Locales and Color Variations
Within the hobbyist environment, the different naturally occurring color variations of
the panther chameleon are referred to as "Locales", and are usually named according
to the nearest town, or other geographic distinction associated with the area of origin.
These are not separate species or sub-species, just color morphs that are distinctive
to specific regions within the range of Furcifer pardalis. In some cases, remarkably different color morphs can occur within 15 miles of each other. In other cases, very little variation is observed between animals collected from a region of over 100 miles breadth.
These unique variations are genetically controlled. Males and females from the same locale, when bred together, will produce like-colored offspring. When two animals from different locales are bred together, the resulting offspring will reflect a mix of the colors of the ranges from whence their parents originated, not always predictable, but still striking in appearance. These are referred to as locale hybrids or locale crosses. As mentioned earlier, while the colors of male pardalis from different locales is distinctive, that of the females is not, and it is not uncommon for female panther chameleons within the pet trade to be misidentified, resulting in inadvertent locale hybridization.
Having worked with all currently identified locales, we here at The Chameleon Company recognize the following naturally occurring distinctive locales:
Within the commercial panther chameleon community, certain interests have attempted to label some of the known sub-local variations with designer names, (such as Mafana, Picasso, Soabana, etc) which mask the area of origin. Obviously, any pretense of exclusivity may help to increase the perceived value, and therefore potential profit, in being able to sell a designer chameleon. The authors do not support this practice, and acknowledge no legitimate designer locales.
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