Monday, 5 September 2016

'Sleeping Beauty' Frog with Bright Red Groin Discovered

The frog—named for a Peruvian mountain range—went undiscovered for decades partly because its home was a hotbed of drug activity.

By Michael Greshko


On the foothills of the Andes in central Peru, a brilliantly colored frog lives out a fractured fairy tale.

Once upon a time—specifically, one evening in November 2014—biologist Germán Chávez heard a call echo through the highest-altitude forests ofTingo María National Park. Chávez didn’t recognize the call, so he went out to find the source of the distinctive chirps. Up in a tree, he found a little brown frog less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) long—and quickly realized that like the frogs in stories, this one was more than meets the eye.

“We could see the bright red legs, and that was a surprise,” says Chávez, a biologist with Peru’s Center of Ornithology and Biodiversity. “We have never seen a frog like that.”

Frogs come in a dazzling variety of colors, and depending on the genus, so do their crotches: Related frogs have splotches of yellow, brown, and even orange on their groins, thighs, and shanks. But to see such bright pigmentation—and red, at that—caught the researchers off-guard. (See “New Amazon Frog Named After Mythical Monster.”)

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