Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by themubbi63

The Nosy Hara leaf chameleon (scientific name Brookesia micra) is a species of leaf companions – the tiniest chameleons in the world and some of the smallest lizards in existence. Interestingly, the entire genus, which contains several species, all live in Madagascar and the islands around Madagascar. The Nosy Hara leaf chameleon lives on the islet of Nosy Hara in Antsiranana, Madagascar. Let’s have a look at the size of this tiny lizard.

Brookesia Micra Length

Brookesia Micra Length

Known since around 2007, the Nosy Hara leaf chameleon was actually the smallest chameleon known at the time of its discovery. However, it was ousted from that position in 2021 when researchers found the nano-chameleon or Brookesia nana.

The snout to vent length of the Brookesia-micra (excluding the tail) is no more than 16 mm (1.6 cm or 0.63 inches). The total length, tail included, is no more than 30 mm (3 cm or 1.2 inches). This is true for both males and females (unlike some species where females are bigger than males). 

The Nosy Hara leaf chameleon has a brown body which allows it to curl up and act like a dead leaf as a defence mechanism. However, the adults have orange tails as opposed to the nondescript brown of their bodies.

Brookiesia Micra LengthInchesCentimeters
Snout to Vent Lenth0.631.6 cm
Total Body Length1.23 cm

Brookesia Micra Weight

The size and weight of such a tiny creature can be somewhat hard to establish, especially as they’re an endangered species and aren’t that widely available for study. However, some estimates place the average weight of a Nosy Hara leaf chameleon at 0.006 – 0.0074 ounces or 0.17 – 0.2 g.

Animal WeightOuncesGrams
Brookesia Micra0.006 – 0.00740.17 – 0.2

Brookesia Micra Tail Length

The tail of the Brookesia micra makes up almost half of its entire body length. Thus, the tail of an adult Nosy Hara leaf chameleon is about 1.4 cm (0.55 inches) in length. The tail is still quite stumpy and is used much like a fifth leg to climb up trees.

Brookesia Micra Juvenile Size

There isn’t any exact measurement of a juvenile Brookesia-micra individual. However, what we do know is that a juvenile Nosy Hara leaf chameleon can stand on the tip of a matchstick. That probably provides a much better estimate of the size of the creature than vague numbers. An adult is just slightly bigger than that.

Brookesia Micra Size Comparison to Humans

There’s really no point in comparing a Brookesia micra’s length (3 cm) and the height of an average human being (171 cm). It’s a totally ridiculous comparison. Instead, it would probably make more sense to reference how a Brookesia micra is just about the same size as the first knuckle of your finger – the distance between your fingernail and the joint.

As for juvenile Nosy Hara leaf chameleons, they can balance on the tip of your fingernail without any problems which gives you an idea of just how small they are.

Brookesia Micra Vs Brookesia Nana Size Comparison

Brookesia Micra Vs Brookesia Nana Size Comparison
Brookesia Micra: The Incredible Tale of the World's Tiniest Chameleon 2024

Brookesia nana having been officially declared the smallest of all the Brookesia species, we need to see how it compares to the Brookesia micra. The Brookesia nana is interestingly enough not arboreal by nature and mostly sticks to the forest floor. The males have shorter tails than the females, which is different from a lot of the lizards in the Brookesia genus.

An adult Brookesia nana male measures about 22 mm (2.2 cm or 0.87 inches) from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail. Adult females on the other hand are slightly bigger at 29 mm (2.9 cm or 1.1 inches). Compare this to the 30 mm (3 cm or 1.2 inches) for Brookesia-micra. The total body mass of Brookesia nana is also significantly lower, averaging 0.1 g to Brookesia micra’s 0.17 – 0.2 g.

AnimalLengthWeight
Brookesia Micra1.2 inches (3 cm)0.17 – 0.2 g
Brookesia Nana0.87 – 1.1 inches (2.2 – 2.9 cm)0.1 g

Brookesia Micra Vs Brookesia Minima Size Comparison

Brookesia Micra Vs Brookesia Minima Size Comparison
Brookesia Micra: The Incredible Tale of the World's Tiniest Chameleon 2024

The Brookesia minima is the third largest of the chameleon family. Comparing the two, the Brookesia micra has a smaller tail and a larger head than the Brookesia minima. The tail of the Brookesia minima is also prehensile, unlike Brookesia micra. That means it’s capable of grabbing and holding things.

The Brookesia micra is 28 mm (2.8 cm or 1.1 inches) as far as males are concerned and 34 mm (3.4 cm or 1.3 inches) as far as females are concerned. This puts the 30 mm (3 cm or 1.2 inches) Brookesia-micra, regardless of gender, at a slightly smaller size. The weight is more or less the same with Brookesia minima averaging at 0.2 g. 

AnimalLengthWeight
Brookesia Micra1.2 inches (3 cm)0.17 – 0.2 g
Brookesia Minima1.1 – 1.3 inches (2.8 – 3.4 cm)0.2 g

Conclusion

The Brookesia Micra, a tiny titan of the animal kingdom, holds the crown (or perhaps a tiny crown made of a flower petal) for the world’s smallest chameleon. Despite their miniature size, these incredible creatures have adapted to thrive in their island habitat. Let’s continue to protect these fascinating chameleons and the unique ecosystems they call home!

FAQs

How does the Brookesia Micra camouflage itself?

Their primary defense mechanism is their brown, leaf-like body that allows them to blend in with dead leaves. They can also curl up tightly to further enhance their disguise. Interestingly, some adults sport a contrasting orange tail, which might actually serve as a distraction for predators, drawing attention away from the more vulnerable head and body

Can I keep a Brookesia Micra as a pet?

Due to their endangered status and specific habitat needs, Brookesia Micra are not suitable pets. They require specialized care and a controlled environment that’s difficult to replicate in captivity. It’s best to admire these amazing creatures in their natural habitat!

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