Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)
Tamatave, Eastern rainforst of MADAGASCAR
This is a medium to large species growning up to 520mm. It is a true chameleon as it possesses a prehensile tail. This plus its opposable, fuxed fingers help it adapt to its arboreal life. Pardalus lacks occipital lobes and without real nasal appendages but has a conspicuous protruding rostral border. It is renowned for the high number of regional color morphs and dramatic color changes. Most dramatic color changes observed in courting males. Oviparous - female laying 12-46 eggs, buried in the ground. Young hatch after 159 - 384 days and measure +-55mm.
RANGE: Locally abundant in forests found in the north and north east of Madagascar but also in open habitats as they are able to inhabit degraded secondary forest areas.
Two species of Panther chameleon are also found in the Comores and one in Reunion Island.
Chameleons are well-known for their special adaptions: Ability to change color rapidly to either match their surroundings or to reflect their mood. They have the capacity to move their turreted eyes independently of each other which allows them to look in different directions simultaneously. They also capture their prey with the rapid firing of their tongue which can extend to approximately half of their body length and is ended with a kind of gluing hammer.
Furcifer pardalis is CITES 11 classification and is allowed the CITES Animal Committee to be exported from Madagascar - mainly for the pet trade.
There are more than 150 species world wide and over half of those are only found in Madagascar. All species on the island are Native.