Brookesia micra

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Brookesia micra
Brookesia micra on a match head.jpg
Juvenile specimen on match head
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Chamaeleonidae
Genus: Brookesia
B. micra
Binomial name
Brookesia micra
Glaw et al., 2012[1]

Brookesia micra is a species of chameleons from the islet of Nosy Hara in Antsiranana, Madagascar.[2] As of 14 February 2012, it is the smallest known chameleon and among the smallest reptiles. In length, adult Brookesia micra can grow up to 29 mm (1.1 in).[1]


Brookesia micra was discovered and named by a team of researchers led by Frank Glaw of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology.[3] Glaw and his colleagues have been conducting expeditions into the Madagascan forests for eight years.[4] Members of the species had previously been labelled as Brookesia sp. "Nosy Hara" in 2007 by Glaw and Vences.[1]


The specific epithet of B. micra is a derivation of the Latin form of the Greek word "μικρός" (mikros), which means either "tiny" or "small" and refers to the small body size.[1]


The males of Brookesia micra reach a maximum snout-vent length of 16 mm (0.63 in), and the total body length of both of the sexes is less than 30 mm (1.2 in), ranking it among the smallest amniote vertebrates found anywhere in the world.[1] Compared to Brookesia minima, B. micra has a shorter tail and a larger head.[1] Adults of B. micra also have orange tails, as opposed to an inconspicuous brown one.[1] The size of the lizard may be linked to its habitat, due to insular dwarfism.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Brookesia micra, together with three other species, were found in north Madagascar some time between 2003 and 2007.[6] This species was discovered on a small, uninhabited island in the Nosy Hara archipelago off the coast of Madagascar[7]. They typically reside in leaf litter during the day, and climb up into tree branches as high as 10 cm (3.9 in) at night to sleep.[6][8] B. micra lives in an area subject to illegal logging, which may make the species "sensitive to habitat destruction", according to researcher Jorn Köhler.[9] Due to the highly specific nature of B. micra's habitat, the species would be at high risk for extinction if habitat destruction were to occur.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Glaw, F.; Köhler, J. R.; Townsend, T. M.; Vences, M. (2012). Salamin, Nicolas (ed.). "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. open access
  2. ^ Davies, Ella (15 February 2012). "Tiny lizards found in Madagascar". BBC Nature. BBC. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  3. ^ Phelan, Jessica (15 February 2012). "Brookesia micra, world's smallest chameleon, discovered in Madagascar". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  4. ^ Zukerman, Wendy (15 February 2012). "Itsy bitsy teeny weeny chameleons". New Scientist. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  5. ^ Mann, Adam (14 February 2012). "World's Tiniest Chameleons Found in Madagascar". Wired. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b Mustain, Andrea (14 February 2012). "World's Tiniest Chameleon Discovered". Live Science. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Brookesia micra, world's smallest chameleon, discovered in Madagascar". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  8. ^ Davies, Ella (15 February 2012). "Tiny lizards found in Madagascar". BBC Nature. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  9. ^ "World's tiniest chameleon discovered". Toronto Sun. Quebecor Media. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.