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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Chamaeleonidae
Subfamily: Brookesiinae
Genus: Brookesia
Gray, 1864

Brookesia is a genus of chameleons, endemic to Madagascar, that range from small to very small in size, and are known collectively as leaf chameleons (though this name also commonly is used for species in the genera Rieppeleon and Rhampholeon). Brookesia includes species considered to be the world's smallest chameleons, and are also among the smallest reptiles. Members of the genus Brookesia are largely brown and most are essentially terrestrial.

A significant percentage of the species in the genus were only identified to science within the last three decades, and a number of species that still have not received a scientific name are known to exist. Most inhabit very small ranges in areas that are difficult to access, and due to their small size and secretive nature, they have been relatively poorly studied compared to their larger relatives.


The generic name Brookesia is in honor of British naturalist Joshua Brookes.[1]

Conservation status[edit]

Most Brookesia are on CITES Appendix II, the only exception being B. perarmata on Appendix I (a species also listed as endangered by IUCN). Consequently, a special permit is required to import any of the below species from their native Madagascar, and typically no permit is issued for B. perarmata.


Brookesia desperata female, stress-coloured, with two recently laid eggs.
Panel of eight pictures showing males and females of four leaf chameleon species.
Males (left) and females (right) of four Brookesia species described in 2012, all belonging to the B. minima species group: A-B B. tristis, C-D B. confidens, E-F B. micra, G-H B. desperata[2]

The 30 currently recognized species in the genus are:[3]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Brookesia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michel (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Genus Brookesia, p. 40).
  2. ^ a b c d e Glaw F; Köhler J; Townsend TM; Vences M (2012). "Rivaling the World's Smallest Reptiles: Discovery of Miniaturized and Microendemic New Species of Leaf Chameleons (Brookesia) from Northern Madagascar". PLoS ONE. 7 (2): e31314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031314. PMC 3279364. PMID 22348069.
  3. ^ "Brookesia ". The Reptile Database.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gray JE (1864). "Revision of the Genera and Species of Chamæleonidæ, with the Description of some New Species". Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1864: 465-477 + Plates XXXI & XXXII. (Brookesia, new genus, pp. 476–477).

External links[edit]