Minute Leaf Chameleon Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Minute Leaf Chameleon, Dwarf Chameleon, Madagascar Dwarf Chameleon

Scientific Name:

Brookesia minima

Wild Status:

Endangered

Habitat:

Rainforest

Country:

Madagascar

Shelter:

Leaf Litter

Life Span:

4-8 years

Size:

up to 1.3 inches

Cool Facts:

  • The minute-leaf chameleon is the second smallest Chamaeleonidae species to be discovered.
  • It is related to the smallest chameleon species, Brookesia micra, discovered only in 2012.
  • They have prehensile tails that help them maneuver through twigs and leaves on the forest floor.
  • A clutch of minute-leaf chameleon eggs typically contains two eggs.
  • They are endemic to Nosy Be island and to Madagascar's northwest coast on Manongarivo Reserve.

Details:

The minute leaf chameleon is not your typical brightly colored chameleon. They are the second-smallest chameleon species described and blend in along the low branches and leaf litter of their forest habitat. They are dark brown on the limbs and brown with black splotching on the sides. Their backs, tail, and head are a brown gray, with some orange coloring near the base of the tail. Their heads are flattened but disrupted by a large orbital crest, characteristic of chameleons. Along the top ridge of the orbital crest are enlarged scales. They have prehensile tails and large independently rotating eyes.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Iguania Family: Chamaeleonidae Genus: Brookesia Species: B. minima

Conservation & Helping:

Brookesia minima, like most minute chameleons are poorly studied. They live in a small, often secluded range that is difficult to access and study.  They are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, mostly due to their small endemic range within Nosy Be island and Madagascar's northwest coast. Harvesting for the pet trade and continued world-wide pattern of the exploitation of rainforests could greatly affect their naturally small population in the future.

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