Pea-Sized Frog Discovered on Pitcher Plants in Borneo

Posted on August 25, 2010

The smallest frog in the Old World (Asia, Africa and Europe) and one of the tiniest frogs in the world was discovered living inside and around pitcher plants in the heath forests of Borneo. The pea-sized amphibian is a species of microhylid. The species includes miniature frogs under 15 millimeters.

The mini frogs (Microhyla nepenthicola) were found on the edge of a road leading to the summit of the Gunung Serapi mountain, which lies within Kubah National Park. The new species was named after the plant on which it depends to live, the Nepenthes ampullaria, one of many species of pitcher plants in Borneo. The frogs deposit their eggs on the sides of the pitcher, and tadpoles grow in the liquid inside the plant.

Adult males of the new species range between 10.6 and 12.8 mm - about the size of a pea. The tiny frogs were found by tracking their call. Once found they were then made to jump onto a piece of white cloth to be examined closer. The singing starts at dusk, with males gathering within and around the pitcher plants. This "amphibian symphony" goes on from sundown until peaking in the early hours of the evening.

You can read more about the discovery here.

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