Distinction between Trioceros Quadricornis subspecies

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have been reading a scientific paper about Trioceros chameleons found in Cameroon and have had a couple questions after reading in regards to taxonomic and current classification of the subspecies of Trioceros quadricornis. Have a look at the article.

http://zfmk.de/BZB/Band_57_2/231-240_17_barej.pdf

This article interestingly list and states that due to low genetic differentiation and similar overall morphology makes three subspecies of Trioceros quadricornis seen as T.quadricornis quadricornis, T. q. gracilior, and lastly T.q. eisentrauti. The inclusion of T. eisentrrauti is interesting enough however my current knowledge or T. q. quadricornis morphological distinction from from the subspecies T.q.gracilior was base on differences in color of the head (Orange head is T.q.gracilior), shape of the dorsal crest and positioning of the horns. However when I checked the pictures listed in this study the one listed as T.q.gracilior has got no signs of an orange head and is listed as T.q.gracilior. Is this orange headed T.quadricornis just a color phase as seen similarly in other chameleons (F. pardalis and F. oustaleti) or is it the T.q.gracilior subspecies? If anyone who has got access to the most updated classification of the subspecies of T.q.quadricornis what officially separates T.q.quadriconris from T.q.gracilior? Thanks!
 
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Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
The pictures in the study of Quadriconis subspecies the head color looks almost the same, the horns look almost the same while lastly the shape of the dorsal crest looks smaller on the T.q.gracilior picture compared to the T.q.quadricornis picture. Are there any other major noticable differences?
 

luevelvet

Avid Member
T.q.gracilior also exhibit red toe nails. Males tend to be lighter with more yellow on and around the cheeks. We just acquired our first pair of T.q.gracilior so we're still a little fuzzy on some of the details. :)

Luis
 

eisentrauti

Avid Member
T.q.gracilior also exhibit red toe nails. Males tend to be lighter with more yellow on and around the cheeks. We just acquired our first pair of T.q.gracilior so we're still a little fuzzy on some of the details. :)

Luis

Hi Luis,

from what I heard the red toe nails arent a valid distinguishing characteristic anymore. We have had an article here in Germany which shows the differences between those two species. I can scan and translate it if anybody is interested.
@ Jeremy: The subspecies status of eisentraut implies the thought in my mind that I should visit Cameron and export some as quads ;)
 

warpdrive

Avid Member
T.q.gracilior also exhibit red toe nails. Males tend to be lighter with more yellow on and around the cheeks. We just acquired our first pair of T.q.gracilior so we're still a little fuzzy on some of the details. :)

Luis

congrats. so where are mine?

Harry
 

Klemins

New Member
From what I remember, T.quad. gracilior is largely differentiated through lung morphology due to living at higher elevations, which is obviously hard to detect on a live animal. I'd think the best answer for figuring out whether an animal is a true gracilior or not is knowing the location it was collected/observed in along with it's physical features. I think I misplaced the CiN article I had on them, but I think the visible differences are often smaller sails in males and number of horns, though I'm unsure how exact that method of identification really is.

Luis, interested in a nice CB female gracilior?
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Hi Luis,

from what I heard the red toe nails arent a valid distinguishing characteristic anymore. We have had an article here in Germany which shows the differences between those two species. I can scan and translate it if anybody is interested.
@ Jeremy: The subspecies status of eisentraut implies the thought in my mind that I should visit Cameron and export some as quads ;)

Hey Benny,I would love to see the article, you can send it to me in german or english. I can always get David to translate it while he is home. I will pm my email address, thanks!
 

luevelvet

Avid Member
congrats. so where are mine?

Harry

Ha Harry! I wish I had the space to acquire more than a pair! We'll be looking to re-home a few of these deremensis juveniles soon, so once that's all been taken care of we can begin expanding our cham operation. ;)

Daniel, email sent! :)


Luis
 

luevelvet

Avid Member
Hey Benny,I would love to see the article, you can send it to me in german or english. I can always get David to translate it while he is home. I will pm my email address, thanks!

Send it this way while you're at it! :)

Luis
 

Cainschams

New Member
From what I remember, T.quad. gracilior is largely differentiated through lung morphology due to living at higher elevations, which is obviously hard to detect on a live animal. I'd think the best answer for figuring out whether an animal is a true gracilior or not is knowing the location it was collected/observed in along with it's physical features. I think I misplaced the CiN article I had on them, but I think the visible differences are often smaller sails in males and number of horns, though I'm unsure how exact that method of identification really is.

Luis, interested in a nice CB female gracilior?

