The Smallest Lizard In The World?

February 12, 2021

When you think of the biggest lizard in the world, do you immediately think of Godzilla? No? Well, we do (although we know, we know, Godzilla isn’t real!). But what if we asked you to think of the smallest lizard in the world? Would it be a gecko that can fit in the palm of your hand or something even smaller? Now, if we told you that there’s a lizard the size of a seed, would you believe us? Well, it’s true, they do exist!

Brookesia nana
By Frank Glaw, Jörn Köhler, Oliver Hawlitschek, Fanomezana M. Ratsoavina, Andolalao Rakotoarison, Mark D. Scherz & Miguel Vences – Glaw, F., Köhler, J., Hawlitschek, O. et al. Extreme miniaturization of a new amniote vertebrate and insights into the evolution of genital size in chameleons. Sci Rep 11, 2522 (2021).doi:10.1038/s41598-020-80955-1, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99597047

With a body of approximately a centimeter long, the Brookesia nana, also known as the nano-chameleon, is possibly the smallest lizard on Earth. It’s a very special lizard because its size makes it very difficult to see and its ideal habitat is so small and difficult to reach that it’s rarely been studied. That’s why when two scientists saw the tiny creature on an expedition to Madagascar it was big news! Now that these tiny creatures have been spotted, scientists can better protect their habitat and help these chameleon subspecies thrive once again. Want to learn more about the Brookesia nana? Here are a few interesting facts about the tiny lizard.

1. The average size of a male Brookesia nana is smaller than that of a female. From snout to tail, the male Brookesia nana is approximately 21.6 millimeters long and the female is approximately 28.9 millimeters long.

2. The only place that the Brookesia nana has been spotted is in Northern Madagascar in a mountainous rainforest that was destroyed, but is now starting to grow back.

3. The Brookesia nana is brown and is primarily a land lizard.