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Cape Fold Dwarf Chameleon Project

There are 15 recognised species of dwarf chameleons (Bradypodion) in South Africa, and four of these are endemic to the Cape Fold Mountains. In addition, there appear to be several other undescribed species present within the Cape Fold Mountains. To date, the geographic distribution of many of these species remains largely unknown, and their taxonomy is poorly understood.


The Cape Fold Dwarf Chameleon Project is part of a larger project aimed at cataloguing the species diversity, genetic diversity and conservation of the Cape Fold montane herpetofauna (reptiles & amphibians) in the Cape Fold Mountains. This project is in co-operation primarily with the University of Pretoria and CapeNature.

To date, dwarf chameleons have been catalogued from 12 Provincial nature reserves in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape Provinces. In addition, chameleons from several private reserves and forestry areas have been added to the database. The database in total contains records of over 150 chameleons, most of which have been collected since October 2002.

To better understand the evolutionary processes that have created species diversity and geographic distribution of the dwarf chameleons, analyses of genetic variation within this group are being conducted at the University of Stellenbosch, Evolutionary Genomics Lab. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand the aid in conservation planning of herpetofaunal biodiversity in the region.


Dwarf chameleons endemic to the
Cape Fold Mountains of South Africa


Bradypodion gutturale


Bradypodion pumilum


Bradypodion taeniabronchum

Bradypodion damaranum'

 

Photos ©:

M. Burger, C.R. Tilbury, K.A. Tolley

 
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