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There are many different colour variations of panther chameleons across Madagascar, they can vary greatly from one location to another and these different colour forms are referred to as locales; locales are normally named after the nearest town or landmark to where that particular animal is found. Here is a locations map and a list of some of the locales that are available to the hobbyist, there are however more locales out there, some of which we probably haven’t even seen yet but this list is just some of the more commonly known locales you may come across while searching for a panther chameleon.

You can click on the images for a full size view.


image Ambanja is a town in northwest Madagascar and chameleons from this area are normally a light green to blue base colour with darker vertical barring which can be darker blue, purple or red. Their face can show lots of yellow around the lips and cheeks and the eye turrets can be blue, red and yellow when fired up.

Ambanja are a popular locale and are one of the most commonly kept locales in the hobby.


image Ambilobe is a town on the northwest of Madagascar north of Ambanja. Chameleons from this area are some of the most colourful of them all and they can display an amazing array of colour and pattern. They are mainly yellow and red in base colour and can have bright blue or red vertical barring.
When excited, the eye turrets and face usually take on a star shaped effect from the centre of the eye and can be mixture of any of the colours mentioned above.

Ambilobes are a truly stunning locale and their variety of spectacular colours make them a favourite amongst keepers.



Ampiskiana are another relatively new locale to the reptile trade and have only really been available in limited numbers since 2009. Animals of this locale usually show a dark to lime green background colour with some red vertical barring and bright red eye turrets.

 When in an exited state their background colour can intensify to bright yellow or lime green and can show strong burgundy or red barring. Youngsters of this locale can often look similar to Nosy mitsio or like a cross between Nosy mitsio and Ambilobe. However these animals usually develop strong characteristics as they reach maturity and become very easily distinguished from either of these localities.


Ankaramy Ankaramy are found on a plateau in the southern most range of the western localities, they are unique in the way that they are very different to any other locale. The males at rest are normally a dark brown or reddish colour but when displaying exhibit a stunning pink colouration with occasional red spots and a bright white lateral stripe running the length of their body. The scales on their casque and back also show a light blue colour in a nice contrast to the bright pink.

Ankaramys are generally smaller than some of the other locales and it is also believed that the hatchlings are more difficult to raise in captivity.

Diego Suarez (antsiranana)

Diego Suarez Diego Suarez is a coastal town on the northern tip of Madagascar. Panther chameleons from this area generally have a light to dark green background with red or burgundy vertical barring which in an excited state can turn intense yellow, red and orange. The eye turrets are normally green, red or black stripes.
Malagasy locals often refer to this locale as the rainbow chameleon because of their array of beautiful colours.

Diego suarez can look similar to some of the eastern localities like sambava but they can be easily distinguished by their barring patterns and excited colouration.

Nosy Be

Nosy Be is an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar and they are one of the most commonly kept locales in the hobby. They are a uniform green or blue colour with much less vertical barring than most of the other locales. They sometimes show strong spots or patches of red on the upper body and face and some specimens have a lot of yellow in their cheeks and eye turrets.

There is a so called “true blue “phase of nosy be which is in high demand in the hobby but these animals are much more likely to be the product of selective and inbreeding as these stunning electric blue morphs are not found in the wild.

Nosy Mitsio

Nosy Mitsio Nosy Mitsio is an island off the northwest coast 70 kilometres north of nosy be. Chameleons from this island are a solid lime green colour with darker green or light red barring. The eye turrets are bright red and they are very easily distinguished from any other locale.When in an excited state due to courtship or territorial displays they fire up an intense banana yellow.You may also hear Nosy Mitsios being referred to as “mafana” and this word is Malagasy for “hot”, they are sometimes called this because the locals on the island believe their chameleons are sacred and the collection of them was extremely limited and difficult.

Although nosy mitsios are still in high demand in the hobby they are now very well established in captive populations.

Nosy Faly (Oorana mena)

Nosy Faly is an island just off the north western coast between nosy be and the Ambato tip on the mainland. They are classed as a “blue phase” panther and have a light to dark blue background colour. The highly prized specimens have a high white contrast on light blue and are covered in red speckles which are why they are also referred to as “oorana mena” which is the Malagasy word for red rain, they also show intense yellow on their cheeks and eye turrets similar to nosy be.
Nosy falys are a relatively new locale to the hobby and have only really been bred in any numbers in the last year or so.
A unique and truly stunning locale that is becoming very popular amongst hobbyists and serious breeders.


Sambava is on the east coast of Madagascar and panthers from this area are classed as a red or orange phase panther. When as rest they typically show a dark red and green barring with black and red striped eye turrets but when in an excited state they transform to a stunning bright orange or yellow colouration.

Sambava can look similar to Diego Suarez but normally have a u-shaped bar in the centre of their body where as the Diego Suarez normally show a v or a y shape bar.


image Tamatave is a town in the southern most range of the panther chameleon and is on the Far East coast of Madagascar. Panther chameleons within this range usually show a dark green and reddish colour when at rest but when in an excited state they transform to a uniform bright red colouration with some white speckling, especially around the head and upper body.

Tamatave are a difficult locale to obtain as nobody works with them at the moment here in the U.K. Hopefully they will become better established in captive populations here in the next few years.

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