Saturday, March 17, 2012

The littlest lizards?

Four new species push the limits
The four new species of chameleons from Madagascar raise the perennial question of just how small a vertebrate can get.  (I would say "Not as small as the people in 1950s movies who got shrunken to insect size," but there are definitely insects much bigger than these lizards.)   One species has a anout-vent-length (in other words, head and body length) of 16 millimeters, about two-thirds of an inch.  They live on a tiny islet, making them perhaps a super-extreme example of the "island dwarfsim" phenomenon. 

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