November 2, 2015
One Eye on the Future
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
Hiking along a cool and misty trail through northern Madagascar’s Amber Mountain, I have the feeling I am being watched.
I look up to see a blue-nosed chameleon (Calumma boettgeri) balanced on a branch above my head with a single eye aimed in my direction. I am thinking of a Malagasy proverb that goes “Like the chameleon, with one eye on the future, the other on the past.”
Chameleons are not short-sighted. They have monocular focusing – their eyes move independently from each other. These arboreal reptiles may have developed this special adaptation to aid in catching prey while keeping an eye out for predators.
Blue-nosed chameleons are on the IUCN Red List as a species of least concern, but they are losing ground as their forest homes are destroyed for agriculture expansion and the harvesting of precious hardwoods like rosewood and ebony.
Nikon D2x, Vanguard Monopod