Researcher uncovers six new frog species


tropical region


In eastern Mexico, biology Associate Professor Eric Smith and a team of international researchers made a large discovery of something small: six new species of miniature frogs.

Fully grown, none exceeds 15 millimeters, placing them among the smallest frogs in the world. To achieve this stature, the species evolved to retain their juvenile characteristics.

“Biodiversity research tends to focus on big, charismatic animals and can neglect smaller species,” Dr. Smith says. “Because of this, these little frogs went undetected for a very long time.”

He and researchers from the University of Cambridge and London’s Natural History Museum published the discovery in Herpetological Monographs, recommending that each of the new species be classified as endangered due to the declining quality of their habitat and their limited distribution across subtropical and tropical regions.

“These creatures inhabit a very narrow range among the leaf litter on the mountainsides,” Smith says. “If you hike too far too quickly, you could miss them completely.”


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