One of the Smallest Frogs in the World Discovered

A pea-sized frog species, Microhyla nepenthicola, was discovered this past week in Malaysian rainforests on the island of Borneo. This miniature frog, measuring between 10 to 12 millimeters (less than one-half inch), is the smallest frog species discovered so far in Asia, Africa, or Europe. The tiny frog is a type of frog called a microhylid, composed of mini-frogs under 15 millimeters. The discovery was made by Drs. Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation and Dr. Alexander Haas of Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg.

Photograph courtesy Indraneil Das, Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation

The tiny frogs were found near pitcher plants, which grow in damp, shady forests. The frogs deposit their eggs on the sides of the globular pitcher, and tadpoles grow in the liquid accumulated inside the plant.

What is the world’s smallest frog? Two 9.8-mm-long amphibians in the New World—the gold frog in Brazil (Brachycephalus didactylus) and the Monte Iberia dwarf frog(Eleutherodactylus iberia) in Cuba are believed to be the world’s smallest frog species. They are about the size of a house fly—very tiny frogs indeed.

For more information, see:Conservation International


Amazing Frog Dads

Most animal dads aren’t too involved with their offspring (human dads, excepted of course). But two species of frogs called microhylids are devoted dads, and in fact, carry their their brood of up to 25 froglets piggyback style through the rain forest of Papua New Guinea. The frogs were discovered by evolutionary biologist David Bickford.

While most frogs start their lives as tadpoles, these frogs bypass that stage and go straight from larvae to miniature versions of adults while still inside the egg. This allows them to reproduce in areas without bodies of water nearby.

After the mother frog lays the eggs, she hops off while Dad watches over the clutch, warding off predators, and keeping the eggs moist for about a month.

copyright David Bickford

copyright David Bickford

After the froglets hatch from the eggs, they hop on Dad’s back. He carries them by night through the leaf litter in the rain forest. The froglets have a free ride until they grow up a bit and can live independently (hmmm…sounds familiar).