Friday 23 March 2018

Croak of luck as scientists find pea-sized frog

David Chance in Kuala Lumpur

Scientists have discovered a frog the size of a pea, the smallest found in Asia, Africa or Europe, on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo.

Adult males of the new micro-species range in size from 10.6mm to 12.8mm and the pea-sized amphibian has been named Microhyla nepenthicola after the plant on Borneo on which it lives, according to taxonomy magazine 'Zootaxa'.

Dr Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the sub-species had originally been mis-identified in museums.

"Scientists thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly discovered micro-species," he said.

Das published the paper with Alexander Haas of the Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg, Germany.

The mini frogs were found on the edge of a road leading to the summit of the Gunung Serapi mountain. The scientists said they tracked the frogs by their call, a series of "harsh rasping notes" that started at sundown.

They then made the frogs jump on to a piece of white cloth to study them.

The find was part of a global search being undertaken by Conservation International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Amphibian Specialist Group to "rediscover" 100 species of lost amphibians.

Irish Independent

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