When there is a noticeable physical difference in the appearance of males and females of the same species they are said to be sexually dimorphic. Differences in size, coloration, and the presence or absence of body parts such as horns and tarsal spurs are the more common in the chameleon family. In some species these differences are easily detected at birth. It is more common that physical changes occur during puberty which make the differences more noticeable, and still in many species there are no obvious differences and sexing can only be done by endoscopic examination or surgical sexing. For information on species not described here check the AdCham Species Profile - Link opens in a new window


Chamaeleo Chamaeleo calyptratus - veiled chameleon, Yemen chameleon

                                                                            David Pickering

Male veileds have tarsal spurs which are detectable at birth. Males also have larger casques and bodies.


Chamaeleo Trioceros jacksonii - Jackson's

There are three recognized subspecies of Jackson's

  • Chamelo Triceros jacksonii jacksonii

  • Chamelo Triceros jacksonii merumontanus

  • Chamelo Triceros jacksonii xantholophus

                                        merumontanus                                                        xantholophus

S. James                                        S. James                        S. James                          M Lovein

Pictured above left are a pair of 2.5 month old Chamelo Triceros jacksonii merumontanus. Notice the preoccular horns above the eyes on the male. Females of this species either lack these horns or have smaller not fully developed versions. Pictured above right are adult male and female xantholophus. Notice the underdeveloped horns and the lack of yellow stripe on the female. Males will usually display colors at an earlier age than females. Adult males also have hemipenal bulges (see illustration below) and are slightly larger than females.

Jacksonii - Males have larger and thicker preocular horns.
Merumontanus - Females lack preocular horns and may or may not have a rostral horn.
Xantholophus - Females usually lack horns

Hemipenal bulges (the swollen area of the tail base created by the
presence of the male sexual organ - hemipenis) are more distinct after puberty, and are found in nearly every species of chameleon. In some species this is the only way to distinguish between the sexes.







literature cited (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)Link will open in a new window.

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