“The common chameleon – Chamaeleo chamaeleon” fills a small gap in the reptile book market, because until now there was no comparable book dealing only with this species. The authors are Jürg Meier, professor emeritus of zoology at the University of Basel in Switzerland and member of the AG Chamäleons, Juan Pablo González de la Vega, herpetologist from Andalusia and Joaquín Santaolalla, head of the Biodiversity Control Centre at the Málaga Veterinary Office.
At the beginning of the book, the species Chamaeleo chamaeleon is introduced, its habitat and the differences to Chamaeleo africanus, the second chameleon species native to Europe. The rest of the first half of the book then deals mainly with basic knowledge about chameleons in general. The body structure, the modified hands and feet, the highly specialised eye, the ability to change colour and the famous tongue shot are discussed among other things. Again and again, results from scientific studies are incorporated into the text. The second half of the book deals with the life cycle and occurrence of Chamaeleo chamaeleon. Predators are introduced, and mating and reproduction, as well as the different colour dresses of the animals, are explained. Photos of nest-building, egg-laying and hatching of the small chameleons complete the presentation of the species. Finally, the endangerment of the European chameleon and current conservation efforts in Spain are discussed. Many photos and graphics illustrate the text.
The book is aimed at laymen – people who do not know much about chameleons and would like to learn more. It is easy to read and easy to understand, only a few sections get a little lost in scientific terms. A bit of a pity is some pixelated and altogether very colourful graphics in the book, which detract from the valuable overall impression. Ultimately, however, this does not detract from the purpose of the book. It awakens enthusiasm for chameleons, especially among interested nature lovers who have had nothing to do with these fascinating reptiles until now. And that is exactly what it was designed for. The book is currently being used in Málaga as a small textbook in environmental lessons at school and as a purchasable read for curious travellers and locals.
The book is available in German and Spanish. It is self-published and can currently be obtained from the author (see below) or from the Chameleon Centre of the Veterinary Office of Málaga, Spain.
The common chameleon – Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Jürg Meier, Juan Pablo Gonzalez de la Vega, Joaquín Santaolalla
128 pages, Jumeba Sachbuch Verlag