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New Spiny-backed Treefrog Species Discovered In Peru

The three species it is most similar to include O. festae, O. mimeticus, and O. verruciger.

Osteocephalus vasquezi features dark irises and tuberculate dorsal skin, which is brown in coloration.

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Researchers have discovered a new species of frog in Peru, living high in the Andes Mountains. The frog, Osteocephalus vasquezi sp. nov. was found in the premontane forests of the Cordillera del Yanachaga, in the Central Peruvian Andes mountains. The frog belongs to the species group Osteocephalus mimeticus and is a sister species to Osteocephalus mimeticus.

It features dark irises and tuberculate dorsal skin, which is brown in coloration. The three species it is most similar to include O. festae, O. mimeticus, and O. verruciger. It is most similar to O. mimeticus, the researchers say, but has a cream or creamy tan venter and brown chocolate blotches and flecks. The tadpoles also differ from O. mimeticus in that they have a larger oval disk and nine labial tooth rows. O. mimeticus as six labial tooth rows. The researchers believe Osteocephalus vasquezi diverged from its sister species at the beginning of the Pleistocene, or ~2.5 million years ago.

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Osteocephalus-vasquezi-tadpole

Preserved tadpoles of Osteocephalus vasquezi sp. nov. and O. mimeticus. A–D. Osteocephalus vasquezi stage 33, CORBIDI 24671; E–H. O. mimeticus, stage 33, CORBIDI 24672. A, E. Dorsal view; B, F. Lateral view; C, G. Ventral view; D, H. Oral apparatus. Photographs of O. vasquezi by E. Toral and O. mimeticus of L. García-Ayachi.


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The researchers, Pablo J. Venegas, Luis A. García-Ayachi, Eduardo Toral, José Malqui, and Santiago R. Ron confirmed the new species using DNA sequences for nuclear and mitochondrial genes. They conducted a PCR test to amplify the DNA fragments for mitochondrial genes 12S RNA, CO1, 16S, ND1, and the nuclear gene POMC.

The complete paper, “A new species of spiny-backed tree frog, genus Osteocephalus (Anura, Hylidae), from the Yanachaga Chemillén National Park in central Peru” can be read on the Evolutionary Systematics website.

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