Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Lilliputian Lizard

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

On the isle of Beata off the coast of the Dominican Republic, biologists have uncovered the tiniest reptile—a gecko, at right, whose scientific name, Sphaerodactylus ariasae, is longer than the creature itself.

Evolutionary biologist Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University and a colleague have found eight of the critters so far. The females can lay only one egg at a time; if their eggs were any smaller, the offspring would likely be too tiny to survive. But these marvels may not be around much longer anyway. Although Beata is part of a nature preserve known as the Jaragua National Park, Hedges says the conservation laws don't provide much protection. "People aren't supposed to cut down the trees, but they do because there's no one to stop them," he says. "Ultimately, I think this lizard's going to go the way of the dodo."

rd_lizard.jpg

Photograph courtesy of S. Blair Hedges/PSU

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 75%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In