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New Chameleon Species Found in Tanzania

  • VOA News

A new species of chameleon was discovered in Tanzania.

A new species of chameleon was discovered in Tanzania.

A new species of chameleon has been found in the Udzungwa Mountains and Southern Highlands areas of Tanzania.

The brown and green specimen is scattered with blue spots, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society say, describing the new species in the journal Acta Herpetologica.

The scientific name of the new reptile is Kinyongia msuyae, which honors Tanzanian biologist Charles A. Msuya who spent much of his life describing the reptiles and amphibians of the country.

Researchers say the discovery provides more information on the Makambako Gap, what some think is a “zoological barrier” between the Southern Highlands and Eastern Arc Mountains.

The WCS has maintained the barrier doesn’t exist, arguing there are “closer biological affinities” between the two regions.

Tanzania has seen many new discoveries recently, the researchers said noting a new kind of primate called Kipunji, and a new type of snake called Matilda’s horned viper found in 2003 and 2012 respectively.

"Along with our discoveries of the Kipunji, Matilda's horned viper and other reptiles and frogs, this new chameleon really seals the deal as regards the boundary of the Eastern Arcs," said Tim Davenport, Director of WCS's Tanzania Program and co-discoverer of the new chameleon.

"It is very clear now that the so-called Makambako Gap doesn't exist zoologically and that the Southern Highlands is every bit as biodiverse and endemic-rich as all other Eastern Arc Mountains. With its own unique fauna and flora the region thus warrants as much protection as we can possibly afford it."