Madagascar Chameleon Last Seen 100 Years Ago Found By Scientists
A Madagascan chameleon that had ‘gone missing’ has now been re-discovered by scientists a century later.
Experts spotted the illusive species of chameleon, thought to have been lost forever – or its camouflage worked too well – while on an expedition around the northwest African island. Researchers from both Madagascar and Germany revealed they’d discovered the Voeltzkow’s chameleon, on Friday, 30 October.
According to a report published by Salamandra, a small team that formed as part of the Bavarian Natural History Collections ZSM, confirmed the genetic analysis showed it was closely related to the already-known Labord’s chameleon.
Experts say that both similar species only live during the rainy season, hatching and growing quickly, and only surviving for a few months.
‘These animals are basically the mayflies among vertebrates,’ Frank Glaw, a curator for reptiles and amphibians at the ZSM, said.
Specialists confirmed this was the first time the female of the species had ever been documented, citing its colourful shadings when when stressed, during pregnancy, or when encountering a male, AP News reports.
No sooner had the stealthy species been located, researchers said its very existence was under threat due to deforestation, and that the Voeltzkow chameleons must be protected.
The breakthrough is significant when it comes to recording vital information on the species – largely because even the most basic of data didn’t exist. Now, researchers will be able to observe and hopefully understand its behavioural patterns for the first time.
We know chameleons are great at hiding themselves away from predators and while hunting their prey, but to have been incognito for so long is impressive.
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