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Huge Discovery of Seven Tiny Frog Species

Professor Marcio Pie has discovered seven new types of Brachycephalus frogs in Brazil; all of which are 10 milimeters in average length.

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High in the Montane Cloud Forests of southern Brazil, a research team headed by Professor Marcio Pie from Universidade Federal do Paraná discovered seven previously unknown frog species, each on a different forested mountain peak. All belong to the genus Brachycephalus whose members average 10 millimeters in length. That’s only half the length of a U.S. penny!

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Marcio Pie & Seven New Frog Species

The exploration team, lead by Professor Marcio Pie, combed through the trees and dense undergrowth – mostly moss – to explore the possibility of finding more Brachycephalus species since the genus’s definition 1842.

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The new species they found were all brilliantly colored and patterned. However, like so many animals, their bright coloration means “do not touch” as the frogs contain tetrodotoxin, a paralytic poison first isolated in pufferfish.

The First New Frog: Brachycephalus Mariaeterezae

Brachycephalus mariaeterezae in life.WikiCommons

Per the original article, the green-ish spots are actually blue. The photograph flash distorted the coloration.

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The species name of this frog – mariaeterezae – commends the conservation efforts of environmentalist Maria Tereza Jorge Pádua.

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She continues her preservation efforts in Brazil and is the current president of Association Eco.

The Second New Frog Species: Brachycephalus Olivaceus

Brachycephalus olivaceus, the second species, derives its species name from the deep olive color of its skin.

Brachycephalus olivaceus in life.Bornschein, Morato, Firkowski, Ribeiro & Pie

Brachycephalus olivaceus

Third New Frog: Brachycephalus Auroguttatus

Brachycephalus auroguttatus in life.Ribeiro, Firkowski, Bornschein & Pie

Brachycephalus auroguttatus

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Fourth New Frog: Brachycephalus Verrucosus

Brachycephalus verrucosus in life.Ribeiro, Firkowski, Bornschein & Pie

Brachycephalus verrucosus

Fifth New Frog: Brachycephalus Fuscolineatus

Brachycephalus fuscolineatus in life.Ribeiro, Firkowski, Bornschein & Pie

Brachycephalus fuscolineatus

Sixth New Frog Species: Brachycephalus Leopardus

The sixth, Brachycephalus leopardus received its name for its spots….

Brachycephalus leopardus in life.Ribeiro, Firkowski, Bornschein & Pie

Brachycephalus leopardus

Seventh New Frog Species: Brachycephalus

Lucky number seven, Brachycephalus boticario, gets its name as a dedication to Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza, the primary backer of the research expedition

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Brachycephalus boticario in life.Ribeiro, Firkowski, Bornschein & Pie

Brachycephalus boticario

Size & Significance

According the original journal article, all species where found between approximately 600 and 1200 meters above sea level. All were residing on the forest floor, beneath fallen leaves, and seem to have been found by researchers following their vocalizations.

Moreover, as mentioned before, each new species was located on a different mountain in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, an ecological phenomenon call “sky islands” in which very specific habitats – like those required by these teensy amphibians – are separated by valleys or lowlands inhospitable to the animal.

Write to Kristen E. Strubberg at kstrubberg@tgnreview.com

Read more at Sci-News and the read the original journal article at PeerJ.

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Kristen E. Strubberg is the Editor-in-Chief for TGNR. Kristen founded TGNR in 2013 - seeking to create a high quality platform for original, eclectic and substantive positive news journalism by attracting expert contributors in many varying subjects. Kristen also works as a clinical medical researcher in Cardiology, with an original background in Neuroscience. Her passion for science has translated to her science-fiction specialization, with her highly adept published insights into the best of sci-fi’s popular culture. Kristen has served as TGNR’s Editor-in-Chief since 2013.

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