The littlest chameleon?

By Grant Jacobs 16/02/2012

How about this for a cute little guy:


There have been jokes on twitter about scientists collaborating with the local chameleons in a search for very large matches:


More seriously, these photos are from a scientific paper reporting the discovery of four related species of miniature chameleons from Northern Madagascar.

The abstract reports that ’The newly described Brookesia micra reaches a maximum snout-vent length in males of 16 mm’ with total lengths (i.e. including tail) in both sexes of 30mm.

The first half of the introduction section of the paper is worth reading and introduces giantism and (island) dwarfism – I won’t repeat what they’ve explained there. It’s a good read, the odd formal word choice expected; lots of interesting factoids for us non-zoologists or envious armchair amateurs.

Animals are complex things, with many organs and tissues. Among other things these small creatures ask ’how small can you go?’ and what compromises are involved in evolving to extremes small sizes.

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