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Frequently asked questions about locales

There are some questions we have been asked again and again, so we set up this page to collect all those. If you think there might be more questions, we would be glad to receive an e-mail from you. To jump directly to the answers just click on your question.

I have a male panther chameleon. Can you please determine his locale?
I have a female panther chameleon. Can you please determine her locale?
Where do you get your pictures from?  
Why looks locale XY in your pictures different than it looks in captivity?
Is it possible that panther chameleons of different locales mate?
Do different locales mate in Madagascar?
Can you determine whether a panther chameleon comes from east or west coast depending on its colour bars?
Which locale are Uii, Picasso, Blue Diamond, Ampiskiana, Purple rain…?
What means “blue bar” or “red bar” in panther chameleons from Ambilobe?

I have a male panther chameleon. Can you please determine his locale?    

No. Mixtures between locales can look very similar to “pure” locales. If you are not sure about the origin of your panther chameleon, better relinquish breeding this individual or only sell the offspring explicitly as “possible mixture of several locales”. Buying chameleons is a matter of trust. So we can only recommend to avoid obviously dubious sources, strange vendors and buying an animal although informations about the locale remain unclear! Despite the fact that some locales have a very characteristic look, we have to admit that a determination of the locale of a panther chameleon is not doubtless possible without any sure information about its origin.

I have a female panther chameleon. Can you please determine her locale?   

No. There is no possibility to assign a female panther chameleon to her real locale if not already known while buying the animal. Neither cheek colour nor size, body colouration, ridge or other features help to identify the locale. Until now, we have been finding panther chameleon females in all habitats of Madagascar. Some looked extremly similar to females found several hundreds kilometeres away, and others look different sitting only few meteres away from each other in the same area. Buying a female thus is an even bigger matter of trust than buying male specimen. As an example, look at these pictures from different females from different distribution areas in Madagascar.

Where do you get your pictures from?

All our pictures were taken by ourselves and come directly from the habitat of the animals in Madagascar. None of the photos in our section “chameleon & habitat data” contains an animal in captivity. These are – without any exception – all photographs taken in the wild in Madagascar.

Why does locale XY in your pictures look different than it looks in captivity?

In case of many locales, we strongly doubt the imported panther chameleons have ever been taken from the named locality (e.g. Nosy Mangabe, Cap Est, Masoala, Joffreville). Mostly, these are simply animals of other locales, sold under wrong names to raise the prices. Additionally, animals taken out the wild for export from Madagascar are usually very colourful and come from areas easy to acces, which means the colouration of captive kept panther chameleons does not always match the real circumstances in Madagascar. In females, you also have to trust the exporter that the bought specimen does exactly come from the named locale (see question I have a female panther chameleon. Can you please determine his locale?) . This way it may even happen that locales are mixed unintentionally in captivity.

Is it possible that panther chameleons of different locales mate?

Of course it is possible that different locales mate, because it is always the same species, Furcifer pardalis. But in our opinion, you should then definitely say it when selling “mixed” locales’ offspring.

Do different locales mate in Madagascar?

No, usually not. Most locales are separated from others by natural barriers (rivers, lakes, the sea, mangroves, areas cleared by slash-and-burn agriculture). Occassionally it may happen that a panther chameleon migrates further away than others and comes into the distribution area of another neighboured locale by accident. But these single panther chameleons have surely no influence on the basic colouration of a complete locale. We explicitly do not share the idea that many panther chameleons are displaced by humans and that native people make locales mix up or change in colours this way. Most Madagascans won’t touch a chameleon, and additionally have neither interest in nor opportunity to drive or carry around animals. Still today, Madagascar is a developing country with high poverty. Each year again we experience that people in Madagascar avoid chameleons rather than liking them, and this fact has not been changing for years. Likewise, exporters who let people catch and transport chameleons in Madagsascar have no interest in releasing those animals in another place again.

Can you determine whether a panther chameleon comes from east or west coast depending on its colour bars?

No. U and Y as well as V shaped lateral bars occur at both coasts in Madagascar. We also found animals in Madagascar yet that had an U on one side of the body and a Y on the other side. Although the idea of distinguishing the coast locales may sound nice and is described in some books, it does unfortunately not work in reality.

This male from Sambava has a U-shaped bar on his right side…

...links sieht man jedoch ein Y am gleichen Tier (hier vorne im Bild)

…but a Y shape on his left side (it is the male in front)

Which locales are Uii, Picasso, Blue Diamond, Purple rain, Orana mena, Ampiskiana…?

“Uii” was a panther chameleon male (locale Ambilobe) from a German breeder, who does not keep chameleons anymore since 2008. This chameleon died being only few years old, so there is no chance direct offspring from him still exists up to date. The breeding line named after him could also be “Kevin line” if the beautiful male in the beginning would have been called Kevin.  Since, as already said, there exist no sons of this individual nowadays anymore, we think it is useless to name panther chameleons after their great-great-great-grandfather still today. “Picasso” instead is not even the name of a distinct animal, but a term for especially pretty coloured panther chameleons, which was introduced by a Dutch dealer (who lives in Madagascar) as export name. In the meantime, this and other invented names simply have been shown to sell better than old known locale names. “Blue Diamond” is also a selling term for animals of a common locale, mostly Ambanja, that show more blue colour than others. But all their life, panther chameleons can change strongly in colouration, so actually these terms make no sense. “Orana mena” is a nickname for mainly panther chameleons from Nosy Faly that show a lot of red dots. “Orana” is the Malagasy word for “rain” and “mena” simply means “red”. The locale of “Ampiskiana” is also no distinct village, river or other local name in Madagascar. Where the animals imported under this name originally came from remains a mistery of the exporter.

Besides these, there are some breeders especially in the U.S., that deliberately mix different locales to get a more intense or special colour. This “colour variants” often get new names invented by the breeder. Those panther chameleons have nothing to do with natural locales occuring in Madagascar. Everyone has to decide for himself if he or she likes them or not. But what you should take home as a message is that these animals are not part of a new discovered or very special locale, but human made “mixes” between different locales to get a more striking colour. We – personally – think this should be clearly stated when selling such chameleons, too. Here, the term “color morph” would be more appropriate, because it is no longer a matter of naturally occurring locales.

What means “blue bar” or “red bar” in panther chameleons from Ambilobe?

These terms only describe the look of a distinct individual. “Blue bar” means the animal has mainly blue coloured bars, “red bars” means mainly red coloured stripes. To our minds, these labels are nonsense, because panther chameleons from the same clutch can show blue and red bars, and even single males can change from one to the other during their lifetime. Sadly, especially beginners in keeping panther chameleons are often told that one of these colourations might be more popular, rarer or would have any other promotional character. But in the end, you buy a panther chameleon of the same locale, Ambilobe, under both terms.

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