Rieppeleon is a genus of small, typically brown chameleons found in forests and savannas in central East Africa (extending slightly into adjacent DR Congo). They are found at low levels in bushes, or on the ground among grass or leaf litter.[1]

Male R. brevicaudatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Chamaeleonidae
Subfamily: Chamaeleoninae
Genus: Rieppeleon
Matthee, Tilbury & Townsend, 2004


The genus Rieppeleon was named after Swiss-born American herpetologist Olivier Rieppel (born 1951).[2][3]

The specific name, kerstenii, is in honor of German chemist and geographer Otto Kersten (1839–1900).[3]

The subspecific name, robecchii, is in honor of Italian geologist and explorer Luigi Robecchi Bricchetti (1855–1926).[3]


Until recently, the species in the genus Rieppeleon were commonly included in the genus Rhampholeon instead.

Species and subspeciesEdit

The following species and subspecies are recognized as being valid.[4]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Rieppeleon brachyurus (Günther, 1893) beardless pygmy chameleon Malawi, Mozambique, and southeastern Tanzania.
  Rieppeleon brevicaudatus (Matschie, 1892) bearded pygmy chameleon eastern Usambara and Uluguru Mountains in northeastern Tanzania and Kenya
  Rieppeleon kerstenii (W. Peters, 1868) Kenya pygmy chameleon eastern Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and northeastern Tanzania

Nota bene: A binomial authority, or trinomial authority, in parentheses indicates that the species, or subspecies, was originally described in a genus other than Rieppeleon.


  1. ^ Spawls, S.; Drewes, R.; Ashe, J. (2002). A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Köln: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-656470-1.
  2. ^ Mattison, Chris; Garbutt, Nick (2012). Chameleons. United States: Firefly Books Inc. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-77085-121-4.
  3. ^ a b c Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Genus Rieppeleon, p. 221; Rieppeleon kerstenii, p. 140; Rhampholeon robecchii, p. 223).
  4. ^ "Rieppeleon ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.

Further readingEdit