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Chamaeleo chamaeleon (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaChamaeleonidae, Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesChamaeleo chamaeleon chamaeleon (LINNAEUS 1758)
Chamaeleo chamaeleon musae STEINDACHNER 1901
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis PARKER 1938
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista BOETTGER 1880 
Common NamesG: Gemeines Chamäleon, Europäisches Chamäleon, Gewöhnliches Chamäleon
Italian: camaleonte comune 
SynonymLacerta chamaeleon LINNAEUS 1758: 204
Chamaeleo parisiensium LAURENTI 1768
Chamaeleon mntabiiis MEYER 1795: 27
Chamaeleon vulgaris — DAUDIN 1802
Chamaeleo carinatus — MERREM 1820 (n. subst. pro Ch. parisiensium)
Cameleo siculus GROHMANN 1832
Chamaeleo Vulgaris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 204
Chameleon parisiensis — GRAY 1845 (n. subst. pro Ch. parisiensium)
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)
Chameleon parisientium — BOSCA 1880 (err. pro Chamaeleo parisiensium)
Chamaeleon fasciatus SMITH 1866
Chamaeleo cinereus — BOETTGER 1879: 80
Chamaeleo vulgaris — BOETTGER 1885: 472
Chamaeleo saharicus MÜLLER 1887
Chamaeleon chamaeleon — ANDERSSON 1900: 12
Chamaeleon chamaeleon saharicus — WERNER 1911: 10
Chamaeleon vulgaris — WERNER 1935: 107
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
Chameleo chameleon — FOUDA & EL MANSI 2017 (in error)
Chamaeleo chamaeleon — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020

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 chamaeleon — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997

Chamaeleo chamaeleon musae STEINDACHNER, 1901
Chamaeleo vulgaris var. musae STEINDACHNER 1901: 331
Chamaeleon chamaeleon musae — WERNER 1911: 10
Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) chamaeleon musae — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997
Chamaeleon chamaeleon musae — IBRAHIM 2013

Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis PARKER 1938
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis — SCHÄTTI & GASPERETTI 1994
Chamaeleo (Chamaeleo) chamaeleon orientalis — KLAVER & BÖHME 1997
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis — SINDACO et al. 2014
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis — CAMPBELL & DENZER 2020
Chamaeleo chamaeleon orientalis — ALOUFI et al. 2021

Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista BOETTGER 1880
Chamaeleo vulgaris var. recticrista BOETTGER 1880
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista — ESTERBAUER 1985
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista — HRAOUI-BLOQUET et al. 2002
Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista — SCHNEIDER 2020 
DistributionS Greece (Aegean Islands, Crete, Chios, Samos), Malta, S Portugal, S Spain, S/E Turkey, Cyprus, Italy (Apulia, Calabria),
N Africa: Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sinai, Israel, Jordan, SW Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq

Introduced to Madeira (WAGNER et al. 2012)

musae: Egypt (N Sinai)

orientalis: Saudi Arabia; Type locality: Taif, south of Hijaz, 5500 ft asl, Saudi Arabia.

recticrista: Jordan, Israel; Type locality: Haifa, Jerusalem, Beirut and Cyprus. Terra typica restricta (fide MERTENS 1922: 177): Jerusalem.

Type locality: “Africa, Asia”  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesSyntypes: NRM (2 specimens; fide ANDERSSON 1900: 13).
Holotype: NHMUK 1946.8.21.11 (Previously NHMUK 1863.6.15.1), female, coll. H. Christy [auratus]
Syntypes: NMW 18163: 1 – 5 (5 specimens) [musae]
Holotype: NAMBA = NHMB [saharicus]
Lectotype: SMF 16151, female [recticrista]
Holotype: NHMUK 1946.8.13.52 (Previously NHMUK 1934.10.20.13), Taif, Saudi Ara- bia, coll. J. B. Philby; Paratypes: NHMUK 1946.8.21.10 (Previously NHMUK 1935.2.1.23), Barad, Arabia, 7000 ft asl, coll. J. B. Philby; NHMUK 1946.8.13.50–51 (Previously NHMUK 1934.10.20.14–15), Taif, Saudi Arabia, coll. J. B. Philby; NHMUK 1946.8.13.53–54 (Previously NHMUK 1935.2.1.21–22), Taif, Saudia Arabia, coll. J. B. Philby; NHMUK 1946.8.21.83–87 (Previously NHMUK 1938.2.1.8–12), mountains around Abha, S. Hejaz, coll. J. B. Philby; NHMUK 1946.8.13.76 (Previously NHMUK 1938.2.1.13), Ashaira, S. Hejaz, 4000 ft asl, coll. J. B. Philby; [orientalis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (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). 
CommentSynonymy: Chamaeleo chamaeleon recticrista was listed as a synonym of C. c. chamaeleon by Klaver & Böhme 1997: 32.

Subspecies: 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. The status of C. c. recticrista remains uncertain. See also discussion in Klaver & Böhme 1997: 58 who list it as synonym of C. c. chamaeleon (p. 32) but point out that it may be valid.

Distribution: not in Iran fide SMID et al. 2014 (checklist Iran). See Bar et al. 2021 for a map.

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). 
EtymologyThe genus and species are named after Greek “khamai” = on the ground and “leon” = lion: ground lion. 
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