Habitat: north Madagascar
Status: Not Evaluated
This is truly the teeniest, tiniest chameleon I’ve ever seen – along with the rest of the world! This newly discovered species from Madagascar (2012) is called Brookesia micra and it’s now officially recognized as the world’s smallest chameleon and possibly one of the smallest reptiles, period. Adults grow up to 29 mm (1.1 in) – at best.
Brookesia micra was discovered and named by a team of researchers led by Frank Glaw of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology. The team had conducted expeditions in Madagascar for eight years. Brookesia minima was discovered on a small islet off the coast of Madagascar called Nosy Hara.
As Dailymail puts it: “the-three centimetre reptile is no bigger than the flies that form his average-sized cousin’s lunch.”
Ted Townsend, of San Diego State University, carried out genetic testing on the new species. He said: ‘Their size suggests that chameleons might have evolved in Madagascar from small and inconspicuous ancestors, quite unlike the larger and more colourful chameleons most familiar to us today.’
Scientists believe Brookesia minima achieved its tiny stature through a “double” island dwarfism effect. “In this scenario, Madagascar, as a large island, led to the evolution of the Brookesia minima group, whereas the … islet Nosy Hara might have favored the extreme miniaturization found in Brookesia micra,” the researchers write.
I think we all just need to take a second to think about that this chameleon is able to STAND ON THE HEAD OF A MATCH it’s so small. Good lord that’s adorable. Bravo, world’s smallest chameleon, bravo.
*this article was first published February 14, 2012.