Trioceros Jacksonii Subspecies

There are currently 3 described Jackson’s chameleon subspecies:

Machakos Hills Jackson’s Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii)

T. j. jacksonii is from Kenya, and it is the rarest type of Jackson’s chameleon in the US. It measures 8-10” (20-25 cm) long on average. Males have 3 horns, and females will have either 1 or 3 small horns, which can sometimes make sexing tricky. Females are lighter green than males, although sometimes red. Males are dark green, sometimes with an aqua blue head and bright yellow patch on the flanks. Individuals with this coloration may soon be described as a separate subspecies.

Jackson's Chameleon Subspecies - male Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii

Contributed by Petr Necas

Mt. Meru/Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii merumontanus)

T. j. merumontanus is from Tanzania, and is very difficult to find in captivity. Wild-caught individuals are no longer available, as there is a ban on all wildlife exports from Tanzania. It is extremely rare in the US, although there are some Mt. Meru breeders in Europe.

These chameleons are the smallest of the species at 7-8” (17-20 cm) long. Males have 3 long, narrow horns while females have just 1 diminished horn on the nose. Both sexes have a dark green or blue-green body with lots of yellow on the face and at the base of the horns. Eyelids are blue-green.

Jackson's Chameleon Subspecies - male Trioceros jacksonii merumontanus

Contributed by Travis Pritchard

Yellow-Crested Jackson’s Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus)

T. j. xantholophus originates from Kenya, specifically a limited range at the foothills of Mt. Kenya and Nyambeni. It is the most common type of Jackson’s chameleon in the US. As the largest member of the species, individuals can grow up to 14” (36 cm) long, and males have been known to well exceed 16″ (40cm). Males have 3 horns, and females have no horns.

Invasive T. j. xantholophus populations are present in the Hawaiian islands due to a well-meaning pet store owner who released some on O’ahu in 1972 in an attempt to restore a wild-caught shipment from Africa to health. Since then they have spread to Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai.

Male (left) and female (right). Contributed by Petr Necas.

Undescribed subspecies

Jackson's Chameleon Subspecies - Undescribed subspecies

Contributed by Petr Necas

Keep reading:

  1. Introduction to Jackson’s Chameleons
  2. Jackson’s Chameleon Subspecies (YOU ARE HERE)
  3. Shopping List
  4. Enclosure Size Guidelines
  5. Lighting & Temperature Requirements
  6. Humidity & Water Needs
  7. Enclosure Drainage Designs
  8. Environmental Enrichment: Decorating the Enclosure
  9. Feeding Your Chameleon
  10. Taming & Handling Tips
  11. Common Illnesses & Other Health Info
  12. Additional Resources