Male B. fischeri multituberculatum - Photo courtesy of Carl Cattau
Fischer's chameleon (Kinyongia fischeri) is a species of chameleon endemic to Tanzania.
Binomial name :
Chamaeleon fischeriReichenow, 1887
Bradypodion fischeri— Necas, 1999
Kinyongia fischeri— Tilbury et al., 2006
The specific name, fischeri, is in honor of German herpetologist Johann Gustav Fischer.
Geographic range :
K. fischeri is restricted to the Nguru and Nguu Mountains of Tanzania. Chameleons found in other parts of the Eastern Arc Mountains as well as Kenya are now classified as separate species.
A number of other species (K. matschiei, K. multituberculata, K. tavetana, K. uluguruensis, and K. vosseleri) have been mistakenly called by this species' name or classified as subspecies. In 2008, it was shown that they actually are their own distinct, different species. The true Fischer's chameleon is rare with a more restricted distribution than previously believed.
For the external links , refrences click here to read the full wikipedia article
Giant Monkey-tailed Fischer's Chameleon Female Morphology
Bradypodion fischeri multituberculatum NIEDEN 1913 (Standard Fischer’s Chameleon)
courtesy to : www.chameleonnews.com/05DecKroo.html
By Leah Kroo
Kroo, L. (2005). Bradypodion fischeri multituberculatum NIEDEN 1913 (Standard Fischer’s Chameleon). Chameleons! Online E-Zine, December 2005. (http://www.chameleonnews.com/05DecKroo.html)
The Standard Fischer’s chameleon, sometimes called the Western Usambara Two Horned chameleon, is a small, highly active and comical animal. Adult lengths are up to 9.5 inches total length for males, and up to 7.5 inches for females. Much of this length is represented in the unusually long tail, characteristic of the B. fischeri species as a whole. Tails often represent half of the total body length.
Males are easily distinguished from females by their hemipenal bulges and two unusual looking rostral processes. These rostral processes are uniform and parallel in appearance, taper from a relatively wide base to a thinner, rounded end and have some apparent serration on the uppermost sides. This species’ rostral processes are one of the characteristics distinguishing them from other B. fischeri species. Further identification of B. fischeri species will be discussed later.
Male B. f. multituberculatum have a much larger array of color than females, often showing yellow, green and maroon patches the sides of the body with intermittent white patches extending up towards the spine from the flanks and white or cream colored speckles through the middle of the body. There is also some white striping from the eye turrets across the cheeks. Both sexes have a greenish base color, although in females coloration can be anywhere from lime to forest green, or even shades of brown in some cases. Generally females are patterned sparingly, but can have darker patches and white spots when stressed or gravid. Females have small rostral buds which are generally round. However, some have semi-developed rostral processes which can make them more difficult to distinguish from young males - hemipenal bulges can put this issue to rest.
Young CB female B. fischeri multituberculatum
Base coloration is green with a prominent white stripe from the eyes across the cheeks. This species bears alternating green and white, cream or yellow stripes across the back extending approximately halfway down the flanks. Near the belly is usually a patch of yellow, maroon or various green and purple shades. The casque is slightly higher than B.f. multituberculatum and bears brown and black markings.
This species sports a dorsal crest of a single row of conical scales that decrease in size caudally from the casque. Generally, these conical scales only extend 1/3 to ½ of the length of the back, however, there is a small “crest” of scales on the lower back and tail as well. Scalation in both sexes is largely homogenous except on rostral processes, which bear enlarged heterogenous scales. The casque is comparatively low and generally has some black and brown patterning.
Young female B. fischeri sub.spec.nov.
Often, keepers new to B. fischeri species have a difficult time distinguishing between the various species.
B. fischeri fischeri reaches adult total lengths of 12-19 inches, males bear thinner rostral processes than B. f. multituberculatum, the base is thin and horns do not taper. Females bear smooth, thin rostral processes. Base coloration is green, but this species lacks most of the additional coloration that B. f. multituberculatum exhibits. Males often have white & yellow patches, sometimes even purple, with white or yellow striping across the back and sometimes down the tail. Females typically have some white or yellow striping as well. The dorsal crest consists of conical scales that are present only slightly posterior to the casque and often in the beginning of the tail. The casque is larger in this species.
