Tiny, adorable lizard is tiny, adorable

Meet Brookesia micra, one of four newly identified species of ultra-small chameleons that live in Madagascar.

Never let it be said that reptiles can't be totally cute.

Submitterated by Dr. Sideshow and lecti.


  1. Oh man! I was JUST looking at this in this awesome book my librarian wife just brought home: “Astonishing Animals” by Flannery 

    It has amazing pictures of the weirdest animals that i have never even heard of, and is just wonderfully well written! Check out the excerpt about the “Screaming Budgett’s Frog” ————- (image and full text available here:http://www.andrewisles.com/all-stock/publication/screaming-budgetts-frog-and-lt-i-and-gt-lepidobatrachus-laevis-and-lt-i-and-gt-original-artwork-from-and-lt-i-and-gt-astonishing-animals-and-lt-i-and-gt-)”In overall appearance it resembles the turd that a herbivorous mammal has left on the side 
    of a muddy pool – good protection perhaps from frog-eating predators. The species gets its 
    name from its threat display. If its turd-like disguise fails it, it rises up on its toes, inflates its body and screams loudly, mouth agape, like a woman in distress. 
    Budgett’s frogs have some other unpleasant habits too. They bite whenever they can and 
    are generally unclean creatures, which leaves them susceptible to infections and sores when held in captivity. They are also cannibals. “

  2. Thank god it’s not able to change color or anything, the dose of adorable would probably be way beyond anything the surgeon general allows.

  3. Charmer Chameleon

    PS: Not *quite* as cute as a miniature chameleon, but my dad has discovered a couple of new tree species on Madagascar.

    1. I’m curious: Are they described already? Could you point out the species? What’s he doing there, working for MoBot/MNHN by any chance?

  4. “Voucher specimens were euthanized using approved methods (anaesthesia with ketamine, followed by ketamine overdosis) that do not require approval by an ethics committee.”

    That’s straying from the adorable a little bit, though the idea of tiny, ketamine-addled lizards has potential.

  5. You put one of these in your ear and it decodes your brain-wave matrix with the language you hear, so everything is both understandable and grooooovy.

  6. There’s a great segment on miniature chameleons in David Attenborough’s “Life in Cold Blood”; highly recommended in its entirety.

  7. The amazing thing about these tiny lizards, who exist in the same order of magnitude as insects, and to paraphrase David Attenborough is that despite being so small, they have all the essential vertebrate kit.  Full skeletons, liver, heart, kidney, veins, eyes brains &c they have it all just like any normal chameleon but somehow so very small. Its quite amazing.

    1. Yeah, surprising to see the architechture’s still viable at that scale; although I guess it’s down to the fact that vertebrates have a far more developed and adaptable design than insects…

      For instance, since they breathe with their skin, the non-linearity of surface area to mass ratio versus size means their respiration doesn’t really work above 100g. But anyone who’s studied much biology knows something of the mind-bogglingly tiny and intricate scale life operates on, so it’s not that astounding; the building blocks are fairly minute…

      1.  Kimmo, reptiles (including birds) do not breathe with their skin. Neither do insects. (There are, FYI, a lot of insects which actively breathe.)

        1. Look, I know lizard have lungs, man. Lizards get a lot bigger than 100g, so I don’t see much abiguity in my post…

          But hey, now I google it, aren’t those spiracles nifty. They need some pretty efficient packaging of surface area even down there under 100g…

    1. Ralf, to see if it’s a new species you would have a) to check his hemipenae if it’s a male and/or b) check some microsatellite DNA. ;)
      However, the photo is nice. And there are loads of potentielly undiscovered species which would need a lot (and then a lot more) of work to be described in the first place – and then, possibly, protected. Same is true for plants and a hell of other animals. Try seaching for “biopat” on the web – you could sponsor some taxonomists doing that essential work.

  8. I love pic ‘D’ – is that supposed to be a shot of the chameleon in its natural setting? 

    “Oooh – I see it! Wait… no…”

  9. Now normally anything that small crawling on me in Madagascar I would panic and flick off me immediately.  But I wouldn’t dream of hurting that cute little thing.  This poses quite the challenge for my brain.  Can I find the patience to actually pause and assess whether the creepy crawly is a cute lizard or not.

    1.  Hope you’re not going, then. You might the last of it’s kind.
      Literally. And, btw: there’s nearly nothing dangerous om Madagascar. Even the scorpions just sting like a bee, nothing harmful. No poisonous snakes, no dangerous animals (exept some lazy introduced crocodiles, and some tiger sharks, but currents make it near to impossible to swim and surf, anyway).

  10. B: A chameleon pretending it’s a fingernail.

    C: A chameleon pretending it’s a matchhead.

    D: A chameleon pretending it’s a forest.

  11. Cute, harmless. Thats what they want you to think. In 3 million years those fuckers will be the size of dinosaurs preying on those who once mocked their comical size. Never fuck with reptiles. 

  12. Very neat, and the recent discovery of tiny frogs makes me wonder…can birds & mammals scale down to that size?  Is it possible to have a viable bird the size of a house fly?  If not, what are the limiting factors?

  13. I, for one, welcome our tiny, adorable chameleon overlords…

    We’ll need about 10 trillion…with wings.  And venom.

Comments are closed.