Wednesday, March 18

Check Out the Size of Those Eggs!

Meet Noblella pygmaea (AKA Noble's pygmy frog), the smallest frog in the Andes with some very interesting traits (from
The Noble's pygmy frog is not only the tiniest frog species known in the Andes but also ranks among the smallest vertebrates in the world...For comparison, the smallest known frog south of the equator, the Brazilian Gold Frog, is about 0.39 inch (9.8 millimeters) and the smallest vertebrate is currently thought to be Paedocypris, a genus of Indonesian fish, which has been measured at 0.3 inch (7.9 millimeters). The size of this mountain-dwelling frog is surprising to researchers because most species that live at higher altitudes are larger than members of the same or similar genus that live closer to sea level.

...the N. pygmaea female lays only two eggs at a their largest, each egg is about two thirds her size and, unlike her cousins, she sticks around to ward off hungry insects and other predators. Also, as opposed to most amphibians, this teensy frog lays her eggs on land (usually in leaf litter or moss) rather than in water. That means that the young emerge not as aquatic tadpoles but as fully formed froglets, ready to hop along into adulthood.

The Noble's pygmy frog is the most recent of more than 10 new species of frog that have been discovered in the past two years in the high Andes near Cusco. The biodiverse eastern side of the mountains is of particular interest to researchers, who expect to continue turning up new species.

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