The Chameleons of KZN

We in KwaZulu-Natal are lucky enough to have a good diversity of chameleons.  We have 9 species occurring here, but 8 of the 9 species (one is yet to be fully described though),  are endemic to KwaZulu-Natal, meaning that they do not occur anywhere else in South Africa, or the world!

Some friends and I have completed a few long missions, in search of these special little reptiles. We have travelled far and wide, and we have managed to find and photograph all of them. Our reason for doing so: because it’s our passion, and it’s our version of fun!

So here is a quick photographic guide to the chameleon species of KwaZulu-Natal. I am just posting one photo per species, but there are some colour variations to these species. I am also posting a vague distribution, just to give you a rough idea where these species each occur. Distribution and locality is the best and most obvious way of differentiating them apart.

Thanks to Darren Van Eyssen, Dylan Leonard and Nick Schaller for the company!

Starting off to the species closest to home, for me.

 

KwaZulu Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion melanocephalum)

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Distribution: Mainly found in the Greater Durban Area, but it’s range does spread a bit further beyond this.

 

 

Midland’s Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion thamnobates)

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Distribution: As it’s name suggests, throughout the KZN Midlands.

 

 

Emerald Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion spp). This chameleon is yet to be fully described as a species.

Conservation status: Unknown

Distribution: Southern Drakensberg

 

 

Drakensberg Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion dracomontanum)

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Distribution: Drakensberg Mountain Ranger

 

Moving northwards…

 

Umlalazi Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion caeruleogula)

Conservation Status: Endangered

Distribution: Occurs in three forests in the southern Zululand area.

 

 

Qudeni Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion nemorale)

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Distribution: Endemic to two forests in Zululand

 

 

Setaro’s Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion setaroi)

Conservation Status: Endangered

Distribution: Throughout the Maputaland coastline.

 

 

Ngome Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion ngomense)

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Distribution: Restricted to a single forest in north-western Zululand

 

 

And then the big green one everyone knows, the Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis)!

Conservation Status: Not Threatened

Distribution: Throughout most of the eastern half of South Africa.