The last we heard, the title of the smallest vertebrate in the world was claimed by a fish. But it seems to have changed recently. Discovered by a team from the Louisiana State University, a member of a newly recognized species of frog is being called the tiniest vertebrate on planet Earth.
The team, which included LSU graduate student Eric Rittmeyer and others from the United States made this discovery during a three-month long expedition to the island of New Guinea, which is also known for being the tallest and largest tropical island in the world.
The frog is said to measure approximately 7.7 millimeters or just one-third of an inch in size. The species to which this vertebrate belongs is known as Paedophryne amanuensis. Another diminutive frog species discovered on this expedition is the Paedophryne swiftorum, which is just slightly larger than the aforementioned one.
“It was particularly difficult to locate Paedophryne amauensis due to its diminutive size and the males’ high pitched insect-like mating call,” conveyed Christopher Austin, associate professor of biological sciences at the Louisiana State University and curator of herpetology its Museum of Natural Science. “But it’s a great find. New Guinea is a hotspot of biodiversity, and everything new we discover there adds another layer to our overall understanding of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.”
The title earlier belonged to a fish from the family Paedocypris progenetica and it was discovered in Indonesia. The recorded size of this fish is 8 millimeters. Also, from among the more than 60,000 vertebrates known to man, the claim of the largest one in the world belongs to the blue whale which measures about 75 feet or 25 meters.
This work was published in the Public Library of Science One journal on January 11.