‘Smallest reptile on earth’ discovered in Madagascar

Scientists believe they may have discovered the smallest reptile on earth – a chameleon subspecies the size of a seed in Madagascar, an island country in the Indian Ocean, 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa. Two of the tiny lizards were discovered by a German-Madagascan expedition team.

The male Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, has a length from top to tail of 22 millimeters. This makes it the smallest of about 11,500 known species of reptiles, according to the Bavarian State collection of Zoology in Munich.

The female is far bigger at around 29 millimeters, the institute said, adding that other specimens were yet to be located, despite “great effort.”

The Scientific Reports journal said, “The new chameleon is only known from a degraded montane rainforest in northern Madagascar and might be threatened by extinction.”

Researchers found that it hunts for mites on the rainforest floor and hides from predators at night in blades of grass.

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