Chamaeleo dilepis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Chamaeleo dilepis
Species Authority: Leach, 1819
Common Name(s):
English Common African Flap-necked Chameleon, Flap-necked Chameleon
Chamaeleo angusticoronatus Barbour 1903
Chamaeleo bilobus Kuhl, 1820
Chamaeleo capellii Bocage, 1866
Chamaeleo planiceps Merrem, 1820
Chamaeleo roperi (Boulenger, 1890)
Chamaeleo ruspolii (Boettger, 1893)
Taxonomic Notes: Subspecies:
C. dilepis dilepis Leach, 1819
C. dilepis idjwiensis Loveridge, 1942
C. dilepis isabellinus Günther 1893
C. dilepis martensi Mertens, 1964
C. dilepis petersi Gray, 1865.

C. quilensis may also be a subspecies, however, this has not been confirmed.

The taxonomy regarding the status of subspecies is uncertain; some subspecies may be elevated to species status in the future.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Carpenter, A.I. & Spawls, S.
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 dilepis has been assessed as Least Concern owing to its large distribution, abundance, and its tolerance of an anthropogenic environment. Although collected for the pet trade, there are currently no known or observed effects of removal for the pet trade on natural populations. Careful attention should be paid to detect early warning signs for declines in the population, because of gaps in our knowledge on the population biology and taxonomy of this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widely distributed throughout southern and eastern Africa. It has been described as far west as Cameroon (Welch 1982) and possibly Nigeria, east to Kenya and Somalia and south through Tanzania into Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa (Patterson 1987). There are limited records of the species occurring in Rwanda and Burundi (Spawls et al. 2002), however, this could be attributed to low recorder effort rather than the absence of the species from the area. The species has recently been confirmed on Lolui island in Uganda (S. Spawls pers. comm. 2010).
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Somalia; South Africa (Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape Province, North-West Province); Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is relatively abundant.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits coastal forest, both moist and dry savanna, woodland and bushy grasslands, it has also been found in urban areas (Spawls et al. 2002, Patterson 1987). The species is arboreal , however, it is not as exclusively arboeal as many of the other chameleon taxa (Bergmann et al. 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Between 1977 and 2001, 49,836 individuals were traded for the pet trade (Carpenter et al. 2004). Since 2002, export in the species has been reduced (although with fluctuations between years) from 11,395 live individuals exported in 2002 to 7,636 live individuals in 2008 (UNEP-WCMC 2010). Most of these live exports stemmed from Tanzania and Mozambique (UNEP-WCMC 2010). This species is harvested from the wild, but is also occasionally bred in captivity.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is collected for the international pet trade with the greatest demand coming from the USA. Between 1977 and 2001, 49,836 individuals were traded (Carpenter et al. 2004). To date, there are no known or observed effects of removal for the pet trade on natural populations. Regardless, because population sizes are not known, there are no estimates of survival or rates of population increase, and the taxonomy regarding the status of sub-species is uncertain, careful attention should be paid for any warning signs of declines.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed under Appendix II of CITES (CITES 2007). There are no other species-specific conservation measures in place for this species, however, in places its distribution coincides with protected areas. No further conservation measures are required at this time. There is uncertainty about the status of subspecies, so that research is needed to clarify the taxonomy of the species.

Bibliography [top]

Bergmann, P.J., Lessard, S. and Russell, A.P. 2003. Tail growth in Chamaeleo dilepis (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae): functional implications of segmental patterns. Journal of Zoology 261: 417-425.

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

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

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 2007. CITES Trade Database. Available at: (Accessed: 5 Sept 2007).

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Patterson, R. 1987. Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.

Spawls, S., Howell, K.M., Drewes, R.C. and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, Elsevier Science.

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

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

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

Welch, K.R.G. 1982. Herpetology of Africa: A Checklist and Bibliography of the Orders Amphisbaenia, Sauria and Serpentes. Robert E Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.

Citation: Carpenter, A.I. & Spawls, S. 2013. Chamaeleo dilepis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided