Scientists have discovered the smallest reptile in the world – the male species of Brookesia nana. This ultra compact chameleon has a body of 13.5mm, just enough for it to be perched on the top of a human finger. Its length from top to tail is a mere 22mm (0.86in).
According to the Bavarian State collection of Zoology in Munich, this makes the male Brookesia nana the smallest of about 11,500 known species of reptiles.
The female species is bigger, measuring around 29mm.
These species were discovered by a German-Madagascan expedition team in Madagascar, which is a global biodiversity hotspot. Interestingly, the scientists were not aware that these reptiles were adults until much later.
“We discovered it in the mountains of northern of Madagascar,” Frank Glaw, curator of herpetology at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, told AFP in an interview.
“We found out that the female had eggs in her body, and that the male had large genitals, so it was clear that they were adults,” he added.
This pair are the only specimens of the species ever found.
Unfortunately, these species’ habitat is severely threatened due to deforestation.
Oliver Hawlitschek, a scientist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg, said: “The nano-chameleon’s habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive.”
So, scientists have recommended that this species of the chameleon be listed as critically endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species to help protect it and its habitat.
Isn’t it our duty to conserve the ecosystem for such creatures? What do you think about this smallest species of reptiles discovered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.