On the sympatry of three Trioceros species in a tropical upland forest in Cameroon

Trioceros species in Cameroon vary in their elevational sympatry on different mountains

Juvenile Trioceros q. quadricornis, Mount Kupe, Cameroon. Photo: Christopher V. Anderson

 The highlands of Cameroon are rich in species diversity and endemism. Here, as many as seven chameleon species can be found on a single mountain, with competition resulting from this high diversity having been shown to result in niche partitioning along an elevation gradient. Previously, it had been shown that while Trioceros montium, T. pfefferi and T. q. quadricornis all occurred sympatrically on Mount Kupe, competition between T. montium and T. q. quadricornis resulted in non-overlapping elevational distributions of these species on this mountain. It had been shown that the upslope boundary of T. montium corresponds with the downslope boundary of T. q. quadricornis, while the smaller T. pfefferi spans an elevational range that overlaps with both other species.

IUCN Chameleon Specialist Group member Dr. Christopher V. Anderson and coauthor Emmanuel Van Heygen recently documented that the distribution patterns of these three species on Mount Manengouba vary from those found previously and during their expedition on Mount Kupe. On Mount Manengouba, Anderson and Van Heygen found all three species living syntopically at the same elevation (1500m), with specimens of each species being found within 20m of each other. This observation suggests that the dynamics between these three species may vary between mountains, and may warrant additional study.

For more information, read the full article here.

Anderson, C.V. & Van Heygen, E. 2013. On the sympatry of three Trioceros species in a tropical upland forest in Cameroon. Salamandra 49 (4): 215-218. 

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