A tiny new species of frog from Brazil with a heroic name

July 24, 2014
This image shows the male holotype of the new species Chiasmocleis quilombola. Credit: João F. R. Tonini

The Atlantic Forest is a hotspot of biodiversity and one of the most species richness biome of anurans (frogs, tree-frogs, and toads) in the world. However, current levels of diversity might be still underestimated. In the past few years has been an increase in the description of new endemic species of this biome along with the advance of molecular techniques and availability of samples for DNA analysis.

Using a more extensive number of samples for molecular and morphological analysis, researchers from the University of Richmond and The George Washington University described a tiny new of narrow-mouthed frog from the Microhylidae family in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Chiasmocleis quilombola occurs in the Atlantic Forest of the Espírito Santo State, southeastern Brazil. Despite its modest size, adults reach only about 14 mm, the new species bears a heroic name inspired by the quilombos communities typical of the Espírito Santo State in Brazil, where the frogs were collected.

The specific epithet "quilombola" used for the species' name refers to the people who inhabited these communities – slaves who dared to escape during colonial times and find a refuge in the depths of the Atlantic Forest.

Quilombos were used as a refuge for escaped slaves during colonial Portuguese rule in Brazil between 1530 and 1815. Nowadays in the north of Espírito Santo State quilombola communities still remain and maintain alive their traditions, such as quilombola food and craftwork.

This image shows Larissa Gaigher and Dr. Yuri Leite inspecting pitfall traps installed at the type locality of the new species C. quilombola in Floresta Nacional do Rio Preto, Brazil. Credit: João F. R. Tonini

"We were puzzling by the morphological variation of those frogs, which is little, but after the first results of the molecular phylogenies was clear the higher genetic disparity among them", say João Tonini, Ph. D. student at The George Washington University. Chiasmocleis quilombola occupy coastal areas north of Espírito Santo State, a region that is under strong human pressure, therefore the species may face imminent threat of habitat loss.

Explore further: Spectacular forcepfly species discovered for the first time in South America

More information: Tonini JFR, Forlani MC, de Sá RO (2014) A new species of Chiasmocleis (Microhylidae, Gastrophryninae) from the Atlantic Forest of Espírito Santo State, Brazil. ZooKeys 428: 109132. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.428.7352

Related Stories

New species of labrisomidae fish discovered in Brazil

October 30, 2013

Researchers from Brazil have published data on a new species of fish in the Labrisomidae family on the Brazilian archipelago of Trindade and Martim Vaz in the Atlantic Ocean. It is an endemic species that can only be found ...

Three new wafer trapdoor spiders from Brazil

November 20, 2013

Scientists discover three new gorgeous species of the wafer trapdoor genus Fufius – F. minusculus, F. jalapensis, and F. candango. The discovery of the three new species, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, paves ...

Amazon inhales more carbon than it emits, NASA finds

March 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding ...

Recommended for you

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...

Ancestral background can be determined by fingerprints

September 28, 2015

A proof-of-concept study finds that it is possible to identify an individual's ancestral background based on his or her fingerprint characteristics – a discovery with significant applications for law enforcement and anthropological ...

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.


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.