Flea-sized: what the world's smallest vertebrate looks like (photo)

By SSPDailyMar 14, 2024 13:37 PMAnimals
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What the world's smallest vertebrate looks like
What the world's smallest vertebrate looks like. Source: www.amazonasmagazine.com

Scientists have discovered a pea-sized frog that may be the smallest vertebrate in the world.

This is reported by the Daily Mail.

The "flea frog" averages just 7.1 millimeters in size, making it the world's smallest - after researchers successfully measured 46 specimens of the miniature amphibian found in its forest habitat on a hilltop in southern Bahia, Brazil. SSPDaily tells about it.

The small frog's back has various brown shades, which helps it blend in with its surroundings, unlike many bright yellow or orange frogs that live in the region.

Biologists have been aware of the pea-sized flea frog's existence since it was first discovered in the Atlantic rainforest of Bahia in 2011, as first published in the journal Zootaxa.

But this new and more complete study of the specimens served as proof that the team had collected enough samples of adult frogs to draw a definitive conclusion about the species' average size.

The results of the measurements, which the researchers reported in the journal Zoologica Scripta, helped them quickly assess whether the frogs were adults by determining "whether they were reproductively mature or not."

The scientists, who included herpetologists from German and Brazilian universities, also examined the frogs for the presence of vocal cords in their throats, a feature that only males of the species have.

The results were "absolutely clear," according to Mark Schertz, who studies amphibians and reptiles as curator of herpetology at the Danish Museum of Natural History in Copenhagen.

"These are really potentially the smallest of the frogs living in the world today, and that's amazing," Schertz told New Scientist magazine.

Schertz, an independent expert unaffiliated with the authors of the new study, told the publication that he was stunned by how small the tiniest adult flea frogs can be.

"It's 6.45 millimeters long, which is 30 percent smaller than any adult male frog I've ever seen," Schertz said. "It's almost a millimeter smaller than the next largest frog."

The researchers found that the length of adult males ranged from 6.45 to 7.90 mm. For adult females, the range was 7.38 to 9.87 mm.

To better illustrate how small the new record-breaking frog really is, the researchers also photographed the small creature on a one Brazilian real coin.

The seven-gram coin has a diameter of 27 mm and a thickness of 1.95 mm.

"Identifying the world's smallest frog was not an easy task," the team admitted in their new report.

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