Miniature Frogs Discovered in Indian Mountain Range

New Species Smaller than a Human Fingernail

night frog

A group of scientists have unearthed 7 new species of frog in the Western Ghats, in Southwestern India. The area is known to be a hub for biodiversity, with many vulnerable species and plants inhabiting it.

These tiny guys are so small, about the size of a coin, that they can easily fit on a human fingernail, with room to spare.  Despite, just being discovered, the little fellows already seem to be jeopardised by human activity in nearby areas.

“Out of the seven new species, five are facing considerable anthropogenic threats and require immediate conservation prioritisation,” commented lead researcher Professor SD Biju from the University of Delhi.

The species allegedly took a total of 5 years to track down and form part of the night frog genus, Nyctibatrachus, bringing the number of recognised species up to 35. The smallest of the species, Nyctibatrachus robinmoorei, measures just 12.2 mm long

They inhabit the forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and were found to make insect-like chirping noises during the night. The species are descendants of an ancient group of amphibians which came about some 80 million years ago. The tiny animals were presumably hard to find also because of their tendency to keep to the forest floor.

Their discovery is significant since it will help other scientists to understand the evolution and habits of amphibian species in the surrounding area, of which a third are facing extinction.

The findings of the research were documented in the online journal PeerJ.