The Biology of Chameleons

The Biology of Chameleons

KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY
ANTHONY HERREL
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt5hjj1m
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  • Book Info
    The Biology of Chameleons
    Book Description:

    They change color depending on their mood. They possess uniquely adapted hands and feet distinct from other tetrapods. They feature independently movable eyes. This comprehensive volume delves into these fascinating details and thorough research about one of the most charismatic families of reptiles-Chameleonidae.Written for professional herpetologists, scholars, researchers, and students, this book takes readers on a voyage across time to discover everything that is known about chameleon biology: anatomy, physiology, adaptations, ecology, behavior, biogeography, phylogeny, classification, and conservation.A description of the natural history of chameleons is given, along with the fossil record and typical characteristics of each genus. The state of chameleons in the modern world is also depicted, complete with new information on the most serious threats to these remarkable reptiles.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95738-1
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xii)

    In putting together this book, we stand on the shoulders of others. The extensive bibliography presented here spans centuries, and the resulting body of literature is based on the work of researchers who dedicated their minds to a deeper understanding of chameleons. We have taken pieces of this great puzzle and have made a start at constructing the whole picture, but there are many glaring gaps. In some respects, it seems there are too many pieces missing and the emerging picture is only a hazy nebula of unclear, scattered, and fragmented bits. But the excitement that comes with the challenge...

  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  6. ONE Biology of the Chameleons: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY and ANTHONY HERREL

    Chameleons so easily capture the imagination, and have done so for centuries. In scientific writings, they first appear with Aristotle (350 BC), and although they were recognized as being similar to lizards in some ways, he also likened them to fish, baboons, and crocodiles. Since then, they have since been the subject of strange myths, amusing tales, and nature documentaries and have even taken the form of popular cartoon characters. But what makes them so fascinating that they have infiltrated the common psyche more than other reptiles? Indeed, they are set apart to such a degree that many people are...

  7. TWO Chameleon Anatomy
    (pp. 7-56)
    CHRISTOPHER V. ANDERSON and TIMOTHY E. HIGHAM

    The family Chamaeleonidae is a distinctive clade of squamate reptiles with a plethora of unusual structural adaptations. Chameleons exhibit numerous distinctive features, including a laterally compressed body, forcep-like feet with toes grouped in opposing bundles, prehensile tail, enlarged casque, independently rotating eyes, and long tongue capable of being projected from the mouth. While chameleons are unique animals, they are also extremely diverse, with species spanning an approximate 20-fold range in adult total length and a 2000-fold range in body mass. Moreover, chameleons exhibit an extensive range of ornamentation. In addition, chameleons live over incredible ranges of habitats and demonstrate an...

  8. THREE Chameleon Physiology
    (pp. 57-62)
    ANTHONY HERREL

    The sensory system of chameleons is highly tuned toward visual stimuli. Not only do chameleons rely on visual signals in a social context, they are also visual predators (Gans, 1967). As such, a large body of literature has been devoted to the functioning and anatomy of the visual system. For example, it has been shown that chameleons have a negatively powered lens (Land, 1995; Ott and Schaeffel, 1995) and use accommodation cues to judge distance (Harkness, 1977), features convergent with the sandlance (Pettigrew et al., 1999). The auditory system has also been studied in some detail and shows lower hearing...

  9. FOUR Function and Adaptation of Chameleons
    (pp. 63-84)
    TIMOTHY E. HIGHAM and CHRISTOPHER V. ANDERSON

    Lizards have often been noted for their ability to move and capture prey in complex three-dimensional habitats (Huey and Pianka, 1981; Higham et al., 2001; Vanhooydonck et al., 2002; Mattingly and Jayne, 2004; Russell and Johnson, 2007; Montuelle et al., 2008). Given this, it is not surprising that many lizards are specialized for a particular type of locomotion and/or feeding. Chameleons, however, exhibit specialized feedingandlocomotor behaviors. Their locomotor system has garnered substantial attention, given their purported upright limb posture and ability to perform complex maneuvers within their habitat. Their feeding apparatus is equally elaborate; they have the ability...

