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Chameleons of Southern Africa

Chameleons of Southern Africa

Overview of all types, their history, distribution, reproduction, behaviour and relationships to each other
Tolley, K.; Burger, M.
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9781770073753
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Chameleons of Southern Africa

Authors: Krystal Tolley, Marius Burger
Struik Publishers
Cape Town, 2007
ISBN: 9781770073753
Paperback, 15x21 cm, 100 pages, throughout colour photos


Description:

Chameleons are fascinating creatures: they almost always evoke in people a strong response, be it delight, wonder or fear.

Chameleons of Southern Africa explores this interesting group of lizards and discusses their strange and unusual, sometimes unnerving, characteristics.

It presents an overview of all types of chameleons (of which there are up to 160 species in total, worldwide), their history, geographic distribution (restricted mainly to Madagascar and Africa), reproduction, behaviour and their relationships to each other.

It also contains a clear identification guide to all southern African species – some 25 have been identified to date – together with distribution maps and colourful photographs of their many features and guises.

For interested students, gardeners, naturalists and even just the curious, Chameleons of Southern Africa is an essential guide to these intriguing lizards.


About the Authors:

Krystal Tolley, American born, is head of the Molecular Systematics Laboratory at the South African National Biodiversity Institute at Kirstenbosch. She received her PhD in Norway, originally working on marine mammals.

Since moving to South Africa, she has published numerous scientific and popular articles on chameleons. She has spent many days in the field searching for chameleons across southern Africa, and has a keen interest in understanding their biodiversity.

Marius Burger became interested in reptiles and amphibians at a young age. He studied conservation, but made herpetology his profession. His work has allowed him to travel throughout southern and central Africa and Madagascar, where he conducts surveys of reptiles and amphibians, leads tour groups, and participates in TV documentaries.


Contents:

Preface
Acknowledgements
Distribution and classification
Evolution and the fossil record
Ecology and anatomy
Behaviour and reproduction
The amateur naturalist
Species identification
Dwarf chameleons - Bradypodion
Undescribed dwarf chameleons
Typical chameleons - Chamaeleo
Pygmy chameleons - Rhampholeon
Glossary
Resources
Index


Preface:

This guide was written in response to popular demand. In the course of our work on chameleons, we have often received phone calls and emails from people asking basic questions about these creatures. Most start off with ‘I have a chameleon living in my garden, and I was wondering ...’

Not that we became tired of answering emails, or chatting on the phone with people from Polokwane to Cape Town, but it occurred to us that there was little literature readily available for those with a specific interest in chameleons. We came to realise that it was time to take the leap, and we began to plan out a short field guide for the layperson.

It didn’t take much planning, as we simply had to recall all the questions we’ve been asked about chameleons and set about recording the answers. That’s how and why this field guide was created from the very questions that you have been asking.

The biggest challenge was compiling the species accounts. One of the reasons why it is so hard to tell chameleons apart is that different species can often look very similar (even to us, the so-called experts), and, at the same time, the appearance of different members of one species can be incredibly varied.

Finding particular characteristics that distinguish the species has long been a frustrating problem for researchers and naturalists alike. There are few consistencies of identification characteristics, and we admit that we sometimes initially identify a chameleon by means of ‘gut feeling’.

Regardless, this guide was prepared in a way that should help the amateur naturalist to identify chameleons in southern Africa, and to answer many of those questions posed in your phone calls and emails.


Example:

Drakensberg Dwarf Chameleon
Bradypodion dracomontanum
Raw 1976

Description: A medium to large dwarf chameleon, usually not more than 14 cm (TL). The tail is about half the total length. The casque is weakly developed, and the snout short. The gular is pale and does not have deep grooves. The lobes of the gular crest are irregular in shape. The dorsal spines are conical, equally sized and spaced, and some may be greenish in colour. The flanks are relatively smooth, consisting of many hundreds of equally sized tiny granules. There is a series of bright, bluish-green tubercles on the flanks, and the granules on the legs can also be bluish-green.

Coloration: Drab light brown, lacking distinctive coloration except for smallish, bright blue-green tubercles on the upper flanks and limbs. The cheeks and temple are often powder blue.

Habitat: Mostly found on bushes in the grasslands of the Drakensberg alpine veld at altitudes of 1500 m and above. Can sometimes be found in small remnant forest patches.

Distribution: The central Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal and the northeastern Free State.

Terra typico: Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Notes: There has been some confusion over the identity of this chameleon, and it has become obvious that there are actually two different chameleon species living in the central and southern Drakensberg. The original species description was of an individual from Cathedral Peak, and our species account is based on chameleons from that region. A second chameleon has been recorded from kloofs and alpine veld in the more southern part of the Drakensberg, near Sani Pass.

It is larger and more brightly coloured with greens and yellows, and here we coin the common name ‘Emerald Dwarf Chameleon’ to distinguish it from the Drakensberg Dwarf. It is quite different genetically from the latter species, further suggesting that it is a different species. Thus, we treat the two separately in this field guide, and provide a separate account of the Emerald Dwarf (see section on undescribed dwarf chameleons, page 80). Records of this species from Giant’s Castle have been omitted from the distribution map because their status is uncertain.


