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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

After 100 years, the extinct chameleon found in Madagascar

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Considered extinct, the Madagascar chameleon from the list of 25 most wanted species was rediscovered after 100 years.

German herpetologists (zoologists who study amphibians and reptiles) discovered the chameleon Furcifer voeltzkowi in Madagascar, which has not been found since 1913 and was considered extinct. It is curious that scientists found this species not in deep and remote forests, but in the hotel garden, writes Salamandra.

The chameleon Furcifer voeltzkowi was first described in 1893. Scientists feared that it was gone. Conservation organization Global Wildlife Conservation has even included this chameleon in its 25 Most Wanted Species.

A team of herpetologists from the munich state collection decided to clarify the fate of Furcifer voeltzkowi. The specialists went to Mahajanga province in northwestern Madagascar, where these animals were first discovered.

Scientists found the species considered extinct not in the forests, but in the hotel garden in the village of Katsepi. They found three males and 15 females.

Herpetologists also first described the female Furcifer voeltzkowi. Females are smaller than males and change colors more actively.

Experts also hypothesized why chameleons did not catch people’s eyes. They believe that Furcifer voeltzkowi hatch from eggs with the arrival of the rainy season (October-November), grow quickly and begin to breed. By the beginning of the dry season, all adult chameleons die, leaving behind laying eggs. As a result, animals can only be seen for a few months of the year, when most roads to their habitats are washed away by heavy rains.

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