PEA-SIZED FROG FOUND IN BORNEO [DiscoveryNews 2010-08-25]
Aug. 25, 2010 - Researchers have discovered a new species of frog in Borneo which only grows to the size of a pea.
Finding the mini frogs, named Microhyla nepenthicola, proved to be a challenge due to their size. Adult males range in length from 10.6 to 12.8 millimeters.
Drs. Indraneil Das and Alexander Haas of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg, respectively, tracked the amphibians by their call.
The frogs normally start singing around dusk, making a series of harsh rasping notes that last for a few minutes, followed by brief intervals of silence. This "amphibian symphony" goes on from sundown until peaking in early evening.
The researchers located the frogs on the side of a road leading to the summit of Gunung Serapi mountain, which lies within Kubah National Park. The researchers then prompted the frogs to jump onto a piece of white cloth for closer examination.
It turns out that the tiny frogs had been found before, but were always assumed to be juveniles.
“I saw some specimens in museum collections that are over 100 years old. Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly-discovered micro species,” Dr. Das said in a press release.
The new species was named after the pitcher plant, Nepenthes ampullaria, which it depends on to live. The frogs deposit their eggs on the sides of the pitcher, and tadpoles grow in the liquid that accumulates inside the plant.
Das and Haas published a report about the find in the taxonomy journal Zootaxa.
Photos: Prof. Indraneil Das/ Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation