World's second smallest frog species is right by our doorstep


By YU JI

The new species of a mini frog, named Microhyla nepenthicola, sits on a tip of a pencil in this undated handout photo released to Reuters by Dr Indraneil Das of Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation on August 25, 2010. Scientists have discovered a frog the size of a pea, the smallest found in Asia, Africa or Europe, on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. REUTERS/Dr Indraneil Das/Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation/Handout (MALAYSIA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS IMAGES OF THE DAY) PHOTO MAY ONLY BE USED OR DISTRIBUTED IN CONJUNCTION WITH CONTENT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL'S PRESS RELEASE. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

KUCHING: Kubah National Park is now home to the world’s second smallest frog.

The tiny Microhyla nepenthicola species was first “discovered” by researchers on an expedition at Kubah in 2004.

In 2010, researchers described the finding in detail in the journal Zootaxa.

After that, Kubah became known to nature lovers the world over as home to the smallest frog.

However, in 2012, scientists found an even smaller frog species in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

“At 7mm long, the Paedophryne amauensis may be the world’s smallest vertebrate,” the BBC reported.

“Second smallest is still a record. We can still be proud of that,” said Sarawak Forestry Corporation chief executive Datuk Ali Yusop yesterday at the closing of the Kubah Week at the national park about 30km from the town centre.

“Kubah remains a paradise for frogs and toads and is currently home to the second smallest frog,” Yusop reiterated.

Kubah’s tiny amphibians were documented by Indraneil Das from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Alexander Haas from the University of Hamburg in Germany.

The frog is no larger than the end-point of a pencil and is red and orange in colour. An adult frog is usually shorter than 1cm.

Kubah, located along the Matang Ranges, was gazetted as a national park in 1989.

Its other claim to fame is as the backdrop of the 2003 Jessica Alba movie, The Sleeping Dictionary, in which Alba played a Dayak who falls in love with an Englishman in the 1930s.

More recently, a recording Dusk by a Frog Pond at Kubah by photographer Marc Anderson was voted the most beautiful sound in the world in a “Beautiful Now” contest, which the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation organised.

The national park was initially set up to feature the more than 80 species of palms found at Mount Serapi and the surrounding ranges.

Apart from its indigenous flora and fauna, Kubah also houses the Matang Wildife Centre, a “safe- house” for endangered species that have either been rescued or voluntarily surrendered by the public.

Kubah Week is a popular event organised for the first time last year in conjunction with Sarawak’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

This year, it is organised as part of the Visit Malaysia and Visit Sarawak Year 2014 campaigns.

Activities included the Annual Bornean Frog Race, which was co-organised with Unimas, with Starbucks as sponsor.

Sarawak has 34 national parks — six wildlife sanctuaries and eight national reserves, occupying a total land area of 809,900ha.

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