Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Now That's Small!

from PLOS
Scientific American has a report on the world's tiniest chameleon, and is it cute!  As you can see, it would have trouble climbing over a hangnail.  When not hanging onto a researcher's finger it can be found, with difficulty, climbing "up" on branches to a dizzying height of four inches.  Since it hunts in the day, it is easy to pickup at night while it is sleeping.

This midget now goes by the name Brookesia micra.  Scientists have always felt that there was a limit as to how small a vertebrate with a compound eye could be, but each time they reach it they find one smaller.  These chameleons are found on the island of Madagascar where they are threatened by habitat loss, deforestation and  probably anything larger than a baby frog. 

Microfrog- Christopher Austin- LSU
Speaking of frogs, the world's smallest frog happens to be the new species reported by Christopher Austin from Louisiana State University in PLOS.  It is now officially Paedophryne amanuensis, a name too long for it to wear on a name tag.  It currently holds the title of the world's smallest vertebrate.

There is more on this and other microfrogs in livescience.com.  If you have a few minutes to spare you might also want to thumb through Forty Freaky Frog Photos.

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