World’s Tiniest Frog, Paedophryne Amauensis, Found In Papua New Guinea
January 12, 2012
Researchers have found two new frog species in New Guinea, one of which is the new smallest known vertebrate on Earth.
AsianScientist (Jan. 12, 2012) – Researchers have found two new frog species in New Guinea, one of which is the new smallest known vertebrate on Earth. The results are reported in the January 11 issue of the journal PLoS ONE, and the team of researchers was led by Christopher Austin of Louisiana State University.
The new smallest vertebrate species is called Paedophryne amauensis, named after Amau Village in Papua New Guinea, where it was found. The adult body size for these frogs ranges from just 7.0 to 8.0 millimeters, averaging only 7.7 millimeters in size – less than one-third of an inch.
It ousts Paedocypris progenetica, an Indonesian fish with an adult size of 7.9 to 10.3 millimeters, from the record.
Austin and his team made the discovery during a three-month long expedition to the island of New Guinea, the world’s largest and tallest tropical island.
His team also discovered a second species of diminutive frog newly named Paedophryne swiftorum that is only slightly larger than Paedophryne amanuensis, averaging only about 8.5 millimeters in body size.
“It was particularly difficult to locate Paedophryne amauensis due to its diminutive size and the males’ high pitched insect-like mating call,” said Austin.
“But it’s a great find. New Guinea is a hotspot of biodiversity, and everything new we discover there adds another layer to our overall understanding of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.”
Scientists have previously associated extreme size in vertebrates with aquatic species, as perhaps the buoyancy offers support and facilitates the development of extremism. However, both new species of frogs Austin described are terrestrial, suggesting that living in water is not necessary for small body size.
The article can be found at: Rittmeyer EN et al. (2012) Ecological Guild Evolution and the Discovery of the World’s Smallest Vertebrate.
Source: Louisiana State University.
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