Common Chameleon - BIO 203
Classification Flow-chart of Chamaeleo chamaeleon made by Samantha Schmitz

Domain: Eukarya

The Common Chameleon is part of the Domain Eukarya which have cells with membrane bound organelles, and a bound nucleus.

Kingdom: Animalia

The Common Chameleon is part of the Kingdom Animalia because it is a multicellular organism that is motile and lacks cell walls. Characteristics that coincide with the organism being multicellular is that it has cells with specialized functions along with levels of cellular organization.

Phylum: Chordata

All vertebrates, including the Common Chameleon, are from the phylum Chordata which have a hollow nerve chord and a notochord. Organisms in this phylum also have triploblastic tissue layers with deuterostomes embryotic development.  

To learn more about other organisms in the Phylum Chordata, check out the world's larges land mammal, the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

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Class: Reptilia

Animals in the Reptilia Class are cold blooded tetrapods, with scales that grow from the epidermis. Like reptiles, the Common Chameleon have well developed lungs which sets them apart from their close ancestors the amphibians (Tolley et al. 2013).

Order: Squamata

The characteristics that make the Common Chameleon part of the order Squamata is that they shed periodically and have a multi-jointed skull (Tolley et al. 2013).

Family: Chamaeleonidae

The Common Chameleon is part of the Chamaeleonidae family, with a unique morphology of their feet and long tongue that they can release rapidly to capture prey (Keren-Rotem et al. 2006).

Genus: Chamaeleo

The Chamaeleo genus includes chameleons that live mostly in Africa and southern Europe and are extremely slow moving (Ibrahim 2013).

Species: Chamaeleo chamaeleon

The main defining characteristic of the Common Chameleon is that it is native to Europe. The meaning of the scientific name is found by the Latin prefix Chamae- meaning that the organism lives in an earth habitat (Borror 1960).

The phylogeny on the right represents the phylum Chordata and its divergences over time. This phylogeny shows that birds share a most recent common ancestors with other reptiles. This also shows that reptiles are actually more closely related to mammals like dolphins (Stenella frontalis) than they are amphibian like salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).

This phylogeny on the left shows the wide variety of Kingdoms and Domains there are for all the organisms on earth. This also shows how the common chameleon is part of the domain Eukarya and kingdom Animalia, which is only a small sliver compared to the whole diagram.

To learn more about where the Common Chameleon lives go to Habitat >>

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