A tree frog clutches a leaf angled towards the rain for shelter as it sits on a plant in Jember, East Java. It held on to the stem for at least 30 minutes during the rainstorm.
A Guardian Eyewitness photo.
Microhyla nepenthicola, which was named after a plant on the island, is the smallest frog discovered in Asia, Africa or Europe.
Adult males of the new micro-species range in size from 10.6 and 12.8 millimetres, according to the taxonomy magazine Zootaxa.
Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the sub-species had originally been mis-identified in museums.
“Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly-discovered micro species,” he said.
The tiny frogs were found on the edge of a road leading to the summit of the Gunung Serapi mountain in the Kubah National Park in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
The scientists said they tracked the frogs by their call, a series of “harsh rasping notes” that started at sundown.
They then made the frogs jump onto a piece of white cloth to study them.
The find was part of a global search being undertaken by Conservation International and International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Amphibian Specialist Group to “rediscover” 100 species of lost amphibians.
Phew! It’s about time we had some good news about amphibians.
Between climate change, disappearing habitat and – no doubt – some lounge lizard discovering they make a tidy snack, it feels like we’re losing little critters faster than ever.