Brookesia minima
Scientific name Common name(s) alternate scientific names described by year size brood

Brookesia minima

Nosy Be Pygmy or Pygmy Leaf Chameleon Brookesia tuberculata, Brookesia peyrierasi
see a species list of Brookesia
Boettger 1893 Small Eggs
Brookesia minima forms a species group with B. dentata, B. tuberculata, a recently described form from Tsingy de Bemaraha and several undescribed species. Although B. minima is often said to be the smallest of all the Chamaeleonidae, other members of this group may be even smaller. B. minima inhabits the rainforest floor of Nosy Be Island off the north-west coast of Madagascar. More recently, specimens have also been obtained from Manongarivo on Madagascar's northwest coast (Pronk, personal communication). Females attain a total length of barely 4 inches. Compared to females, males are slightly smaller and more slender in both the ventro-dorsal and lateral planes. Males also exhibit a hemipenial bulge at the tail base. The head is flattened and lacks main formations. The orbital crest exhibits enlarged scales which form triangular supraorbital (i.e., "above the eyes") plates. There are two rows of granular protrusions along the back. Basic coloration is a drab grayish brown. Yellowish lateral stripes may be present.

B. minima is reported to be quite active, inhabiting low branches and leaf litter. They are reportedly only moderately aggressive toward each other and population densities in the wild may approach 1 animal per square meter. Nonetheless, individual housing is recommended, even for juveniles.

Females typically lay only 2 eggs in a clutch. The frequency of laying is, however, unknown. Few successful examples of captive breeding have been reported. It is typically recommended that B. minima be kept in glasss enclosures of at least 16" x 16" x 16" (16"=~40 cm). Because these animals typically remain in the lower reaches of the enclosure, increasing the enclosure's length and width is more important than increasing its height. As with most members of this genus, a substrate of soil and leaf litter is typically recommended. Because the eggs are so small and difficult to locate it is often suggested that they be permitted to incubate in situ.

Contributed by E. Pollak

Klaver, C. & W. Boehme. 1997. Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich, 112: i-xiv' 1 - 85. Verlag Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, New York.
Martin, J., 1992. Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons. Facts On File, Inc., New York, NY.
Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, FL.

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