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Bishop Museum finds world's smallest frogs

The New Guinea natives are about one-fourth the size of the coqui

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 9:59 a.m. HST, Dec 13, 2011


Bishop Museum researcher Fred Kraus has found the world’s smallest frogs.

The frogs, which live in southeastern New Guinea, as adults are only about one-third inch in length, according to a study published in the open access journal ZooKeys. That also makes them the world’s smallest tetrapods, or non-fish vertebrates.

By comparison, an adult male coqui frog averages 1.3 inches in length.

Previous research had led to the discovery of the genus, Paedophryne, by Kraus in 2002 from nearby areas in New Guinea, but the genus was not formally described until last year. 

“Miniaturization occurs in many frog genera around the world,” Kraus said in a statement Monday. “But New Guinea seems particularly well represented, with species in seven genera exhibiting the phenomenon. Although most frog genera have only a few diminutive representatives mixed among larger relatives, Paedophryne is unique in that all species are minute.”

The four known species all inhabit small ranges in the mountains of southeastern New Guinea or adjacent, offshore islands. Their closest relatives remain unclear.

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