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Scientists classify world’s smallest reptile

Scientists from Madagascar and Germany say they may have found a contender for the world’s smallest reptile.

The creature, a nano-chameleon, of the scientific name ‘Brookesia nana’ was discovered in the mountainous forests of northern Madagascar in 2012.

Scientists discovered two at the time, but did not know until recently that the specimens had reached full-adult size.

They later discovered that one was an adult female, as it was holding eggs.

This photo was taken by Frank Glaw, a reptile expert at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich. He was part of the international team that classified the species.

Glaw recently renewed the claim that the Brookesia nana was the world’s smallest discovered reptile.

He listed the male’s body as spanning a minute 13.5mm, or 22.5mm from head to tail.

Its female counterpart meanwhile, is slightly longer at 19.2mm, or 28.9mm from head to tail, according to Glaw.

The species was discovered in elevated forests at an altitude of approximately 1,300 metres according to the international team of scientists who claimed the discovery.

Although it could have been a viable explanation, the Brookesia nana’s size is not believed to be a result of ‘Insular dwarfism’, whereby animals evolve to a reduced body size when populations are limited to small environments, namely islands.

By Frank Glaw
www.rte.ie
Updated / Monday, 8 Feb 2021 07:40