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Frogs on a Dime


How many frogs can fit on a dime? If they’re the newly-discovered Pae­do­phryne ama­uen­sis, maybe even half a dozen.

The tiny P. amanuensis lives in the New Guinea rainforest, makes a cricket-like sound, and, at about seven millimeters long, is the smallest vertebrate (animal with a backbone) known to scientists.

In the study, published in the journal PLoS One, lead researcher Chris­to­pher Aus­tin, of Lou­i­si­ana State Un­ivers­ity, writes:

Miniatur­iz­a­tion, the re­duc­tion in body size ne­ces­si­tat­ing dras­tic al­tera­t­ions to an or­gan­is­m’s phys­i­ol­o­gy, ecol­o­gy, and be­hav­ior, is known from eve­ry ma­jor ver­te­brate line­age and nearly all ma­jor groups of an­i­mals.

Most min­ia­ture frogs don’t go through a tad­pole phase and are born di­rectly in frog form, Aus­tin and col­leagues wrote. They live in very moist habi­tats so they don’t run the risk of drying out. P. ama­uen­sis was found wet fall­en tree leaves that blan­ket the floor of the rainforest.

More on this at World Science.