New golden frog species found

New York, March 18 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a new species of pale-gold coloured frog in the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia.

Its name, Pristimantis dorado, commemorates both its colour (dorado means ‘golden’ in Spanish) and El Dorado, a mythical city of gold eagerly sought for centuries by Spanish conquistadores in South America.

“The Spaniards assumed Colombia’s wealth was its gold, but today we understand that the real riches of the country lie in its biodiversity,” said one of the researchers Andrew Crawford from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in panama.

The new species was found calling from bushes along a roadside at about 8,700 feet elevation near Chingaza National Park, roughly10 miles east of Bogota, Colombia’s capital and largest city.

Its discovery so close to a metropolitan area of nearly 10 million inhabitants illustrates how much of the planet’s biodiversity remains to be discovered.

“With this new species, Colombia now hosts 800 species of amphibians, second only to Brazil in total diversity,” Crawford said.

The findings were described in the journal Amphibia-Reptilia.

The extraordinarily diverse group to which the new species belongs, Pristimantis, includes 465 recognised species, 205 of them from Colombia.

At seven-tenths of an inch long, the new species is among the smaller species in the group. The largest species grow to be two inches in length, the researchers said.

Males of many frog species advertise for females with distinctive calls produced by vocal sacs or vocal slits.

Oddly, although the new species lacks these structures, males are still able to produce calls consisting of an irregularly pulsed series of clicks, the study pointed out.

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