Special Jaguar Frog Found on Brazil's Highway

Khryss | Published 2017-12-10 19:33

Which, by the way, would most likely be extinct soon.

Ribbit, ribbit, the frog goes as they greeted the researchers on a stretch of abandoned highway in Brazil.

It all started when Rafael de Fraga, a herpetologist at the National Institute of Research of the Amazon, and colleagues heard a unique calling of male frogs in Amazon rain forest, of which they suspected is from a new species. And to confirm that, those frogs had to undergo genetic analysis; and boy, they were so right.

They saw a weird frog with spotted skin. And due to the high numbers of big cats in the place, they decided to call the new species Scinax onca, or the jaguar snouted tree frog. "During the sampling expeditions we were also lucky enough to spot several jaguars," says de Fraga. But, "the highway is definitely more dangerous than jaguars [because] many people have died there by car crash or fallen bridges."

Moreover, such newly identified creature is still a stranger to today's science, they know for sure that these orange-eyed frog grows up to less than two inches and has a white groin with black spots. Males are small than the females (sexually dimorphic) and has a woodsaw-like scratchy call sounds that lasts more than 100 milliseconds.

The stretch of the Purus and Madeira Rivers where the said frog lives is "very special from a biological point of view," de Fraga says, as diverse array of species inhabit the area.

"[The discovery is] not a huge surprise, but it's indicative of kind of a push within Brazil to understand the environment," says Darrel Frost, curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, who wasn't involved in the study.

Sadly, De Fraga suspects the frog is endangered. And that the impending highway recovering could destroy several species' homes. "We are not totally opposed to the highway recovering, because many local people live completely isolated from basic resources such as hospitals," de Fraga says.

"But it is rather disturbing to watch the region being converted into urban areas without any concern for the biodiversity that is being lost."


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