3 min read

People Just Discovered The Smallest Frogs In The World

They're tinier than your fingernail.

Imagine finding something smaller than a fingernail in this lush forest of Madagascar. 

Mini frog habitat in Sainte Luce Reserve, Madagascar
Madagascar's Sainte Luce Reserve | Sam Hyde Roberts

That's just what a group of scientists have managed to do, Mongabay reports — and in doing so they discovered several new species of frog, the smallest types of frogs in the world. 

Newly discovered mini frog on leaf in nature reserve
This is Mini scule, a newly discovered type of frog found in Madagascar. | Sam Hyde Roberts

“Calling males often sit one or two leaves deep and stop calling at the slightest disturbance,” Frank Glaw, a herpetologist at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology and an author of the study, which describes and names the new species, said. “It can take a lot of patience to find the frog you are looking for.”

From the photographs, it can be hard to tell just how tiny the newly described frogs are — until they're placed on a fingertip.

Mini frog discovered in Madagascar
Mini scule on a fingertip | Sam Hyde Roberts

That's when the little guys really earn their new names. The three new species belong to a new genus, which scientists excitedly named Mini — and they jumped at the opportunity to pun: Mini mum, Mini scule and Mini ature are the names of the new species. 

“I have long wanted there to be pun-named reptile or amphibian species in Madagascar,” Mark D. Scherz, a Ph.D. candidate and lead author of the new study, wrote

A newly discovered mini frog
This is Mini mum, another newly discovered type of mini frog. | Andolalao Rakotoarison

It's not just delightful for humans that the frogs have been discovered — it's also fortunate for the frogs, who are believed to be endangered because of fragmented habitat. 

Newly discovered mini frog
Andolalao Rakotoarison

The researchers have recommended that at least two of the new tiny species get classified as critically endangered, which would help give them protections — a big leap for their kind.