World’s smallest living vertebrate

Scientists discovered this tiny species of frog near Amau village in Papua, New Guinea.

Photo credit: Christopher C. Austin

Living vertebrates — animals that have a backbone or spinal column — range in size from this tiny new species of frog, as small as 7 millimeters, to the blue whale, measuring 25.8 meters. Photo via Christopher C. Austin

This tiny frog captures the title of smallest living vertebrate from a tiny Southeast Asian cyprinid fish that claimed the record in 2006. The adult frog size, determined by averaging the lengths of both males and females, is only 7.7 millimeters (about one-quarter of an inch, or about as big as the tip of your little finger).

With few exceptions, this and other ultra-small frogs are associated with moist leaf litter in tropical wet forests — suggesting a unique ecological guild that could not exist under drier circumstances.

Check out more interesting, recently discovered species here: Top ten new species 2013

David Callejas

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