“Glam Rock” Chameleon

Photograph courtesy Patrick Schonecker, WWF Madagascar

Speckled with what looks like glam rock makeup, the chameleon Furcifer timoni was recently discovered on the species-rich African island nation of Madagascar, according to a WWF report released Monday. (See chameleon pictures.)

Finding the colorful new chameleon was “very surprising,” since the northern rain forests where it was found have been repeatedly and intensively surveyed for reptiles, according to the conservation group. A total of 11 new chameleon species have been described since 1999.

(Related: “Tarzan Chameleon Found in Tarzan Forest, Near Tarzanville.”)

The WWF report, Treasure Island: New Biodiversity in Madagascar, describes 615 new species found on the world’s fourth largest island between 1999 and 2010.

Most of the newfound species have no official conservation status because they’re so new. Yet all face grave danger due to rampant deforestation following a 2009 political coup, conservationists say.

“Species are going extinct before we can discover them,” said Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana of WWF Madagascar.

—Dave Mosher

Published June 6, 2011

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