Brazilian flea toad may be the world’s smallest vertebrate

7
Brazilian flea toad may be the world’s smallest vertebrate


A flea toad perches on 1 Brazilian real (the coin has a diameter of 27 millimetres)

Renato Gaiga

A tiny Brazilian frog about the size of a pea may threaten the current record-holder for the world’s smallest vertebrate.

The flea toad Brachycephalus pulex, which is actually a frog species, was first described by scientists in 2011. Shortly after, Mirco Solé at the State University of Santa Cruz in Brazil wondered if the species can be the smallest amphibian yet discovered. But only a handful of specimens had been collected from the frogs’ only known habitat on two forested hilltops in southern Bahia, Brazil. And their gonads hadn’t been examined, which is necessary to confirm if they are adults.

Solé and his colleagues measured the body lengths of 46 flea toads, verifying the frogs’ maturity and sex by examining their gonads and checking for the presence of vocal slits in their throats, something only males have.

Adult B. pulex males average a touch over 7 millimetres long, slightly smaller than the females. This makes them smaller than the males of Paedophryne amauensis, a frog from Papua New Guinea that was, until now, considered both the smallest amphibian and smallest vertebrate.

“It’s absolutely clear,” says Mark Scherz at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. “These really are potentially the smallest extant frogs in the world, which is astonishing.”

It isn’t just the average size that is shocking, but how small these flea toads can get compared with other mini frogs – illustrated by the smallest specimen in the study. “It’s 6.45 millimetres [long], which is 30 per cent smaller than any adult male frog I have ever seen,” says Scherz. “It’s almost one millimetre smaller than the next smallest frog.”

At such small scales, frogs develop strange anatomical quirks, such as losing toes or having such underdeveloped ears that they can’t hear their own suitors’ songs. Some species can hardly jump because their balance organs are so wee.

Yet there might even be smaller vertebrates still undiscovered, says Solé.

Topics:


Disasters Expo USA, is proud to be supported by Inergency for their next upcoming edition on March 6th & 7th 2024!

The leading event mitigating the world’s most costly disasters is returning to the Miami Beach

Convention Center and we want you to join us at the industry’s central platform for emergency management professionals.
Disasters Expo USA is proud to provide a central platform for the industry to connect and
engage with the industry’s leading professionals to better prepare, protect, prevent, respond
and recover from the disasters of today.
Hosting a dedicated platform for the convergence of disaster risk reduction, the keynote line up for Disasters Expo USA 2024 will provide an insight into successful case studies and
programs to accurately prepare for disasters. Featuring sessions from the likes of The Federal Emergency Management Agency,
NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, TSA and several more this event is certainly providing you with the knowledge
required to prepare, respond and recover to disasters.
With over 50 hours worth of unmissable content, exciting new features such as their Disaster
Resilience Roundtable, Emergency Response Live, an Immersive Hurricane Simulation and
much more over just two days, you are guaranteed to gain an all-encompassing insight into
the industry to tackle the challenges of disasters.
By uniting global disaster risk management experts, well experienced emergency
responders and the leading innovators from the world, the event is the hub of the solutions
that provide attendees with tools that they can use to protect the communities and mitigate
the damage from disasters.
Tickets for the event are $119, but we have been given the promo code: HUGI100 that will
enable you to attend the event for FREE!

So don’t miss out and register today: https://shorturl.at/aikrW

And in case you missed it, here is our ultimate road trip playlist is the perfect mix of podcasts, and hidden gems that will keep you energized for the entire journey

-

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More