Trioceros laterispinis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Trioceros laterispinis
Species Authority: (Loveridge, 1932)
Common Name(s):
English Spiny-sided Chameleon, Spiny-flanked Chameleon
Chamaeleo laterispinis (Loveridge, 1932)
Chamaeleo laterispinis subspecies brookesiaeformis Böhme, 1982
Chamaeleon laterispinis Loveridge, 1932

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Spawls, S. & Carpenter, A.I.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M. & Tolley, K.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Trioceros laterispinis has been assessed as Vulnerable as it has an estimated extent of occurrence of approximately 11,500 km2, only occurs on one mountain range and is threatened by habitat loss due to agricultural development. The species occurs in an increasingly fragmented environment and there are no conservation measures in place to protect either the species or the habitat it occurs in. The species is also harvested for international trade, although this is regulated by CITES.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Udzungwa region of the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. At present it is known only from the vicinity of Mufindi and Kigogo (Spawls et al. 2002). It has an estimated distribution of 11,529 km2.
Tanzania, United Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no population information available for this species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This arboreal species is found in forest and fairly dense woodland, and probably prefers thicket and understorey to big forest trees. It is not thought to be found in open savanna woodland.

This species gives birth to live young (Spawls et al. 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Along with other chamaeleon species in East Africa, this species is collected from the wild for the international pet trade (CITES 2005), but reported numbers are very low (49 individuals exported from Tanzania between 2003 and 2008, UNEP-WCMC 2010). However, the species is also bred in captivity.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Newmark (1998) reports that the Udzungwa Mountains have lost 76% of their original forest cover principally to agricultural and plantation land, with only 1,960 km2 of natural forest remaining. Of this remaining forest, just 389 km2 is closed forest, as estimated from landsat imagery for the period 1994-96. Furthermore, it is a highly fragmented landscape, consisting of 26 fragments.

Along with other chamaeleon species in East Africa, this species is collected from the wild for the international pet trade (CITES 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II (CITES 2007). It occurs in a habitat which is suffering from high rates of destruction, therefore conservation measures are required to prevent further habitat loss and fragmentation of the landscape, such as the establishment and management of protected areas. Improved surveys are necessary to obtain better estimates of both the species' abundance in areas where legal collections occur, and its area of occupancy, which may be much smaller than the estimated extent of occurrence due to conversion of forest to agricultural land.

Bibliography [top]

Burgess, N., Lovett, J. and Mhagama, S. 2000. Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Forest Management in the Eastern Arc Mountains (Draft Paper for Dr. Felician Kilahama and the GEF Eastern Arc Strategy).

Carpenter, A.I. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2005. Fifty-Third Meeting of the Standing Committee: Africa Regional Report.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2007. CITES Species Database. Available at: (Accessed: 6 July 2007).

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Loveridge, A. 1932. New reptiles and amphibians from Tanganyika Territory and Kenya Colony. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College 72: 375-387.

Newmark, W.D. 1998. Forest Area, Fragmentation, and Loss in the Eastern Arc Mountains: Implications for the Conservation of Biological Diversity. Journal of East African Natural History 87: 1-8.

Spawls, S. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

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.

UNEP-WCMC. 2010. CITES Trade Database. Available at: (Accessed: 17th September).

Citation: Spawls, S. & Carpenter, A.I. 2013. Trioceros laterispinis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided