Skip to main content

Little Lizards

SMALL WONDER An adult male nano-chameleon sits on a fingertip. FRANK GLAW—ZOOLOGISCHE STAATSSAMMLUNG MÜNCHEN/AFP

Scientists have discovered what may be the smallest reptile on Earth. The species is called Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon. It lives in the rainforest in northern Madagascar. The finding was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Researchers found two of the tiny chameleons, male and female. Nose to tail, the male is less than an inch long and fits on a fingertip. The female is larger, at just over an inch long.

Like many rainforest 
species, chameleons are threatened by deforestation. But there is good news. Oliver Hawlitschek is a biologist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg, Germany. He says the chameleon’s habitat has been placed under protection recently. “The species will survive,” he says.