Fw: Chameleons book

Lynn Raw lynn.raw at VIRGIN.NET
Mon Oct 29 21:59:40 CST 2001

Fellow list members,

I have been advised that the following book has been recently published. This news may be of interest to some recipients so I have copied the full details. Please note that this is for your information and not an attempt to sell the book to you. I have no connection with the authors or publishers. If you have no interest please delete.

Lynn Raw (Greenford, England)

Mellado, J., L. Gimenez, J.J. Gomez, y M. Sanjuan. (2001). El camaleon en Andalucia. Distribucion actual y amenazas para su supervivencia. Fundacion Alcalde Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos. Rota, Cadiz. 147 p. (ISBN: 8487960-31-6).

Briefly, the book deals with the distribution, ecology and conservation of the common chameleon in Andalusia. In practical terms, this study is valid for the whole of Spain and the European Union. The enclosed information contains a brief summary of contents and a list of keywords.

The book has been published in Spanish, in a limited edition of one thousand numbered copies. Its format is of 30 · 21 cm., and includes ilustrations in both black and white and colour; 21 geo-referenced maps, 40 figures and 7 colour plates. 

Orders for copies of the book should be made to:

Juan Pedro Caballero 

Fundacion Alcalde Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos 

c) Charco, 15 

Rota. 11520 Cadiz. SPAIN 

tel: +34 956 810411 

fax: +34 956 813450 

Unit price: 2500 pts; 15.02 Euro, plus postage and packing.

express contact: jesus at eeza.csic.es


The common chameleon in Andalusia. Actual distribution and survival threats.

During a seven year period (1993-1999), a thorough study was made of the distribution and abundance of the common chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) in Andalusia (Spain, European Union), where it is considered a threatened species. Using a multiple sampling design, a distribution map for the species has been made, combining a plotless method, and two transect methods (night driving and road mortality), which have allowed us to obtain empirical indexes of presence and relative abundance of this species. The results thus gathered have been geo-referenced through GPS, in order to integrate them in a Geographical Information System (GIS Chamaeleo), and represented in the UTM coordinates system with a resolution level of 1 Km2.

The common chameleon in Andalusia constitutes a metapopulation divided into three principal nucleii in the provinces of Huelva, Cádiz y Málaga, and a series of satellite micropopulations of more recent artificial origin (via translocations) which extends to the provinces of Granada y Almería. The species currently occupies at least 434 Km2 spread over a total extention of some 1400 Km2. Within its distribution area, this chameleon inhabits the greater part of existing habitat types within the complex mosaic of a human environment.

The relative abundance index of the species  -between 20% and 40% of its true abundance, estimated through a mark-recapture sampling- ranges between one and 32 chameleons/hectare, although in the larger part of this area (72%) there is low incidence (less than 10 chameleons per hectare). No significant differences have been detected in the abundance levels during the study period (7 years); if there is any identifiable tendency it would be towards an increase in population size. 

At the same time, the major environmental impacts constituting possible threats to chameleon survival have been analyzed: habitat destruction, road mortality and translocations. A detailed study of environmental destruction through building has been made over a forty year period (1955-1995) in Rota (Cádiz), a very representative area for the species. During this period, the chameleon has disappeared from one third of the area occupied prior to this date. Bearing in mind that this process is of a general character in coastal areas, and that the impact of new building has dramatically increased in the last six years, we have clasified environmental destruction as a serious threat to chameleons survival in two of the three principal distribution nucleii (Huelva and Cádiz).

We have also analyzed chameleon road mortality through a complex and diversified road system (327 linear kilometers) in the main species nucleus of Málaga, during a five year period (1994-1998). The results of this study indicate that, although the number of individuals deaths might appear high (some 1000 chameleons p.a.), the population dynamic does not seem affected in general terms.

Finally, we have analyzed the data registered by the principal bodies controlling the traditional translocations of chameleons in Andalusia between 1986 and 1997. As in the case of the previous threat, although the number of annual translocations seems high, this appears to have no serious impact on the population dynamic of the species.

Bearing in mind the extent of the distribution area, the species abundance level and its fluctuations, and the threats to its populations, we propose in this study that the chamaleon be classified in the IUCN category of species at Low Risk, conservation dependent in Andalusia, Spain and the European Union, respectively. At local level, we also propose the additional classification of Vulnerable species, in the provinces of Huelva and Cádiz. We also suggest certain measures for the development of respective Management and Conservation Plans, to ensure the future survival of the species.

Keywords: Chameleons. Ecology. Conservation. Distribution. Andalusia. Spain. European Union (EU). Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Presence Index. Density estimation. Sampling Effort. Plotless Methods. Road Methods. Night driving. Road Mortality. Road Systems, Habitat Destruction. Translocations. Threatened Species. Management Plans. Conservation Plans.


Jesús Mellado

Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas,

c) General Segura, 1

E-04001 Almería. Spain

Phone: +34 950 281 045

FAX: +34 950 277 100

E-mail: jesus at eeza.csic.es

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