Male Labord's chameleon on a branch in a Madagascan forest

Labord's chameleon

Labord's chameleon has a unique and extreme 'live fast, die young' life cycle whose post-hatching lifespan of 4-5 months is the shortest of any tetrapod. The extraordinary life of this colourful and flamboyant chameleon begins when eggs hatch during the November rains. The young reach adulthood rapidly, in only two months, and enter a brief breeding season. Then, remarkably, the entire population starts to die off and, by the time the dry season arrives, the entire species exists only as eggs buried underground - an extreme adaptation to the excessively dry conditions of western Madagascar.

Did you know?
Once out of the egg, a Labord's chameleon lives for a mere five months, the shortest lifespan recorded for a tetrapod.

Scientific name: Furcifer labordi

Rank: Species

Common names:

Laborde's Chameleon

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The Labord's chameleon can be found in a number of locations including: Madagascar. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Labord's chameleon distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Tropical dry forest Tropical dry forest
Tropical dry forests, in contrast to rainforest, have to survive a long dry season each year, so the predominantly deciduous trees shed their leaves to cope with it. Sunlight can then reach the ground, so the season that's bad for the trees is good for the forest floor.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 1996

Classified by: IUCN 2.3

BBC News about Labord's chameleon

  • Chameleons live fast, die young The short but spectacular life cycle of the Labord's chameleon, the shortest-lived land vertebrate in the world, is filmed by BBC documentary makers.

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