A spectacular chameleon, originally thought to be extinct after its last sighting more than 100 years ago, has recently been rediscovered in the forests of Madagascar.
The Voeltzkow chameleon, or Furcifer voeltzkowi, was last seen in 1913. However, a group of conservationists from Germany and Madagascar were baffled when they noticed several individuals of colorful chameleons alive, during an expedition on the northwest of the island. The remarkable discovery was then published in the Salmandra journal.
“I think we may have a good chance of rediscovering the Voeltzkow chameleon,” said lead author Frank Glaw in a statement.
“However, I was surprised that it took so long and was so difficult. Our efforts were entirely unsuccessful during most of the trip to find it where we thought it would most likely be”
It is quite puzzling how this species has stayed under the radar for so long. But researchers have one theory related to their extremely short lifespan.
Voeltzkow chameleons are thought to live for only a few short months during the rainy season. After hatching, they grow impressively quickly, and when they reach adulthood, they mate and die shortly after. Maybe it’s the simplicity of their lives that makes them so special, besides their striking colors.
“Voeltzkow’s chameleon adds color and beauty to the planet,” said Don Church, president of Global Wildlife Conservation. “We now have so much to learn about this extraordinary reptile, including how best to save it from extinction.”
You can watch the spectacular Voeltzkow chameleon in the video below: