Trioceros hoehnelii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Trioceros hoehnelii (Steindachner, 1891)
Common Name(s):
English Kenyan High-casqued Chameleon, Helmeted Chameleon, High-casqued Chameleon, Von Höhnel's Chameleon
French Caméléon à casque élevé
Spanish Camaleón de Casco
Chamaeleo hoehnelii Rand, 1963
Chamaeleo hoehnelii Klaver & Boehme, 1997
Chamaeleo hoehnelii ssp. altaeelgonis Mertens, 1966
Chamaeleo hoehnelii ssp. hoehnelii Mertens, 1966
Chamaeleon bitaeniatus ssp. altaeelgonis Loveridge, 1935
Chamaeleon bitaeniatus ssp. bergeri Sternfeld 1912
Chamaeleon bitaeniatus ssp. hoehnelii Werner, 1911
Chamaeleon bitaeniatus ssp. leikipiensis Werner, 1911
Chamaeleon hoehnelii Steindachner, 1891
Chamaeleon leikipiensis Steindachner, 1891
Trioceros hoehnelii Tilbury & Tolley, 2009
Taxonomic Notes:

This species was originally named as a distinct species before being reduced to the subspecies, Trioceros bitaeniatus Fischer, 1884 by Werner (1911). Rand (1963) revised the complicated systematics of the bitaeniatus group and elevated T. hoehnelii to a full species once again, while several other taxa from the bitaeniatus group became junior synonyms under T. hoehnelii (Chamaeleon leikipiensis Steindachner 1891, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus bergeri Sternfeld 1912, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus alteelgonis Loveridge 1935).  At present T. hoehnelii (Steindachner, 1891) is considered monotypic (Klaver and Bohme 1986, Spawls et al. 2004, Tilbury 2010) although some authors have recognised T. hoehnelii altaeelgonis as a valid taxon (Mertens 1966, Necas 1999). In addition, there are several areas of potential disjunction in the distribution of this species, which could lead to isolation of populations. The Mt. Elgon population is apparently genetically distinct, but the level of this divergence has not been established (Stipala 2014). Therefore, the species should be investigated in a phylogenetic context.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-08-27
Assessor(s): Tolley, K.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Anderson, C.V., Malonza, P., Menegon, M., Stipala, J. & Tilbury, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tolley, K. & Jenkins, R.K.B.
This species is listed as Least Concern due to its large extent of occurrence, abundance, and tolerance of habitat modification.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in the central and western highlands of Kenya and eastern Uganda (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). It has a large overall distribution, although the Mount Elgon population may be isolated from other populations of the western Kenyan highlands, and there could be a geographic break between western and central Kenyan highland populations (Tilbury 2010).
Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Uganda
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:60000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Lower elevation limit (metres):1600
Upper elevation limit (metres):4000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no information on abundance for this species, but it can be locally common and seems to tolerate transformed habitats with trees and bushes. As such, it is probably not undergoing any notable population declines.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This chameleon is found in high altitude, cool temperate regions of Kenya and Uganda. It utilizes multiple vegetation types as perch sites, including grasses to shrubs, dense bushes and trees. It appears to tolerate anthropogenic habitats, as it is often found on hedges in towns and gardens, and is sometimes abundant in agricultural landscapes (Tilbury 2010, Stipala 2014). At higher altitudes, it can be found in ericaceous heathland habitats (Stipala 2014).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

No annual CITES export quotas for T. hoehnelii have been issued between 2000 and 2013 (CITES 2013). Between 1977 and 2011 (2012 and 2013 trade data are incomplete or unavailable) a total of 37,386 live individuals were exported from across the native range of this species for the pet trade (total of all undeclared, captive breeding, personal and commercial exports), of which 4,775 were reported as either captive bred or ranched (UNEP-WCMC 2013). Commercial exports exhibit a peak of 9,991 individuals exported in 1979 (25,973 live individuals exported from 1978 through 1981) and a second, lower peak of 1,762 individuals exported in 2003, with a period from 1982 through 2000 where exports did not exceed 130 individuals per year (UNEP-WCMC 2013). Most of these exports stemmed from Kenya (29,911 total individuals from 1977 through 2011, 24,748 of which were exported from 1978 to 1981) and Uganda (6,178 total individuals from 2000 through 2011) (UNEP-WCMC 2013). In Kenya, this species is captive bred for export (J. Stipala pers. comm. 2013).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):  The wide distribution, abundance and ability to tolerate anthropogenic habitats means that this species is unlikely to be threatened by anthropogenic habitat modification, or by trade.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are recommended at this time. Research to determine whether the apparent disjunction between the Mt. Elgon and other populations is real, and if so whether it may reflect taxonomic differences.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability:Unknown season:resident 
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
suitability:Unknown season:resident 

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2013. CITES Export Quotas. Available at: (Accessed: 11 August).

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2014).

Klaver, C.J.J. and Böhme, W. 1997. Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich 112: 1-67.

Loveridge, A. 1935. Scientific results of an expedition to the rain forest regions of Eastern Africa. I – new reptiles and amphibians from East Africa. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 79: 3-19.

Mertens, R. 1966. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich: 1-37.

Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira / Krieger Publishing Company.

Spawls, S., Howell, K.M., Drewes, R.C. and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, Elsevier Science, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Boston, London.

Steindachner, F. 1891. Uber einige neue und seltene Reptilien- und Amphibien Arten. Sitzungsberichte Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Mathematischnaturwissenschaftliche Klasse 28: 141-144.

Sternfeld, R. 1912. Reptilia – Chamaeleontidae. Wiss. Ergebn. Deutsch Sent. Afr. Exped. 1912 4: 247–279.

Tilbury, C.R. 2010. Chameleons of Africa: An Atlas, Including the Chameleons of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt.

UNEP-WCMC. 2013. CITES Trade Database. Available at: (Accessed: 11 August).

Werner, F. 1911. Chamaeleontidae. Das Tierreich 27: ii-52.

Citation: Tolley, K. 2014. Trioceros hoehnelii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T176315A47633405. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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