Chamaeleo calyptratus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Chamaeleo calyptratus Duméril & Bibron in Duméril & Duméril, 1851
Common Name(s):
English Veiled Chameleon, Cone-head Chameleon, Yemen Chameleon
Chamaeleo calcaratus Peters, 1870
Taxonomic Notes: Subspecies:
C. calyptratus calcarifer Peters, 1871.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-02-06
Assessor(s): Wilms, T., Sindaco, R. & Shobrak, M.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P. & Tolley, K.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, HT, Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bowles, P.
Chamaeleo calyptratus has been assessed as Least Concern owing to its tolerance of a broad range of habitats, including anthropogenic environments. Although included within the pet trade, animals are currently sourced primarily from captive-bred or non-indigenous sources and hence this does not represent a threat to wild populations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This chameleon is distributed in the south-western Arabian Peninsula, in an area stretching from the Asir Province in Saudi Arabia to the surroundings of Aden in Yemen (Nečas 1999). Because of the pet trade, this species is now reported to be established in Florida and a feral population is also present in Hawaii (Krysko et al. 2004, Kraus and Fern 2004). This species is found between 1,200 and 2,000 m above sea level, and its extent of occurrence is estimated as approximately 136,600 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Saudi Arabia; Yemen
United States
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1200
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This is a generally common species, and in parts of its range is found in high densities.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This arboreal species occurs in the most vegetated area of the Arabian Peninsula, predominantly in woodland (M. Shobrak pers. comm. February 2012). It does not prefer any specific habitat, and can be found on acacia branches, on shrubs and even cultivated plants (Nečas 1999). It can also be found in tree alleys along busy road-ways and on trees in village gardens.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for the pet trade, but this trade has declined in recent years. Between 1977 and 2001, 18,068 individuals were exported for the international pet trade (Carpenter et al. 2004). These authors do not trace the major sources for these specimens, but report that between 1992 and 2001 the majority of captive-bred chameleons in trade were from the Czech and Slovak Republics, and that these countries only export C. calyptratus. For the period 1999-2002, an average of 2,170 live specimens were exported annually from Yemen (UNEP-WCMC 2010). This species breeds very readily in captivity, and it is thought that the vast majority of animals sold in the pet trade are from captive stock (T. Wilms pers. comm. February 2012). They are traded domestically in Saudi Arabia for the local pet trade, but in very low numbers (M. Shobrak pers. comm. February 2012).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is unlikely that any major threat is impacting this species. This species has been collected for the pet trade, however exports from Arabia have declined in recent years and most trade is now in captive-bred animals. Development of roads and associated infrastructure may represent localized threats to the chameleon's habitat and may increase the number of animals killed on roads (M. Shobrak pers. comm. February 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II. There are no further species-specific conservation measures in place, or needed, for this species.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:No decline ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Bonetti, M. 2002. 100 Sauri. Mondadori, Milano.

Carpenter, A.I., Rowcliffe, J.M. and Watkinson, A.R. 2004. The dynamics of the global trade in chameleons. Biological Conservation 120: 291-301.

Duméril, A.M.C. and Duméril, A.H.A. 1851. Catalogue méthodique de la collection des reptiles du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris. Gide et Baudry/Roret, Paris.

Fritz, J.P. and Schütte, F. 1987. Zur Biologie jemenitischer Chamaeleo calyptratus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1851 mit einigen Anmekungen zum systematischen Status (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae). Salamandra 23(1): 17-25.

Gray, J.E. 1865. Revision of the genera and species of Chamaeleonidae, with the description of some new species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 3(15): 340-354.

Hillenius, D. 1966. Notes on chameleons III. The chameleons of southern Arabia. Beaufortia 13: 91-108.

Hillenius, D. and Gasperetti, J. 1984. The chameleons of Saudi Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 6: 513-527.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2012).

Kelso, E.C. and Verrell, P.A. 2002. Do male Veiled Chameleons, Chamaeleo calyptratus, adjust their courtship displays in response to female repoductive status. Ethology 108: 495-512.

Kraus, F. and Duvall, F. 2004. New records of alien reptiles and amphibians in Hawai'i. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 79: 62-64.

Krysko, K, Enge, K.M. and King, W. 2004. The Veiled Chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus: a new exotic lizard species in Florida. Florida Scientist 67(4): 249-253.

Lane, R. 2004. Colourful Characters. Reptile Care 3: 22-25.

Leptien, R. 2003. Getting started keeping chameleons. Reptilia 26: 11-14.

Meerman, J. and Boomsma, T. 1987. Beobachtungen an Chamaeleo calyptratus calyptratus Duméril & Bibron, 1851 in der Arabischen Republik Jemen (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae). Salamandra 23(1): 10-16.

Nečas, P. 1991. Bemerkungen über Chamaeleo calyptratus calyptratus Duméril & Duméril, 1851. Herpetofauna 13(73): 6-10.

Nečas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels. Edition Chimaira / Krieger Publishing Company.

Peters, W.C.H. 1871. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der herpetologische Fauna von Südafrika. Monatsber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss., Berlin.

Peters, W.C.H. 1871. Nachtrag. Chamaeleo calcaratus n. sp. Monatsber. Monatsber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss., Berlin.

Schmidt, W. 1996. Chamaeleo calyptratus. Reptilia 2(8): 61-64.

Schmidt, W. 2001. Chamaeleo calyptratus - Das Jemenchamäleon. Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster.

Schneider, C. 2006. Nachzucht des Jemenchamäleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus, Duméril & Duméril 1851). Elaphe 14(2): 23-31.

UNEP-WCMC. 2010. CITES Trade Database. Available at: (Accessed: 17th September).

Van Tiggel, H. 1996. Chamaeleo calyptratus (Duméril & Duméril, 1851). Terra 32(2): 47-48.

Citation: Wilms, T., Sindaco, R. & Shobrak, M. 2012. Chamaeleo calyptratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T176306A1437838. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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