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World’s smallest chameleon found in northern Madagascar

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A juvenile Brookesia micra chameleon sits on the head of a match.

Scientists say a chameleon species that has been recently discovered on a tiny island off Madagascar is the smallest of its kind ever found.

A team of scientists has found four new chameleon species in northern Madagascar including Brookesia micra, which is small enough to easily perch on a match head.

As one of the world’s smallest vertebrates, the size of Brookesia micra adult males reaches only to just over a half-inch (16 mm) and from nose to tail, adults of both sexes grow to only 1 inch (30 mm) in length.

According to the scientists, the team searched for the tiny chameleons in the darkness of the night with the help of flashlights as it is difficult to find them during the day when they are active.

“[In the nights] they are sleeping and you can just pick them up. It’s like picking a strawberry, so it’s easy. They do not move at all at night,” said lead researcher Frank Glaw.

This comes while researchers have warned that due to habitat loss and deforestation in Madagascar the life of these newly-found chameleons are in danger.

They have also said that the title of world’s smallest lizard belongs to frogs from Papua New Guinea, which are about 8-to-9 millimeters long.

The frogs’ super tiny fingers and toes do not allow them to climb so they have found a niche on the forest floor, where their body size let them hide among leaf litter and moss.


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