In somewhat of a shocking turn of events for the biologists which discovered them, 11 new species of chameleon have been discovered in the forests of Madagascar after the researchers ventured out into the forests in an attempt to decipher the panther chameleon’s unusually wide range of colors.
While most chameleons are capable of changing the color of their skin, the range of hues finds limitation dependent upon the particular species. The panther chameleons of Madagascar differ in the sense that their ranges seemed to vary based on where they live. For instance, in some parts of the African island country, they’re blue, while in others, they’re red, green and orange.
In an attempt to determine the reason behind the unusually wide variations in hue, the researchers traveled into the island country’s forests in order to snap photographs and take small samples of blood. In total, the researchers took blood samples from 324 panther chameleons, which they then sequenced back in a laboratory environment. What they found, according to a report on Gizmodo, came as a surprise.
As it turns out, the lizards are not all of the same species. Instead, they turned out to be 11 disparate groups, according to the results of the genetic analysis.
With this newly acquired insight in mind, the researchers then analyzed the photographs that they had snapped and realized that they were able to match chameleons to their species based on variations in their skin’s color pattern.
The researchers published the findings of their study in the journal Molecular Ecology.
In other chameleon related coverage here at Immortal News, engineers at UC Berkeley created a synthetic color-changing material reminiscent of a chameleon’s active camouflage.