A new chameleon species might be the world’s smallest reptile

A chameleon that lives hidden in the jungles of Malagasy forest is so tiny that it can fit in your fingertip. Measuring just 30 millimeters in length, Brookesia nana may be the world’s smallest reptile. Currently, there are just two adult specimens of one female who is around 28 millimeters in length and a male who is around 21 millimeters in length. The size difference could have also driven the male testicles to be large, which is about 20 percent of its body length. The name B.nana is derived from its nano size and belongs to a genus of 13 other small chameleons who are spread out across the forests of northern Madagascar. The reasons why B.nana and its cousins shrunk to a smaller size is still a mystery. Although being small have their benefits, recent studies show us that smaller chameleons are good shots at ballistic tongue. 

During the day, these new species prey upon mites and other small invertebrates, and at night they rest upon gripping grasses and climbing plants for safety. Scientists say that deforestation and habitat degradation are threatening the future of these small chameleons. IUCN is on its way soon to list the species as critically endangered, which is a grave rating for a species. Although the forest area is now under a protected region, more conservation efforts are needed to protect these tiny individuals.

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Source: Science News

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