IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

As expected for its tiny size, the minute leaf chameleon consumes minute prey, including small fruit flies, white flies and spring tails. When not foraging in the deep leaf litter, the minute leaf chameleon climbs up onto thin branches to sleep. Being so small, the minute leaf chameleon could become prey for many forest predators, but it has a number of cunning ways to avoid being eaten. When threatened by a predator, it will first rely on its remarkable camouflage. If the predator continues approaching, it will close its eyes, to hide even the slightest movement. If touched, or the branch on which it is perched is shaken, the minute leaf chameleon will drop to the ground like a piece of dead wood and feign death until the danger has passed. In addition, when gripped, this chameleon vibrates at a high-frequency, a behaviour that is thought to deter small predators like ants (2). Courtship in the minute leaf chameleon begins with a male walking around a female making nodding and rocking movements. Non-receptive females react with jerky side movements, causing the male to cease his advances, while a receptive female allows the male to follow them throughout the day. After a lengthy courtship, which could last up to several days, the male mounts the female and is carried on her back until copulation takes place in late evening or night. 30 to 40 days following mating, the female deposits a clutch of two eggs, a few millimetres deep in the substrate. Hatching takes place around three months later (2).

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Source: ARKive

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