World's Smallest Frogs Discovered in New Guinea
ScienceDaily (Dec. 12, 2011) — Field work by researcher Fred Kraus from Bishop Museum, Honolulu has found the world's smallest frogs in southeastern New Guinea. This also makes them the world's smallest tetrapods (non-fish vertebrates). The frogs belong to the genus Paedophryne, all of whose species are extremely small, with adults of the two new species -- named Paedophryne dekot andPaedophryne verrucosa -- only 8-9 mm in length.
These are images of specimens of Paedophryne dekot (A) and (B), and P. verrucosa (C), and (D).
(Credit: Photos by Fred Kraus)
The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Previous research had led to the discovery of Paedophryne by Kraus in 2002 from nearby areas in New Guinea, but the genus was not formally described until last year (Kraus 2010, also in Zookeys). The two species described earlier were larger, attaining sizes of 10-11 mm, but the genus still represents the most miniaturized group of tetrapods in the world.
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|ZooKeys 154 (2011) : 71-88|
At the lower size limit for tetrapods, two new species of the miniaturized frog genus Paedophryne (Anura, Microhylidae)
I describe two new species in the miniaturized microhylid frog genusPaedophryne from forests in southeastern Papua New Guinea. The first species is described on the basis of two specimens and exhibits female snout-vent length of 8.5–9.0 mm (no males known), whereas that of the second species, described on the basis of 12 specimens, is 8.8–9.3 mm, with males 8.1–8.9 mm. These frogs are smaller than the other two diminutive species described when the genus was recently erected, and they represent what are currently the smallest known species of tetrapods. The two species replace each other elevationally on the same mountain massif and occur in relative geographic proximity to the other named species of the genus. Females of both species contain only two enlarged ova, suggesting that they also possess clutch sizes at the extreme lower end of variation in frogs. All species of Paedophryne inhabit leaf litter, as seen for most other miniaturized anurans.
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