Four new chameleon species have been discovered in Madagascar. Measuring mere centimeters in length, they are some of the world’s smallest known reptiles.
A team of scientists from Germany and the United States used genetic analysis to ascertain that these diminutive lizards are indeed separate species. The smallest one is called Brookesia micra, and appears to occur only on the tiny island of Nosy Hara.
“The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the bodyplan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research.” said study team leader Frank Glaw at the Zoological State Collection of Munich in a press release.
“But most urgent is to focus conservation efforts on these and other microendemic species in Madagascar which are heavily threatened by deforestation.”
The findings were published online in the journal PLoS ONE on Feb. 15.