Panther chameleon CC Florence Ivy

Of course 11 species of color-changing lizards have been hiding in plain sight — they’re masters of disguise.

Now that they’ve officially been discovered, scientists believe the critters could actually help save a rainforest.

Panther chameleons, who are native to Madagascar, were initially thought to be a single species.opisthotheusis-adorabilis-sea-floor-octopus-Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute-release

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New DNA tests, however, reveal that there are really 11 different species of panther chameleons living on the island nation.

As it turns out, Chameleons have a “super power” of sorts when it comes to environmental issues — a cuteness factor. Just check out the video here of a chameleon popping soap bubbles.


No really, bear with us a moment.

That kind of cuteness makes chameleons a “charismatic species,” according to conservation biologists.

Like polar bears and pandas, they posses a quality that makes people sympathetic to them; in other words, people are more likely to want to save cute tigers than an endangered and ugly (sorry, guys) fruit fly species.Kala-Sun-Bear-Facebook-Bornean-Sun-BearConservationCentre-750px

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Let’s hope those 11 species have enough cuteness among them to help rally support for the rainforests—come on, just look at those faces!

You can donate to rainforest conservation efforts at the World Land Trust, a charity with a 20 year track record of successful environmental projects and Sir David Attenborough as a patron.

(WATCH the Newsy video below) – Photo: Florence Ivy, CC

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