Gardiner’s Seychelles frog is one of the world’s smallest frog species, with adults reaching the size of just 1 cm! This species is ground-dwelling and forages at night for small invertebrates such as mites.
This species is part of the Sooglossidae (Seychelles frog) family which diverged from their closest ancestors around 100 million years ago, around the time humans and elephants last shared a common ancestor. This species has the widest elevation range of any of the Seychelles frogs, and has been reported from 200 metres above sea level to the top of Morne Seychellois at 915 metres above sea level.
Gardiner’s Seychelles frog can occur in both disturbed and undisturbed rainforests and can occur in areas dominated by introduced trees such as cinnamon. The species is common at many sites, but populations are declining across their tiny range due to climate change and habitat degradation from fire and invasive species, agriculture, timber and human settlement. The species is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, and occurs in the Morne Seychellois National Park and in the site of a conservation project on Silhouette.
- Order: Anura
- Family: Sooglossidae
- Population: > 2,000 per site
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 10-11mm
This species is found on Mahé and Silhouette islands in the Seychelles, from 150-991 m above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
Gardiner’s Seychelles frog occurs in high to mid altitude sites, favouring moist and deep littered rocky areas. They live both on the ground in forest litter and on low vegetation in leaf axils. The frogs breed on land where the females lay large eggs in small clumps on moist ground. Direct development occurs whereby young emerge from eggs as miniature adults. Breeding occurs throughout the year.