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8 of the smallest animals of their kind

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 26, 2011, 8:43 a.m.
small frog on leaf

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Monte Iberia Eleuth

The Monte Iberia Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia) is considered the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere. (There are smaller frogs in the Southern Hemphisphere.) It is around 3/8 inch long and can fit on a fingertip. Miguel Vences, an evolutionary biologist at the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, says the frog's tiny size allowed it to specialize on small prey such as ants and mice. As he told LiveScience, he smelled a bitter odor while tracking the frogs and suspected it might be coated in toxic alkaloids. Analysis confirmed the presence of muscle-paralysing poisons called pumiliotoxins that are common among poison dart frogs.