Chamaeleo namaquensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Chamaeleonidae

Scientific Name: Chamaeleo namaquensis Smith, 1831
Common Name(s):
English Namaqua Chameleon, Desert Chameleon
Chamaeleo capensis Bonnaterre, 1789
Chamaeleo tuberculiferus Gray, 1845
Phumanola namaquensis (Smith, 1831)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Carpenter, A.I.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M. & Tolley, K.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Chamaeleo namaquensis has been assessed as Least Concern, in view of its relatively large distribution and the absence of any significant threats at present. A decrease in habitat suitability due to climate change may be a major threat to this species in the future.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in the western Karroo region of southern Africa, including the Namib Desert from southern Angola through to South Africa, and the Succulent Karoo biome of Namibia and South Africa (Leuteritz 2005).

Leuteritz (2005) also reports a new record from Tierberg, extending the distribution over the southern Karoo Plain. Before this, it was collected in the Calvinia District, as far south as Fraserburg, and also in the flats around the Karoo National Park, approximately 100 km to the north. The southern-most record of this species remains in the Breede Valley, 275 km to the southwest.

The extent of occurrence for this species is estimated to be greater than 600,000 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Namibia; South Africa (Northern Cape Province, Western Cape)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no population information available for this species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits sandy regions with scrub vegetation (Branch 1998). It may also be found in rocky deserts and coastline dunes (Nečas 1999). It is mainly ground-dwelling, but on very hot days it may climb into bushes or onto rocks to bask (Tolley and Burger 2007, Branch 1998).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is used in the pet trade and is primarily taken from the wild. However it is also bred captively.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is traded internationally; however, as this is managed by CITES, it is not perceived to be a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In an assessment of the conservation status of Namibian reptiles (Griffin 2003), this species was reported as 'Secure'. This assessment reportedly encompasses approximately 70% of its range.

This species is included in CITES Appendix II. CITES reports some recent trade in this species, but seemingly not at a significant level (<100 live individuals in 5 years; UNEP-WCMC 2001).

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.3. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Sand Dunes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
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
 International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Branch, W.R. 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Carpenter, A.I. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2005. Fifty-Third Meeting of the Standing Committee: Africa Regional Report.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2007. Appendices I, II and III. Available at: (Accessed: 16 August 2007).

Griffin, M. 2003. Annotated Checklist and Provisional National Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles. Namibia Wissenschlaftliche Gesellschaft (NWG), Windhoek.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

Leuteritz, T.E.J. 2005. Chamaeleo namaquensis Smith, 1831 namaqua chameleon. African Herp News 38: 30-31.

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

Tolley, K. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Tolley, K. and Burger, M. 2007. Chameleons of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

UNEP-WCMC. 2001. Seventeenth Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee: Significant Trade in Animals.

Citation: Carpenter, A.I. 2011. Chamaeleo namaquensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T176311A7215782. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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