Scientists find new Australian frog

Jul 26, 2011
Scientists find new Australian frog
Pilbara toadlet (Uperoleia saxatilis). Photo by Paul Doughty

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new miniature frog species or ‘toadlet’ has been discovered in the resource-rich Pilbara region of Western Australia, an area previously thought to support very few of the amphibians.

Researchers from the Australian National University, the Western Australian Museum, and the University of Western Australia have used genetic techniques to show more species of are present in the Pilbara than previously thought.
 
Lead author and PhD student from the Research School of Biology at ANU, Renee Catullo said the findings included a species previously unknown to science.
 
“The deserts of Australia are often believed to be empty regions with few species. However genetic work on reptiles and amphibians has shown that there are large numbers of species in what looks like a barren landscape to most people,” she said.
 
“We have also identified a new species of burrowing frog called the Pilbara toadlet (Uperoleia saxatilis), which is just over two centimetres long.
 
“Little is known about this small, brown creature but it has been found following cyclonic rains and occurs in rocky gorges and creeks of the region. The good news is that it appears to be secure from a conservation perspective.
 
“Toadlets are native to Australia and this new species brings the total number to 27, the second largest group of in the country.”
 
The discovery was part of a research project funded by the Herman Slade Foundation that uses genetic techniques to try and understand the true number of species of toadlets. 
 
“Genetic techniques are increasingly being used to identify new across Australia that use calls, pheromones, or behaviour to tell each other apart,” Ms Catullo said.
 
“In these cases can tell us which groups are interbreeding, even when it’s hard to visually differentiate them.
 
“This new breakthrough emphasises the need for further research into understanding the biodiversity of Australian deserts.”

Explore further: Lawyer: Confinement of chimps for research akin to slavery

Related Stories

Cool species can take the heat

May 17, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two scientists from Simon Fraser University and one from Deakin University (DU) in Australia have made a discovery that is overturning conventional wisdom about how land and marine animals react to heat.

Why more species live in the Amazon rainforests

May 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- For more than two hundred years, the question of why there are more species in the tropics has been a biological enigma.  A particularly perplexing aspect is why so many species live ...

Recommended for you

Do you have the time? Flies sure do

4 hours ago

Flies might be smarter than you think. According to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 28, fruit flies know what time of day it is. What's more, the insects can learn to con ...

Barking characterizes dogs as voice characterizes people

7 hours ago

An international group of researchers has conducted a study on canine behavior showing that gender, age, context and individual recognition can be identified with a high percentage of success through statistical ...

Bird beaks feeling the heat of climate change, say scientists

8 hours ago

While the human population grapples with ways to counter the effects of climate change, Deakin University research has discovered that birds might have been working on their own solution for the past 145 years – grow bigger ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.