Two new species of frog are not only the smallest frogs in the world but also the smallest known vertebrate according to a report published in the open access journal PLoS One on January 11.2012.
Paedophryne amauensis is between 7.0 to 8.0 millimeters. That is a little more than 0.03 inches.
Paedophryne amauensis is native to Papua New Guinea and named after the Amau Village where it was first discovered.
Dr. Christopher Austin of Louisiana State University. Led a team of researchers who found this tinniest of vertebrates.
"The previous smallest vertebrate was a fish, called Paedocypris progenetica, with an adult size of 7.9 to 10.3 millimeters."
The importance of the discovery is the evaluation of the physics involved with small body size. Heart rates, breathing, blood pressure, and all body functions are a function of size and the maintenance of pressures that are at minimum equal to atmospheric pressure so the animal (amphibian in this case) can produce enough pressure to inhale. Usually small size indicates extremely high heart rates but this normality may be mitigated by the nature of amphibians.
Eric N. Rittmeyer 1, Allen Allison 2, Michael C. Grundler 3, Derrick K. Thompson 3, Christopher C. Austin 1*
1 Department of Biological Sciences and Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States of America, 2 Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America, 3 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America
Citation: Rittmeyer EN, Allison A, Gru¨ ndler MC, Thompson DK, Austin CC (2012) Ecological Guild Evolution and the Discovery of the World's Smallest Vertebrate. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029797