February 3, 2010

Endangered Strangers: Minor's Chemeleon


Backoff!

I am the Minor's chameleon.

Huh? I am not a cartoon character! I am a real chameleon.
And this is my threat display, punk.

Yeah, that'sright, tough guy. This is me showing you what's up. These days I use this technique a lot on punks like you, humanstrying to chameleon-nap my lady for her beautiful colors.
Ahh, isn't she lovely?
What? Yeah I know usually male chameleons have the pretty colors
but we're Minor's chameleons and that's just how we roll.

As part of our continuing effort to raise awarenessabout the current situation in Madagascar (read ESPP on Madagascar here and here) we'd like to introduce the Minor's Chameleon. Likethe majority of wildlife on Madagascar the Minor's Chameleon is endemic to the island, and it's existence is tied to the island as a whole.

Minor's chameleons can change the color of their skin. Females carrying eggs or developing young exhibit a lovely array of color variations. Described by Arkive as having "alternating greenish-black and yellow bands, with yellow speckling highlighting the dark areas.Two conspicuous blue to violet, reddish-black-bordered spots also adorneach side of the chest, just behind the head, while vivid red sets offthe lower jaw and top of the head. At rest, the coloration of the female is green with slight yellowish banding."

Male Minor's chameleons are not as colorful ranging from brown-orange to black and whitebanding. They do have an impressive appendage protruding fromthe end of their snout however, and that cool threat display. Both sexes hunt using their long sticky tongues to capture their food.

Minor's chameleons are threatened by the exotic pet trade. Although it is no longer legal to export Minor's chameleons the currentpolitical instability in Madagascar has left no central government to enforce such laws, andinternational conservation aid to the island has been frozen. This situation has left theisland's unique and often endangered resources up for grabs. Organized criminal poachers are taking advantage of thesituation. Animals and treesare being illegally harvested from the forests at an alarming rate. The Wildlife Conservation Society, a naturalist group, has previously estimated the size of the illegal exotic pet trade at $6 billion per year.

Minor's chameleons are also threatened by the severe loss of forest habitat in Madagascar. They were officially listed as Vulnerable in 1996 by the Madagascar Reptile and Amphibian Specialist Group. It is possible the status of the Minor's chameleon may change as the science is updated and their population is studied. Currently there are no specific conservation efforts for the Minor's chameleon.
You can see my lady's threat display in this Arkive video. And she ain't playin', punk.

No comments:

Post a Comment