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.