|Brookesia stumpffi is most
commonly found in the leaf litter and rotting
tree trunks of the rain forest floor of Nosy Be Island and northwester Madagascar. This is one of the larger members of the Brookesia, attaining a total length of 3.5-4 inches. It is also one of the few Brookesia known to colonize disturbed habitats such as plantations.
B. Stumpffi resembles the dead leaves among which they live. The head is flattened and the rear of the casque is adorned with spinose projections. The orbital crests are well developed and their edges are somewhat scalloped. A row of thorn-like projections runs down either side of the dorsum, from a few millimeters behind the casque to the proximal 1/4 of the tail. The basic body coloration is typically brown, gray, drab green, or rust but orange specimens are also observed on occasion. Indistinct, yellowish spots are also possible. During courtship, males may adopt a mottled, "lichen-like" appearance but otherwise the the color changing ability, as with most members of the Brookesia, is not well developed. Males may be distinguished by their more slender body shape and the appearance of a hemipenal bulge.
In their natural habitat, temperatures vary from day time highs of 75-85ºF to night time lows of 40-60ºF. However, ambient temperatures may not provide the best evidence of this species' temperature requirements because the leaf litter almost certainly buffers against the extremes. That same microclimate of the leaf litter tends to maintain humidity at high levels of 70-100%.
Intraspecific aggression, particularly among males, is well developed and no more than one male should be housed with one or a small grop of females. Interestingly, this species has been known to "buzz", producing
infrasonic vibrations such as has been reported by Barnett, et al. (1999) for the veiled chameleon.
Oviposition of 2-5 eggs occurs approximately 40 days after mating and hatching occurs after 7-10 weeks at temperatures between 65-75ºF. The hatchlings require very small prey items including springtails, Drosophila melanogaster and newly hatched (pinhead) crickets. Lifespan may be as long as 3-4 years.
Barnett, K. E., Cocroft, R. B. and Fleishman, L. J. 1999. Possible Communication by Substrate Vibration in a Chameleon. Copeia, 225-228.
Klaver, C. & W. Boehme. 1997. Chamaeleonidae.
Das Tierreich, 112: i-xiv' 1 - 85. Verlag Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, New York.
Martin, J., 1992. Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons. Facts On File, Inc., New York, NY
Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden
Jewels. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, FL.