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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teeny-weeny frogs

Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Malaysia, and Alexander Haas from the Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum, Germany have discovered the smallest Old World (Asia, Europe, Africa) frogs found to date.

Microhyla nepenthicola, shown here on the tip of a pencil, is about the size of a pea.

Credit: © Prof. Indraneil Das/Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation.

Think that’s tiny? Check this out:

Freshly metamorphosed, a baby micro frog sits on a penny.

Photo credit: Indraneil Das/ Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation

The tiny creatures make their homes in and near pitcher plants in Borneo . The tadpoles grow inside the fluid at the bottom of the plants’ traps, dining on the hapless insects that fall in. The minute frogs were discovered first by their calls, and then induced to jump onto pieces of white cloth for observation.

Das is a team leader in a worldwide search for endangered and possibly extinct amphibians, run by Conservation International. It is estimated that up to a third of all amphibians are in danger of becoming extinct.