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Tiny Frog Species Discovered in Newcastle, Australia

The Mahony's toadlet is a true frog and not a toad.

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A new species of frog so tiny that it can fit on the tip of a human finger has been found in Newcastle, Australia, a mere 10 kilometers from the Newcastle airport. University of Newcastle Biologist Dr. Simon Clulow made the discovery when he noticed the amphibian’s unique marbled black and white belly.

“The distinctive marble pattern on the frog’s belly, along with other features makes it quite different to any other frog species in this part of the world and led us to believe straight away that we had found a new species – it was an incredible moment,” Simon told Australian Geographic


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It has been named the Mahony’s toadlet (Uperoleia mahonyi) after the founder’s mentor and supervisor, Prof. Michael Mahony, a renowned frog expert in Australia. In spite of its name, the Mahony’s toadlet is a true frog and is named as such due to the glands on its back which make it look like the toads of Europe and the United States. 

It is thought to be native to the coastal swamps of Australia’s Myall Lakes, Port Stephens and Central Coast areas. It lives under vegetation or sand on the forest floor, which effectively helped to hide itself from discovery. Clulow discovered the frog in a sand swamp at Oyster Cove in Newcastle. 

"The frog is a habitat specialist, living exclusively on a particular type of leached white sand substrate, which could make it more at risk from threats such as habitat loss and sand mining," said Simon.