Tiny frog is world’s smallest living vertebrate

Worlds Smallest Vertebrate
Photo: Christopher C. Austin

Isn’t he adorable? It’s not that I’m infatuated with amphibians. I’m just intrigued by tiny things. Especially tiny living things.

This little guy, a member of the newly discovered species Paedophryne amanuensis, was found near Amau village in Papua, New Guinea. He’s one of the top 10 new species of 2013. At a mere 7-8 mm in length, he takes the title of “smallest living vertebrate” from a tiny Southeast Asian cyprinid fish that had held the title since 2006.

Also making the top 10 were Chondrocladia lyra, the harp or lyre sponge, discovered in the northeast Pacific off the California coast, and Cercopithecus lomamiensis, the lesula monkey, discovered in the Congo. The monkey totally cracks me up. Such a human face. And very familiar, too. I know I’ve seen this exact expression on some famous face somewhere, but I can’t place it. A bored, long-suffering Ben Stein, perhaps?

Harp sponge (Chondrocladia lyra)
Photo: © 2013 MBARI
Photo: Maurice Emetshu

More on these and the remaining 7 species can be found on the LiveScience website.

19 comments

        1. Luckily for me. This is the kind of thing that can keep me awake nights, trying to remember where I’ve seen something or someone before. I think you nailed it.

  1. Now that’s a tiny frog! (My sister in law just sent a nice pix of a horny toad from West TX – we used to have so many of those even around here – haven’t been seen for years)
    Cool sponge! Looks like a sculpture.
    And that is a friendly little face

    1. Where, oh where, have the horny toads gone? Love those little guys, and kept so many as pets when I was a kid. They were everywhere. Like you, I haven’t seen one in many, many years. I have a faint recollection of rescuing one from the dog back in the ’70s, and even then they’d become uncommon.

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