Tiny new reptile species discovered

Four new species of miniaturized lizards have been identified in extreme northern Madagascar. The zoologists responsible for the discovery suggest the tiny size of the chameleons may represent an extreme case ofisland dwarfism.

Detailed phylogenetic analyses of the new species appear in the journal PLoS ONE. Lead researcher Frank Glaw, of the Zoological State Collection of Munich, reports that the genetic analysis indicated that the mini lizards, though similar in appearance, are in fact distinct species.

The lizards, belonging to the Brookesia minimagroup, measure just tens of millimeters from head to tail and the smallest – Brookesia micra– fits comfortably on the head of a match. The study notes that Brookesia micra is only found on the tiny islet of Nosy Hara, and Glaw suggests this may indicate a range size-body size relationship in Malagasy reptiles.

Glaw goes further and speculates that the extremely small size of B. micra could represent a “double” island dwarf effect. In this scenario, Madagascar as a large island led to the evolution of the B. minima group and the isolated islet Nosy Hara might have favored the extreme miniaturization found in B. micra. To confirm such a case of double island dwarfism, future surveys are needed to clarify whether the species is truly endemic to Nosy Hara or more widely distributed.

Interestingly, Madagascar is also well known for cases of gigantism, with giant lemurs and giant tortoises being the most well known examples. Amongst the island’s most prominent dwarf species is the nocturnal mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), which is one of the smallest primates in the world.

Related:
Discuss this article in our forum
Shrinking critters could derail planet’s ecosystems
Size matters: evolutionary changes in body size measured
Lizards Pushed Into Evolutionary Fast Lane

Source: Public Library of Science

, ,

Comments are closed.

Madagascar Premium Rock and Gem Mix  - 2 1/2 LB Lot - TUMBLING ROUGH  picture

Madagascar Premium Rock and Gem Mix - 2 1/2 LB Lot - TUMBLING ROUGH

$23.97



Raw Carnelian Crystals Madagascar, Bulk Rough Stones for Tumbling & Healing picture

Raw Carnelian Crystals Madagascar, Bulk Rough Stones for Tumbling & Healing

$11.95



150-170pcs Lot Natural Clear Quartz Crystal Points 1/2Lb Terminated Wand Healing picture

150-170pcs Lot Natural Clear Quartz Crystal Points 1/2Lb Terminated Wand Healing

$9.88



Madagascar Natural Iridescent Ammonite Facet Specimen Mineral Fossil Collectible picture

Madagascar Natural Iridescent Ammonite Facet Specimen Mineral Fossil Collectible

$15.35



5Pcs Natural Madagascar Agate Polished Stone Crystals Quartz Mineral Specimens picture

5Pcs Natural Madagascar Agate Polished Stone Crystals Quartz Mineral Specimens

$7.55



Natural Iridescent Ammonite Ammolite Facet Specimen Fossil Madagascar Crystal picture

Natural Iridescent Ammonite Ammolite Facet Specimen Fossil Madagascar Crystal

$6.48



Smoky Quartz 10 Oz Natural Brown Crystal Gemstones Madagascar picture

Smoky Quartz 10 Oz Natural Brown Crystal Gemstones Madagascar

$9.95



Labradorite Collection Feldspar Polished 1 Side Spectral Flash Cabochons picture

Labradorite Collection Feldspar Polished 1 Side Spectral Flash Cabochons

$15.95



Half Cut Natural Ammonite Shell Fossil Specimen Madagascar Decoration Collection picture

Half Cut Natural Ammonite Shell Fossil Specimen Madagascar Decoration Collection

$7.13



Cream Moonstone Tumbled Chakra Stones Madagascar 40 grams picture

Cream Moonstone Tumbled Chakra Stones Madagascar 40 grams

$5.99



Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes