Colloquial (Common) Names: Gewone Verkleurmannetjie (Afrikaans); ilovane (isiXhosa); umwabu (isiZulu).

Taxonomy: Class: Reptilia; Order: Squamata; Suborder: Sauria (Lacertilia); Infraorder: Iguania; Family: Chameleonidae.

Identification: A large, distinctive chameleon with pronounced flaps behind its head. Often leaf-green to greenish yellow, with a distinctive white stripe along its lower sides. Some specimens, especially juvenile are brown. May turn dark and spotted when threatened.

Size: 250-350mm total length.

Distribution: KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, northern parts of Northern Cape, western Free State and Gauteng.

Habitat: Mostly Savanna and Indian Ocean Coastal Belt, but also the Grassland Biome along well-wooded river valleys and ridges; found in trees and shrubs.

Activity & Behaviour: Diurnal; arboreal.

Diet & Feeding: Various invertebrates, including grasshoppers, beetles and flies.

Reproduction: Oviparous – females lay 25-65 small eggs in a cavity dug in soil; incubation takes 8-14 months. A female from the Bluff in Durban contained 73 eggs (Reissig & Boshoff, 2013).

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

References and Recommended Further Reading:

  • Bates, M., W. Branch, A. Bauer, M. Burger, J. Marais, G. Alexander, & M. De Villiers (eds). 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
  • Reissig, J. & D, Boshoff. 2013. Chamaeleo dilepis Reproduction. African Herp News 59: 44-45.
  • Tolley, K. & M. Burger. 2007. Chameleons of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers.

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