Chamaeleo chamaeleon In Turkey


Just a quick visit to Turkey...
No beach, no restaurant is interesting: chameleons!
Whole night searching through habitats...
It is not easy to find them.
Historical data are scarce and imprecise: all along the coast from Syrian border up to Izmir, plus some isolated populations deeper inside of the Anatolia... From sea level to up to 1000m (3300ft) alt.

And finally: here they are!
Just 15km of Antalya, 650-720 (2100-2400ft) above sea level.
In the middle of Summer, feeding and preparing for the beginning of autumn when they will mate and produce eggs.
Sitting 2,5 to 7m (8 to 23ft) above ground. Mostlh on local spiky oak: Quercus coccifera, one found on Mulberry tree Morus alba.

Perfectly hydrated yet no rain for weeks...
Nighttime temps now around 25 at 10PM, dalling to 21 in early morning hours.
The small population was found along a cold mountain streem that provides moisture and sensibly lower temperature in its vicinity than in the surrounding orchards and gardens of intesively agriculturally used slopes of Sivri Dag mountain.
Fog? Not always but YES! Some days! Even in the dry and hit summer season. The clouds are very low and cover the area...
Hydration seems suboptimal...
The faeces are very dry, fresh ones can be crushed to dust - that much, they have been sunject to refiltration of the water back to blood from the intestine.
The urates show majority of the mass orange but the animals still with fully elastic skin, mist mucous, not sticky saliva.
Food composition was analyzed based on seven secured fecal samples (qualitatively / quantitatively):
Dipterans and hymenopterans (flies and bees) 93% / 75%
Coleopterans (beetles) 3% / 16%
Orthopterans (grasshoppers) 4% / 9%

The biggest food item:
A Beetle, Cetonia aurata pallida
1,8mm (0,7in)

Fantastic adventure to find them and observe their life story even in a country that turned almost all coastline to a beach/hotel/holiday stripe emarginated by destroyed and modified biotopes...

Enjoy the few photos.

Author: Petr Nečas