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Lizard Patterns

The term "lizard" pattern has been applied over time to mean the horizonally-striped French patterns of the 1950s that were direct descendants of the original British brushstroke pattern of the Second World War. The French generally referred to the pattern as camouflee de leópard (leopard camouflage); the term "lizard" actually refers to a local nickname for French paratroops during the Algerian War. As paratroops were synonymous with the striped camouflage design, the nickname stuck and over time came to refer to the camouflage pattern itself. This term has interestingly become the most widely accepted name among historians and collectors for the original French design, and the innumerable derivative patterns that were spawned thereafter.

There are generally two types of lizard patterns, those with horizontal orientation and those with vertical orientation. The original French "lizard" patterns were horizontal, but those developed by Portugal shortly thereafter were vertical yet in other respects influenced by the same design. We therefore categorize both vertical and horizontal designs as "lizard," as both styles have their tributary designs which have continued to be produced today.

Tiger stripe pattern camouflage is derived from the "lizard" design, and is essentially the same type of camouflage, but of a more consistent strain.

Horizontal Lizard Camouflage Patterns

  • The original French tenue de leópard design was printed using a number of different fabrics and dyes, producing a multitude of different designs over the course of approximately ten years (most used concurrently) rather than one single pattern.

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  • An Asian made copy of the French lizard pattern, worn by a number of African nations including Chad, Gabon, Rwanda, Sudan, et al.

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  • Cuban "lizard" camouflage has been in production since the 1970s, with a distinctively grey colorway. The pattern was also used by FAPLA in Angola.

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  • The Croatian "lizard" patterns seen here were copied from originals produced in Yugoslavia.

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  • The Greek Armed Forces have been wearing "lizard" camouflage patterns since the 1970s.

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  • An Iraqi pattern from the 1980s is seen here.


  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs and some special forces units of the Russian Armed Forces also wear "lizard" pattern camouflage.

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  • A unique "red lizard" pattern was developed and worn by Syrian airborne and commando units during the 1970s and 1980s.

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Vertical Lizard Camouflage Patterns

  • The original vertical "lizard" camouflage design was probably developed by Portugal using French drawings. Later variations would incoporate different drawings as well as darker colorations.

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  • Obviously influenced by the Portuguese originals, Brazil would later produce its own series of vertical lizard patterns, with unique colorations for each of the major branches of service, and several experimental patterns for individual units.

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  • The Egyptian pattern seen here has been in use since the 1980s.


  • Greece also issued some vertical lizard camouflage designs, such as those seen here.

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  • A vertical lizard design with arid/desert colorway has been worn by some Indian military units.


  • The vertical designs seen here have seen use with some Palestinian insurgent groups operating out of Lebanon.

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  • Another Syrian "red lizard" design is seen here, this time vertically oriented.