A German-Madagascan expedition team believes they may have discovered the smallest reptile in the world – a chameleon subspecies that is as small as a seed. The male Brookesia nana or “nano-chameleon” has a body of 13.5 mm and a total length of 22 mm (0.86 in) from top to tail. This record makes it the smallest reptile from all the 11,500 known species according to the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology. The female nano-chameleon is bigger and measures at around 29mm. The expedition team found out that it feeds on mites on the forest floor and hides from predators at night. The scientists said that other specimens were yet to be located.

Dr. Mark Scherz, one of the researchers in the expedition called it “a spectacular case of extreme miniaturization.” He added that it violates the pattern of smallest species being discovered in small islands, suggesting that there is another cause that allows such species to miniaturize. According to the Scientific Reports Journal, the scientists recommended that the newly-discovered chameleon be listed as one of the critically endangered species to help protect the animals and their habitat. The nano-chameleon is only known from a degraded rainforest in northern Madagascar and might be threatened by extinction. Scientist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg, Oliver Hawlitschek, said: “The nano-chameleon’s habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive.”