Paedophryne amauensis

Smallest frog! The size of a ladybug that can settle on the tip of your pinkie with room to spare

Discovered in 2009, it holds the remarkable distinction of being the tiniest vertebrate on Earth, making it the smallest known animal with a backbone in the world.

These minuscule frogs are found predominantly in the lush rainforests of Papua New Guinea, where they lead a solitary existence in the leaf litter on the forest floor. Their remarkable size, averaging around 7.7 millimeters in length, coupled with their well-developed camouflage, enables them to blend seamlessly among the fallen leaves, making them exceptionally challenging to spot for predators and researchers alike.

However, the awe-inspiring features of Paedophryne amauensis extend beyond its tiny stature and effective camouflage. These frogs have evolved a truly exceptional ability to compensate for their size. Despite their minuscule proportions, they are incredibly adept jumpers. In fact, they are known to leap distances of up to 30 times their own body length in a single bound. This astounding jumping capability serves as an effective means of escaping potential threats and hunting small insects, which make up a significant portion of their diet.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the life cycle of Paedophryne amauensis is its unique method of reproduction. Unlike many frog species that lay eggs that hatch into tadpoles, these frogs hatch directly as “hoppers,” resembling miniature adults rather than undergoing a tadpole stage. They spend their entire lives on the forest floor, displaying a fascinating adaptation to their terrestrial habitat.


Population est.
Papua New Guinea
Main Island Group

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size)/ Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No