- Aquatic Biomes
- Other Habitat Features
- Range elevation
- 1.0 to 7.02 m
- 3.28 to 23.03 ft
- Average elevation
- 1.8 m
- 5.91 ft
Coloration and patterning of (Ferguson, et al., 2004)varies significantly depending on their origin of location. Typically, panther chameleons from the Madagascan Island Nosy Be are blue-green, emerald-green or have turquoise bodies. Males from the northwest coast are usually bright pink, with a yellowish white stripe along the sides; this is commonly referred to as "the pink panthers". Males can also be orange, red and dark green with a vast variation in spots, stripes, and/or bands around the head and eyes.
Panther chameleons lack a vomeronasal organ, an auxiliary olfactory sense organ that is found in many animals. They also do not have an outer or a middle ear, which suggests that chameleons might be deaf. Chameleons do have specialized feet with a tong-like appearance called zygodactyl. On each foot the five toes are fused into a group of two digits and a group of three digits. On the front feet the bundle of three toes is on the inside of the foot, and the bundle of two toes is on the outside. This is reversed on the rear foot, giving them a secure and strong grasp and allowing them to maneuver horizontally or vertically on a wide variety of vegetation or structures. These specialized feet allow chameleons to hold on tightly to narrow branches. Sharp claws on each toe help them climb and grip surfaces that they cannot grasp tightly, such as tree trunks. (Kalisch, et al., 2007; Schuurman, et al., 2008)
- Other Physical Features
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- sexes colored or patterned differently
- male more colorful
- Range length
- 23 (high) cm
- 9.06 (high) in
Courtship often begins with displays by males. This usually includes the display of bright colors and a series of jerking or bobbing head movements while advancing on a female. Some males advance slowly with a halting or jerky gait, but others move very rapidly and can be aggressive toward females. Females that are unreceptive or gravid may flee or may face the pursuing male with a gaping mouth while hissing, rearing up on the hind legs, and rocking to discourage the male's advances. If the female seems interested, the male will mount the female by grasping her flanks and position himself on the right or left side of her body. Copulation takes place when the male everts the nearest of his two hemipenes and inserts it in the female's cloaca. Some species copulate for a few minutes and others for as long as several hours, after which they typically go their separate ways.
- Mating System
In most locations, breeding occurs between January and May but this may vary geographically. Females of some areas are able to breed multiple times per year. After mating, the gestation period lasts 3 to 6 weeks. The females excavate burrows by digging with their front feet and then backing into them to deposit 10 to 46 eggs. When they are finished, they bury the eggs, fill in the tunnel, and stomp the soil down to conceal the location of the nest. Some females drag leaves and twigs over the site. This is the final act of motherhood for a chameleon, and her young will be independent at birth. The young emerge by slitting a star-shaped opening in the end of the eggshell with the egg tooth, a sharp, calcified protrusion on the tip of the upper jawbone that later falls off. The young weigh 0.25 to 0.75 g upon hatching. Juveniles reach reproductive maturity at 6 months old. (Ferguson, et al., 2004; Gehring, et al., 2008)
- Breeding interval
- Depending on the location, females will produce several egg clutches a year.
- Breeding season
- Breeding takes place between the months of January and May.
- Range number of offspring
- 10 to 46
- Range gestation period
- 3 to 6 weeks
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 6 months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 6 months
Female and maleshow no further parental investment beyond creating and depositing eggs. The mother will attempt to protect the buried eggs from predators by concealing the location of the nest with twigs and leaves but that is her final involvement and the young will be independent immediately upon hatching.
Female panther chameleons invest significant time and energy in ensuring her young will fully develop. Producing successful chameleon offspring depends heavily on adequate vitamin D amounts within the mother during gestation. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is known to produce vitamin D in the skin of many vertebrates such as the panther chameleons. UV-induced vitamin D serves as a signal in the body to help adjust the calcium-phosphorus balance in the body. Its main function is to stimulate the uptake of calcium from the gut and reduce calcium re-absorption from bone. Eggs fail to hatch if the mother does not have adequate vitamin D from either UV exposure or dietary intake because she cannot supply enough vitamin D to their eggs to facilitate the developing embryos to form their skeletons. An important discovery made in the last few years was that females seem to be able to sense their internal vitamin D-condition, recognize an external UV source and voluntarily expose themselves to that source when they are vitamin D deficient. Alternatively, they choose to avoid high UV sources when they are vitamin D sufficient. ("Furcifer pardalis CUVIER 1829", 2010; Ferguson, et al., 2004)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
While males can exceed five years of age in captivity, most wild panther chameleons survive only one or two years after maturity. Females on average have a shorter lifespan in the wild and in captivity due to the stresses of reproduction and oviposition. ("Furcifer pardalis", 2002; Ferguson, et al., 2004)
- Typical lifespan
- 1 to 3 years
- Typical lifespan
- Average lifespan
- 5 years
- Average lifespan
Overall the social structure of panther chameleons is poorly understood., like most chameleons, are known to be solitary and territorial regardless of age or sex. Males tend to have larger home ranges than females. Males are often intolerant of other males invading their resident shrub or tree and will defend their territory by engaging in a display, pursuing, and possibly severely injuring an intruding male. Hostility increases during breeding season. It is not known whether female panther chameleons are intolerant of other females in general or only at nesting sites.
Communication and Perception
During the breeding season, male ("Furcifer pardalis", 2002)will increase the intensity of coloration to attract potential mates. Males will also become more vibrant in color during physical battles with competing chameleons. The loser often surrenders by turning drab or dark colors and retreats. Male and female panther chameleons communicate through physical gestures and visual signals. Both sexes will exhibit specific breeding coloration to indicate readiness to mate. Males will perform a courtship display consisting of head bobbing and increased intensity of skin coloration.
Females communicate their mating status through body coloration. When a female is encountered exhibiting receptive coloration, the male begins courtship behavior, which includes an increase in color intensity and nodding of the head. Over a period of minutes to days after mating, the female is gravid (egg bearing) and displays a non-receptive coloration. The female's stomach turns dark brown or black with orange striping to signify to the other males she has already successfully mated. The exact coloration and pattern of gravid females varies depending on the color phase of the chameleon. This provides a useful way to distinguish between locales. While gravid, females will also make threats to courting males that may approach; these threats consist of opening the mouth wide and rocking back and forth. (Ferguson, et al., 2004; Henkel and Schmidt, 2000)
Chameleons are primarily visual hunters and utilize a unique visual perception system. Their dome-shaped eyes are located on either side of their heads, and are capable of independent movement. When one eye detects a prey object, the head turns to allow both eyes to focus. Their eyes lack the structures necessary for nocturnal vision, thus they are diurnal hunters. (Gehring, et al., 2008; Vitt and Caldwell, 2009)
- Communication Channels
Chameleons have very unique tongues specialized for capturing their prey. An extensive study done in 2000 revealed the complexities of how the chameleon tongue works. The capture of prey was often attributed only to adhesion to the tongue pad but now scientists believe the speed and form of the tongue also creates a suction device. The hyoid bone is a piece of cartilage that extends into the mouth from the throat bones (called the hyolingual apparatus) and is attached to a chameleon's long tongue. This is where the tongue rests when it is not in use. The tongue is launched from the hyoid bone with the use of ringed muscles in the tongue. This highly complex structure is composed of cartilage, muscles, nerves, glands, and tissues that all work together to create an incredibly fast and effective tongue for seizing their food. (Herrel, et al., 2000; Schuurman, et al., 2008)
- Animal Foods
- Plant Foods
No specific data is available on predation of (Vitt and Caldwell, 2009). The main predators of chameleons are typically birds and snakes. The ability to camouflage their skin color to match the surrounding environment is their best defense against visual-detecting predators. They are slow-moving creatures that often freeze and remain unmoving for long periods of time which may also aid in going unnoticed by predators.
- Anti-predator Adaptations
do not have any significant impacts on the ecosystem. They do prey on many insects and other invertebrates and thus likely impact those local populations. They also support the populations of predators that prey on them.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are relatively few uses for (Andreone, et al., 2005)by local people within their range of distribution. Chameleons are not used very often in local cuisine. is however captured and sold within the international live pet trade. The United States, Europe, and Asia are the major participants within this trafficking.
- Positive Impacts
- pet trade
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse effects ofon humans.
The name chameleon comes from the Greek name khamaileon which is a comibination of khamai which stands for 'on the ground' and 'leon' meaning lion. (Tolley and Burger, 2007)
Julie Riney (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
an animal that mainly eats meat
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
union of egg and spermatozoan
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
generally wanders from place to place, usually within a well-defined range.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- scrub forest
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
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