WaPo covers the war between a newly discovered frog and an itsy bitsy fish over which one is the smallest vertebrate:
An article Wednesday in the journal PLoS One named Paedophryne amauensis (pee-doh-FRY-nee AM-OW-en-sis) as the world’s smallest animal with a spine.
The adult frogs are about three-tenths of an inch long, and a millimeter or so smaller than a carp found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The frogs are so small that Louisiana State University herpetologist and environmental biologist Christopher Austin had to enlarge close-up photos to describe them.
But the males of a species of deep-sea anglerfish are about 2 mm smaller, said University of Washington ichthyologist Theodore Pietsch, who described them in 2006. The males don’t have stomachs and live as parasites on 1.8-inch-long females.
In August 2009, Austin and graduate student Eric Rittmeyer were collecting and recording the mating calls of frogs at night in a tropical forest near the village of Amau in eastern Papua New Guinea, when they heard a chorus of high-pitched “tinks.”
“This frog has a call that doesn’t sound like a frog at all. It sounds like an insect,” he said. The calls seemed to surround them, and it took a while to be sure they were coming from the ground.
Since they couldn’t locate the noise-maker, they snatched up some habitat, expecting to find a six-legger in it.
“We found it by grabbing a whole handful of leaf litter and putting it into a clear plastic bag and very, very slowly going through that litter leaf by leaf by leaf until we saw that small frog hop off one of those leaves,” he said.
Photo of one perched comfortably on a dime at the link.