Scientists are assuming that they might have discovered the smallest reptile on planet earth. It is a subspecies of chameleon that they have found, that is the size of the seed.
Two of the tiny lizards, by the German-Madagascan expedition team, has been found.
The male Brookesia nana, or nano chameleon, has a small body of just 13.5 mm. This makes it the tiniest species in around the 11,500 already known reptiles.
The claim is according to the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich. Moreover, its length is just about 22mm from head to tail, which is around 0.86 inches. However, the female of the subspecies is far bigger than the male, at 29mm, as claimed by the institute. They have also added that other specimens are yet to be located, despite the team’s great efforts.
The findings of the existence of the new chameleon are from a degraded montane rainforest in northern Madagascar. Moreover, it is also possible that it might be at the threat of extinction, says the Scientific Reports journal.
A scientist at the Centre of Natural History in Hamburg, Oliver Hawlitschek, says that the nano chamaeleon’s habitat, unfortunately, is a subject to deforestation. But as the area is now under protection, the species will survive.
The subspecies hunts for the mites in rainforest floor. While for hiding from its predators, it takes shelter under blades of grass.
What are scientists saying?
Dr Mark Scherz is one of the researchers involved in the finding, said in a blog post, that it is a spectacular case of extreme miniaturism. He said that the forest where the Brookesia resides is still well connected with others across the north of the island.
So, this tiny new chameleon breaks the smallest species pattern that was likely to be found on the small island. That suggests that something else is causing these chameleons to miniaturise, he added.
In their reports, the scientists have recommended that the species needs to be in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered. Listing them in the list will help protect the subspecies along with its habitat.