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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fascinating Find in Madagascar: Tiny lizard

Madagascar continues to facinate!

A 29mm miniture chameleon, Brookesia micra, has been discovered on a remote islet off the northern coast of Madagascar.  A juvenile can stand on the head of a match.  What's more, this is just one of four new species of tiny lizard discovered by German scientists from Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich.

It is speculated that these tiny Brookesia micra may be a result of a double-island effect of island dwarfism - where a species becomes smaller over time to adapt to a restricted habitat.  In this case each habitat (mostly in the leaf litter) was restricted to a very small area of as little as a single square kilometer.  Obviously this tiny habitat means that a species could be wiped-out very easily. B. tristis, named after the French word "triste" meaning sad, was found in an isolated patch of forest close to an expanding city.

I wonder how many species have been wiped out in recent years without our knowledge by encrouchement on habitats?


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