B. fischeri sub.spec.nov. (“sub species nouveau”) is easily misidentified as B.f. multituberculatum. Adults are similar in size, but a definite size range has yet to be determined. Males have short, very wide rostral processes with heavy serration on the upper rims, and light serration on the undersides of the processes. They bear a dorsal crest of conical scales that extend from the casque 1/3 to ½ down the back, decreasing in size caudally. This crest resumes at the base of the tail for a short length, usually less than ¼ of the total length of the tail. Of note is the distinct maroon coloration seen accompanying the skin under the dorsal crests, which appears unique to this “sub species nouveau.”
Adult male B. fischeri sub.spec.nov. in defensive posture
Adult male B. fischeri sub.spec.nov.
Females lack rostral processes and are generally a dark green in color. The dorsal crest is minimal and extends no more than 1/3 down the back.
B. tavetanum is another species that might be mistaken for B. f. multituberculatum, especially since it is often referred to as the Dwarf Fischer’s Chameleon and was previously considered a B. fischeri subspecies. One way to easily distinguish this species based on morphology is that the casque is raised along the parietal crest (medial line) while in B. fischeri, the casque is flat. Females of this species do not have formed rostral processes, only slight nubs.
Male B. tavetanum - Photo courtesy of Carl Cattau
B. fischeri is listed as a CITES Appendix II species, which means all international trade is monitored and trade or transport across international borders require CITES permits. The 2005 CITES annual export quota is 3000 live wild collected B. fischeri from Tanzania, although it makes no note of any specific subspecies in this entry. Generally, B.f. multituberculatum is the most commonly seen imported subspecies, but B. fischeri fischeri are frequently seen as well. B. f. uluguruensis has not been imported in a number of years, if ever, so identification characteristics are not provided.
B. f. multituberculatum inhabits montane rainforest up to 2,000 meters elevation in the Western Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Please note that many online resources incorrectly state that this species is an East Usambara Mountain species, as does both editions of Petr Necas’ “Chameleons Nature’s Hidden Jewels.” In the text portions of this book, the Eastern Usambaras are listed as part of the range which contradicts the appendices of the book and other data on this species from other sources. Temperatures are moderate with high humidity and rainfall. Rainfall of up to 2000mm per year is known to occur and a 2-5 month dry period is typical. It should be noted, however, that this does not indicate this species should be deprived of adequate hydration in captivity. Daily temperatures generally do not pass over 85F and a significant night temperature drop is known to occur.
Male B.f. multituberculatum - Photo courtesy of Carl Cattau
B. fischeri multituberculatum is one of the less demanding species to acclimate, given they are provided naturalistic environments and effective acclimation techniques. This species needs large caging for its size, and a minimum of 24 inch wide, 24 inch deep and 48 inch tall enclosures should be used. Fischer’s chameleons in general are very active.
Cages must be densely planted, such that the back of the cage cannot be seen. These animals are very shy and have a noticeable aversion to being spotted. To feel secure, they need a number of completely hidden, hiding places. This includes a hidden place to bask, which can be difficult to accomplish. Large palm trees are an excellent for this purpose - the growth patterns are such that the center is open for basking, but the entire perimeter is “secure.” A network of branches is needed in the cage, from floor to ceiling. A network of plants intertwined around these branches will help the animal feel more secure while exploring. Animals are often brown or dark green for a time after importation due to stress and most common injuries are broken ribs and rostral processes (which do not fully regenerate), missing toes, toenails, bite marks and nose rubs. Many newly imported animals have a large amount of skin present from retained sheds which can take several sheds to return to normal.
Female B. f. multituberculatum - Photo courtesy of Carl Cattau
This species is considered intermediate in its care and acclimation. The single biggest factor in successful acclimation is water. Automatic misting systems are nearly a requirement, as water must be provided often, and in great amounts without disturbing the animals. Animals nearly always make a hasty retreat when spotted and will not readily drink when there is activity in the room. Showering is the next best option, but this species is small, and highly active, so care must be exercised that they do not escape or injure themselves. The second largest obstacle to successful acclimation is parasites. Blood borne parasites, including filarid types are common, and hard to treat effectively without compromising the chameleon.