Index:

A
Africa 8-9, 16-19,28
Agama
Southern Rock 26, 26
Agama atra 26, 26
Agamidae 26
Albany thicket biome 20, 24, 40
anole lizards 28
Anolis lividus 28, 28
B
biodiversity 10,21,22,43
biomes
Southern Africa 20-25
Bradypodion 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16,
18,27,28,38,44,48-85,86
utromontanum 75, 75
caffer 71-72, 71-72
damaranum 62-63, 62-63
dracomontanum 14, 54-55,
54-55, 82
gutturale 68-69, 68-69
karroicum 57
kenlanicum 60-61, 60-61
melanocephalum 64-67,
64-67, 82
nemorale 73, 7J
occidental 76-77, 76-77
pumilum 43, 50-53, 50-5^
setaroi 74, 74
taeniabronchum 58-59, 55-59
lhamnobates 70, 70
transvaalense 78-79, 7<?-7?, 82
ventrale 56-57, 56-57
BrookesiaS, 10, 11, 13,32
minima 10
peramarta 10
ramanantsoai 10, 10
stumpffi 10
superciliaris II
tuberculata 10, 10
vadoni 11
Brookesiinae 13
C
CalummuS, 10, 12, 13,31
brevicornus 12
gastrotaenia 12
nasuta 12, 12
parsonii 10, 10, 12
Cape floristic region 20,21
Chamaeleo 9, 13, 15, 16, 17,28,
38,44,48,49,86-89
arubicus 9
calyptratus 9, 43
caroliquani 26
chamaeleon 9
dilepsis 87-88, «7-»«
hoehnelii 9
jacksomi 9, 43
melleri 86
montium 16, 17
namaquensis 89, 59
quadricornis 17
schubotzi 9
zeylanicus 9
Chamaeleonidae 14
Chamaeleoninae 13
Chameleon
Arabian 9
Asian 9
Cameroon Sailfin 16
Cameroon Two-horned
Mountain 17
Common Flap-necked 3, 12, 25,
44-45, 86, 87-88, 87-88, 89
Dwarf .see Dwarf Chameleon
Four-horned 17
Jackson’s Three-horned 16,
36, 43, 86
Leaf see Leaf Chameleon
Mediterranean 9, 35
Meller’s 86
Mount Mulanje 19, 19
Namaqua 3, 15, 25, 31, 89, 89
Nose-homed 12
Oustalet’s 10, 13
Parson’s 10, 10, 12
Pygmy see Pygmy Chameleon
Stump-tailed 90
Usambara Two-homed 18
Veiled 9, 43
Werner’s Three-horned 3
chameleons
aggression 36, 37
alien species 43
anatomy 29-33
avoidance 35
behaviour 34-39
camouflage, 31, 34
casque 46, 49, 52
classification 8-9
colour change 30, 31, 46
see also chromatophores,
melanophores
conservation 41
cryptic coloration 10, 34
digits 33
distribution 8-9, 17. 18, 27, 28,
47,86,91
DNA 18, 19,52,83
dorsal crest 16, 47
see also gular crest
drinking 31, 42-43
ears 33
ecology 29-33
eggs
see also oviparity
clutches 38, 86, 90
hatching 38
endangered 42, 58, 74
evolution 26-28
extinction 41
eyes 33
‘false’ 13
feet 33
fighting 35, 36, 37
fossils 26-28
genera 8-9
genetics 8, 13, 18, 19,80,81,85
gestation 38, 49
granules 29, 49
growth 30
habitats 9, 12, 13, 18,20-25,
40,47
arboreal 29, 31
terrestrial 10,29,31,89
transformation 41, 42
hearing 33
horns 17, 19, 86
identification 46-47
in captivity 43
in gardens 40, 42-43, 62
incubation 38, 86, 90
interbreeding 43
life span 39, 49
litters 38
live-bearing 38
see also viviparity
male display 37, 96
mate-guarding 35
mating behaviour 37, 38
see also hemipenes, cloaca
maturity 38, 39, 49, 86
morphology 8, 18, 19, 46, 81, 85
variations 12, 48
movements 34
nasal appendages 12
‘New World’ 28
occipital lobes 12
photographing 41,43
predators 39, 49
prey 31
reproduction 34-39
see also hemipenes, cloaca
scales 46
secondary sexual
characteristics 49
sex determination 33
see also hemipenal bulge
sexual dimorphism 12, 13,49,92
sight 33
size 12, 46, 49, 86
skin 29, 30
see also epidermis
shedding 30
sleep 34
snout-vent length 46
social behaviour 35, 36
species 8-9, 20, 28, 46-93
spotting 40
tail 16, 32-33, 47, 52, 53, 86
stumpy 10,90
taxonomy 16, 17, 19,80,86
teeth 31
territoriality 37
tongue 30-31
trade in 43
translocation 43
