This new species of chameleon could be the smallest reptile in the world

This new species of chameleon could be the smallest reptile in the world

Officially known as Brookesia nana , or B. nana for short, the new species is so small that it is believed to survive on a diet of mites and collembola, an order of hexapod arthropods close to insects.

About the size of a sunflower seed , the newly described creature from Madagascar may already be critically endangered. Finding such a small reptile also raises interesting questions about the lower limits of vertebrate body size.

Brookesia nana

Like other chameleons, this small reptile has a tongue that it can project to catch its prey . It hunts during the day on the jungle floor and retreats to the safety of blades of grass at night.

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So far, scientists have observed only two individuals: a male and a female, each of whom was captured in 2012 , on an expedition to a group of mountains known as the Sorata massif.

Researchers suspect that this nanochameleon could be given the title of the smallest reptile in the world . The fact that only two individuals have been found makes it difficult to generalize about the findings. It is possible that other chameleons of this species are larger or smaller, just as humans can have different heights.

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Its closest competitor is a creature called Brookesia micra , a tiny chameleon species that made its debut in 2012, photographed on the head of a match.

Brookesia nana