Pea-sized frog, Microhyla nepenthicola, lives in puddles that accumulate in the pitcher plant. It's no wonder it took scientists until now to discover it.
Dr Indraneil Das/Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation/Reuters
The pea-sized amphibians (Microhyla nepenthicola) were found near a mountain in Kubah National Park.
"I saw some specimens in museum collections that are over 100 years old. Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly discovered micro species," said Indraneil Das of the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, who, along with Alexander Haas of the Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg, Germany, discovered the tiny creatures.
The mini frog was named after the plant on which it depends for survival, the Nepenthes ampullaria, one of many species of pitcher plants in Borneo. These plants have a pitcher-shaped, open cavity and grow in damp, shady forests. The frogs deposit their eggs on the sides of the pitcher, and tadpoles grow in the liquid accumulated inside the plant.
Adult males of the newly discovered frog species are just shy of a half inch (10.6 to 12.8 millimeters) long — about the size of a pea. Because they are so tiny, finding them proved to be a challenge.