Chamaeleonidae

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m (Chameleon moved to Chamaeleonidae: proper taxon name)
(Description)
 
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{{otheruses}}
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<center> Genera of '''Chamaeleonidae'''
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{{distinguish|Charmeleon}}
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*''[[Bradypodion]]''<br>
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{{Taxobox
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*''[[Calumma]]''<br>
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| name = Chameleon
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*''[[Chamaeleo]]''<br>
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| image = Camaleón.jpg
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*''[[Furcifer]]''<br>
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| image_caption = [[Common Chameleon]], ''Chamaeleo chamaeleon''
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*''[[Kinyongia]]''<br>
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| regnum = [[Animal]]ia
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*''[[Nadzikambia]]''<br>
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| phylum = [[Chordate|Chordata]]
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*''[[Brookesia]]''<br>
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| classis = [[Reptile|Reptilia]]
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*''[[Rieppeleon]]''<br>
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| ordo = [[Squamata]]
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*''[[Rhampholeon]]''</center>
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| subordo = [[Iguania]]
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| familia = '''Chamaeleonidae'''
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| subdivision_ranks = Genera
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| subdivision =
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''[[Bradypodion]]''<br>
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''[[Calumma]]''<br>
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''[[Chamaeleo]]''<br>
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''[[Furcifer]]''<br>
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''[[Kinyongia]]''<br>
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''[[Nadzikambia]]''<br>
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''[[Brookesia]]''<br>
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''[[Rieppeleon]]''<br>
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''[[Rhampholeon]]''
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}}
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The family '''Chamaeleonidae''' are a distinctive and highly specialized [[clade]] of [[lizard]]s.  They are distinguished by their parrot-like [[zygodactyl]]ous feet, their separately mobile and [[stereoscopic]] eyes, their very long, highly modified, and  rapidly extrudable tongues, their swaying gait, and the possession by many of a [[prehensile]] tail, crests or horns on their distinctively shaped heads, and the synonymous ability to change color.  Uniquely adapted for climbing and visual hunting, the approximately 160 species of chameleon range from [[Africa]], [[Madagascar]], and [[Spain]], across south [[Asia]], to [[Sri Lanka]], have been introduced to [[Hawaii]] and [[California]], and are found in warm habitats that vary from [[rain forest]] to [[desert]] conditions.   
The family '''Chamaeleonidae''' are a distinctive and highly specialized [[clade]] of [[lizard]]s.  They are distinguished by their parrot-like [[zygodactyl]]ous feet, their separately mobile and [[stereoscopic]] eyes, their very long, highly modified, and  rapidly extrudable tongues, their swaying gait, and the possession by many of a [[prehensile]] tail, crests or horns on their distinctively shaped heads, and the synonymous ability to change color.  Uniquely adapted for climbing and visual hunting, the approximately 160 species of chameleon range from [[Africa]], [[Madagascar]], and [[Spain]], across south [[Asia]], to [[Sri Lanka]], have been introduced to [[Hawaii]] and [[California]], and are found in warm habitats that vary from [[rain forest]] to [[desert]] conditions.   
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Chameleons are [[dactyl|didactyl]]: on each foot the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a [[tongs]]-like appearance. These specialized feet allow chameleons to grip tightly to narrow branches. Each toe is equipped with a sharp claw to gain traction on surfaces such as bark when climbing. The claws make it easy to see how many toes are fused into each part of the foot&nbsp;&mdash; two toes on the outside of each front foot and three on the inside.
Chameleons are [[dactyl|didactyl]]: on each foot the five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a [[tongs]]-like appearance. These specialized feet allow chameleons to grip tightly to narrow branches. Each toe is equipped with a sharp claw to gain traction on surfaces such as bark when climbing. The claws make it easy to see how many toes are fused into each part of the foot&nbsp;&mdash; two toes on the outside of each front foot and three on the inside.
                
                
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Their eyes are the most distinctive among the reptiles. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously. It in effect gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their body. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp [[stereoscopic vision]] and [[depth perception]]. They have very good eyesight for reptiles, letting them see small insects from a long (5-10 cm) distance.
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Their eyes are the most distinctive among the reptiles. The upper and lower eyelids are joined, with only a pinhole large enough for the pupil to see through. They can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects simultaneously. It in effect gives them a full 360-degree arc of vision around their body. When prey is located, both eyes can be focused in the same direction, giving sharp [[stereoscopic vision]] and [[depth perception]]. They have very good eyesight for reptiles, letting them see small insects from a long (5-10 cm) distance.  [[Ultraviolet light]] is part of the visible spectrum for chameleons.<ref>[http://www.chameleonnews.com/lighting1.html Chameleon News, August 2004]</ref> Chameleons exposed to ultraviolet light show increased social behavior and activity levels, are more inclined to bask and feed and are also more likely to reproduce as it has a positive effect on the [[pineal gland]].
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They lack a [[vomeronasal organ]]. Also, like [[snake]]s, they do not have an outer or a middle [[ear]]. This suggests that chameleons might be [[deaf]], although it should be noted that snakes can sense vibration using a bone called the [[quadrate]]im. Furthermore, some or maybe all chameleons, can communicate via vibrations that travel through solid material like branches.
 
