Mini Frogs

Meet Mini mum, Mini scule and Mini ature, Three New Frog Species Among the World’s Smallest.

– look carefully for Mini mum –

Isn’t that beautiful? Found in Madagascar in 2019.

Mark D. Scherz, a Ph.D. candidate at Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Technical University of Braunschweig and lead author of the new study published in PLoS ONE, said in a statement that naming the new genus was a thrill. “I have long wanted there to be pun-named reptile or amphibian species in Madagascar,” he says. “It’s great that we were able to find a funny name that is also informative; Mini is not just amusing, but also an accurate descriptor.” Scherz seems a character. Here’s his tweet announcing the publication:

“Just published in @PLOSONE!! Meet Mini, the newest genus of frogs from Madagascar!! With three new species: Mini mum, Mini scule, and Mini ature, because I am HILARIOUS.”

Read more about them at the Smithsonian mag, at mashable and at mongabay.

According to National Geographic’s Michelle Z. Donahue, the world’s smallest known vertebrate is a frog, Paedophryne amauensis, a Papua New Guinean native measuring an average of 7.7 millimeters long, or around the size of a housefly.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Explorers 14. Gerrard

William Tyrer Gerrard sent a stuffed aardvark to Derby! How cool or how bad ass is that? You receive a parcel from your botanical collector: Here are some flowers and some leaves; oh, and one aardvark! Poor bloody aardvark had to stare out on grey Pommie skies from then on.

– Derby Museum and Library – thanks to Chris Harris on wikipedia –

I went looking for his story after seeing a Forest Iron Plum tree at Sand Forest Lodge in Zululand, the Drypetes gerrardii.

He was an English professional botanical (and anything else) collector in Natal and Madagascar in the 1860s. Born in Merseyside in 1831, he worked in Australia, then in Natal, where he collected over 150 previously unknown plant species and . . it was a Natal aardvark he stuffed and shipped to England. He left Natal in April 1865 for coastal Madagascar, where he made large collections of plants, insects, and birds. He died age 34 of yellow fever in Mahavelona on the north east coast of Madagascar, north of Toamasina.

Gerrard was obviously good at finding plants, as In the early 1860’s he gathered the only known specimens of an Emplectanthus and an Adenia species. Considered Critically Endangered and possibly Extinct according to IUCN Red List criteria, they were only re-discovered in the lower Msikaba River valley and the lower Tugela River Valley in 2006 and 2016 respectively.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Madagascar

I never really learnt to be circumspect. I tend to blurt. So what would you like to do now your second chemo spell is over, Aitch? We’d gone snorkelling at Mabibi on the Zululand coast after the first. A six hour drive in a 4X4.

Where? The Great Barrier Reef? But that’s in Oz, m’dear! You do? Um, what I meant to ask was: What, reasonably-speaking, would you like to do?

So I scurried off to do my homework. Costs, flight times, travel time to the reefs, what we could afford. With trepidation I showed her two alternatives: The Great Barrier Reef in Oz vs Madagascar, where we would live aboard a yacht, plopping overboard to snorkel whenever we wanted to.

Phew! She chose Madagascar – and LOVED Madagascar. “My BEST holiday ever!” she enthused afterwards.

We shared the boat with a delightful English couple, Dickie and Claire, with their two blonde girls Sonja and Natasha. Easygoing and relaxed, it was a blissful getaway. They were chilled and accommodating, and so were we. The crew, too, were wonderful folk, friendly, capable, and good chefs! Skipper Bert, chef ___ and teenage deckhand ‘Mowgli,’ who fascinated our Jessie.

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It was Aitch, so homework was still done, naps were still taken, routines were kept as far as possible:

Nosy Iranja in the Mocambique channel:

‘My Best Holiday Ever!!’ – Aitch

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