Kinyongia (derived from the group's name in Kiswahili language) is a genus of chameleons found in montane and sub-montane areas in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and far eastern DR Congo. They are restricted to forests, woodlands and other wooded habitats, and many species have very small geographic ranges. In most species, at least the males have horns or knobs on their noses.[1][2] As typical of most chameleons, Kinyongia are oviparous.[3]

Kinyongia matschiei
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Chamaeleonidae
Genus: Kinyongia
Tilbury, Tolley & Branch, 2006

They were initially placed in the genus Chamaeleo and by some authorities subsequently transferred into Bradypodion, but in 2006 they were moved to their own genus, Kinyongia.[1][4][5][6]



The following 23 species are recognized as being valid.[7]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Kinyongia adolfifriderici (Sternfeld, 1912) Ituri chameleon Burundi, northern and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Kinyongia asheorum (Nečas et al., 2009) Mount Nyiro bearded chameleon Kenya
  Kinyongia boehmei (Lutzmann & Nečas, 2002) Taita blade-horned chameleon, Böhme's two-horned chameleon Kenya
Kinyongia carpenteri (Parker, 1929) Carpenter's chameleon Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Kinyongia excubitor (Barbour, 1911) Mt. Kenya hornless chameleon Kenya
Kinyongia fischeri (Reichenow, 1887) Fischer's chameleon, Nguru blade-horned chameleon, Nguru two-horned chameleon Tanzania.
Kinyongia gyrolepis (Greenbaum et al., 2012) Lendu chameleon Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kinyongia itombwensis Hughes et al., 2017 Itombwe forest chameleon Democratic Republic of the Congo
  Kinyongia magomberae Menegon et al., 2009 Magombera chameleon Tanzania
  Kinyongia matschiei (F. Werner, 1895) giant monkey-tailed East Usambara two-horned chameleon Tanzania.
  Kinyongia msuyae Menegon et al., 2015 Tanzania.
  Kinyongia multituberculata (Nieden, 1913) West Usambara two-horned chameleon Tanzania
Kinyongia mulyai Tilbury & Tolley, 2015 Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  Kinyongia oxyrhina (Klaver & W. Böhme, 1988) sharp-nosed chameleon Tanzania.
Kinyongia rugegensis Hughes et al., 2017 Rugege highlands forest chameleon Burundi
  Kinyongia tavetana (Steindachner, 1891) Kilimanjaro blade-horned chameleon, Kilimanjaro two-horned chameleon southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
  Kinyongia tenuis (Matschie, 1892) Usambara soft-horned chameleon Kenya and Tanzania
Kinyongia tolleyae Hughes et al., 2017 Tolley's forest chameleon Uganda.
  Kinyongia uluguruensis (Loveridge, 1957) Uluguru two-horned chameleon Tanzania
Kinyongia uthmoelleri (L. Müller, 1938) Hanang hornless chameleon Tanzania.
  Kinyongia vanheygeni Nečas, 2009 Van Heygen's chameleon Tanzania.
  Kinyongia vosseleri (Nieden, 1913) East Usambara two-horned chameleon Tanzania.
  Kinyongia xenorhina (Boulenger, 1901) strange-nosed chameleon western Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Kinyongia.


  1. ^ a b Tilbury CR, Tolley KA, Branch WR (2006). "A review of the genus Bradypodion (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae), with the descriptions of two new genera". Zootaxa 1363: 23–38.
  2. ^ Lutzmann, Nicolà (2008). "Some important changes in the systematics of Bradypodion Fitzinger, 1843". Chameleons! Online E-Zine, February 2008. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  3. ^ Hughes, D.F.; Blackburn, D.G. (2020). "Evolutionary origins of viviparity in Chamaeleonidae". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 58 (1): 284–302. doi:10.1111/jzs.12328.
  4. ^ Klaver CJ, Böhme W (1986). "Phylogeny and classification of the Chamaeleonidae (Sauria) with special reference to hemipenis morphology". Bonner Zoologische Monographien 22: 1–64.
  5. ^ Tolley, Krystal A.; Tilbury, Colin R.; Branch, William R. (2004). "Phylogenetics of the southern African dwarf chameleons, Bradypodion (Squamata: Chamaeleonidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30: 354–365. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(03)00211-2 PDF fulltext Archived 2007-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Tolley, Krystal A.; Tilbury, Colin R.; Branch, William R. (2007). "Corrections to species names recently placed in Kinyongia and Nadzikambia (Reptilia: Chamaeleonidae)". Zootaxa 1426: 68.
  7. ^ Genus Kinyongia at The Reptile Database

Further reading