Chamaeleo chamaeleon musae (Steindachner 1900) Common Chameleon
Hebrew name: זיקית סיני, zikit sinay
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: VU (B) – Vulnerable
Distribution area: Sinai and the western Negev. The eastern and northern distribution area limits of the subspecies are in Israel.
Historic distribution: Unknown.
Typical Habitat: Principally dunes and sandy tracts, but sometimes also in nearby wadi beds.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Habitat destruction by agricultural development, sand quarrying and reservoir construction.
2. Off-road all-terrain vehicle traffic. Most of the species distribution area is found in Israel Defense Forces training areas.
3. Collecting by reptile fans.
Population Size: Unknown.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Unknown. The species distribution area in Israel decreases with every action that deleteriously affects sandy areas in the western Negev.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Protecting sandy habitats from agricultural encroachment, quarrying and reservoir construction.
2. Completing the declaration process of the Agur and Shunra nature reserves.
3. Enforcing the ban on off-road vehicular traffic in protected sandy areas. Reaching an understanding with the Israel Defense Forces to reduce off-road traffic in military training areas.
4. Intensifying supervision and enforcement of collection regulations.
5. Postponing ostrich reintroduction to sandy areas in the western Negev until their future impact on soil crusts and chameleon populations is studied.
6. Basic research on the life history of the common chameleon in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation measures.