Skip to main content

Paedophryne amauensis

Have you ever wondered what the smallest vertebrate in the world is? Well today is your lucky day to find out! The honor goes to a tiny, itty bitty little frog found in Papua New Guinea, Paedophryne amauensis!

Paedophryne amauensis
So how small is this wee Amphibian? Well... that picture there should tip you off- it's sitting on a US dime! You're seeing it right; P. amauensis measures only around 8mm, which is less than half the diameter of the ten cent coin.

The species is a very newly discovered one; it was first spotted in 2009 and published about just this month. It's no wonder that the species was hard to spot, as they live on the rainforest floor and blend in with all of the substrate and foliage. They also make calls that sound more like those of an insect than a frog!

P. amauensis is helping scientists to understand the limits of vertebrate size. Because there are so many anatomical features involved in being a member of the Chordata phylum, there is a lot that needs to be stuffed into an extra-tiny package. The frog has adapted for its smallness by having shorter fingers and toes and a simplified skull. Their small amount of surface area also means that they need to live in very wet areas so that they don't dry out. But, just like bigger frogs, they slurp up insects... albeit very tiny ones.

There has already been some controversy about the "smallest vertebrate title," as Ichthyologists are claiming that the crown should really go to the males of a species of Anglerfish. They are only 5mm long, but are lacking some vital organs and essentially live as parasites off of the much larger females. Herpetologists are countering that they are looking at a species average size, which would place the Anglerfish out of the running.

IUCN Status : Not Evaluated
Location : Papua New Guinea
Size : Length .27in (7.7m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Anura
Family : Microhylidae -- Genus : Paedophryne -- Species : P. amauensis


Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

Halloween Crab

Gecarcinus quadratus The Halloween Crab goes by many names, including the Red Land Crab, Whitespot Crab, and Moon Crab. I personally like Halloween Crab though, since it really reflects the interesting colors. They have black carapaces, orange-red legs, and purple claws! Halloween Crabs live in the Pacific coast mangroves and forests of Central and South America. They actually live in the forests as adults, and return to the ocean in order to reproduce. Did you know that they live as far away as 18 miles (30km)  from water? Not where you normally think Crabs to be! While living in the forest, the Crabs forage nocturnally for different plant matter, including leaves and sapling. They also dig long burrows into the ground for protection. These burrows can measure nearly 5 ft long! Halloween Crabs are sometimes kept in captivity, and can be very tricky pets due to their excellent climbing skills. IUCN Status :  Not Listed Location :   Cent