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Discovering the smallest chameleon in the world

Discovering the smallest chameleon in the world

Discovering the smallest chameleon in the world

Discover the smallest chameleon in the world in the forests of Madagascar.

This article will allow those who cannot travel due to health measures related to civid-19, to have another way of traveling.

You should know that “Madagascar has many extremely miniaturized vertebrates, including the smallest primates and some of the smallest frogs in the world, …“, a relevé Andolalao Rakotoarison, specialist from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar.

See the video :

Discovering the smallest chameleon in the world : “Brookesia nana”

By leading an expedition to the north of Madagascar, scientists have identified a new species of tiny chameleon. With a length of barely 13,5 mm, Brookesia nana may be the world's smallest adult reptile ever described.

Madagascar still seems to harbor many unknown natural wonders. After the discovery of a small lemur (le Microcebus Jonahi) and “the ugliest orchid in the world”, it is a new species that has just been described in Madagascar. It's a chameleon able to hold on fingertip.

These scientists discovered the species "Brookesia nana" in the forests of the Sorata massif in northern Madagascar. At the cost of meticulous efforts given its size. According to the study published in the revue Scientific Reports, the adult male described by scientists is barely tall 13,5 mm long from snout to base of tail. And he measures 21,6 mm with tail.

This is not the only species of "mini-chameleon"

This miniature chameleon is not unique. To date, we know several species to present such tiny measurements. One of them called Brookesia Micra has also been described in Madagascar in 2012 by the same team behind the discovery of Brookesia nana.

Brookesia nana males are the smallest adult reptiles of any sex.. They are noticeably smaller than Brookesia Micra and all Sphaerodactylus“, summarized Dr. Mark D. Sherz, herpetologist from the University of Potsdam in Germany and co-author of the study.

If the males therefore rank without difficulty as the smallest chameleon and reptile in the world, this is not the case with females. According to the researchers' observations, the latter are larger than the former, displaying a length of 19,2 mm which exceeds those of Brookesia Micra and the smaller Sphaerodactylus.

A small body but large sexual organs

Oddly enough, not all of Brookesia nana's organs have miniaturized so much. The researchers observed that the discovered male had surprisingly large sex organs. Entirely out of their sheath, they measure 2,5 millimeters, either 18,5% the total size of the animal.

A unique biodiversity to be protected

According to the researchers, if the Brookesia nana is not restricted to a small island, its range is probably no more extensive than that of other dwarf chameleons. There is therefore reason to worry about the possible threats that could weigh on it and suggest that it could already join the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (IUCN).

“Unfortunately, the habitat of “nano-chameleon” is under strong pressure from deforestation”, emphasized Oliver Hawlitschek from the Center for Natural Sciences in Hamburg and another co-author of the study.

Good news though : “the area has recently been classified as a protected area. What, with hope, will allow this tiny chameleon to survive”.

(Source : du 01/02/2021)

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