Bearded Leaf Chameleon (Bearded Pygmy Chameleon)

The Bearded Leaf Chameleon or Bearded Pygmy Chameleon, Rhampholeon brevicaudatus, is found in the eastern Usambara and Uluguru mountains in northeastern Tanzania. It is easily distinguished from others in the Rhampholeon genus by the presence of a “beard” below the mouth, consisting of a few raised scales.

At a full grown length of only a few inches, it is marked by somewhat drab coloring in comparison to other chameleons, usually assuming a brown or tan coloring. It is quite capable of changing its coloration though, often taking on a shade to blend into the background and becoming darker when it is under stress. It is also capable of compressing its body laterally and producing a stripe down its side, mimicking a dead leaf. It often assumes this form when sleeping in the open. Males are distinguished by a longer tail, more prominent dorsal crest, slimmer body type, and persistent patterning. Like others in the Chamaeleonidae it can be distinguished by independently rotating eye sockets and a tongue longer than its body.