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David Mizejewski

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Tiny Chameleons Use a Different Kind of Camouflage

Posted: 02/ 1/11 09:00 PM ET

This week's Animal Oddity comes from the island nation of Madagascar in Africa. The diminutive chameleons of the genus Brookesia are some of the smallest lizards, and indeed vertebrates, in existence.

Unlike some of their larger chameleon cousins, these little guys don't have the ability to change into a rainbow of colors. Instead, they are limited to a color palette of browns and tans. That doesn't pose any particular problem for them, however, since they live in the dead leaf litter found on the forest floor. Being brown in that habitat is a distinct advantage!

Can you spot the chameleon in this picture?
2011-02-01-ChameleonBrookesiaBurrardLucas2.jpg

If their coloration doesn't hide them from predators, these chameleons will also "play dead" by going stiff and motionless. Potential predators are tricked into thinking they are just an inedible bit of dead leaf or twig.

As you can imagine, between their tiny size and perfect camouflage, these chameleons can be extremely hard to find. In fact, many species in this genus have only been discovered in recent decades and even lack common names.

Get the latest odd animal news, stories, sightings and behavior on my blog, Animal Oddities.

Brookesia chameleons are smaller than a fingernail.
2011-02-01-ChameleonBrookesiaBurrardLucas.jpg

Learn more about chameleons from Animal Planet.

Photos by Burrard-Lucas Photography and used with permission. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more amazing wildlife photography.

 
 
 

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