Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.
First year: 2002
Established status: Species are
present and breeding but for less than 10 years.
Estimated Florida range: 1
county Less than 10 years
Statewide trend: Unknown
Photograph by Kevin Enge © 2003
Threats to natives: Unknown, but
could compete for insect prey with native lizards and potentially
prey on smaller lizards.
Species Account: This species is
native to the southwestern coastal regions of Saudi Arabia and
western Yemen, where it inhabits mountainous coastal regions,
inland river valleys, and agricultural lands where there is more
moisture. In a 1-year period, >100 individuals of all size
classes (including hatchlings representing several clutches) have
been captured at 1 site in Ft. Myers (Krysko et al. 2004). Males
reach 61 cm (24 in) total length, but females are only half as
large. The male has a small spur on the heel of the hind foot, and
the casque on back of the head is taller than that of a female.
Coloration is highly variable and changes rapidly depending upon
environmental conditions and the mood of the individual. Males
typically have vertical body bands of bright gold, green, and blue
mixed with yellow, orange, or black. Females are typically light
green with a mottled pattern of white to gold spots on the body and
light blue on the dorsal crest. In captivity, 30-60 (up to 85) eggs
are typically laid per clutch, and 3-5 clutches may be laid
annually. Females are sexually mature at ca. 5-6 months old, and a
female that is receptive to breeding will often develop bright blue
spots (Fife 1999). In the presence of males, gravid females change
from light green to almost black with bright mustard and turquoise
markings. Chameleon eggs often go through a diapause, or rest,
period, and they typically take 6-8 months to hatch (Fife 1999).
The vacant lot where the population was first established has been
heavily collected, but the population has probably expanded into
the adjacent neighborhood.
Habitats: Low density suburban
development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small
|Less than 10 years
||One small locality in Ft. Myers (Krysko et al. 2004)
Fife, J. D. 1999. A kaleidoscope of coler. Reptiles
Magazine 7(2):10-12, 14, 16-18, 20-23.
Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, and F. W. King. 2004.
The veiled chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus Duméril and Bibron 1851
(Sauria: Chamaeleonidae): a new exotic species in Florida. Florida
Links to more information
National Zoo Info