This week let us take a look at some of the teeniest tiniest creatures on our planet. Regardless of their small sizes, these organisms have big jobs in the wild. They play critical roles in the ecosystems to which they belong.

Here are four of the smallest animals on Earth:

Smallest snake

The world’s smallest snake has been discovered in our neighbouring Caribbean island of Barbados! Leptotyphlops carlae, or Barbados thread snake, measures just about ten centimetres in length and is as thin as spaghetti! National Geographic states that this reptile “may be on the verge of extinction. It appears to be living on only a few square kilometres of forest in Barbados, where almost all the original forests have been cleared”.

Smallest fish

The smallest fish in the world may be the less-than one-centimetre minnow, Paedocypris progenetica. This tiny fish can be found in freshwater habitats in parts of South-East Asia. Females of this species are smaller than the males.

Smallest bird

This record goes to the Bee hummingbird which resides only in Cuba. This very small bird measures about two and a quarter inches long and weighs 1.6 grammes! These birds are so tiny that they are often mistaken for bees! Females lay eggs which about six millimetres in size in a nest which barely measures an inch across! This colourful little species unfortunately faces a threat to its survival—habitat loss.

Smallest frog

Can you believe the smallest frog to be discovered measures an average of 7.7 millimetres?—now that’s a petite frog! These little amphibians, comparable to the size of a housefly, are named Paedophryne amauensis by science. They can be found in southern Papua New Guinea among the leaf litter on the floor of the rainforests. According to National Geographic, “Indeed, the frogs likely evolved their tiny sizes to eat tiny invertebrates such as mites, that are ignored by bigger predators,” said study co-author Christopher Austin, a biologist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.”

We, humans, are used to seeing and learning about larger-sized animals around us. It is truly unbelievable to picture, however, these miniature organisms existing in the natural world. As fast as these little but fascinating animals are discovered by science, just as quickly they can disappear off the face of the Earth! For this reason, it is crucial to protect their populations and habitats before it is too late.

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