An article in the August, 2010 issue of Zootaxa announces that a recently discovered frog is the smallest species in the Eastern Hemisphere. Known only as Microhyla nepenthicola, the minute native of Borneo is barely the size of a green pea! Interestingly, specimens have been in museum collections for over 100 years, but they were believed to be immature individuals of other species.
A Pitcher Plant Specialist
The tiny amphibian breeds in a unique habitat – the water contained in the base of pitcher plants. Pitcher “ponds”, which serve to drown insects that are digested by the plants, support miniature ecosystems inhabited by insect larvae, snails, crabs, algae and other organisms.
The newly described frogs deposit their eggs on the surface of the plant above the water, into which the tadpoles drop upon hatching. The tadpoles, at a mere 3 millimeters in length, are also among the world’s smallest.
Other Recent Discoveries
A number of tiny amphibians and reptiles have been uncovered in recent years. Southern Cuba is home to a frog that is even smaller than the species described above. Christened Eleutherodactylus Iberia, it is known from only 5 locations.
In 2009, a previously unknown salamander, representing an entirely new genus, was found near a busy road in Georgia. A mere 2 inches in length, the Patch-Nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei) is only a bit longer than the world’s smallest species, Mexico’s Thorius arboreus.
The smallest snake yet discovered was found on Barbados in 2009. Known as the Slender Blind Snake or Barbados Thread Snake (Leptotyphops carlae), it is 4 inches long and can easily coil up on a quarter (please see photo).
You can read about the discovery of the species mentioned above in the following articles:
Blind Snake image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Blair Hedges, Penn State University