Brookesia betschi, also known as Blanc's Leaf Chameleon or Marojejy Leaf Chameleon, is a species of chameleon which is endemic to Madagascar. The species was described by Brygoo, Patrick Blanc and Domergue in 1974.
Distribution and habitat
Brookesia betschi, also known as the "Blanc's leaf chameleon", or the "Marojejy leaf chameleon", is found in northern Madagascar from 1,150 to 1,650 metres (3,770 to 5,410 ft) above sea level in forest, and is common at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft). The species was found in 1974 in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, and is also found in Tsaratanana and Marojejy in sub-humid forests, in Manongarivo, Anjanaharibe Sud, and in two national parks, the Marojejy National Park and the Anjanaharibe-Sud Reserve, over a total area of 11,090 square kilometres (4,280 sq mi). The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated the Marojejy Leaf Chameleon as Near Threatened because the species is believed to currently be in decline, due to the loss of rainforest in northern Madagascar.
This species has very specialised microhabitat requirements and does not tolerate disturbance. It is threatened by destruction of the forest for agriculture by slash and burn and logging but, as it mostly occurs at higher altitudes, this is less of a threat than is posed to some lowland species. Although its range is fragmented into a number of separate blocks, each one is thought to be large enough to support a viable population.
The Marojejy leaf chameleon is diurnal and spends the day searching through the leaf litter for insects and other small invertebrates. If disturbed it remains motionless, relying on its cryptic colouration to provide camouflage. It perches on low trees and plants at night and it is at this time that it is most easily spotted.
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