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World’s Smallest Reptile

  • 18 Feb 2021
  • 2 min read

Why in News

Scientists believe they may have discovered the smallest reptile on earth - a Chameleon subspecies that is the size of a seed.

  • Two of the tiny lizards were discovered by a German-Madagascan expedition team in Madagascar.

Key Points

  • About the Discovery:
    • The team found one male and one female of the species, named Brookesia nana, during an expedition in 2012.
    • The Male Brookesia Nana, or Nano-Chameleon, has a body of just 13.5 mm. Its length from top to tail is 22 mm. The female is far bigger at around 29 mm.
    • According to the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, Nano-Chameleon is the smallest of about 11,500 known species of reptiles.
      • Previously, the chameleon species Brookesia micra was thought to be the smallest. The average length of adults of this species is 16 mm (29 mm with tail), while the smallest adult male has been recorded at 15.3 mm.
      • The longest, the reticulated python, at 6.25 m is almost as long as 289 Brookesia nanas.
    • The New Chameleon is only known from a degraded Montane Rainforest in Northern Madagascar and might be threatened by extinction.
      • Nano-chameleons have previously suffered deforestation, but their habitat is now protected.
    • In their report, scientists recommended that 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.
  • About Chameleons:
    • Chameleons (family Chamaeleonidae) are a distinctive and highly specialized Clade of Old World Lizard with 202 species described as of June 2015. Madagascar is home to nearly two-thirds of all chameleon species.
    • Chameleons are adapted for climbing and visual hunting. They live in warm habitats that range from Rainforest and Desert Condition. They are best known for their ability to change body colour.
    • The Indian chameleon is found in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

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