Life histories, demographies and population dynamics of three sympatric chameleon species (Furcifer spp.) from western Madagascar: Supplementary material

The life histories and population dynamics of chameleons remain poorly known, most likely due to practical challenges related to their cryptic nature. However, several studies have indicated that some of these reptiles have unusually brief life histories. Specifically, one Madagascan chameleon (<i>Furcifer labordi</i>) was found to have an annual life cycle characterized by population-wide survival of the austral winter in the egg stage; a unique life history among tetrapods. In this study, we compare the life history of <i>F. labordi</i> with two locally sympatric congeners (<i>F. </i>cf.<i> nicosiai</i> and <i>F. oustaleti</i>) in Kirindy forest, western Madagascar, to determine how these species adjust their life histories to a highly seasonal and unpredictable climate. We found differences in lifespan, timing of hatching, growth rates, survival, reproductive rates, adult body size, and roosting heights among all three species. Moreover, two species exhibited relatively short lifespans: 6-9 months in <i>F. labordi</i> and 16-18 months in<i> F.</i> cf. <i>nicosiai</i>. In contrast, <i>F. oustaleti</i> is perennial and large-sized juveniles and adults aestivate during the dry season, but survival rates of adults seemed relatively low. Strikingly, the annual cohort of <i>F. labordi</i> was already adult when hatchlings of <i>F. oustaleti</i> and subsequently <i>F. </i>cf<i>. nicosiai</i> emerged. Our study suggests the co-existence of three different life histories with seasonal adjustment that might be related to the partitioning of overall food availability and contributes valuable life history data on enigmatic chameleon species.