Discovered the nanochameleon: the smallest reptile on the planet. The animal has been found in Madagascar and measures only 13.5 millimeters.
An international team of researchers has announced the discovery of a new species of chameleon: the nano- chameleon . The animal was discovered on the island of Madagascar and, with a size of 13.5 millimeters , it has become the smallest reptile in the world .
Its official name is Brookesia nana and this tiny brown reptile and no bigger than a sunflower seed has been discovered by a group of biologists in the jungle of northern Madagascar . “With a body length of only 13.5 millimeters and a total length of almost 22 millimeters, the male of the nanochameleon is the smallest known among the almost 11,500 known species,” the researcher from the State Zoological Collection explained in his statement. from Munich, Frank Glaw.
“At first glance we realized that it was a very important discovery, ” adds Andolalao Rakotoarison, the Malagasy zoologist leading the research. This finding challenges all the limits that were believed possible of body size in vertebrate animals, so its discovery represents a great step for the scientific community.
The female is much larger than the male of this species.
At the moment, the group of scientists has only found two specimens of this curious species; a male and a female who share all the basic characteristics of their larger peers: camouflage ability, 360º wide eyes, and a projectile tongue.
An endangered species
Unfortunately, the future of these animals is still somewhat diffuse since, as indicated by one of the scientists participating in the research, the natural habitat of these small reptiles has been greatly affected by deforestation.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is already studying all the means to preserve the available specimens and obtain protected natural areas so that they can live in freedom.For now, the area in which the chameleon was found has been placed under protection. to help the survival of the species.
To find out if the specimens are in a sexually mature stage, the team has examined the genitalia of both animals and compared them with those of 51 other species of chameleons from Madagascar. The two specimens found are in the adult stage and the female had two eggs inside.