In a recent study published in the journal Nature- Scientific Reports, scientists have announced the discovery of a subspecies of the chameleon family that could be the smallest reptile in the world.
During an expedition which was a German and Madagascan collaboration, both a male and a female chameleon were discovered in northern Madagascar.
The species’ closest relative is the slightly larger Brookesia micra, whose discovery was announced in 2012.
Scientists assume that the lizard’s habitat is threatened and decreasing due to deforestation, as is the case for similar subspecies.
“The nano-chameleon’s habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive,” -Oliver Hawlitschek, a scientist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg, said in a statement.
The Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich explained the adult male Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, has a total length from nose to tail and is just under 22mm (0.87 inch). His body is only 13.5mm (0.53 inches) long. This is the smallest of all the known 11,500 species of reptiles,
The female nano-chameleon is significantly larger than her male counterpart, with an overall length of 29mm, Researchers also found, using a micro-CT scan, that the female specimen had two eggs. Finally, the scientists were unable to find further specimens of the new subspecies, which must be very difficult to search for in the field, when they are so small!