What is the Smallest Frog in the World?

by Katrina Cain on June 25, 2008

The smallest frog in the world is the Monte Iberia Eleuth; a frog only recently discovered on a mountain in Cuba. Specimens have been found that are only 8.5 millimeters long! It is considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN and is found in only 2 small areas on Cuba. Since this frog was only discovered in 1996, and only females have been found, very little is known about this sweet little frog.

The Monte Iberia Eleuth of the Northern Hemisphere is in competition for the status of smallest frog in the world with the Brazilian Gold Frog at 9 millimeters. Poison frogs come in at under 1 centimeter as well and are found in South America.

One species of Poison Frog to make a note of is the Phantasmal Poison Frog, a species with incredibly toxic poison. Pharmaceutical scientists are looking into using this little guy for medical purposes. A new painkilling drug called Epibatidine is reportedly 200 times more powerful than morphine without the unpleasant side effects. Trials are ongoing to make a synthetic version of the drug, as the frogs are so small and Endangered according to the IUCN. Tebanicline is a synthetic derivative that has shown some promise, but clinical trials were stopped due to gastrointestinal side effects. The promising part of this research is that this compound doesn’t have the depression of breathing side effects of morphine. Hopefully, scientists will work out the kinks.

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