The World’s Smallest Reptile Discovered

New species brookesia nana or “nano-chameleon” Source: National Geographic

A new chameleon species, brookesia nana or “nano-chameleon,” has been declared the world’s smallest reptile.  At roughly an inch in length, with the females slightly larger than the males, the Madagascan species is being hailed as a zoological wonder.

Famous for their sniper-rifle tongues and ability to change colors to blend in with their environments, chameleons are normally at home in the trees of forests.  However, this newest member of the genus brookesia unlike their larger counterparts are more at home on the forest floor and can’t even change colors.

Zoologist Frank Glaw et al stated in the research team’s paper, “Extremely miniaturized animals are generally thought to face physiological challenges that limit further size reductions, yet, miniaturization has independently evolved many times.”

“The repeated evolution of such an extreme phenotype suggests that [natural] selection can often favor its emergence, but currently our understanding of miniaturization and the underlying evolutionary pressures is far from complete.”

Immediately recommended for the endangered species list, the Malagasy government has declared the forest where the chameleons were found a protected area. The hope is this will give scientists enough time to do further research and develop a conservation strategy to protect the species.The discovery of Brookesia nana is just one more reminder about how much we don’t know about the planet we inhabit and the many species that are still left to be discovered.

Source: National Geographic