A chameleon species in Madagascar that has not been seen for over a hundred years has recently been rediscovered. Scientists from Germany and Madagascar found some living specimens of the special lizard and published about it in the scientific journal on Friday Salamandra.
It is the Furcifer feelszkowi, a version of the chameleon species that only occurs on the African island of Madagascar and was discovered and described in 1893. In total there are 24 different species of the Madagascar chameleon.
The several living specimens of the Furcifer zinzkowi were found by scientists from the German research institute Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM) during an expedition in northwestern Madagascar.
The species appears to be genetically closely related to the species Labord’s chameleon, which is mainly found in the southwest of the island. Both species have a life expectancy of about five months. These chameleon species live the shortest of all four-legged animals as adults. “These animals are actually the mayfly of the vertebrates,” said one of the researchers.
At the beginning of November, at the beginning of the rainy season, they hatch and after two months they are sexually mature. Males engage in fierce fights with their competitors to mate with as many females as possible. At the latest in early March, the eggs are laid in underground burrows, after which the adults quickly die.
Its short lifespan is one of the reasons why this species has not been found in the past hundred years, according to the researchers. The researchers have now for the first time been able to document the females of the Furcifer hekzkowi. These animals show colorful patterns during pregnancy, when they encounter males and when they are stressed.