Frank Glaw is no stranger to discovery. The German herpetologist has helped describe scores of new species from Madagascar, but the latest one is special: Brookesia nana is arguably the world’s tiniest chameleon and possibly the smallest reptile on Earth. A male Brookesia nana. Image courtesy of Frank Glaw. Measuring just shy of 14 millimeters (0.55 inches), B. nana can perch cozily on an aspirin tablet. Like many Lilliputian chameleons, it has catchy swivelly eyes and a sizeable hemipenis. Two specimens, a male and female, were collected in 2012 by Angeluc Razafimanantsoa, who works as a tourist guide at Montagne d’Ambre National Park in northern Madagascar and assists scientific expeditions. The female was distinctly bigger at 19 mm (0.75 in), which scientists believe is one reason why the males feature an outsized reproductive organ; it’s a better fit. A female Brookesia nana. Image courtesy of Frank Glaw. For nine years, Brookesia micra, a cousin of B. nana described in 2012, clung to the title of tiniest chameleon. B. nana is smaller than B. micra in body size, measured from snout to cloacal opening at the base of the tail. But it sports a longer tail. Differences in how size is determined make it complicated to definitively claim that a species is the planet’s littlest. A branch of Brookesia chameleons exhibits extreme miniaturization, leaving scientists scouring dictionaries for synonyms for small. There is already a Brookesia minima, so the researchers settled on nana, derived from the Latin word for dwarf. Glaw and his colleagues published their findings in…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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