A new toad from the 'warm valleys' of Peruvian Andes

Jan 17, 2014
This image shows a male toad of the new species Rhinella yunga. Credit: J. Moravec

A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of the Peruvian Yungas. The word is used widely by the locals to describe ecoregion of montane rainforests, and translates as "warm valley" in English. The new species Rhinella yunga was baptized after its habitat preference. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Like many other toads of the family Bufonidae the new species Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling the decaying leaves in the forest floor ("dead-leaf pattern"), which is in combination with expanded cranial crests and bony protrusions cleverly securing perfect camouflage. The different colors and shapes within the same species group however make the traditional morphological methods of taxonomic research hard to use to identify the real within the family. Nevertheless, Rhinela yunga is distinct from all related species in absence of a tympanic membrane, a round membranous part of hearing organ being normally visible on both sides of a toad's head.

"It appears that large number of still unnamed cryptic species remains hidden under some nominal species of the Rhinella margaritifera group", explains Dr Jiří Moravec, National Museum Prague, Czech Republic.

This image shows and adult female Rhinella yunga from the area of Rio Huatziroki. Credit: J. Moravec.

Among the other interesting characteristics of the true toads from the family Bufonidae are a typical warty, robust body and a pair of large poison parotoid glands on the back of their heads. The poison is excreted by the toads when stressed as a protective mechanism. Some toads, like the cane toad Rhinella marina, are more toxic than others. Male also possess a special organ, which after removing of testes becomes an active ovary and the toad, in effect, becomes female.

This image shows the habitat of Rhinella yunga in Peru. Credit: J. Moravec


Explore further: Early exposure to cat urine makes mice less likely to escape from cats

Related Stories

Using the cane toad's poison against itself

Jun 13, 2012

(Phys.org) -- An effective new weapon in the fight against the spread of cane toads has been developed by the University of Sydney, in collaboration with the University of Queensland.

Cane toad pioneers speed up invasions

Jul 30, 2013

(Phys.org) —Climate change is one of a number of stressors that cause species to disperse to new locations. Scientists must be able to predict dispersal rates accurately, as the movement of a new species ...

Cane toads 'wiping out' mini crocodiles Down Under

Jul 03, 2013

Australia's noxious cane toad is wiping out populations of a unique miniature crocodile, researchers warned Wednesday, with fears the warty, toxic creature could extinguish the rare reptile.

Recommended for you

The math of shark skin

21 hours ago

"Sharks are almost perfectly evolved animals. We can learn a lot from studying them," says Emory mathematician Alessandro Veneziani.

Seafaring spiders depend on their 'sails' and 'anchors'

Jul 03, 2015

Spiders travel across water like ships, using their legs as sails and their silk as an anchor, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. The study helps explain how sp ...

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.