<p><strong>Match-tip tiny,<em> Brookesia micra </em>(juvenile pictured) is the smallest of four new chameleon species found on the African island country of <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/madagascar-guide/">Madagascar</a>. With an average adult length of just over an inch (2.9 centimeters) from snout to tail, <em>B. micra</em> is among the tiniest reptiles in the world.</strong></p><p>(Related: <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080630-chameleon-year.html">"Record-Breaking Chameleons Live Only a Few Months."</a>)</p><p>Scientists think the diminutive new chameleon species might represent extreme cases of island dwarfism, whereby organisms shrink in size due to limited resources on islands.</p><p>"The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the body plan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research," study leader <a href="http://www.zsm.mwn.de/her/e/staff.htm#glaw">Frank Glaw</a> of Germany's Zoological State Collection said in a statement.</p><p><em>The <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0031314">new chameleon species study</a> was published this week in the journal</em> PLoS ONE.</p><p><em>—Ker Than</em></p>

Unmatched Among Chameleons?

Match-tip tiny, Brookesia micra (juvenile pictured) is the smallest of four new chameleon species found on the African island country of Madagascar. With an average adult length of just over an inch (2.9 centimeters) from snout to tail, B. micra is among the tiniest reptiles in the world.

(Related: "Record-Breaking Chameleons Live Only a Few Months.")

Scientists think the diminutive new chameleon species might represent extreme cases of island dwarfism, whereby organisms shrink in size due to limited resources on islands.

"The extreme miniaturization of these dwarf reptiles might be accompanied by numerous specializations of the body plan, and this constitutes a promising field for future research," study leader Frank Glaw of Germany's Zoological State Collection said in a statement.

The new chameleon species study was published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.

—Ker Than

Photograph courtesy Frank Glaw

Pictures: Miniature Chameleons Discovered—Fit on Match Tip

Four new chameleon species found in Madagascar—some tiny enough to fit on a match tip—are among the smallest known reptiles.

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