June 7, 2011 --
More than 600 new species of animals and plants have been discovered in Madagascar in the past decade, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund. The discoveries include 385 plants, 42 invertebrates, 17 fish, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 41 mammals. Although all of these species are new to science, many are believed to be endangered due to threats ranging from deforestation to illegal wildlife trading. Explore some of the most fascinating animals discovered in past decade in this slide show. We begin with this curious-looking chameleon. With a red splash on color on its head and blue spots all over its body, this "glam-rock" chameleon (Furcifer timoni) received its name because of the vibrant colors that adorn its skin. Found in the isolated rainforests of the Montagne d’Ambre in northern Madagascar, it is one of 11 species of chameleon discovered in Madagascar since 1999.
Biologists may have shown up a little too soon when they discovered this new species of frog. In this photo, a male frog (Boophis lilianae) holds onto a female during mating in their native habitat of Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Since 1999, nearly 70 amphibian species have been discovered in Madagascar.
Discovered in 2000, this mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae) sure wasn't an easy find. Fully grown, the lemur reaches on average 3.6 inches in length, making it the world's smallest known primate. Found in the Kirindy Mitea National Park in Western Madagascar, this little guy is one of 28 lemurs discovered in the past decade.
This bright yellow frog may appear to have come down with the measles, but this is actually the species' natural coloring. Boophis bottae, a native of the eastern rainforest belt of Madagascar, is already under threat due to habitat loss from a variety of sources, including agriculture, logging, expanding human populations and more.
With a predominantly white body mixed with splashes of black and gray spots throughout, this chameleon (Calumma tarzan) is named after Tarzan. Although partly credited to the fact that the species was discovered near a small village called Tarzanville, the name actually comes from researchers who gave the chameleon its moniker with the hopes that it would raise awareness of the threat to this animal and its habitat.
This earth-toned frog (Gephyromantis tschenki) was first spotted in 2001 in Madagascar's nature preserves.
While this cork bark leaf-tailed gecko may be easy enough to spot against the black background, this animal blends in perfectly with its surroundings in the eastern coastal rainforest of Madagascar. Like many of the animals in this slide show, Uroplatus pietschmanni is threatened by habitat loss and the pet trade.