December 1, 2023
World's smallest reptile discovered in Madagascar

World’s smallest reptile discovered in Madagascar

The newly-discovered “nano-chameleon” is small enough to fit comfortably on a fingertip. The Madagascar species deals with a major danger from deforestation.

The smallest reptile on the planet located in Madagascar

A team of German and Madagascar researchers have confirmed their find of the world’s smallest reptile in Madagascar, with the male version of the chameleon seeming just 13.5-millimeters-long (0.53 inches). The creature, named Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, is small enough to fit comfortably on a human fingertip.

Species belonging to Madagascar mountains

Frank Glaw, a German herpetologist at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, said the chameleon was discovered in the mountains of northern Madagascar throughout a 2012 exploration. They discovered a small male and a slightly larger female, and did not realize the reptiles were adults till much later.

” You have to truly get down on your knees to locate them,” Glaw informed AP on Friday. “They are clearly camouflaged and relocate very slowly.”

Glaw discovered that the female had eggs in her body and the male had extremely large genitals, meaning that the chameleons were grownups. He said it is unclear why the chameleons are so small.
Deforestation a major threat

The chameleon’s survival is threatened by deforestation on the island.

“The nano-chameleon’s habitat has actually unfortunately been subject to deforestation, however the area was placed under protection recently, so the types will survive,” Oliver Hawlitschek, an evolutionary biologist at the Facility of Natural History in Hamburg said.

Deforestation is a major challenge in Madagascar due to the dangers of slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging. According to a 2019 research published by the Nature Climate Change journal, almost all of Madagascar’s eastern jungle can disappear by 2070 if deforestation and climate change progress at the current pace, putting a lot of the island’s special species in danger.