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Real-Life ‘Chocolate Frog’ Discovered In New Guinea Rainforest

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Real-Life 'Chocolate Frog' Discovered In New Guinea RainforestGriffith University/Warner Bros. Pictures

A chocolate frog has been discovered in a New Guinea rainforest, but you shouldn’t try to eat this one.

The chocolate frog has been discovered in the lowlands rainforests of the country, but it differs from those that appear in the Harry Potter films.

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A paper published in the Australian Journal of Zoology has discussed the new species and how it compares to other frogs.

chocolate frog (Australian Journal of Zoology)Australian Journal of Zoology

Co-author of the study, Paul Oliver of the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security and Queensland Museum, detailed the new species:

The closest-known relative of Litoria mira is the Australian green tree frog. The two species look similar except one is usually green, while the new species usually has a lovely chocolate colouring.

We named this new Litoria frog species Mira, which means surprised or strange in Latin, because it was a surprising discovery to find an over-looked relative of Austalia’s well-known and common green tree living in the lowland rainforests of New Guinea.

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Part of the reason this species has only been recently discovered is that they don’t travel too often. Co-author Steve Richards, from the South Australian Museum, explained that ‘because the frog lives in very hot, swampy areas with lots of crocodiles, all these things discourage exploration’.

frogs (Australian Journal of Zoology)Australian Journal of Zoology

It is believed that the chocolate-coloured species separated from its green relative in Australia when the New Guniea island became independent millions of years ago.

Oliver noted:

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Estimates for divergence of the new species in our study shows that in the Pliocene (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) there was still connectivity between the two species across lowland tropical habitats of northern Australia and New Guinea.

The co-author of the paper went on to discuss the importance of further research into this divergence:
Resolving the biotic interchange between these two regions is critical to understanding how the rainforest and savannah habitat types have expanded and contracted over [the] time of both.
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Topics: Animals, Animal, Discovery, Now

Credits

Australian Journal of Zoology and 1 other
  1. Australian Journal of Zoology

    Multiple trans-Torres Strait colonisations by tree frogs in the Litoria caerulea group, with the description of a new species from New Guinea

  2. CNN

    Scientists discover new 'chocolate frog' in swamp

Daniel Richardson
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