‘true’ 13
tubercles 29, 47, 49, 52, 53
chromatophores 30
classification 14-15
see also chameleons -
classification
cloaca 33, 38,46, 47
Comoros Islands 8, 12, 13
D
desert biome 20, 25
dorsal crest 16,46,47,49
see also gular crest
Dwarf Chameleon
Baviaanskloof80,«0,83
Beardless 5, 80, 81, 81, 83
Black-headed 64-67
Cape 3, 6-7, 27, 34, 43, 47, 50-
53, 50-53, 77
fynbos form 53, 95
hybridization 52
renosterveld form 52, 53, 77
Drakensberg 14, 14, 27, 54-55,
54-55, 82
Durban 64-67
Eastern Cape /, 24, 27, 30,
56-57, 56-57, 68
Elandsberg 27, 42, 42, 49,
58-59, 58-59, 77
Tsitsikamma population 58, 59
Emerald 54, 82, 82
Groendal 83,83
Karoo 57
Kentani 27, 60-61, 60-61
Kentani Grass 60-61,60-6]
Knysna 27, 48, 49, 62-63, 62-63
Grootvadersbosch 23, 63
KwaZulu 27, 64-67, 64-67
Gilboa form 66-67
Ixopo form 66-67
Karkloof form 66-67
Weza form 66-67
Little Karoo 27, 51, 57, 63,
68-69, 68-69, 75
Namaqua 3, 76-77, 76-77
Natal Midlands 27, 42, 46, 65,
70, 70, 99
Ngome 84, 84
Pondo27,65,71-72, 7/-72
Qudeni 27,42,73, 73, 83
Robertson 68-69, 68-69
Setaro’s 27, 42, 74, 74
Smith’s 58-59
Southern 56-57
Swartberg 75, 75
Transkei71-72, 77-72
Transvaal 27, 78-79, 78-79
uMlalazi 85, 85
Western 27, 36, 51,68, 76-77,
76-77
Wolkberg 2, 78-79, 78-79, 97
Zululand 3 7,38,73
dwarf chameleons 27, 34, 36, 38,
44, 48-49, 50-85
distribution 28, 48-49
undescribed 80-85
E
endemic species 21, 22, 28,
43,48
epidermis 30
evolution 11
F
fire 21,25
forest biome 20, 23, 24, 40
Afromontane 23
Indian Ocean coastal 23, 24
Furcifer 8, 10, 12-13,31
campani 12
minor 13
oustaletii 10, 13
pardalis 12
fynbos biome 20, 21, 40
G
genera 14
see also taxa
grassland biome 25
growth
determinant 30
indeterminant 30
gular
crest 46, 48, 49
folds 46
grooves 46,52
lobes 51,52,53
scales 46
H
hemipenal bulge 33, 49
hemipenes 33, 38
Indian Ocean coastal belt biome
23,24
insecticides 40, 42
IUCN Red Data Book 42
K
KinyongiaS, 9, 18, 19
adolfifriderici 18
carpernteri 18, 19
excubitor 9, 18
fischeri 18, 18, 19
oxyrhinum 18, 19
tuvetanum 18, 19
tenue 18, 19
ulhmoelleri 18
xenorhinum 18, 19
L
Leaf Chameleon 10,32
African 90-93
Malagasy 10, II), II
Nosy Be 10
Vadon’s //
Warty 10, 10
leaf-mimicry 10, 11
lizards 26, 28
Lophosaura 15
M
Madagascar 8-9, 10-13,28
Mauritius 8
melanophores 30
Microsaura 15
miombo 25
Mount Kenya 9, 16, 18
N
Nadzikambia 9, 18, 19
mianjense 19, 19
Nama Karoo biome 20, 22
names
common 15
scientific 14-15
0
oviparity 38, 86, 90
P
Pygmy Chameleon 3
Boulenger’s 90, 100
Chapman’s 90
Flat-headed 29
Gorongoza 17,92,92
Kenya 18
Marshall’s 17,93,9.5
Short-tailed 18
Spectral 91, 98
Usambara Spiny 16, 17
pygmy chameleons 10, 32, 44,
90-93, 96
R
rainfall 21-25
reptiles 26
Rhampholeun S, 9, 10, 11, //, 13.
16, 17, 18, 19,28,32,44,
49,90-93
boulengen 17
chapmunorum 17
gorongosae 17, 91, 92, 92
marshalli 17,91,93,9.?
moyeri 17
nchisiensis 17
platyceps 17,29
spectrum II, 17, 91
spinosum 16, 17
temporalis 17
uluguruensis 17
Rieppeleon 8, 9, 18, 19,32
brachyurus 18
brevicaudatis 18, /5
kerstenii 18, /<<?
S
SARCA (Southern African
Reptile Conservation
Assessment) 42
savanna biome 20, 24, 25, 40
Seychelles 8, 13
southern Africa 16, 20, 25, 28
biomes 20-25
species richness 20, 21
succulent Karoo biome 20, 21, 22
T
taxa 28
see also genera
terra typicu 47
thermoregulation 31
Trioceros 16-17,38,86
see also Chamaeteo
jacksonii 43
melleri 86
montium 17
quadricornis 17
v
viviparity 38, 49, 86
z
Zanzibar 8