Scientists say they have found an elusive chameleon species that was last spotted in Madagascar 100 years ago.
Researchers from Madagascar and Germany said on Friday that they had discovered several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during an expedition to the north-west of the African island nation.
In a report published in the journal Salamandra, the team, led by scientists from the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (ZSM), said genetic analysis determined that the species was closely related to Labord’s chameleon.
Researchers believe that both reptiles 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 ZSM.
Researchers said the female of the species, which had never previously been documented, displayed particularly colorful patterns during pregnancy, when encountering males and when stressed.
The scientist say the Voeltzkow’s chameleons’ habitat is under threat from deforestation.