World’s Smallest Chameleon :
The discovery of new species every now and then shows that there are still a lot more secrets hidden within nature waiting to be discovered.
Scientists recently discovered a new species officially named ‘Brookesia nana’ that belongs to the reptilian family.
This newly discovered species of chameleon is so small that it may be the world’s smallest chameleon ever to be discovered.
World’s smallest chameleon species discovered…
Herpetologists discovered – Brookesia nana in the little patch of the remaining rainforest in northern Madagascar.
They also found out these B. nana species were living feeding on tiny organisms like mites and springtails on the ground that were unlucky to crawl close enough for these little predators to shoot their sticky tongue and grab them in a leaf litter which is their hunting ground.
The reports on the discovery of this new species were published in Nature.
“At the first glance, we realized that it was an important discovery,” Andolalo Rakotoarison, a Malagasy herpetologist said in a report.
Also read: Farming on Mars: Is it Really Possible?
These chameleons would hunt during the day on the forest floor and by night they would retreat back to the safety of tall grass and plants.
According to the researchers, if any predator got close to them, the disturbance in the grass would alert them of the danger and they would drop down to the floor to evade them.
But until now the researchers have found only two specimens- one female, one male. The female measures 28.9 millimeters and the male measures 21.6 millimeters long, considerably smaller than the female.
The researchers confirmed that the female chameleon was an adult after finding the eggs in the ovaries through a Micro-CT scan, but they weren’t sure whether the male was a juvenile or an adult in the beginning as determining its age was a little difficult.
However, the male chameleon’s genitalia was bigger in proportion to its body size (20% larger) compared to other species of its family in order to compensate for the size of the female, and scientists confirmed that it was an adult.
The discovery of this new chameleon species has made scientists rethink how smaller the vertebrates can get.
Unfortunately, the good news of their discovery comes with bad news. Due to the extensive level of deforestation and loss of their habitat, experts said that these chameleons will most likely end up on the list of critically endangered species by the IUNC.
But the bright side is that the region they were discovered has now been declared as the new protected area of Madagascar.