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It's not every day that people get to name a whole new genus of animals, so it's a matter of some importance.

Do you go with the trend of naming it after one of the discoverers, one of the animals defining traits or something else entirely?

Well, if you're Mark D. Scherz and his team, you turn it into a pun.


The team recently published a paper in PLOS ONE that outlines the new genus of diminutive frogs: Mini. '

The individual species names play on the genus name to make each species of frog an adorable pun: Mini ature, Mini mum, and Mini scule.

Scherz took to Twitter to share the news of the paper, and his team's amazing naming job.

Given that the main author of the study's last name is the german word for "joke" it seems fitting that the team had fun naming the adorable frogs.


Members of the genus Mini are found on the island of Madagascar is an area known for its many endemic (only found in a certain area of the world) species of animals, like lemurs and fossa.

Because of this, it is a popular research spot for scientists wanting to study new species.

The three new species are truly tiny.


The genus Mini is actually super closely related to the genus Plethodontohyla, which contains some of the largest members of the Microhylidae family!


A few people appreciated Scherz's nod to internet pop culture with the "banana for scale."


The members of genus Mini range from 8mm to 14mm long and are among the smallest frogs, and the smallest vertebrates, that we have discovered so far.

Scherz shared a photo of the skeleton of Mini mum.

There were quite a few people who appreciated Scherz's research (and mad naming skills) and sharing of these Mini frogs with the world.




When IFLScience asked Scherz about how the team came up with the names, and how nobody had thought of them before, Scherz said:

"We were as surprised as you are. We searched all the databases we could find, and nobody seemed to have used the name before. From there, the puns just fell into place."

The aptly named Mini mum is the smallest of the new frogs.

It is only slightly larger than a grain of rice!

Scherz told IFLScience about the struggle of trying to find the tiny frogs in Madagascar, which is home to quite a few species of itty-bitty frogs:

"t takes a lot of practice and patience. You can spend an hour looking for a single calling male, only to fail to catch him in the end. Females you can only really find by chance. Fortunately, they are often locally abundant, making things somewhat easier."

Deforestation is a huge problem in Madagascar, and humorous names for new species may help to increase public awareness of the need to preserve habitat for these animals.

"Madagascar… [has] an extremely high rate of deforestation – just taking a glance at Google Earth imagery makes it clear just how severe the deforestation in that area has been, and how much habitat has been lost."

He also commented on those who claim the naming of species isn't a place for jokes.

"That hasn't stopped a few people saying that [Swedish botanist] Linnaeus must be turning in his grave. But on the other hand, Linnaeus also erected the genus Phallus, and if that isn't humorous taxonomy, I don't know what is."

Anything that increases the public awareness of an environmental problem and gets people interested in science seems like a good thing to us.

If it happens to be fun and adorable too, that's just icing on the cake.

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