11 New Chameleon Species Found in Madagascar

11 New Chameleon Species Found in Madagascar

  • Researchers find one species of Chameleon to be 11 Actually

In a research in Madagascar, researchers were trying to prove the geographical orientation of different colored chameleons and found that they were actually 11 species.

Madagascar is a great biodiverse area with millions of species of flora and fauna that exist nowhere else in the world. One of those unique reptiles that inhabit the islands is the great panther chameleon. With the unique ability to change colors, the creature has been the object of scientific speculation. 

Michel Milinkovitch, professor of genetics, evolution, and biophysics at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), led in close collaboration with colleagues in Madagascar, set out to prove that the variation of color in the chameleons was geographically specific.

That is that chameleon inhabiting a specific area will have a specific color changing range. With that intent the photographed and blood sampled 324 individual chameleons from east to west side of the island. 

They ran sequential DNA identifier and to their utmost surprise, found out that the color range of the chameleon is not geography related but biological. The chameleon that was considered to be a single specie turned out to be 11 different species that live in specific areas. The DNA sequencing could help identify the chameleons by naked eye in photographs.

Their colors range from reds, yellows and oranges to blue and greens. The different species remain n their geographical territory and do not interbreed which was proven by the non-diversity of color specification to areas.

The research has been published in the latest issue of the Molecular Ecology journal. It has been a great step towards the initiative to preserve Madagascar’s natural habitat against extensive deforestation.

Professor Achille Raselimanana of the University of Antananarivo, collaborated in the study to prove the unique species that exists on the island and the need to preserve the habitat for them so they won’t be extinct.

By preserving the island there will be 400 species of reptile, 300 species of amphibians, 300 species of birds, 15,000 species of plants and countless species of invertebrates that will remain a part of this world with the 10 other newly added species of the chameleons.

This study is published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

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