Chameleons or chamaeleons (family Chamaeleonidae) are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of Old World lizards with 202 species described as of June 2015. These species come in a range of colours, and many species have the ability to change colour. Chameleons are distinguished by their zygodactylous feet, their swaying gait, and crests or horns on their brow and snout. Most species, the larger ones in particular, also have a prehensile tail. Chameleons' eyes are independently mobile, but in aiming at a prey item, they focus forward in coordination, affording the animal stereoscopic vision. Chameleons are adapted for climbing and visual hunting. They live in warm habitats that range from rainforest to desert conditions, with various species occurring in Africa, Madagascar, southern Europe, and across southern Asia as far as Sri Lanka. They have been introduced to Hawaii, California, and Florida. Etymology The English word chameleon ( kuh-MEEL-ee-un) is a simplified spelling of Latin chamaelen, a borrowing of the Greek (khamailn), a compound of (khama) 'on the ground' and (ln) 'lion'. Classification The family Chamaeleonidae was divided into two subfamilies, Brookesiinae and Chamaeleoninae, by Klaver and Bhme in 1986.
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