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Chamaeleo chamaeleon

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA CHAMAELEONIDAE

Scientific Name: Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Mediterranean Chameleon
Spanish Camaleón Común
Synonym(s):
Lacerta chamaeleon Linnaeus, 1758

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-02-07
Assessor(s): Vogrin, M., Corti, C., Pérez Mellado, V., Sá-Sousa, P., Cheylan, M., Pleguezuelos, J., Baha El Din, S. & Al Johany, A.M.H.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A. & Tolley, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Cox, N.A.
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in southern Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia. In Europe it is found in Malta, and on Crete (although this requires confirmation), Samos and Chios (both in Greece), and in southern coastal Spain and Portugal where it is probably introduced before 1500. It was reportedly introduced to the island of Sicily, Italy, but its presence was never confirmed; a small, probably introduced, population is reported to be present in Apulia in southwestern Italy (not mapped here) (Sindaco et al. 2006). There are old reports of an introduced population in Crete, Greece but there are no specimens. In North Africa it occurs along the Atlantic coast of Western Sahara, is widely distributed in Morocco, and is present in northern Algeria, northern and central Tunisia, northern Libya and northern Egypt. In southwestern Asia it occurs on the island of Cyprus, in southern Turkey (and as isolated populations in the Marmaraa region [Sindaco et al. 2000; Sindaco et al. 2006]), through the Levant region of western Syria, Lebanon, Israel and western Jordan, western and southwestern Saudi Arabia and northern Yemen. It can be found from sea level up to 1,850 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Algeria; Cyprus; Egypt; Greece; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Morocco; Saudi Arabia; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Western Sahara; Yemen
Introduced:
Italy; Portugal; Spain
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a common species in most of its native range. In Spain, the species is most commonly found in densities of 10 to 25 animals per hectare, although up to 50 animals per hectare may be found. It is rare in Western Sahara. In Egypt, it is fairly common in coastal areas, but uncommon in more inland arid areas. In Turkey, it is uncommon (Avci and Kumlutaş pers. comm. 2008). It is a common, but patchily distributed species in Saudi Arabia.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a diurnal species found climbing in bushes in dry to humid habitats. It inhabits shrubland, plantations, open pine woodland, orchards (such as almonds and olive groves) and gardens. In Egypt, it also occurs on vegetation in sparsely vegetated open gravel plains. The females produce a single clutch of between five and forty-five eggs per year; these are buried in the soil.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for the pet trade and local medicinal use.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is threatened locally by loss of habitat through urbanization and the development of tourist facilities, agricultural intensification, predation by domestic animals, accidental mortality on roads and by illegal collection of animals. It may be used for remedies or as a talisman in North Africa (not in Egypt). Animals are caught, sometimes illegally, for the international pet market and are offered to tourists at local markets. In Turkey, forest fires are also a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and on Appendix II of CITES. Its range includes many protected areas, for example the following ones in Morocco: Tamga, Saghro, Chekhar, Talassemtane, Trois fourches, Sebkha Bou Areg, Gourougou, Embouchure Moulouya, Béni Snassen, Jbel Moussa, Perdicaris, Bouhachem, Brikcha, Koudiat Tidighine, Lalla Outka, Lalla Chafia, Bou Iblane, Bou Naceur, Jbel Tichoukt, and Jaaba. There is a need to monitor and regulate the collection of animals in Egypt (S. Baha El Din pers. comm.). In Spain, barriers have been created in an attempt to prevent mortality on roads.

Citation: Vogrin, M., Corti, C., Pérez Mellado, V., Sá-Sousa, P., Cheylan, M., Pleguezuelos, J., Baha El Din, S. & Al Johany, A.M.H. 2012. Chamaeleo chamaeleon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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