Startled Snake Horks Up New Chameleon Species

British scientist startled reptile before it could digest dinner

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 23, 2009 7:41 PM CST

(Newser) – A Tanzanian snake so startled by a British researcher that it threw up its still-undigested dinner in fact horked up a previously unknown species of chameleon. Andrew Marshall tells the Guardian he was surveying monkeys in the Magombera forest when he tripped over the nervous twig snake; though worried about the venom that killed the creature, he ascertained that the erstwhile meal was indeed a new find.

Marshall made the discovery in 2005, but it’s only official now that he’s published it. And though he earned the naming rights, Marshall gave it a moniker reflecting its habitat: Kinyongia magomberae. Was he tempted to work Marshall in somehow? “Oh crumbs, no. The thing is, if you work in an area of conservation importance and you can give a species the name of that area it can really highlight that area. By giving it the name Magombera it raises the importance of the forest.”

The newly discovered Kinyongia magomberae (Magombera chameleon).
The newly discovered Kinyongia magomberae (Magombera chameleon).   (University of York)
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