Super-Tiny Chameleon Photographed in Madagascar

tiny chameleon photo
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In nature, some of the most incredible species come in the tiniest packages. While traveling in Madagascar recently, wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas happened upon this teensy-weensy Brookesia Chameleon walking along the forest floor. Believe it or not, the lizard he found is actually a full-grown adult, measuring about an inch in length -- making it one of the smallest reptiles on the planet. According to Will, who set out in search of the tiny chameleons with his brother in Madagascar's Amber Mountain National Park, tracking down the diminutive reptiles is no easy task, at least for the untrained eye. Not only are Brookesia chameleons unbelievably small, they are able to change color to blend in with dry leaves on ground. But after searching in vain for a while, the pair eventually enlisted the help of a local guide.

"We spent almost a week looking for these chameleons and were never able to spot them on our own," writes Burrard-Lucas on the his Web site. "Fortunately, our guide, having worked in the park for around 20 years, was well practiced in the art of spotting them and seemed to be able to produce the tiny creatures on demand!"

tiny chameleon on rock photo
Will Burrard-Lucas

To provide a sense of scale, Will posed the chameleon on his brother's thumb -- making for one amazing photograph. If the lizard seems a little out of it, that's because he's trying to appear as uninteresting as possible, says the photographer. "When they are disturbed they play dead and resemble a dried leaf."

Brookesia chameleons are just one of the myriad of fascinating and unique species found in the forests of Madagascar. So far, biologists have identified 26 types of these lizards, but because they're so hard to spot, researchers suspect that their list is almost certainly incomplete. Nevertheless, the chameleons are currently listed as a threatened species.

brookesia chameleon photo
Will Burrard-Lucas

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Will offers some sage advice for anyone hoping to spot the tiny chameleons themselves:

We were there as part of a four week trip, to photograph as much of Madagascar's unique wildlife as possible, so we were thrilled to see this little creature. But I'd advise anyone wanting to spot them to take their glasses -- otherwise they might not see them at all.

Via Planeta Bicho