New Madagascar Species Look Glam In Photos

(ANIMAL PHOTOS) The 615 new species found on Madagascar between 1999 and 2010 are described in the WWF report Treasure Island: New Biodiversity in Madagascar. Most of these species do not have an official conservation status yet. All, however, face the danger of extinction from rampant deforestation. Check out these glamorous pictures of new animals found on the world’s fourth largest island. — Global Animal

Researchers discovered the mouse lemur Microcebus berthae in 2000 within the dry forests of Kirindy Mitea National Park on Madagascar’s western coast. At 3.6 inches (9.2 centimeters) in length and 1 ounce (30 grams) in weight, M. berthae is the tiniest of 15 known mouse lemur species. It’s also the smallest primate in the world, according to WWF Madagascar’s Ratsifandrihamanana. This mouse lemur’s behavior isn’t well known, but some species of plants rely entirely on lemurs for their survival. ‘One lemur species eats the seeds of a tree, digests the outer coating, and poops it out. The tree doesn’t grow unless processed like this by the lemur,’ Ratsifandrihamanana said. ‘Each species in a habitat plays a specific role in keeping the balance of that natural system. Losing one leads to disruptions.’ Photo Credit: Harald Schuetz, WWF Madagascar


Although the tree frog Boophis bottaeisn’t as transparent as one recently found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some of B. bottae’s organs are visible beyond its see-through skin. First reported in 2002, B. bottae is 1 of 69 amphibians discovered on Madagascar in the past 11 years. ‘Madagascar ranks fourth in the world in terms of amphibian-species biodiversity,’ Ratsifandrihamanana said. This 1.5-inch (4-centimeter) frog lives about 2,600 feet (800 meters) above sea level, where it lives along streams and rain forest borders. Photo Credit: Axel Strauss, WWF Madagascar


Little is known about the chameleon Calumma crypticum, which sports an unusually long nose. An unknown number of this and other poorly understood creatures live in Madagascar, and hemorrhaging habitat may wipe them out before they’re discovered at all, conservationists say. ‘We’re in a crisis. We need support to environmental programs here to resume. The government by itself does not have the means to do that,’ Ratsifandrihamanana said. ‘We need a strong and concerted effort to reach the poorest communities. They depend the most on illegal exploitation of resources, because they have few if any alternatives.’ Photo Credit: Axel Strauss, 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. 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.  Photo Credit: Patrick Schonecker, WWF Madagascar


If you look closely, a 5-inch (13-centimeter) gecko is hanging upside-down on this tree trunk. The cork bark leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus pietschmanni), found in 2004, is considered under threat by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Its entire genus is also in danger. Despite CITES protections, at least a hundred geckos are smuggled out of Madagascar each year, according to WWF. Photo Credit: Ben Smith, WWF Madagascar


The snake Liophidium pattoni grows to about 16 inches (40 centimeters) and preys on small rodents and lizards. ‘The bright pink markings on its back make it one of the most colorful snakes in all of Madagascar. It’s very unusual,’ Ratsifandrihamanana said. L. pattoni was first reported in 2010 in Masoala National Park in northeastern Madagascar. Unfortunately, the park has had a big uptick in illegal logging of rosewood, which is often sold in Chinese markets. The resulting destruction threatens the snake and its habitat, conservationists say. Photo credit: Sebastian Gehring, WWF Madagascar


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