Furcifer labordi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Furcifer labordi (Grandidier, 1872)
Common Name(s):
English Laborde's Chameleon
Chamaeleo barbouri Hechenbleikner, 1942
Chamaeleo labordi Grandidier, 1872

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-31
Assessor(s): Jenkins, R.K.B., Andreone, F., Andriamazava, A., Anjeriniaina, M., Brady, L., Glaw, F., Griffiths, R.A., Rabibisoa, N., Rakotomalala, D., Randrianantoandro, J.C., Randrianiriana, J., Randrianizahana , H., Ratsoavina, F. & Robsomanitrandrasana, E.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P. & Tolley, K.
Listed as Vulnerable as the species has an extent of occurrence of 16,649 km² in a region of southwestern Madagascar where its habitat continues to decline due to agricultural expansion and logging, and it is thought to occur as a severely fragmented population.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is restricted to the west and south west of Madagascar, and is found in low elevation sites (between 20 and 100 m above sea level) with remaining forest cover (Raselimanana and Rakotomalala 2003, Andriamandimbiarisoa 2007, Glaw and Vences 2007, Raselimanana 2008). It has been recorded from the Mikea forest in southwestern Madagascar (Raselimanana 2004, Karsten et al. 2008), the Menabe forests in western Madagascar (Brygoo 1971, Raselimanana and Rakotomalala 2003, Randrianantoandro et al. 2010), Parc National de Kirindy Mitea (Raselimanana 2008) and two sites further north, Katsepy and Soalala (Brygoo 1978). Its extent of occurrence is estimated to be 16,649 km².

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):20
Upper elevation limit (metres):100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In dry spiny forest habitats in south-western Madagascar this species occurs in population densities of 30.8 ha per ha (Karsten et al. 2009) whilst in the dry deciduous forests of the Menabe region in western Madagascar, it occurred at lower densities  of 7.2 per ha (Randrianantoandro et al. 2010). In the southwest, the entire population of this species survives as eggs during the austral winter (Karsten et al. 2008) but it is not clear what life history is used by the populations further north, in less harsh environmental conditions. The patchy distribution of, and the severe human pressures placed on, remaining suitable habitat within this species' range suggest the population is both declining and severely fragmented.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Laborde's Chameleon is strongly associated with remaining forest, especially spiny forest in the southwest and deciduous forest in the west (Raselimanana and Rakotomalala 2003). This species exhibits a bizarre annual life cycle where synchronous hatching occurs in November, followed by rapid growth into maturity, copulation in January and senescence and death by April (Karsten et al. 2008). Eggs are deposited in nests in the ground and remain in diapause until shortly before the rains (Karsten et al. 2008). There is little quantitative data on clutch size for this species in the wild, but a radio tracked female was observed laying 11 eggs in southern Madagascar (Karsten et al. 2008). This species is sexually dimorphic and exhibits physically intense combat and agnostic courtship (Karsten et al. 2008). In artificial combat scenarios, large males with short rostral appendages were the more successful whilst females appeared to show a  preference for males with wide rostral appendages (Karsten et al. 2009). The species is prey for Madagascarophis and Mimophis snakes (Andriamandimbiarisoa 2007).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species used to be exported from Madagascar and 997 were traded between 1988 and 1994, before a suspension was imposed by CITES. Eighteen individuals were recorded in illegal trade in a survey in Thailand.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The forests in Madagascar's southwest are under high pressure from expanding rural and urban populations, and underwent some of the largest declines in forest cover between 1990 and 2000 in the whole of the island (Harper et al. 2007). The main threats to Laborde's Chameleon in this region are the conversion of native forest vegetation into charcoal and forest clearance for agriculture (Seddon et al. 2000, Andriamandimbiarisoa 2007). Similarly, the forests in western Madagascar are threatened by charcoal production and slash and burn clearance for subsistence agriculture, as well as timber harvesting (Smith et al. 1997, Ganzhorn et al. 2001, Young et al. 2008). There is no evidence that commercial collection currently poses a threat to this lizard.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Laborde's chameleon occurs within the boundary of the Réserve Spéciale d'Andranomena (Raselimanana and Rakotomalala 2003), Parc National Mikea and Parc National Kirindy Mitea (Raselimanana 2008) in the west, as well as in two other protected areas that are currently under development (Antimena in the Menabe Region and PK32 Ranobe in the Atsimo Andrefana Region). Additional survey work and research is needed into this species to better understand its current distribution, ecological requirements and life history. In particular, it is important to survey for this species in the forests north of the Tsiribihina River because, although comprehensive surveys have not found Laborde's chameleon in Parc National Tsingy de Bemaraha (Randrianantoandro et al. 2008), it might occur in the lower altitude forest to the west. It is also important to ascertain whether the unusual life history documented for this lizard n the arid south is shared by subpopulations in the north, where environmental conditions are less harsh. Research is needed to establish the extent to which this species is threatened, and by which processes, in different parts of its range.

