7 New Teeny Frogs Found in Brazil

After nearly 5 years of exploration in mountainous areas of the southern Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, a team of researchers has uncovered seven new species of very tiny, brightly colored frogs from the genus known as Brachycephalus.

None are bigger than an adult thumbnail.

Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

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The tiny amphibians live in mountain top regions in the southern Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest that are extremely isolated.

Since their habitat is so limited they are extremely vulnerable to extinction.

Shown is the species Brachycephalus auroguttatus.
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

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Frogs in this genus have been known since the 1800s, but these seven species hadn’t previously been identified.

These tiny frogs generally have three toes and two fingers, instead of the five toes and four fingers found in most frogs.

All of the frogs are less than 0.4 inches in length. They vary mostly in their skin color and texture.

Shown is the rough-skinned species Brachycephalus verrucosus.
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

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Brachycephalus olivaceus is the color of a greenish-brown olive.

The first species of Brachycephalus was described in 1842 by the German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix. But most species in the genus have been discovered only in the past decade. That’s due to their extremely remote habitats, which are difficult to reach.

“Although getting to many of the field sites is exhausting, there was always the feeling of anticipation and curiosity about what new species could look like,” said Marcio Pie, a professor at the Universidade Federal do Paraná, who led the project.
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

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Brachycephalus boticario (shown) features bright orange skin with dark, bumpy sides.

Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

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The frogs were all found living among leaves on the forest floor. Their home — cloud forests — are highly sensitive to climatic changes.

Brachycephalus leopardus features flashy yellow skin dotted with dark spots (like a leopard).
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

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The tiny frog Brachycephalus fuscolineatus has yellow skin with a greenish-brown stripe running down its back.

The researchers believe there may be even more species of the frogs in the remote regions.

“This is only the beginning, especially given the fact that we have already found additional species that we are in the process of formally describing,” said Luiz Ribeiro, a research associate to the Mater Natura Institute for Environmental Studies, in a press release.

The study, titled “Seven new microendemic species of Brachycephalus (Anura: Brachycephalidae) from southern Brazil,” was published today in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed open access journal.
Luiz Fernando Ribeiro, CC BY SA

 

Posted at: The Discovery News

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