Today’s Solutions: March 29, 2023

Scientists nowadays are more meticulous than ever when it comes to documenting the animal species that roam our Earth, but even then, we’re constantly being surprised by new discoveries from scientists out in the wild. Such was the case in Madagascar recently when scientists found an elusive chameleon species that hadn’t been spotted in over 100 years.

In a report published in the journal Salamandra, scientists said they discovered several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during an expedition to the north-west of the African island nation. Genetic analysis revealed the chameleon is closely related to the Labord’s chameleon, an unusual reptile that spends most of its short life as an egg.

Similarly, this newly rediscovered species of chameleon is believed to only live during the rainy season – hatching from eggs, growing rapidly, sparring with rivals, mating, and then dying during a few short months.

“These animals are basically the mayflies among vertebrae,” said Frank Glaw, the curator of reptiles and amphibians at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (ZSM).

The researchers also stated that this was the first time they have documented the female of the species, which displayed some curious behavior. For instance, it displayed some particularly colorful patterns during pregnancy, as well as when encountering males and when stressed. Isn’t nature incredible?

The species is currently under threat from deforestation, but this sighting indicates that these chameleons are in fact still living on the island and more accurate data about their lifespans and location in Madagascar can help inform conservation efforts.

Image source: ZSM

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