Lying 250 miles of the coast of Africa is the tropical island paradise of Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot which is home to half of the world's 150 or so species of chameleons. I've been a fan of one species in particular since I filmed them for 'Life in Cold Blood' back in 2007, you may also have seen them demonstrate their unique feeding technique during the recent amphibians and reptiles episode of 'Life' on BBC One. The species is Furcifer pardalis, the Panther Chameleon - perhaps the most beautiful of all chameleons. It's also one of the largest in the world, with males growing up to 20 inches (50 cm) long (more than twice the size of their female counterparts).
The males are not only larger but are much more extravagantly coloured than the females and can be found as one of a myriad of different colour-morphs - each betraying their geographical origin. The subjects of my photographs are found in the Antsiranana and Sambava areas where they are a blend of red, green or orange. If you were to encounter a male lurking in the lush vegetation of Nosy Be or Ambanjathe you might think it a completely different species for these individuals are vibrantly blue. There are many other colour types and patterns found across the island making Panther-spotting a real treat. The Females however remain a much less exciting tan and brown colour - and so along with their diminutive size are much trickier to spot.
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Here's the clip from 'Life in Cold Blood'.