C. jacksonii xantholophus adult males are light emerald green with vaguely defined yellow along the throat, shoulders, flanks, and crest scales; the head is darker green or turquoise (Waring, 1997), and adults of the species have the ability to rapidly and dramatically change color in response to other chameleons and/or the presence of perceived threat from predators. Males have three brownish annulated horns, consisting of two preocular horns and one rostral (the latter being longest) (Waring, 1997). Adult females of the Mt. Kenya subspecies typically have no horns; their body color (and that of immature males) varies, ranging from gray to reddish-brown to dark olive, often having light blotches on the darker background color (Eason et al. 1988; in Waring, 1997), but again under stress can alter color pattern and brightness. Males normally attain a length of 25-30 cm (SVL = ~15 cm), females are commonly 5 cm shorter (Fergeson et al. 1991; in Waring, 1997). The tail accounts for about half of the animal's length; it is prehensile and often curled in a laterally-flattened coil as the chameleon is perched motionless, in an ambush posture. The limbs are long and adroit (Waring, 1997). Sets of toes are fused medially such that there are two claw-tipped, opposable paddle-like toes on each foot; these grip the arboreal substrate steadfastly (Waring, 1997). \r\n
A solitary lifestyle was typical of C. jacksonii at all ages at Makawao, on the Hawaiian island of Maui (Waring, 1997) with smaller individuals generally avoiding larger ones. McKeown (1995) noted that adult males will challenge one another to horn-to-horn pushing duels in territorial attempts to drive away competitors, with the weaker, or more submissive male ultimately retreating. Waring (1997) noted that individuals were often found in the same tree or shrub day after day, nevertheless, they remained apart. Immature and adults coexisted in the same plant, but rarely did they get within 0.5 m of each other (Waring, 1997). As with other species of chameleons, juveniles tend to occupy forest understory and grassy habitat, in what is possibly an ontogenetic habitat shift and an adaptive behaviour to avoid cannibalism by adults (Rotem et al. 2006).
Principal source: Holland, Brenden S., Steven L. Montgomery and Vincent Costello, 2010. A reptilian smoking gun: first record of invasive Jackson’s chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksonii) predation on native Hawaiian species.
Carpenter, Angus I.; J. Marcus Rowcliffe; Andrew R. Watkinson, 2004. The dynamics of the global trade in chameleons.
Waring, G. H. 1997. Preliminary study of the behavior and ecology of Jackson's chameleons of Maui, Hawaii. Report for USGS/BRD/PIERC Haleakala Field Station presented by Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project.
Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Review: Dr. Brenden Holland, Assistant Researcher, Center for Conservation Research and Training, Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. USA
Publication date: 2010-05-27
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2019) Species profile: Chamaeleo jacksonii. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1575 on 21-04-2019.