Mixophyes australis is closely related to Mixophyes balbus, the Stuttering Frog
Researchers With the University of Newcastle and University of Adelaide as well as the Queensland Museum have described a new species of barred frog from New South Wales, Australia that was once thought to be a single species. The new species, Mixophyes australis is closely related to Mixophyes balbus, the Stuttering Frog. Genome testing determined that Mixophyes balbus, which hails from the North, is genetically different from Mixophyes australis, which lives in South and Central new South Wales to the East Gippsland in Victoria.
The researchers also examined the morphological and acoustic variations of M. balbus, which led them to the conclusion that the species was actually two different species.
The frog grows to just under 3 inches in length, is copper bronze in coloration and sports large eyes with a black line that runs from just above the snout to the back of the jaw. The legs are barred and the back shows irregular spots.
Because previous conservation assessments were based on a single species, both M. balbus and M. australis are considered endangered by the researchers. This is based on the fragmented distribution of these amphibians. Chytridiomycosis poses a direct threat to these species and evidence has shown that they are susceptible to the fungal disease. The indirect effects of climate change (drought and wildfires) can also have a negative impact on these amphibians. The researchers recommend constant monitoring of the frogs to mitigate the threats that they face.
The complete paper, A new species of barred frog, Mixophyes (Anura: Myobatrachidae) from south-eastern Australia identified by molecular genetic analyses, can be read on the Zootaxa website.