THE world’s smallest reptile is so tiny it could fit on your fingertip but has genitals so big they’re about 20% of its overall size.
The Brookesia nana species of chameleon has been described in a recent study by scientists who were shocked by just how minuscule it is.
The male chameleon’s large genitals can be seen here[/caption]
The male of the species is only about half an inch long (13.5mm).
Females seem to be slightly bigger and the one that’s described in the Scientific Reports journal measured 0.75 inches (19.2 mm).
The male chameleon is now the smallest adult reptile on record.
It was measured from its nose to its cloaca, which is the hole reptiles use for reproduction and excretion.
The chameleons live in the Madagascan rainforest[/caption]
Lead author of the study Frank Glaw told Live Science: “Given that the general body plan of reptiles is rather similar to that of mammals and humans, it is fascinating to see how miniaturized these organisms and their organs can get.”
Everything does appear miniature on the creature apart from the male genitals which remain inverted inside its body until its ready to mate.
The researchers wrote: “One striking feature of miniaturized chameleons is the relatively large size of their genital organs.”
When they pop out, they’re around 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) in size.
That’s about 18.5% of the total body length of the tiny male chameleon.
Large genital size is mentioned in the scientific study as a trait that’s common among tiny male lizards.
It might be due to the fact females tend to be larger so the males need large genitals in order to breed successfully.
The tiny lizards can be found in the rainforests of northern Madagascar.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly how many there are or whether they’re critically endangered.
However, the Madagascar rainforest is under threat and there is the worry that these lizards could become victims to factors such as deforestation.
Deadly animal sex facts
Here's some shocking facts you probably didn't know about animals who die for desire…
- If female ferrets don’t have sex they will die of aplastic anaemia unless medical intervention occurs
- Some female spiders eat male spiders after they have finished mating with them because they want to use them as a form of nutrition to feed their offspring
- Both male and female octopuses die shortly after they have mated, the male dies a couple of months after and the female dies shortly after her eggs hatch because she starves herself to spend all her time protecting them
- Drone bees exist purely to have sex with the queen of their hive and then they die afterwards
- Female Pacific salmon die almost immediately after mating while the male salmon survive a little bit longer to protect the eggs
Most read in Science
In other news, paralysed mice have walked again thanks to a break-through gene therapy that’s created hope for the millions of humans with paralysis.
The infamous Loch Ness Monster could have been an ancient sea turtle, according to a top scientist.
And, Chinese scientists say they may have unlocked the key to living longer and reversing the effects of ageing.
What do you make of this tiny lizard? Let us know in the comments…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at email@example.com