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Biosphere, Fauna and Flora in Cuba Naturaleza
Cuba Naturaleza Biodiversity

Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia), smallest frog in the northern hemisphere

Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia)Ranita Monte de Iberia (Eleutherodactylus iberia)
Scientific name: Eleutherodactylus iberia
Common name (english): Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth
Common name (spanish): Ranita Monte de Iberia

The Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia) of just over 3/8 inches (9.6 - 9.8 mm) long, is the smallest living frog in the northern hemisphere.

It is the second-smallest frog (and tetrapod) in the world, following the Brazilian Gold Frog. It was first discoved in 1996 on Mount Iberia, from which the animal gets its name, and exists in only two small regions of Cuba. Much remains unknown about this small creature.

Only two isolated populations of the Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth are known to exist, both in the Holguin province of eastern Cuba at elevations under 600 meters.

The first location is on top of the Monte Iberia tableland where the frog was discovered.

The second is smaller (less than 100 km² and sparsely-occupied, near Nibujón at sea level. This latter area has suffered great disturbances over the past 40 years from human activities.

E. iberia exists in areas of closed rain forest with poorly-drained soil; it requires a great deal of humidity for its survival.

The Monte Iberia Dwarf Eleuth 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).

Reproductive data is extremely limited. The female specimen which has provided the sole source of data thus far was found beside an egg, suggesting that iberia lays a single egg in each clutch and that the parents are closely involved in raising the young (as is common with animals who birth few offspring a time).

 
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© 2014 Nigel Hunt