Large-faced mini chameleon discovered in Madagascar

A mini chameleon with a remarkably large penis appears to live in Madagascar. An international team of scientists thinks it may be the smallest reptile species on Earth.

The male found in the north of the East African island is only 13.5 millimeters in size. The penis occupies 18.5 percent of its body size. The species has been given the name Brookesia nana. According to scientists, it is the smallest of the nearly 11,500 known reptile species.

Males of small chameleon species are often relatively large. Their penis is divided in two so that they can make contact with the female on both the left and right. Females are usually a bit bigger.

The team found a 19-millimeter specimen. A large sexual organ in the male is useful for successful mating, one of the scientists suggests.

The team found no other specimens of the kind. Small chameleon species often only have a habitat of a few square kilometers.

The discovery by researchers from Germany and Madagascar is described in the journal Scientific Reports.

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