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Chameleon

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Definition

noun, plural: chameleons

A reptile of the family Chamaeleonidae that is known largely for its ability to change skin color and pattern, through the layers of pigment-containing iridophore cells that reflect light differently depending on mood, health, or temperature


Supplement

The chameleons are reptiles belonging to the family Chamaeleonidae. This taxonomic family is divided into two subfamilies: (1) Brookesiinae and (2) Chamaeleoninae. The subfamily Brooksiinae includes the small, mostly brown species endemic in central Africa and Madagascar. It is comprised of the genera Brookesia and Palleon. All the other genera are placed in the subfamily Chamaeleoninae. These genera are Archaius, Bradypodion, Calumma, Chamaeleo, Furcifer, Kinyongia, Nadzikambia, Rieppeleon, Rhampholeon, and Trioceros. There are about two hundred species belonging to this family. They are characterized mainly by their ability to change colour, long tongue, stereoscopic vision, independently mobile eyes, zygodactylous feet, and swaying gait. Many of them have a prehensile tail. These species are adept at climbing and living in warm habitats. They thrive in various habitats such as rainforests and deserts. They are endemic in Madagascar, Africa, southern Asia, and southern Europe. Some of them are kept as pets. Some of the chameleons taken as household pets include: Chamaeleo calyptratus (veiled chameleon), Trioceros jacksonii (Jackson's chameleon), Furcifer pardalis (panther chameleon), Rieppeleon brevicaudatus (bearded pygmy chameleon), Rhampholeon spectrum (spectral pygmy chameleon), and Rhampholeon temporalis (usambara pitted pygmy chameleon).


Variant(s):

  • chamaeleon

Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Suborder: Iguania
  • Clade: Acrodonta
  • Family: Chamaeleonidae [Rafinesque, 1815]