‘Rainbow’ chameleon among three new species described from Madagascar

Researchers surveying Madagascar’s forests have discovered three new species of chameleons, including one that flashes rainbow colors and one that’s currently known only from a tiny patch of rainforest. A team of German and Malagasy herpetologists found the brilliantly colored rainbow chameleon, now named Calumma uetzi, during an expedition to the remote Sorata massif in northern Madagascar in 2012. The males of this newly described species are usually greenish-beige with a tinge of blue on the sides of their faces, while the females are mostly brownish. But when the two sexes encounter each other, the male, in an attempt to win over the female, displays spectacular coloration, turning his body into a mosaic of yellow, red, blue-green and violet. A female that’s unimpressed changes color too, darkening her skin to nearly black, the researchers report in a new study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The team named C. uetzi after Peter Uetz of Virginia Commonwealth University, U.S., who has been voluntarily developing and maintaining the Reptile Database for over 20 years, the authors write. “This database is the most important online resource for information on reptile species, thereby providing a priceless service to herpetology and a model for what should be available for all organism groups,” they add. When a male Calumma uetzi, left, meets an unreceptive female, the mood can quickly get aggressive. While the male puts on a show of color, the female darkens and develops brightly contrasting patterns on her head, threatening the male with open mouth.…

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Original Post by Mongabay

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