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Scientists find Madagascar chameleon last seen 100 years ago

Germany Madagascar Chameleon Rediscovered
Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 21:41:24-04

(AP) — Scientists say they have found an elusive chameleon species that was last spotted in Madagascar 100 years ago.

Researchers from Madagascar and Germany said Friday they've discovered several living specimens of Voeltzkow’s chameleon during an expedition to the northwest of the African island nation.

A team led by scientists from the Bavarian Natural History Collections said genetic analysis determined that the species is closely related to Labord’s chameleon.

“These animals are basically the mayflies among vertebrates,” said Frank Glaw, curator for reptiles and amphibians at the ZSM, told the AP.

Researchers believe that both reptiles only live during the rainy season. They hatch from eggs, grow rapidly, spar with rivals, mate, and then die during a few short months.

"The assumed short life might also partly explain why this splendid species got 'lost' for many decades, since most roads in its habitat are not accessible in the wet season," researchers wrote in a report in the journal Salamandra.