The discovery of Hyloscirtus japreria makes it the 37th species of the Hyloscirtus genus.
A stunningly beautiful little stream frog has been discovered on the Venezuelan and Colombian slopes of the Sierra de Perijá mountain range.
The Hyloscirtus japreria was discovered living in rivers and cascades at altitudes above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) https://t.co/axKAyAZK5f
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 29, 2018
The frog was first discovered in 2008, but the researchers couldn't yet determine if it was a new species.
“Several years went by before we found enough evidence that it was a new species,” lead researcher and biologist Fernando Rojas-Runjaic, told AFP. They first determined that the frog was a stream frog but then had to ensure that it wasn't another similar species, Hyloscirtus platydactylus.
The frog, Hyloscirtus japreria, is translucent green in coloration with brown spots throughout its body and appendages. It also features whitish stripes on the external border of its upper eyelids, a pale yellow dorsal area with brown spots, according to the Novataxa blog. The scientists also recorded its call, which is one of its most distinctive characteristics, according to AFP. It belongs to the H. bogotensis species group, living in subtropical and tropical moist montane forests.
The frog is very small, at just 2.8 to 3.2 centimeters in length for the males and 3.5 to 3.9 cm for the females.
The researchers have looked at the molecular data of Hyloscirtus japreria and believe it is a sister species to the Sardinata tree frog (H. callipeza), an amphibian endemic to Colombia and threatened by habitat loss.
The area in which the frog was discovered has been marked by human strife for decades, and only in 2016, with the signing of a peace agreement by forces fighting the government, have scientists have been able to study the area.
“It (the peace agreement) opened a window to go into areas that were inaccessible. With peace, knowledge about biodiversity increases,” Colombian biologist Fabio Meza-Joya, a researcher that helped identify the new species, told AFP. “Some species show marked vulnerability to environmental change so they are considered excellent indicators of the health of ecosystems,” he said.
The discovery of Hyloscirtus japreria is the 37th species of the Hyloscirtus genus. An abstract of the research paper is available on the Zootaxa website.