A German-Madagascan team of researchers may have discovered the smallest reptile in the world – a chameleon subspecies that is the size of a seed. The male Brookesia nana or “nano-chameleon” has a body of 13.5 mm and an overall length of 22 mm from top to tail. These measurements make it the smallest reptile out of all the 11,500 known species from the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology. The chameleon’s diet consists of eating smaller animals like mites that can be found on the forest floor. They hide from predators at night on grass blades.

One of the study’s researchers, Dr. Mark Scherz, called this “a spectacular case of extreme miniaturization”. Previously, researchers have thought that there is a pattern of the smallest species being discovered in small islands, but this discovery contradicts it. The study suggests that there is another cause that allows such species to become extremely small. In their report, the scientists recommended that the newly-discovered chameleon be placed under critically endangered species. Oliver Hawlitschek, a scientist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg said that the nano-chameleon’s habitat has become a victim of deforestation but since the area was placed under protection recently, the species will still survive.