Miniature Chameleons Discovered—Fit on Match Tip
Unmatched Among Chameleons? Photograph courtesy Frank Glaw
Match-tip tiny, Brookesia micra (juvenile pictured) is the smallest of four new chameleon species found on the African island country of Madagascar.
With an average adult length of just over an inch (2.9 centimeters) from snout to tail, B. micra is among the tiniest reptiles in the world. (Related: "Record-Breaking Chameleons Live Only a Few Months.") Scientists think the diminutive new chameleon species might represent extreme cases of island dwarfism, whereby organisms shrink in size due to limited resources on islands.
"The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the body plan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research," study leader Frank Glaw of Germany's Zoological State Collection said in a statement.
The new chameleon species study was published this week in the journal PLoS ONE. —Ker Than