Friday, 18 March 2016

New golden frog species discovered in Colombia

Named for legendary city of gold

Date:March 17, 2016
Source:Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

A team of scientists including a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) research associate announced the discovery of a new species of pale-gold colored frog from the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia. Its name,Pristimantis dorado, commemorates both its color (dorado means 'golden' in Spanish) and El Dorado, a mythical city of gold eagerly sought for centuries by Spanish conquistadores in South America.

"The Spaniards assumed Colombia's wealth was its gold, but today we understand that the real riches of the country lie in its biodiversity," said Andrew Crawford, a STRI research associate and faculty member at the Universidad de Los Andes.

The extraordinarily diverse group to which the new species belongs, Pristimantis, includes 465 recognized species, 205 of them from Colombia. The mountainous terrain of the Andes probably led to the evolution of so many different ground-dwelling frogs, in which the eggs develop directly into tiny baby frogs without going through a tadpole phase. At seven-tenths of an inch long, the species is among the smaller species in the group. The largest species grow to be 2 inches in length.

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