. In the higher elevations of the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve, it has been found in the cultivated areas surrounding the western edge of the forest, and also from a mosaic of farmland and very small forest fragments between villages of Bomalang'ombe and N'ingula. It does not however tolerate fully transformed landscapes, with records from disturbed habitats invariably being from sites close to forest edges. In natural habitats this species' patterning, resembling lichen, renders it highly cryptic. It is likely that this reflects a specialization for habitats with hanging lichen, a feature typical of primary forest.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

With the exception of 2002 where no quota was issued, annual CITES export quotas for T. laterispinis between 2000 and 2013 ranged from 10-40 (23 average) captive born individuals per year from Tanzania (CITES 2013). Between 1977 and 2011 (2012 and 2013 trade data are incomplete or unavailable) a total of 74 live individuals were exported from Tanzania for the pet trade (total of all commercial exports), of which 10 were reported as wild collected (UNEP-WCMC 2013). In 1985 and 1986, 26 individuals were exported, and all remaining commercial exports occurred between 2004 and 2009, during which time 2-14 individuals were exported per year (UNEP-WCMC 2013). No other trade is reported, although illegal trade and/or harvest may occur on occasion.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This chameleon inhabits Afrotemperate forest fragments in the Udzungwa Mountains. The area is under transformation, resource extraction and encroachment by the local population, and by commercial and small scale tea plantations. This species is thought to be a habitat specialist with a very limited ability to tolerate habitat modification, and has not been recorded far from natural vegetation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is known from Kigogo and Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserves, the latter a proposed Nature Reserve that will afford its forest habitat a higher degree of protection than presently exists.

Citation: Tolley, K. & Menegon, M. 2014. Trioceros laterispinis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T176317A47633417. . Downloaded on 17 August 2018.
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