Colloquial (Common) Names: Black-headed Dwarf Chameleon (English); KwaZuluDwerg-verkleurmannetjie (Afrikaans); ilovane (isiXhosa); umwabu (isiZulu).

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

Identification: A small, brownish to olive green chameleon, sometimes with pale stripes on the sides.

Size: 100-110mm total length.

Distribution: Almost endemic to KwaZulu-Natal, just entering the Eastern Cape.

Habitat: Indian Ocean Coastal Belt and Savanna Biomes where it is found in coastal forest, riverine bush and reed beds.

Activity & Behaviour: Diurnal; arboreal – moves slowly through shrubs, trees and dense grass during the day.

Diet & Feeding: A variety of insects, including grasshoppers.

Reproduction: Live-birth; females produce up to 12 young during summer.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable (due to habitat destruction).

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.
  • Tolley, K. & M. Burger. 2007. Chameleons of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers.

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