World's Smallest Frog Found

Tiny amphibian discovered in Papua New Guinea
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2012 11:20 PM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2012 5:33 AM CST
A frog sits on a dime in this photo taken by Louisiana State University herpetologist Christopher Austin near the Amau River in Papua, New Guinea.    (AP Photo/Louisiana State University, Christopher Austin)

(Newser) – A species of frog so tiny that several of them could fit on a fingernail with room to spare has been found hopping around the forests of Papua New Guinea. At 0.27 inches long, Paedophryne amauensis is the smallest frog ever discovered and, by some measures, is the world's smallest vertebrate. The only smaller creature with a backbone is the male of a species of anglerfish, but they spend their lives fused to much larger females.

The tiny frog lives in leaf litter on the forest floor, where it eats incredibly small insects. Finding them after their insect-like calls had been detected was no easy task, a Louisiana State University researcher tells the BBC. "It was night, these things are incredibly small; so what we did after several frustrating attempts was to grab a whole handful of leaf litter and throw it inside a clear plastic bag," he says. "When we did so, we saw these incredibly tiny frogs hopping around." (Read more amphibians stories.)

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