|Brookesia decaryi has only a small range in Northeast Madagascar, the so-called dry forest of Ankarafantsika. It's population status must, therefore, be considered highly restricted. B. decaryi lives in the most humid microhabitat, the floor of the dry-forest (O. Pronk, personal communication). The climate shows significant seasonal changes. The summer is warm and humid, temperatures ranging from 77 - 86ºF during the daytime with a night time drop to 56ºF. Humidity during the day is 50-60%, rising to 90% during the night. The winter is cold and dry with temperatures ranging from the low 40's to mid 50's and only occasional rain.
Males reach a total length of 3 inches (SVL 2 inches). Females reach 3.5 inches total length (SVL to 2 inches). Adults weigh from 3-4 grams. They are generally docile toward conspecifics and keepers but males are aggressive toward each other.
B. decaryi possesses a flat casque with thorns at the rear end and a double row of thorny spines along the back. There is a large rhomboid plate at the pelvic area. Basic coloration is brown with dispersed black spots. Males are slightly smaller than females with a significant hemipenal bulge.
B. decaryi can be kept individually, in pairs, or small groups in a "typical" Brookesia set up: Cage wider than high, small plants (e.g. ferns, ivy, etc.), twigs, and a layer of dead leaves. These are important for hiding during hibernation. Fluorescent light tubes are sufficient for the lighting, but a small halogen spot should be installed for basking. The simulation of change of seasons is essential because it triggers breeding activity but the increase or decrease of temperatures and humidity should take place slowly. Day temperatures during the summer should be around 78ºF with a significant night drop and intensive misting. During winter, temperatures should be lower than 68ºF to allow the animals to hibernate. During this time, misting is only necessary twice a week.
Breeding/incubation techniques: Within the first weeks after hibernation, the male's interest in the female increases. The male circles the females with quick head and body movements, eventually riding on the female's back. Mating takes place on consecutive days. Gestation, incubation temperatures, humidity, and length of incubation have yet to be determined. Clutch size and age at sexual maturity are similarly unknown.
Contributed by Stefan Dangel
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Schmidt, W., Tamm, K. & Wallikewitz, E. 1996.
Zeit. Herpetologischer Fachverlag, Muenster.