Tiny new golden frog species discovered on remote Ethiopian mountain

Tiny new golden frog species discovered on remote Ethiopian mountain

A new species of puddle frog has been found in a previously unexplored mountain in southwestern Ethiopia.   The newly discovered creatures have charac

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A new species of puddle frog has been found in a previously unexplored mountain in southwestern Ethiopia.  

The newly discovered creatures have characteristics that make it easily distinguishable from other Ethiopian puddle frogs, such as a slender body with long legs, elongated fingers and toes, and a golden tint. 

DNA sequencing of tissue samples taken from the minute frogs by a team at NYU Abu Dhabi confirmed that it was genetically different from any other species. 

The Bibita Mountains in southern Ethiopia is an area of isolated forest that had remained explored by scientists until last summer. 

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A new species of Ethiopian puddle frogs measures 17 mm long for males and 20 mm for females. They are easily distinguishable from closely related puddle frogs by a slender body with long legs, elongated fingers and toes, and a golden hue

A new species of Ethiopian puddle frogs measures 17 mm long for males and 20 mm for females. They are easily distinguishable from closely related puddle frogs by a slender body with long legs, elongated fingers and toes, and a golden hue

A new species of Ethiopian puddle frogs measures 17 mm long for males and 20 mm for females. They are easily distinguishable from closely related puddle frogs by a slender body with long legs, elongated fingers and toes, and a golden hue

The tiny frogs were given the lengthy scientific name Phrynobatrachus bibita sp. nov.  and measure 17 mm long for males and 20 mm for females.  

Postdoctoral researcher Sandra Goutte, who was on the expedition to Bibta Mountain, said: ‘When we looked at the frogs, it was obvious that we had found a new species, they look so different from any Ethiopian species we had ever seen before!’ 

They new species are easily distinguishable from even closely related puddle frogs due to its unique morphological characteristics.  

Dr Reyes-Velasco, who initiated the exploration of the mountain, said the fruitful trip was in fact a second attempt by the research team to the region.

He said: ‘We tried to reach Bibita in a previous expedition in 2016 without success. Last summer, we used a different route that brought us to higher elevation,’ he added.  

Postdoctoral Associates Sandra Goutte who was on the expedition to Bibta Mountain, said: 'When we looked at the frogs, it was obvious that we had found a new species, they look so different from any Ethiopian species we had ever seen before!'

Postdoctoral Associates Sandra Goutte who was on the expedition to Bibta Mountain, said: 'When we looked at the frogs, it was obvious that we had found a new species, they look so different from any Ethiopian species we had ever seen before!'

Postdoctoral Associates Sandra Goutte who was on the expedition to Bibta Mountain, said: ‘When we looked at the frogs, it was obvious that we had found a new species, they look so different from any Ethiopian species we had ever seen before!’

The region from which the frogs were found is one of the few remaining ares of highland that still survive in Ethiopia.

The species were discovered in just two days after the team began exploring the mountain. 

A full report of the study was published in ZooKeys

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