New species of tiny frog is worlds smallest vertebrate

An x-ray view and transparent view of a disected frog.


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 Jan. 11 issue of the online 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.

According to Dr. Austin, the discovery "is of considerable interest to biologists because little is understood about the functional constraints that come with extreme body size, whether large or small". The previous smallest vertebrate was a fish, called Paedocypris progenetica, with an adult size of 7.9 to 10.3 millimeters.

This research was funded by National Science Foundation grants DEB 0103794 and DEB 0743890 to AA and DEB 0445213 and DBI 0400797 to CCA. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.



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