I was thinking you might be able to finally sell that girl with the graciliors that came in!! Nice:)
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
The Barej et al. (2010) paper you referenced is the most recent as far as the taxonomic status of these species are concerned. Differentiating T. q. quadricornis and T. q. gracilior, however, is still very difficult without detailed internal morphology (i.e. lung morphology) and habitat data. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever verified where the animals with red nails or orange heads (the distinction that most importers use to differentiate them) come from and which subspecies they actually are, its all speculation. I've not had time to read Timo's paper (that Benny is referencing) but you can download it here: http://www.agchamaeleons.de/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/CHAMAELEO38.pdf That said, according to the description of T. q. gracilior (Böhme & Klaver, 1981), diagnosis can be made by horn number (only when gracilior males have 6 horns), horn size/shape, tail and back fin size/shape and lung morphology. The horns of T. q. gracilior are said to be relatively longer and narrower then in T. q. quadricornis and the sailfin is shorter and tappers into the tail more smoothly. Based on that description, I have classified some of the animals I have had as follows:

T. q. quadricornis:
4961427117_e20725f2bb_o.jpg


T. q. gracilior:
4962022378_a8a84c8424_o.jpg

4962022468_8845f65a17_o.jpg


As for differentiating females, there is no primary literature on doing so in the absence of locality and lung morphology. For both males and females it is very difficult to account for variation within species based on such a limited data set that we can actually definitively tie to a particular subspecies. When I'm in Cameroon next month, however, I'll be in both T. q. quadricornis and T. q. gracilior habitat so I'm planning to get detailed morphometrics data on all the specimens we find so that hopefully I can help figure out how to differentiate them more reliably.

Chris
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Based on that description, I have classified some of the animals I have had as follows:
T. q. quadricornis:
4961427117_e20725f2bb_o.jpg


T. q. gracilior:
4962022378_a8a84c8424_o.jpg

4962022468_8845f65a17_o.jpg


As for differentiating females, there is no primary literature on doing so in the absence of locality and lung morphology. For both males and females it is very difficult to account for variation within species based on such a limited data set that we can actually definitively tie to a particular subspecies. When I'm in Cameroon next month, however, I'll be in both T. q. quadricornis and T. q. gracilior habitat so I'm planning to get detailed morphometrics data on all the specimens we find so that hopefully I can help figure out how to differentiate them more reliably.

Chris

Chris you are heading back to Cameroon yet again?? Do you have a home over there somewhere?
 

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Color of the head was the initial problem for identifying T.q.gracilior. The specimen listed as T.q.gracilior in the studies pictures I posted has not got a orange head. Meaning what are the orange headed quadricornis and the quadricornis listed as T.q.gracilior in the study (just a color phase)? At this point the distinction is speculation OK.

As well the listing of T.eisentrauti as a subspecies of T.quadriconis seems official I checked last night and a couple other sites are listing it as T.q.eisentrauti. Chris are you going to the area where you can find T.q.eisentrauti? The world could use more picture of them.
 
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Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Color of the head was the initial problem for identifying T.q.gracilior. The specimen listed as T.q.gracilior in the studies pictures I posted has not got a orange head. Meaning what are the orange headed quadricornis and the quadricornis listed as T.q.gracilior in the study (just a color phase)? At this point the distinction is speculation OK.

It could be that these are two color phases of T. q. gracilior that occur at the same locales, two color phases of T. q. gracilior that are locale specific, or it could be that the orange headed quadricornis that we've been thinking are T. q. gracilior are a color phase of T. q. quadricornis. It'll be interesting to get to a few of the mountains they occur at and see what I find.

As well the listing of T.eisentrauti as a subspecies of T.quadriconis seems official I checked last night and a couple other sites are listing it as T.q.eisentrauti. Chris are you going to the area where you can find T.q.eisentrauti? The world could use more picture of them.

Unfortunately we don't have the Rumpi Hills on our schedule at the moment. In addition to the Rumpi Hills, I also would have liked to get up to Tchabal Mbabo to see true T. wiedersheimi (what we've been calling T. w. wiedersheimi is actually T. serratus) but we only have a limited amount of time and these two areas are on the fringes of where we are going. We'll see if we end up having extra time anywhere or not that we can spare though.

Chris
 

Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
They split the hole subspecies distinction for Trioceros wiedersheimi. It was T.w.wiedersheimi, T.w.peretti and now it three distinct species T.wiedersheimi, T.peretti and re-described T.serratus.. I'm expecting possibly something similar in the future for some other chameleon species.
 
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Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
It could be that these are two color phases of T. q. gracilior that occur at the same locales, two color phases of T. q. gracilior that are locale specific, or it could be that the orange headed quadricornis that we've been thinking are T. q. gracilior are a color phase of T. q. quadricornis. It'll be interesting to get to a few of the mountains they occur at and see what I find.



Chris

Exactly what I was considering of what is going on. I would be great to hear further about the distinction of the orange heads and further description of quadricornis subspecies though.
 
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Motherlode Chameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
From the Exo Terra expedition pictures it seems the placement of the horns is the and smaller fins is the distinction between the T. q. quadricornis and T. q. gracilior subspecies and the orange head T. q. gracilior is a color phase of that sub species.
 
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