Ultra-tiny frogs discovered living like faeries inside pitcher plants

One of the world's tiniest frogs has been discovered in Borneo. At 10-12 mm long, Microhyla nepenthicola may be micro, but its croak is loud. That's how researchers found them, swimming in tiny puddles of water captured by pitcher plants.

A group of zoologists with Conservation International say they found the frogs by the side of the road in Borneo, near a national park. They were very hard to locate because of their small size, but the scientists followed the frog's loud calls (you can listen to some here) and discovered them living among pitcher plants. They lay their eggs on the inside of the pitchers, and tadpoles grow up swimming in the tiny pools of rainwater that collect in the bottom of these plants. While most species of pitcher plant are carnivorous, the ones preferred by these tiny frogs only eat leaves - in fact, the frogs most likely help break down the leaf material and aid in the plant's digestion.


Indraneil Das, a scientist involved in the discovery, said the frogs had been known for a while, but incorrectly:

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.

The discovery was announced in Zootaxa, and bodes well for the future of ultra-tiny cute creatures of the forest.

via Zootaxa


A full-grown tiny frog.


A juvenile tiny frog.


Pitcher plant habitat.


A tiny frog on the lip of a pitcher plant.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter