Common Chameleon - BIO 203
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File:Camaleon galifa.JPGChameleon reproduction takes place from July to December during which the chameleons mate, the female chameleons lay eggs, and the male chameleons’ testis size grows and eventually reverts back to the original size as winter approaches (Ibrahim 2013). The mating ritual consists of competition between males to mate with and guard a female. Monogamy proves to be the main system of mating among chameleons; however, in many cases polygyny can occur. Polygyny is a system of reproduction in which the male reproduces with many females. In chameleons, the male chameleon will protect a few different females throughout the mating season, but will only guard one at a time (Cuadrado 2000). The size of female chameleons influenced greatly the lengths to which the male chameleons will go to protect their mate. The male chameleons will guard female chameleons for longer periods and earlier in the mating season if the female is larger (Cuadrado 2000).  Additionally, during the mating season, the female chameleon will change skin color. The shift is very apparent as yellow spots arranged in a pattern. (Cuadrado 1998). After the female develops the yellow spots, the males spend much more time with the female guarding her and attempting to engage in sexual intercourse. While the male is guarding the File:Chamaeleo zeylanicus.jpgfemale, more chameleons will try to approach the female chameleon if she is larger in size and has developed the spots (Cuadrado 1998).  If an intruder approaches the female, the male chameleon will protect the female more often by chasing away the predator rather than fighting. The chameleon will puff out its chest by inflating its lungs trying to appear bigger, exhibit courting colors (Cuadrado 2000).

Through sexual reproduction, the females lay eggs during the fall, bury the eggs in burrows that are about 35 cm deep that they have dug, and these eggs hatch within 9 to 12 months (Díaz-Paniagua   2003, Cuadrado 1999). Female chameleons in areas of Spain lay groups of about 15 eggs during the fall that tend to hatch around August (Díaz-Paniagua   2003). These eggs have flexible shells and are greatly dependent upon water for egg metabolism, egg growth, success of hatching, and the survival and body size of the offspring (Díaz-Paniagua   2003). Temperature during the period of incubation also plays a critical role in the development of the embryo; at higher temperatures, the embryo develops more quickly, but at lower temperatures, the egg metabolism has a higher rate of efficiency producing larger and heavier eggs (Díaz-Paniagua et al. 2003). Similarly, when conditions are wet, the offspring produced was heavier as result of the higher water absorption during the offspring’s incubation period (Díaz-Paniagua  2003).

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