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Tiny chameleons discovered in Madagascar: Small enough to stand on the tip of a finger

Date:
February 15, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Four new species of miniaturized lizards have been identified in Madagascar. These lizards, just tens of millimeters from head to tail and in some cases small enough to stand on the head of a match, rank among the smallest reptiles in the world.

Hemipenes of species in the Brookesia minima group. The photos show for each species, a general view of the organs and a close-up. For B. desperata, the inset picture shows a non-turgid everted hemipenis where the two apex projections are very prominent. Note that also several other of the shown preparations are not fully turgid, especially in B. ramanantsoai and B. micra. In two other species (B. confidens and B. tristis) the shown hemipenes might not be fully everted.
Credit: Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Ted M. Townsend, Miguel Vences. Rivaling the World's Smallest Reptiles: Discovery of Miniaturized and Microendemic New Species of Leaf Chameleons (Brookesia) from Northern Madagascar. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e31314 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031314

Four new species of miniaturized lizards have been identified in Madagascar. These lizards, just tens of millimeters from head to tail and in some cases small enough to stand on the head of a match, rank among the smallest reptiles in the world.

The full report can be found in the Feb. 15 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Frank Glaw of the Zoological State Collection of Munich in Germany, also conducted a genetic analysis to determine that the mini lizards, though similar in appearance, are in fact distinct species. The smallest of the new species, Brookesia micra, was found only on a very small islet called Nosy Hara, and the authors suggest that this species may represent an extreme case of island dwarfism.

"The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the bodyplan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research." says Frank Glaw. "But most urgent is to focus conservation efforts on these and other microendemic species in Madagascar which are heavily threatened by deforestation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Ted M. Townsend, Miguel Vences. Rivaling the World's Smallest Reptiles: Discovery of Miniaturized and Microendemic New Species of Leaf Chameleons (Brookesia) from Northern Madagascar. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e31314 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031314

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Tiny chameleons discovered in Madagascar: Small enough to stand on the tip of a finger." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215083023.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, February 15). Tiny chameleons discovered in Madagascar: Small enough to stand on the tip of a finger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215083023.htm
Public Library of Science. "Tiny chameleons discovered in Madagascar: Small enough to stand on the tip of a finger." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120215083023.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

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