It is during the recent discovery when scientists found four new species of chameleons in Northern Madagascar. One of the named Brookesia Micra is one of the smallest chameleons in the world. The reason for the phenomenon of the evolution of the smallest chameleon is known as island dwarfism.
About Brookesia Micra
A group of scientists found new species of chameleon in Northern Madagascar, including the world’s smallest one named Brookesia Micra. Though Brookesia Micra is the world’s smallest lizard, however, it is not the smallest vertebrate. A frog from Papua New Guinea holds the title of the smallest vertebrate. It is a frog’s species that measures about a third of an inch in size. While they may be the tiniest creature but they are slightly bigger than an ant. Adult Brookesia Micra species grow just over half-inch (nearly 16 mm) from nose to bottom. Let’s learn a little more about this tiny species.
Can you pick them?
These chameleons are quite challenging to locate during the day, even when they are active, mostly because of their size. It is the only creature that can get spotted sleeping on the plants at night and gets spotted a few inches off the ground. Lead researcher, Frank Glaw, said, you can easily pick them as they are easy to capture. Thee chameleons feel like a strawberry in your hands.
Reason behind dwarfism
The question stuck in your mind right now would be, ‘How did this chameleon get so small?’ One explanation to this theory is simply due to ‘island dwarfism.’ The size adaptation can occur for various reasons and is common on the islands such as Madagascar. The animals which are smaller in size need only a few resources to survive and reproduce. It is an advantage of these species, which proves as an advantage during food scarcity. Dwarf animals are efficient and have a specialized feature for processing nutrients in their body. They require little shelter to protect themselves from harsh environmental conditions and predators. Thus, the reason behind the size of these species is the location and the conditions of Madagascar island.
Researchers take on Brookesia Micra
The researchers found these tiny reptiles in Madagascar’s northern wild regions during their expedition from 2003 to 2007. Right after the discovery of these small creatures, they got identified as new species. Mr. Glaw said that these tiny chameleons are so small that it’s tough to see them with naked eyes. Researchers have warned that at least two of the newly-discovered chameleon species have extreme threat because of deforestation of the land of Madagascar.
Even though Brookesia Micra represents the maximum limit of miniaturization possible in the vertebrates, it is still impossible to conclude this. It is because no one knows when any other scientist would discover a creature smaller than these chameleons. Thus, there is a possibility of having another tiny creature than Brookesia Micra that might appear in a few years.
Let’s wait for tiny specie which is yet to come. Till then, let’s leave Brookesia Micra to enjoy being one of the smallest chameleon species in the world.