Chameleons – Super Heros of the Old World Lizard Clade.

Madagascar Mystic Chameleon

Madagascar Mystic Chameleon Hatchling

Chameleons are just about the coolest animal on this planet. They have super powers and can make themselves invisible and look in two directions at once!  They have ballistic tongues that project with incredible speed and impact to catch prey; usually unsuspecting insects and worms but occasionally small lizards and birds.  Many of the larger species of Chameleons have prehensile tails and their unusual tong like feet (zygodactylous) are well adapted to climbing in an arboreal habitat.

panther chameleon www.factzoo.com

Panther Chameleon Eye

Chameleon tail -  http://macrojunkie.deviantart.com

Chameleon tail – http://macrojunkie.deviantart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chameleon is in the clade of old world lizards. There are 180 species of Chameleon and 60 species live only in Madagascar. The majority of the other species live in Africa, Southern Europe and Southern Asia. Their habitat ranges from rain forest to desert.

Jackson Chameleons http://bioweb.uwlax.edu

Jackson Chameleons http://bioweb.uwlax.edu

Zygodactylous Feet - Martin B. Withers.

Zygodactylous Feet – Martin B. Withers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their color changing skin cells are called chromatophores. It was previously thought that Chameleons changed their color for camouflage, but scientists now believe that this is their means of communication and showing “emotion.” Males defend their territory from other males through color change and attract a female with a display of colors. If the female is wiling to mate, her chromatophores respond with a show of colors. (If I were not a jeweler, I would wish to be a biologist, researching and interperting the language of Chameleon color change in various situations.)

John with Chameleon, Zimbabwe, 2011

John with Chameleon, Zimbabwe, 2011

Our Guide finds a Chameleon, 2011

Chameleon tail, Zimbabwe,  2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am fascinated by all reptiles but Chameleons are the most intriguing. Handling a captive bred Chameleons is remarkable but finding one in the wild is even more so. In 2011, John and I traveled to Zimbabwe  where we had a close encounter of the best Chameleon kind.

Marty Magic, Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Marty Magic, Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Jackson Chameleon Pendant, 2015

Jackson Chameleon Pendant, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to design a Chameleon Charm, but I have just created two versions; a Jackson Chameleon and a Panther Chameleon

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