Friday, January 4, 2013

Specimen Spotlight :: Jackson's Chameleon

I had a fun idea for a new regular post the other day when idly browsing the beautiful specimens on Etsy! I'm hoping to use the new Specimen Spotlight feature to indulge my love of weird specimens while connecting it to my passion for learning about the natural world. I hope you enjoy it as well.

First up, the gorgeous and formidable Jackson's Chameleon, Trioceros jacksonii. 

(From Wikipedia)

 (From Reptile Channel)

I've always found chameleons to be fascinating simply because of how alien they look. Before I found a specimen of this guy on Etsy, though, I had no idea there was a species with horns like this! Here are some of the interesting pop culture facts from the Wikipedia article:
The Fallout series of games includes a mutated version of Jackson's Chameleon called a "Deathclaw". 
 "Liz" Ms. Frizzle's pet in The Magic School Bus is based on Jackson's Chameleon.
 Being a gamer, I had no idea the Deathclaw were based on chameleons! And of course I enjoyed the nostalgia of a Magic School Bus Fact.

 I also found this comparative reproductive fact to be interesting:
Most chameleons are oviparous, but Jackson's Chameleon gives birth to live offspring: 8 to 30 live young are born after a five to six month gestation. The subspecies merumontanus gives birth to 5-10 live young
Oviparous, I discovered, means an animal that lays eggs. I hate to reduce the chameleon's offspring to cuteness levels, but try to imagine 30 of these little guys running around without a little grin of delight!

Now here is the gorgeous specimen that inspired it all!

(From Strange in Sugarhouse on Etsy)

Not only does Strange in Sugarhouse have that amazing shadowbox/terrarium, they also have a male/female pair of chameleons! Oh my!

 I was pretty excited to find these pieces. I wish I had the money laying around because they really seem like gorgeous treasures. I would love to display these in my home! I'm glad they piqued my curiosity enough to spark the idea for this feature as well as inspire me to learn more about the Jackson's Chameleon, a really cool creature!

See you soon! <3

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