Meller’s chameleon

Meller’s chameleon

Trioceros melleri

Common name:

Meller’s chameleon

Scientific name:

Trioceros melleri

Alternative common names:


Meller’s chameleon is the largest species of chameleon from the African mainland. A large male typically reaches 61cm in length, with exceptionally large specimens reaching over 76.2cm. Like most chameleons, Meller’s chameleons are strictcarnivores, eating insects, smaller lizards, spiders, worms and caterpillars.Their long tongues can reach prey up to 51cm away.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

East Africa (Tanzania, Mozambique).

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

Category 2 in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

How does it spread?

It spreads through pet trade.

Why is it a problem?

It preys on indigenous insects, flowers, buds, mammals and small birds.

What does it look like?

Description: Meller’s chameleon has a stout body and relatively stubby tail one-third the length of its body. Scales that vary in shape and size are found on various parts of its body and large, granular scales are distributed homogeneously on the trunk and limbs. Spots and broad vertical bands on the chameleon’s flanks range from brown, dark green and yellow to black. When fed or handled, it might display black and white dots. When basking in the sun, the side of the body exposed to the sunlight can turn dark green or black, while the rest of the animal stays much lighter.

Habitat: Tropical grasslands and treetops in the savannah.

Breeding: When a female indicates she is receptive to the male’s advances, they may mate several times over a period of days. Females store sperm for several months, enabling them to lay several clutches of eggs during the year from a single encounter. The female buries the eggs in a hole in the ground and covers them with leaves.

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