Male Labord's Chameleon (Furcifer labordi), Kirindy Forest, Madagascar
A species of western dry forest, Labord's Chameleon is notable for its extreme life cycle. It spends 8 months of its 1 year-life span inside the egg. Once hatched it only survives for another four to five months, as it dies almost immediately after reproduction. There is no other terrestrial vertebrate with a shorter known active life-span. This peculiar life cycle, known as "semelparity", is presumably an adaptation to a combination of extreme climate and competition with other sympatric chameleon species.
Males of the species are easily identifiable by their prominent, bony-head "casque", and the presence of a well-developed appendage jutting out from near the nostrils. The nasal projection and bony casque of the male enables females to recognise potential mates, and is also used as a weapon when in combat with other territorial males.
Kirindy Forest is a privately managed conservation area, ca. 40 km north-east of the town of Morondava. Not part of the official National Park System of Madagascar, this 120 sqkm area was earlier operated as an experimental sustainable timber harvesting scheme. Fortunately, this has not left indelible scars and the site is now considered as one of finest remaining examples of endemic western dry deciduous forest.
For further information on this species see www.arkive.org/labords-chameleon/furcifer-labordi/