A chameleon was found in Madagascar, the size of which is 13.5 mm. An adult male can fit on the head of a match. The journal Scientific Reports writes about this.
The new species of reptile was named Brookesia nana. Even though the brookesia chameleon has just been discovered, it is already on the verge of extinction. The mountain forests in which he lives are disappearing due to human agricultural activities.
Today, herpetologists know about 30 species of brookesia (chameleons that inhabit the flattering litter). Still, scientists assume there are many more miniature reptiles because it is not easy to find them.
This time, the scientists from the Zoological State Collection of Munich were lucky. They found two tiny chameleons in the north of the island. Genetic analysis confirmed that this is a separate species.
In appearance, Brookesia nana also differs from its congeners from other species. The female is 19.2 mm long (from the tip of the muzzle to the cloaca), slightly larger than the male. Before that, B. micra was considered the smallest chameleon: its body length is 15.3 mm.
Of the species’ interesting features: for such a tiny organism, males have relatively large copulatory organs – paired heminopenis. In the inverted state, each of them is 2.5 mm long. According to zoologists, this physiological feature is dictated by the reverse sexual dimorphism: due to the females’ large size, the males had to acquire larger genitals during evolution.