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Friday, May 11, 2012

Foto Friday: Calmer Chamaeleon

Male Jackson's chamaeleon in an avocado tree
Maui, April 2012

How'd you like this monster staring at you in the morning? This is a Jackson's Chamaeleon. (Very nice pic in that link, with the pink flowers and all.) They're native to East Africa, but were introduced to Hawaii for God knows what reason. This one is in an avocado tree, surrounded by avocado blossoms. He stood out because of his tail, which is a bluish green (and also because the tree was losing its leaves, as they do, and the new ones were coming in red). I've noticed a couple of these around the house now and again, and they stand out for their brilliant green color -- they're really not all that well-camouflaged!

You'll note this one has a dark red head; I'd never seen one with that coloration. Someone told me that they'd do that if you held onto them for a while, but I was not about to make that experiment. The first of these I saw blended in perfectly, because it was dead and flat and leathery, and I nearly stepped on it. I was at the tiny and remote Sun Yat Sen Park, and I saw this dead monster on the ground. It was kind of like finding a dead baby tyrannosaurus in the yard. You wonder if there are bigger ones lurking about.

When I went down to get a closer look at this one, I found out he had a girlfriend:

Female Jackson's chamaeleon, Maui, April 2012

The female lacks the horns of the male, and this one, at least, is a much different color from her mate. I couldn't get such a good shot of her. I was wondering if one day I'd find myself overrun by tiny baby monsters, but after a few weeks they disappeared. I hope a cat or an owl didn't get them. They are incredibly slow, slower than arthritic turtles or lazy snails. They can't outrun me, in other words, and that's pretty pathetic.

Jackson's chamaeleon, May, 2011

Here's one from last year. I saw him from the kitchen window, and ran out to get a pic. He started climbing the date palm, and in a half hour or so, he would've gotten clean away.

What are you lookin' at?

Here's a close-up, taken the month before. Isn't he adorable? This one I also nearly stepped on, despite his not being dead and brown and leathery. I was minding my own business, wandering around the driveway, and almost put my foot down on him. Note that the famous chamaeleon camouflage does not extend to "concrete". I am disappoint. This is the same individual as in the previous pic, I'm pretty sure. He has the same coloration on his left hind leg (you see that in other photos of the same set). He's not the man with the girlfriend, though, because his legs were differently colored. Unless they do that sort of thing.

See ya, toots. I gotta motor.

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