The Jackson's Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus) is a predatory, arboreal east African lizard that has become established in the forests of several Hawaiian Islands where they have been shown to prey upon rare endemic invertebrate taxa. In this study, we used radiotelemetry to assess movement behavior of T. j. xantholophus in three different habitats that varied in suitability for sustained persistence of chameleons. Landscape ecology theory holds that movement behavior tends to be relatively rapid and linear in unsuitable habitat, minimizing time spent in suboptimal areas, but more circuitous and less rapid in suitable habitat to optimize resource use. Therefore, we predicted that in Hawaii, chameleons released in unsuitable habitat will 1) move longer distances each day; 2) follow straighter paths; 3) move away from point of release continuously; and 4) cover larger areas, relative to those released in suitable habitat. Our results indicated that mean daily distance, total cumulative distance, total net displacement, and home range did not vary significantly among the three habitats. However, daily distances decreased and path tortuosity increased over time under suitable conditions, whereas the opposite pattern was seen under unsuitable conditions. Notably, daily net displacement did not increase over time, regardless of habitat type or suitability, and home range overlap was inversely correlated with habitat suitability. In general, Jackson's Chameleons traveled short distances with nonlinear paths, reflecting a sedentary life history. We propose that localized control and potential eradication in critical areas may be possible via manual removal.

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