The newly discovered Brookesia micra chameleon is the tiniest lizard ever to be described. With the independently rotating eyes and curly tail characteristic of all chameleons, Brookesia micra is coloured light grey on the head, back and tail, although the tail becomes orange then yellowish towards the tip.

Active on the ground during the day, Brookesia micra roosts at night in low vegetation, around five to ten centimetres off the ground. Although difficult to locate, the species does not move at all at night, thereby proving easy to capture.

Species from the Brookesia genus are unusual among chameleons in using their tail as an extra limb. Grasping branches is difficult for the diminutive Brookesia species and so they use the curled-down tip of their tail to provide added stability. X-rays of Brookesia tails have shown 20 vertebrae compared to the usual 50 of larger chameleons. They have also revealed that the tendons underneath the tail are well developed, enabling the use of the tail as a supportive ‘leg’.

Brookesia micra is currently known only from two sites in the extreme north of Madagascar, both of which are on the small island of Nosy Hara. Brookesia micra was discovered in dry forest leaf litter scattered around eroded limestone boulders on Nosy Hara island.

Due to its restricted range, Brookesia micra is particularly sensitive to habitat disturbance), and may be threatened by habitat loss and deforestation in Madagascar.

Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17028940
              http://www.arkive.org/leaf-chameleon/brookesia-micra/



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