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Chamaeleo chamaeleon (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria (lizards) 
SubspeciesChamaeleo chamaeleon chamaeleon (LINNAEUS 1758)
Chamaeleo chamaeleon musae STEINDACHNER 1900
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis PARKER 1938
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista BOETTGER 1880 
Common NamesG: Gemeines Chamäleon, Europäisches Chamäleon 
SynonymLacerta chamaeleon LINNAEUS 1758: 204
Chamaeleo parisiensium LAURENTI 1768
Chamaeleon vulgaris - DAUDIN 1802
Cameleo siculus GROHMANN 1832
Chamaeleo Vulgaris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 204
Chamaeleo vulgaris — TURNER 1853: 292
Chameleo Vulgaris — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 245
Chamaeleo cinereus STRAUCH 1862 (BOETTGER 1874 fide SCHLEICH et al.)
Chamaeleon vulgaris — GRAY 1865: 344
Chamaeleon auratus GRAY 1865 (syn. Ch. chamaeleon orientalis)
Chamaeleon fasciatus SMITH 1866
Chamaeleo saharicus MÜLLER 1887
Chameleon parisientium - BOSCA 1880 (err. pro Chamaeleo parisiensium LAURENTI 1768)
Chamaeleo carinatus - MERREM 1820 (n. subst. pro Ch. parisiensium LAURENTI 1768)
Chameleon parisiensis - GRAY 1845 (n. subst. pro Ch. parisiensium LAURENTI 1768)
Chamaeleon chamaeleon saharicus — WERNER 1911: 10
Chamaeleo chamaeleon — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Chamaeleo chamaeleon — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 312
Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) chamaeleon — NECAS 1999: 120
Chamaeleo chamaeleon — TILBURY & TOLLEY 2009
Chamaeleo chamaeleon — TILBURY 2010: 467

Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) chamaeleon chamaeleon (LINNAEUS 1758)
Chamaeleon hispanicus - FITZINGER 1843 (n. nud.)
Chamaeleon rimulosus GRAVENHORST 1843 (n. nud.)
Chamaeleon chamaeleon chamaeleon — WERNER 1911: 10

Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) chamaeleon musae STEINDACHNER, 1900
Chamaeleon chamaeleon musae — WERNER 1911: 10
Chamaeleon chamaeleon musae — IBRAHIM 2013

Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis PARKER 1938
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis — SINDACO et al. 2014

Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista BOETTGER, 1880
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista — ESTERBAUER 1985
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista — HRAOUI-BLOQUET et al. 2002 
DistributionS Greece (Aegean Islands, Crete, Chios, Samos), Malta, S Portugal, S Spain, S/E Turkey, Cyprus, Italy (may have been introduced to Calabria),
N Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sinai, Israel, Jordan
Western Sahara, SW Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran

Introduced to Madeira (WAGNER et al. 2012)

musae: Egypt (N Sinai)

recticrista: Jordan

Type locality: “Africa, Asia” Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
TypesSyntypes: NRM (2 specimens; fide ANDERSSON 1900: 13).
Holotype: NHMB [saharicus] 
CommentSubspecies: Chamaeleo chamaeleon arabicus and C. c. zeylanicus have been elevated to species status. Chamaeleo chamaeleon calcarifer is now C. calyptratus calcarifer. Chamaeleo chamaeleon has been reported from the Canary Islands but these are most likely escaped pets that do not form viable populations (A. Vilado, pers. comm.). Not present on Sicily as sometimes reported.

Type species: Chamaeleo parisiensium Laurenti 1768 is the type species of the genus Chamaeleo Laurenti 1768.

The genus Chamaeleo has been redefined by TILBURY & TOLLEY (2009) who elevated members of the subgenus Trioceros to full generic status. See Ch. oweni for a definition of Trioceros.

Other generic synonyms include Phumanola Gray 1865; type species Chamaeleo namaquensis Smith 183I. Calyptosaura Gray 1865; type species (by subsequent designation) Loveridge 1957, Chamaeleo calyptratus Dumeril and Bibron 185I. Erizia Gray 1865; type species (by subsequent designation) Loveridge 1957, Chamaeleo senegalensis Daudin 1802. Dilepis Gray 1865; type species Chamaeleon dilepis Leach 1819 (fide Tilbury in Tolley & Herrel 2014).


Diagnosis (genus): Apart from occipital lobes in some species and prominent parietal crests in others, they have little other head ornamentation. None of them possess horns or any form of rostro-nasal or pre-orbital projections. A gular-ventral crest of single cones is found in all species being more or less developed in the various forms from very prominent in Ch. calyptratus to almost indiscernible in Ch. namaquensis. None of the species of this genus demonstrate a temporal crest. The casque is edged in a lateral parietal crest originating as a posterior continuation of the supra-orbital ridge which delineates the posterior ramus of the squamosal bone. The temporal zone is undivided. The background scalation of the flanks is generally composed of relatively homogeneous to finely heterogeneous closely packed granular tubercles. The tail of all species within this group is smooth. The plantar surfaces are smooth and claws simple. This is the only genus where the presence of tarsal spurs is seen in several of the species (Ch. arabicus, Ch. monachus, Ch. chamaeleon, Ch. necasi, Ch zeylanicus, Ch. dilepis, Ch. gracilis, Ch. calyptratus, Ch. africanus). These tend to be best developed in males and usually absent or much reduced in females. Tarsal spurs may be a synapomorphy for the genus Chamaeleo. The basic internal lung morphology consists of two large septae arising from the region of the hilum of the lung which end freely within the lung, dividing it into three chambers viz a small dorsal, a large middle and a small ventral chamber. All species possess a gular pouch and in the lung - a membrano-fibrous diaphragm that partially separates off a small dorso-cranial compartment. Many species also have several small partial septae that arise from the dorsal wall of the lung near the cranial end. The lungs are invariably adorned with varying numbers of diverticulae that trail from the inferior and posterior margins of the lung. The diverticulae vary in length and number and may be branched (Klaver 1973, 1977, 1981). Hemipenes are calyculate, with a multi rotulae arrangement of between three to five pairs of denticulated rotulae except for Ch. arabicus and Ch. namaquensis which have retained the plesiomorphic four rotulae (two pairs) configuration (Klaver & Böhme 1986). The genus is oviparous with a cyclic reproductive strategy – usually a single brood but up to three clutches of eggs per year in some species in ideal conditions. These species tend to have relative longevity. Females are usually sexually mature within one year and over the next few years will produce at least one clutch of eggs annually. The parietal peritoneum is unpigmented. The documented karyotype of the several species so far examined (Matthey 1931, 1957, Matthey & van Brink 1956) is 2n=24=12M+12m and appears to be restricted to this genus as a synapomorphic character (Klaver & Böhme 1986) [from TILBURY & TOLLEY 2009). 
EtymologyThe genus has been named after Greek “khamai” = on the ground and “leon” = lion: ground lion. 
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