IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

Comprehensive Description

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Eleutherodactylus iberia is the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere, and is tied for the world's smallest tetrapod with another frog, Brachycephalus didactylus (a Brazilian brachycephalid). Both reach only about 10 mm in adult SVL. It is currently the only species of Eleutherodactylus known to reach such a small size.

Dorsal skin is weakly rugose without dorsolateral folds. Head as wide as body and is as long as is wide. Snout subacuminate in dorsal and lateral view. Canthus rostralis is rounded and slightly concave when viewed dorsally. Loreal region is flat and sloping abruptly. Supratympanic fold is weakly defined and covers upper edge of tympanum (which is round and larger in males, higher than wide and smaller in females). Tympanum is separated from eye by a distance less than its own diameter. Vomerine teeth absent. Finger and toe tips are rounded and very thin.

This small frog has a dorsal coloration of dark brown with a vivid coppery stripe on the canthal region which gradually changes to orange over the eyelids, becoming golden yellow and white behind the eyes, then continuing posteriorly and becoming a discontinuous dorsolateral stripe near the vent. The loreal region is dark brown along with the flanks. The flanks also have a discontinuous white line which separates the flank coloration from vthe entral coloration. Forelimbs have an orange bar on them. Thighs have diagonal white lines crossing from the vent to the knee. Ventral coloration is a deep purple (Estrada and Hedges 1996).

This is thought to be the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere (Gomez and Alonso 2000). Miniaturization has occurred across five families of frogs (Brachycephalidae, Eleutherodactylidae, Leptodactylidae, Microhylidae, and Sooglossidae), and with it come constraints in morphological development, including digital reduction and loss of vomerine teeth. Miniaturized frog species also tend to have high-frequency calls (>5 kHz) and to have clutches with very small numbers of eggs (sometimes only one egg). The eggs are direct-developing, hatching directly into froglets and bypassing the tadpole stage (Estrada and Hedges 1996). Miniaturization, along with dietary specialization in tiny prey (ants and mites), is also thought to have preceded the evolution of alkaloid sequestration, aposematic (warning) coloration, and diurnality (Rodríguez et al. 2010).


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