New species of amphibians discovered in Ecuador

6 new species of rain frogs discovered in Ecuador

New species and new genera are being discovered at an alarming rate, but researchers have just scratched the surface of these creatures. One problem, experts say, is that only a small handful of experts actually study these frogs.

The rain frog was first discovered in the dry tropical areas of north-central Ecuador and is a relative of the West Indian toad. Scientists have named it the ‘Slovenian’ toad after a lake in Slovenia.

The frog was first discovered by researchers as a species that had been misidentified, but since then other finds have been made. But the frog remains an undiscovered species.

The new species is described in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The first author of the paper is Daniel U. Smith, who is a researcher with the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and is currently based in Ecuador.

He said: ‘In light of the new genus and species described today, I am more than a little surprised that no one has studied this species. There should be hundreds of scientists world wide studying all kinds of frogs but the rain frog has apparently been completely missed.’

The discovery was made by Daniel Smith, a biologist from the Smithsonian Institution in the USA, who had been studying the rain frogs in the dry country of north-central Ecuador for three years.

Research revealed the frog’s range included the dry tropical forests of eastern Ecuador and it is most closely related to the eastern toad.

In the past, the rain frog was classified as a species of toad, but after analysing DNA samples taken from specimens, the team of researchers has found it to be a different species.

There are many undiscovered species of amphibians found in Ecuador: as many as 18 new species in the dry forests of the country have been discovered, according to the country’s Nature, Nature Conservancy and Ministry of Forestry office.

Ecuador’s National Parks have also identified a further 20 new species on their own, the largest number ever recorded for any country.

The last complete listing of amphibians in Ecuador was published in 1980 by the US National Museum of Natural History.

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