Researchers have recently discovered five species of small frogs, belonging to a family known as Microhylidae, in the rain forests of Madagascar.
One of the discovered species, dubbed Mini mum, includes the smallest frogs in existence, with adult males and females measuring 9.7 and 11.3 millimeters, respectively.
“We have shown in our new paper that tiny frogs in Madagascar have evolved at least four times, and perhaps even more. That is incredible and suggests something interesting is going on here. Why are so many different groups getting small? Is there a survival or reproduction advantage? Are they more likely to divide into more species? Does that make individual lineages more likely to avoid extinction and diversify further? All kinds of questions open up, and we can now address them in a really nice study system,” the study's lead author, Dr. Mark Scherz told Fox News.
“Of course, protecting fragments of the forest is the first line of defense against direct human encroachment, but with a globally warming climate, it is hard to know what the future will be like for these frogs. In ages past, they might have shifted to higher elevations to maintain their temperatures, but the connectivity has now been lost, so moving to cooler areas is no longer an option,” Scherz added.