This species is listed on CITES Appendix II, but exports of wild caught individuals were suspended in 1994 (Carpenter et al. 2004). It is listed as a protected species (Category I, Class II) under Malagasy law which permits authorized collection from wild. Karsten et al. (2009) recommend that this species should be a conservation priority because of its restricted distributions, susceptibility to extirpation, low population densities, and lack of formal protection for habitat in the southwest.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Andriamandimbiarisoa, L.N. 2007. Contribution à l’étude de l’histoire naturelle de trois espèces de caméléons de la région de Toliary, Furcifer verrucosus (Cuvier, 1829), Furcifer labordi (Grandidier, 1872) et Furcifer antimena (Grandidier, 1872): biologie, ecologie et ethologie de la reproduction. Departément de Biologie Animale, Université d'Antananarivo.

Brygoo, E.R. 1971. Reptiles Sauriens Chamaeleonidae. Genre Chamaeleo. Faune de Madagascar 33: 1-318.

Brygoo, E.R. 1978. Reptiles Sauriens Chamaeleonidae. Genre Brookesia et complément pour le genre Chamaeleo. Faune de Madagascar 47: 1-173.

Carpenter, A.I., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Watkinson, A.R. 2004. The dynamics of the global trade in chameleons. Biological Conservation 120: 291-301.

Ganzhorn, J.U., Lowry, P. P., Schatz, G.E. and Sommer, S. 2001. The biodiversity of Madagascar: one of the world's hottest hotspots on its way out. Oryx 35: 346-348.

Harper, G.J., Steininger, M.K., Tucker, C.J., Juhn, D. and Hawkins, A.F.A. 2007. Fifty years of deforestation and forest fragmentation in Madagascar. Environmental Conservation 34: 1-9.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Karsten, K.B., Andriamandimbiarisoa, L.N., Fox, S.F. and Raxworthy, C.J. 2008. Discovery of a unique tetrapod life history: and annual chameleon living mostly as an egg. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 8980-8984.

Karsten, K.B., Andriamandimbiarisoa, L.N., Fox, S.F. and Raxworthy, C.J. 2009. Sexual selection on body size and secondary sexual characters in two closely related, sympatric chameleons in Madagascar. Behavioural Ecology 20: 1079-1088.

Rakotomalala, D. and Raselimanana, A.P. 2003. Les amphibiens et reptiles des massifs de Marojejy, d'anjanaharibe-Sud et du couloir forestier de Betaolana. In: S.M. Goodman and L. Wilme (eds), Nouveaux résultats d’inventaires biologiques faisant référence à l’altitude dans la région des massifs montagneux de Marojejy et d’Anjanaharibe-Sud, pp. 146-202. Antananarivo.

Randrianantoandro, C., Razafimahatratra, B., Soazandry, M., Ratsimbazafy, J. and Jenkins, R.K.B. 2010. Habitat use by chameleons in a deciduous forest in western Madagascar. Amphibia-Reptilia 31(27-35).

Randrianantoandro, J.C., Andriantsimanarilafy, R.R., Rakotovololonalomanana, H., Hantalalaina, E.F., Rakotondravony, D., Ramilijaona, O., Ratsimbazafy, J., Razafindrakoro, G.F. and Jenkins, R.K.B. 2010. Population assessments of chameleons from two montane sites in Madagascar. Herpelogical Conservation and Biology 5: 23-31.

Randrianantoandro, J.C., Randrianavelona, R., Andriantsimanarilafy, R R., Fideline, H.E., Rakotondravony, D., Randrianasolo, M., Ravelomanantsoa, H.L. and Jenkins, R.K.B. 2008. Identifying priority areas for dwarf chameleon (Brookesia spp.) conservation in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar. Oryx 42: 578-573.

Raselimanana, A.P. 2004. L'herpetofaune de la foret de Mikea. In: A.P. Raselimanana and S.M. Goodman (eds), Inventaire floristique et faunistique de la foret de Mikea : paysage écologique et diversité biologique d'une preoccupation majeure pour la conservation, pp. 37-50. Antananarivo.

Raselimanana, A.P. 2008. Herpétofaune des forêts sèches malgaches. Malagasy Nature 1: 46-75.

Seddon, N., Tobias, J., Yout, J.W., Ramanapamonjy, J.R., Butchart, S. and Randrianizahana, H. 2000. Conservation issues and priorities in the Mikea Forest of south-west Madagascar. Oryx 34(4): 287-304.

Smith, A.P., Horning, N. and Moore, D. 1997. Regional biodiversity planning and lemur conservation with GIS in western Madagascar. Conservation Biology 11: 498-512.

Young, R.P., Volahy, A.T., Bourou, R., Lewis, R.E., Durbin, J. and Fa, J.E. 2008. Estimating the population of the endangered flat-tailed tortoise Pyxis planicauda in the deciduous, dry forest of western Madagascar: a monitoring baseline. Oryx 42: 252-258.

Citation: Jenkins, R.K.B., Andreone, F., Andriamazava, A., Anjeriniaina, M., Brady, L., Glaw, F., Griffiths, R.A., Rabibisoa, N., Rakotomalala, D., Randrianantoandro, J.C., Randrianiriana, J., Randrianizahana , H., Ratsoavina, F. & Robsomanitrandrasana, E. 2011. Furcifer labordi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T8765A12929754. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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