This newly discovered frog, full-grown, is only 0.3937 inches or 10 mm (or 1 cm) tiny, and is shown above sitting on an Indian 5 rupee coin. Delhi University Systematics biologist S. D. Biju and his colleagues have found this new frog, India’s smallest land vertebrate, in the Western Ghats of Kerala, a mountainous region in the western portion of India.
The humid rainforests of the Western Ghats are the perfect habitat for these nocturnal frogs, which enjoy making mating calls from under leaf litter and among the roots of ferns during the monsoon months.
The common name for its genus is “Nightfrog,” and Biju has scientifically named the frog, Nyctibatrachus minimus. Other extremely small frogs exist in various parts of the world, including Cuba, the Amazon and Borneo. Biju has been searching in the Western Ghats to find new species of frogs for the past several years, and his discoveries include the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus) and the first canopy frog (Philautus nerostagona) from India.
Nyctibatrachus is a genus of true frogs endemic to India. It is a very ancient member of the true frog family, Ranidae. Their scientific name means „nightfrog“, in reference to their habits and dark color.
Sources: University of Delhi, various Indian news outlets. ©Image courtesy of University of Delhi.