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Chameleons have very long [[tongue]]s (sometimes longer than their own body length) which they are capable of rapidly extending out of the mouth. The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second.  The tongue hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second.<ref>[http://www.wonderquest.com/escalators-chameleon-tongue.htm A Lethal Lashing Tongue]</ref> The tongue of the chameleon is a complex arrangement of bone, muscle and sinew. At the base of the tongue there is a bone and this is shot forward giving the tongue the initial momentum it needs to reach the prey quickly. At the tip of the elastic tongue there is a muscular, club-like structure covered in thick mucus that forms a suction cup.<ref>[[Ross Piper|Piper, Ross]] (2007), ''Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals'', [[Greenwood Press (publisher)|Greenwood Press]].</ref>  Once the tip sticks to a prey item, it is drawn quickly back into the mouth, where the chameleon's strong jaws crush it and it is consumed. Even a small chameleon is capable of eating a large [[locust]] or [[mantis]]. [[Ultraviolet light]] is part of the visible spectrum for chameleons.<ref>[http://www.chameleonnews.com/lighting1.html Chameleon News, August 2004]</ref> Chameleons exposed to ultraviolet light show increased social behavior and activity levels, are more inclined to bask and feed and are also more likely to reproduce as it has a positive effect on the [[pineal gland]].
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They lack a [[vomeronasal organ]]. Also, like [[snake]]s, they do not have an outer or a middle [[ear]]. This suggests that chameleons might be [[deaf]], although it should be noted that snakes can sense vibration using a bone called the [[quadrate]]im. Furthermore, some or maybe all chameleons, can communicate via vibrations that travel through solid material like branches. 
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===Tongues===
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Chameleons have very long [[tongue]]s (sometimes longer than their own body length) which they are capable of rapidly extending out of the mouth. The tongue extends out faster than human eyes can follow, at around 26 body lengths per second.  The tongue hits the prey in about 30 thousandths of a second.<ref>[http://www.wonderquest.com/escalators-chameleon-tongue.htm A Lethal Lashing Tongue]</ref> The tongue of the chameleon is a complex arrangement of bone, muscle and sinew. At the base of the tongue there is a bone and this is shot forward giving the tongue the initial momentum it needs to reach the prey quickly. At the tip of the elastic tongue there is a muscular, club-like structure covered in thick mucus that forms a suction cup.<ref>[[Ross Piper|Piper, Ross]] (2007), ''Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals'', [[Greenwood Press (publisher)|Greenwood Press]].</ref>  Once the tip sticks to a prey item, it is drawn quickly back into the mouth, where the chameleon's strong jaws crush it and it is consumed. Even a small chameleon is capable of eating a large [[locust]] or [[mantis]].
== Distribution and behavior ==
== Distribution and behavior ==
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[[Image:mellers.chameleon.bristol.zoo.arp.jpg|thumb|right|[[Meller's Chameleon]], ''Chamaeleo melleri'']]
[[Image:mellers.chameleon.bristol.zoo.arp.jpg|thumb|right|[[Meller's Chameleon]], ''Chamaeleo melleri'']]
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==As a metaphor==
 
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When a person is described as chameleon, the reference to the animal is generally a commentary on the person's ability to blend into various social situations, often to mean the person has no true values, or that he quickly abandons them in company if it's convenient to do so.<ref>http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chameleon</ref> "Chameleons" are also people who can change their personality and appearance with ease, morphing into a seemingly different person, such as an accomplished actor or model.
 
==Video==
==Video==
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== External links ==
== External links ==
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{{Commons|Chamaeleonidae}}
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{{wikispecies|Chamaeleonidae}}
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*[http://www.archive.org/details/chamaeleontidae27wern Werner, Franz (1911) Chamaeleontidae. Verlag von R. Friedlander und Sohn. (German)]
*[http://www.archive.org/details/chamaeleontidae27wern Werner, Franz (1911) Chamaeleontidae. Verlag von R. Friedlander und Sohn. (German)]
*[http://www.chameleonnews.com/ Chameleons! Online E-zine]
*[http://www.chameleonnews.com/ Chameleons! Online E-zine]

Latest revision as of 07:16, 30 March 2009

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