Researchers from Germany and the U.S. discovered four new species of tiny chameleons unknown to Science in the forests of Madagascar island. One of them reaches a length of 29 mm including the tail. Scientists argue that this is one of the world’s smallest chameleon. However, the chameleons are in danger due to deforestation.
Researchers from Germany and the United States have discovered four new species of tiny chameleons in Madagascar, defined according to them as the heiress of the world’s smallest chameleon. The smallest leaves chameleon from Madagascar (Brookesia micra), was found in the northeast woods of the island and measured, it was discovered that it is in the length of 29 millimeters.
Delegation of researchers, led by German researcher Dr. Frank Glau, who discovered new species of tiny chameleons in Madagascar in the past, gathered the chameleon when found crawling on the ground during the day in the woods and at night rested on the branches of tall plants about four inches above ground level.
micra chameleons on a match.
micra chameleons on a finger.
Small chameleons in great danger
The meaning of the tiny chameleons Greek name is small or tiny. The researchers found that a male chameleon reaches a length of 16 mm without a tail and pointed out that the maximum length for males and females is less than 30 mm.
The chameleon discovered were very similar to each other physically and only after genetic tests it was revealed that these were four new species of chameleons.
There are more species of tiny chameleons in Madagascar that compete for the title of world’s smallest chameleon, including the nasal chameleons that reach a length of 18 mm. But unfortunately, the tiny dimensions of the chameleons do not guarantee them greater chance of survival.
The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE (full article). Scientists concerned about the future of forests and wildlife on the island, decided to give names to illustrate the danger to the chameleon’s future. One of the new chameleon won the Latin name “desperata” – to clarify that this is a desperate and alarming situation.
Another species of chameleon was named the “tristis” – the source of the name in French is designed to illustrate the “sad” future of the chameleon and its living space, after it was found in the forest near a city that grow at the expense of nature.
But not all chameleon were given worrying names. One of the scientists called the chameleon from the Latin – “confidens”, who in describing the safe condition of the area of that chameleon, because it is located in a protected nature reserve. According to the evaluation of researchers, the reserve does not suffer from the danger of development and it provides conditions that will help to the survival of the chameleon.
A male chameleon