Jackson’s Chameleon Facts
- The term of Jackson’s Chameleon serves as just one of the common names for a particularly distinctive species of reptile. In fact, this remarkable creature actually remains known by quite a wide variety of common names. Some may surprise you.
- Some of these include such colorful names as the horned chameleon, Jackson’s Horned Chameleon, and even the Kikuyu three-horned chameleon. Its scientific name, however, remains that of the somewhat hard to pronounce Trioceros jacksonii.
- By either of these many names, though, it represents a truly fascinating animal. The renowned Belgian-British zoologist George Albert Boulenger made the first official recognition of it as a separate species. This acknowledgement occurred in the year 1896.
- Quite fortunately, for the moment, at least, its population appears to be remaining both stable and sufficient. This further holds true throughout the entirety of its range. As a result, the IUCN currently lists it as Least Concern on its Red List.
- The marvelous Jackson’s Chameleon nonetheless faces some potential threats to its existence as a species. One of these involves the presence of invasive species in its native range. Its greatest global threat, though, no doubt consists of climate change.
Jackson’s Chameleon Physical Description
It bears noting that, while the fascinating Jackson’s Chameleon truly impresses one, it does not do so due to sheer size. Somewhat surprisingly to some, this specific reptile only ranks as a roughly average-sized species among its many relatives in its Order.
It does, however, amaze the viewer in other ways. For one, the animal displays the physiological trait of sexual dimorphism in not one, but two separate ways. Although not unknown, this degree of gender-based differentiation remains uncommon.
In terms of overall size, the males of the species attain a respectably greater size than their female counterparts. He reaches an average head-to-tail length of roughly 15 in (38 cm). She, meanwhile, only grows to an average total length measuring roughly 10 in (25 cm).
The second manifestation of the sex-based differences develops in regards to the horns. The male develops three horns, generally brown in color. Females of the creature, on the other hand, possess no horns at all, distinguishing themselves significantly.
In coloring, though, both genders of the fabulous Jackson’s Chameleon develop essentially the same appearance. This remains changeable, however. The principal color usually presents as bright green, with some shades of yellow or blue, though this changes.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Chamaeleonidae
- Genus: Triceros
- Species: T. jacksonii
Jackson’s Chameleon Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Despite the fact that it has now been spread to other parts of the world, the Jackson’s Chameleon evolved as native to only a small are of the globe. More specifically, it develop as endemic to portions of what’s now the countries of Tanzania and Kenya, in Africa.
Now, though, the animal appears in the wild in several other regions. Through the actions of man it now inhabits, in small numbers, portions of the Hawaiin Islands, Florida, in the United States. Unconfirmed reports of sightings in other areas also exist.
Wherever it appears, the distinct reptile has proven itself to be reasonably flexible in terms of specific habitat. In its natural range, it lives at altitudes between 5,250 -8,010 ft (1,600 – 2,440 m). In Hawaii, however, it now appears between 330 – 3,280 ft (100 – 1,000 m).
Within all these places, though, the Jackson’s Chameleon prefers to make its home in regions of local forests and woodlands. It further requires these various areas to have ample amounts of rainfall, and temperate to tropical temperature ranges for its survival.
Just as its many close relatives, it evolved as purely carnivorous in nature. For this, its adaptive camouflage serves it perfectly, It primarily consumes large quantities of various insects, such as isopods, millipedes, spiders, centipedes, snails, and sometimes small lizards.
It further distinguishes itself in one more manner. Most chameleons lay eggs, but not this one. This species gives live birth, typically to between 8 – 30 young. Finally, while most related creatures are highly territorial, this one typically remains much less so.