Dwarfs of Lovane

Cape Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion pumilum) at Lovane near Stellenbosch; the name of this vineyard is derived from a Xhosa word “U’Lovane”, which means Chameleon. [Canon 7D, Canon 16-35mm, Canon MT-24EX twin light]

Yesterday I wrote about the Mt. Gorongosa Pygmy Chameleon, a species endemic to a single mountain in central Mozambique. But if you travel towards the southwestern corner of South Africa, you are likely to encounter another lineage of these amazing lizards, the Dwarf Chameleons (Bradypodion). About twenty species of these small but incredibly colorful chameleons are known from South Africa, and they are all endemic to this country.

Last year Kristin and I met one of the species, the Cape Dwarf Chameleon (B. pumilum), in a picturesque vineyard near Stellenbosch, as we were walking, glasses in hand, among rows of grapevines before sunset. A biologist’s life is sometimes so tough.

Western Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion occidentale) from Namaqua National Park in the Northern Cape province of South Africa [Canon 1D MkII, Sigma 15mm]

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