As with all imports, most animals are dehydrated upon arrival and will need even more watering than usual to make a full recovery. Misting systems timed to run at least 4-6 times a day for several minutes each session are excellent for dealing with dehydration, and maintaining ideal hydration for acclimated animals. Usually, with this kind of set up, additional humidity is not needed, however, humidifiers can be used, if necessary.
B. f. multituberculatum does not tolerate other animals well and should be housed individually. They are very fearful and likely to hiss, bite, or leap when confronted or handled. As a general rule, most of the commonly practiced chameleon husbandry techniques are appropriate for B. f. multituberculatum such as screen caging, UVB lighting, proper gutloading, hygiene, veterinary care and supplement regimes, etc. More information about these topics can be found in other issues of the Chameleons! Online E-Zine.
Daytime temps should not exceed 85 at the warmest point, ideally providing a gradient from the low 70’s. Basking places are appreciated and readily used, while a night time temp drop of 10 degrees is encouraged.
B. f. multituberculatum prefers flying insects to traditional feeders, such as crickets. When newly acclimated, getting them to eat traditional feeders can be quite difficult, and they readily tire of them, so the diet must be varied often. Preferred prey items include moths, house flies, silkworms and superworms. Roaches are accepted as well.
Reproduction, Incubation and Neonatal Care
B. f. multituberculatum does not appear to need any sort of seasonal cycling to be reproduced in captivity, and indeed, will readily do so. Imported females are often gravid, and are able to retain sperm, so several fertile clutches may come from a single female. Each successive clutch will have a higher mortality rate in both eggs and neonates the longer a female goes without mating. Usually by the fourth retained clutch, nearly all of the eggs die during incubation, or are infertile.
Gravid female B. f. multituberculatum
Gestation in captivity is relatively short, and clutch size is usually around 10-15 eggs. Females are inclined to bury them as deep as they can manage, over 12 inches in many cases, and are careful to pack the soil back down firmly after laying. This can make finding eggs difficult if a proper laying site is not provided.
In my experience, eggs hatch after 11 mos at a temperature of 70-74 degrees. Temperature spikes should be avoided, as they often result in deformed and weak clutches. Hatchlings are very active & timid, and prefer individual housing.
Neonates can be raised like other egg-laying species (for more information, see other issues of the Chameleons! Online E-Zine) and are rather hardy. They take well to fruit flies and pinhead crickets, although fruit flies are much preferred. Misting thoroughly and often is necessary, and use of a humidifier on a timer may be the best option for some keepers that are unable to attend to young chameleons throughout the day.
Hatchling - Photo courtesy of Carl Cattau
This species grows quickly and sexual maturity can be reached in 6 months, although 12 months is the preferred breeding age. B. f. multituberculatum’s life span is unknown, but specimens of 3 and 4 years in captivity are not uncommon.
In conclusion, B. f. multituberculatum is an intriguing and worthwhile species of chameleon to lend one’s interest. They are often found in the hands of beginners due to their inexpensive cost and availability, and as a result have a reputation for high mortality rates. While certainly not a species to be considered easy, B. f. multituberculatum can be a good choice for entering the world of intermediate montane chameleons. When properly maintained, these animals make fascinating captives.
Export quotas for specimens of species included in the CITES Appendices for 2005 -http://cites.org/common/quotas/2005/quotas2005.pdf (Accessed December 1, 2005).
Klaver, C., and Böhme, W. (1997): Das Tierreich, Teilband 112, Chamaeleonidae. Verlad Walter de Gruyter & Co. Berlin & New York.
Nacas, P. (2004): Chameleons: Nature’s Hidden Jewels. 2nd revised and expanded edition. Zoo Book Sales. MN, USA.
Spawls, S., Howell, K., Drewes, R. and Ashe, J. (2002): A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press.
Leah Kroo has been working with reptiles since 1996. She started with chameleons and has captive bred over 10 species, and kept many others. Currently, she is working with C. quadricornis. Leah also keeps a wide variety of geckos, primarily Rhacodactylus and Uroplatus species, and is breeding various insects from exotic praying mantids to beetles. You can contact her , or www.wildeyereptiles.com.
Other and recommended websites :
Fischer's Chameleon Feeding
Fischers Chameleon eating in slow motion!
Chameleon Care Guide Review - The Best Chameleon Care Guide Bonus
angry fischers chameleon