Photo by John MacNeill
The dwarf gecko.
There are 23,000 species of reptiles, birds, and mammals in the world and newly-discovered Sphaerodactylus ariasae is the smallest of all. The Jaragua Sphaero, or dwarf gecko, measures three-fourths of an inch from nose to tail tip and weighs just 0.00455 of an ounce (by contrast, the largest animal, the blue whale, is 1,600 times longer and more than 1 billion times heavier). The lizard lives on the island of Beata in the Dominican Republic where, according to its discoverers, biologists Blair Hedges and Richard Thomas, its habitat is threatened by logging.