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95. Minute leaf chameleon

Brookesia minima

About

This tiny chameleon grows to just 3.5 cm long! It was thought to be the world’s smallest lizard before the discovery of its close relative B. micra.

Brookesia chameleons of Madagascar diverged from all other living species more than 50 million years ago, long before our ancestors diverged from those of modern baboons, tamarins and capuchin monkeys!

This diminutive chameleon is uncommon and the population is likely in decline due to habitat loss. Its forest habitat is highly fragmented, and the same is thought to be true of its populations. This habitat loss is driven by slash and burn agriculture and logging for charcoal production.

The minute leaf chameleon is listed on CITES Appendix II, and can be legally exported for the international pet trade. It occurs in several protected areas. More research is needed to better understand the impact of threats on the populations of this species.

 

  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Chamaeleonidae
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 3.56 cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.49 (?)
ED Score: 29.383 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

The minute leaf chameleon is endemic to northwestern Madagascar.  It occurs in lowland regions up to 350 metres above sea level, and its extent of occurrence is less than 4,000 km².

Habitat and Ecology

This tiny chameleon requires lowland humid forest and is unlikely to be resilient to disturbance. It adopts the ‘freeze and roll’ antipredator defence and roosts on low vegetation at night.

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