Brookesia micra chameleons live in the remote forests of Madagascar. The juveniles are small enough to fit on the head of a match. (Glaw, F., et al., PLoS ONE/Courtesy)

“I’m sure there are many surprises awaiting discovery.”
Lead researcher Frank Glaw, who is part of a team of scientists doing research in Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands, announcing the discovery of a species of chameleon small enough to easily perch on a match head on a tiny island off Madagascar.

In addition to the discovery of Brookesia micra, now the tiniest chameleon ever discovered, the researchers also announced the discovery of three additional tiny chameleon species. Adult males of the B. micra species grow to only just over a half-inch from nose to bottom, making them one of the smallest vertebrates ever found on Earth. (Male and female adults grow to only 1 inch in length.)

Glaw, who has been going to Madagascar to research its ever-expanding list of amphibians and reptiles for a quarter century, said that B. micra may represent the limit of miniaturization possible for a vertebrate with complex eyes, but said it’s impossible to know for sure since each time scientists have proclaimed the discovery of the tiniest one yet, another, tinier species appears.