A newfound species of frog does not ribbit. It does not make any sound at all.
Many frogs have a range of characteristics, from being translucent to being clumsy jumpers (SN: 12/22/22; 6/15/22) The recently discovered amphibian is not aware of its identity, but is part of a group of seven other voiceless frog species called spiny-throated reed frogs that inhabit East Africa.
According to university of Cincinnati conservation biologist Lucinda Lawson, the spines on male frogs' throats might assist their female counterparts in recognizing potential partners via touch rather than croaking.
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In 2019 Lawson and colleagues discovered the tiny frog, which was only about 25 millimeters long, while studying wildlife in Tanzania's Ukaguru Mountains. The animal, now called Hyperolius ukaguruensis, appeared to be a spiny-throated reed frog.
"It was the wrong color," Lawson adds. Most reed frogs from this group are green and silver, but this one was gold and brown. A few quick tests to see if the strange frog was just a random color variation, or if it was a new species revealed that its eyes were smaller than those of other spiny-throated frogs.
Lawson and colleagues conducted DNA testing on two frogs that appeared to be belonging to the suspected new species, as well as ten individuals belonging to the well-known spiny-throated species, according to a new report published February 2 in PLOS ONE.
Each frog species in this voiceless group lives in its own isolated forest. All seven previously unknown species are endangered or endangered, according to Lawson. Then governments and organizations may begin protecting the area where the new, potentially endangered animal lives.