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Araracanga. Photo: Haroldo Palo Jr.

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20 nov 2018
:Institutional:

New tiny frog species discovered in Santa Catarina

Species is part of the group that includes the world's smallest vertebrates

Brachycephalus mirissimus
A new species of tiny frog in the Brachycephalus genus was discovered in the Santo Anjo Hill, in Massaranduba, northern Santa Catarina. Named Brachycephalus mirissimus, its size varies from 10-13 milimeters (close to the size of a fingernail), and it catches the eye with its colors, as well as a rounded white spot on its head.

The tiny frog is among the smallest vertebrates in the world. This feature is due to an evolutionary process called miniaturization, which grants the species a strategic advantage to survive the mountainous conditions. “Furthermore, as they live in steep and moist locations, but without large bodies of water, during evolution these mountain frogs have also developed another particular characteristic: they do not go through a tadpole stage,” says Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, researcher for the Mater Natura Institute for Environmental Studies.

Within five years, 15 species of tiny frogs were discovered by the Mater Natura project, supported by the Boticário Group Foundation. According to Emerson Antônio de Oliveira, Science and Conservation coordinator at the Foundation, discoveries such as this reaffirm the importance of nature preservation for maintaining species. “Currently, the Atlantic Rainforest has less than 8% of its original coverage. Each discovery is another step to advocate biodiversity conservation so that these species do not disappear,” he highlights.