  10. FIVE Ecology and Life History of Chameleons
    (pp. 85-114)
    G. JOHN MEASEY, ACHILLE RASELIMANANA and ANTHONY HERREL

    Chameleons have been relatively neglected in terms of their ecology, perhaps in part, because of their cryptic nature. As detailed in this review, the majority of studies on chameleons in situ have been conducted relatively recently (during the past 15 years), and most of these center on the extremely diverse island of Madagascar. Although there are some data on chameleon ecology in southern Africa and Europe, mainland African chameleons represent a relatively overlooked group of lizards.

    Chameleons display a unique set of morphological characteristics that set them apart from all other lizards, including gripping feet, independently moving eyes, a ballistic...

  11. SIX Chameleon Behavior and Color Change
    (pp. 115-130)
    DEVI STUART-FOX

    Although in many respects chameleon behavior resembles that of other lizards, there are also unusual characteristics associated with their unique morphology (Chapter 2). Chameleons are perhaps most famous for their ability to change color, a characteristic that has seen the termchameleonadopted in popular language to mean someone changeable or who unconsciously mimics others. Color and color change are integral to all aspects of chameleon behavior, including social, thermoregulatory, antipredator and foraging behavior. Consequently, this chapter focuses on both coloration and behavior in chameleons and will outline the modes of communication in chameleons, highlighting the importance of vision to...

  12. SEVEN Evolution and Biogeography of Chameleons
    (pp. 131-150)
    KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY and MICHELE MENEGON

    Both the fossil record and molecular dating show that most major squamate families were well established by the mid-Cretaceous and that a few stem lineages were present as early as the Jurassic (Kumazawa, 2007; Chapter 9). For example, skinks, cordylids and lacertids were present in the early Cretaceous or the late Jurassic (Vidal and Hedges, 2005, 2009), and gecko diversification is attributed to Gondwanan fragmentation in the early to mid-Cretaceous (Gamble et al., 2008). Chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae) however, are a young clade as compared with most other squamates. Together with Agamidae and Leiolepididae (collectively known as “acrodonts”), they diverged from...

  13. EIGHT Overview of the Systematics of the Chamaeleonidae
    (pp. 151-174)
    COLIN R. TILBURY

    Much of the current tertiary taxonomy of the Chamaeleonidae is based on the works of Charles Klaver and Wolfgang Böhme who produced an organized phylogeny of the family using a multifaceted organismal approach to better define relationships (Klaver and Böhme, 1986). Beyond some refining, their original phylogeny currently remains the defining work for the tertiary systematics of the family. This chapter will draw largely from their work and explore the evolution of the expanded taxonomic landscape since their 1986 publication.

    Chameleons share with their sister family the Agamidae the synapomorphies of acrodont dentition, the absence of caudal autotomy, and the...

  14. NINE Fossil History of Chameleons
    (pp. 175-192)
    ARNAU BOLET and SUSAN E. EVANS

    Chameleons are a highly characteristic and morphologically specialized group of lizards, with more than 190 species in 11 accepted genera (Appendix). Apart from recent introductions, the group is mainly distributed across southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, southern India, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar, reaching its greatest diversity in the latter (Chapter 7). Ingroup relationships of living chameleons are based strongly on molecular studies (e.g., Townsend and Larson, 2002, 2011a; Tolley et al., 2013), particularly at the species level, where morphological characters are less reliable (Tolley et al., 2004, 2011; Tilbury and Tolley, 2009; Townsend et al., 2009; Gehring et al.,...

  15. TEN Chameleon Conservation
    (pp. 193-216)
    RICHARD JENKINS, G. JOHN MEASEY, CHRISTOPHER V. ANDERSON and KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY

    Across the globe, species are in decline, primarily because of chronic degradation of primary habitat from anthropogenic activities (Myers et al., 2000; Mittermeier et al., 2004; Forister et al., 2010). The result is extensive habitat loss, and populations of some species are now undoubtedly smaller than at any time in their history. When such species are range-restricted and the rate of decline is rapid, the effects are compounded, leaving a distinct chance of extinction in the wild (Brooks et al., 2002; Thomas et al., 2004; Butchart et al., 2010). Chameleons are not exempt from these pressures, and a number of...

  16. APPENDIX List of 196 Described Chameleon Species as of 2012, with the Broad Region in Which They Occur
    (pp. 217-222)
  17. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. 223-224)
  18. REFERENCES
    (pp. 225-266)
  19. PHOTO CREDITS
    (pp. 267-268)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 269-275)