Spectacular frog identified as new species

July 31, 2018 by Michael Addelman, University of Manchester
Credit: University of Manchester

One of the world's most spectacular frogs has been identified as a new species after 20 years of painstaking research at The University of Manchester.

Amphibian conservationist Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum, has named the creature Sylvia's Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, after his 3-year-old granddaughter.

The large colourful has remained under the radar of zoologists for almost 100 years.

Sylvia's Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, was originally collected in Panama in 1925 but has remained confused with the Splendid Tree Frog, Cruziohyla calcarifer, ever since.

The discovery has highlighted that the original Splendid Tree Frog, first collected in 1902, remains much rarer than anyone ever realized and could face complete extinction in the near future.

Less than 50 specimens are known of that species and less than 150 specimens of Sylvia's Tree Frog are recorded.

Gray officially describes the frog as a separate species in the top zoological journal, Zootaxa.

He has worked extensively with this unusual group of frogs from Central and South America, both in the wild and in the live amphibian collection at Manchester Museum.

Genetic and biochemical work carried out at The University of Manchester's Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health was instrumental in the findings.

Credit: University of Manchester

The scientist at the University combined the unique characteristics of the Central American with skin peptide profiling and a genetic assessment.

And that, says Gray, clearly identified the distinctiveness of the new species, which is in fact more closely related to another unusual South American species than the original Splendid Tree Frog.

He said: "It's remarkable that such a distinctive new species has remained undetected for such a long time.

"However, more importantly, this work highlights that an assessment of the conservation needs for each is urgently required to ensure these amazing creatures are still around in another 100 years".

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum, added "It's a real privilege to be maintaining such rare frogs in our collection and supporting amphibian conservation around the planet.

"This multi-disciplined research highlights the importance of collections, where both live and historical specimens are aiding current taxonomy to make a real difference in shaping the future of wildlife conservation."

"Review of the genus Cruziohyla (Anura: Phyllomedusidae), with description of a " is published in Zootaxa.

Explore further: Bolivian water frog in lovelorn race against clock

More information: ANDREW R. GRAY. Review of the genus Cruziohyla (Anura: Phyllomedusidae), with description of a new species, Zootaxa (2018). DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4450.4.1

Related Stories

Frog study takes leaf out of nature's book

October 25, 2007

A brightly coloured tropical frog under threat of extinction is the focus of a new research project hoping to better understand how environment and diet influence its development and behaviour.

Unique frog helps amphibian conservation efforts

March 7, 2011

A tropical frog – the only one of its kind in the world – is providing conservationists with exclusive insights into the genetic make-up of its closest endangered relatives.

Freezing frog cells for conservation

March 23, 2018

For the first time, Australian frog cells have been successfully frozen and re-grown in culture, offering hope of a new technique to safeguard endangered amphibians.

Recommended for you

Study suggests trees are crucial to the future of our cities

March 25, 2019

The shade of a single tree can provide welcome relief from the hot summer sun. But when that single tree is part of a small forest, it creates a profound cooling effect. According to a study published today in the Proceedings ...

Matter waves and quantum splinters

March 25, 2019

Physicists in the United States, Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending ...

Apple pivot led by star-packed video service

March 25, 2019

With Hollywood stars galore, Apple unveiled its streaming video plans Monday along with news and game subscription offerings as part of an effort to shift its focus to digital content and services to break free of its reliance ...

0 comments

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.