MEET THE NEWLY DISCOVERED “CHOCOLATE FROG” FROM NEW GUINEA
A new chocolate like frog belonging to the species Litoria has been discovered in the swampy and rainforests of New Guinea. According to a team of researchers from the South Australian Museum, the Queensland Museum and the Griffith University led by Dr. Steve Richards, a frog specialist associated with the South Australian Museum, Litoria is a large genus of tree frogs native to Australia, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and the Moluccan Islands.
“Once we saw the new species, we started calling it a chocolate frog and the name stuck,” said Dr. Paul Oliver, a researcher at Queensland Museum and Griffith University,
Litoria mira can be differentiated from all other Litoria due to its unique combination of webbing on hand, large size, limbs that are relatively short and robust as well as a small violet patch of skin which is present on the edge of its eyes.
The name Litoria mira has been inspired by the Latin adjective mira which is translated as surprised or strange and the name fits perfectly for the new species of frog that have surprised scientists.
It is likely that both (chocolate frog from New Guinea and the Australian green tree frog) were linked by land around 2.6 million years ago and share biotic elements. To be sure, in the present, the island of New Guinea and Queensland are separated by the Torres Strait. Oliver said that understanding the biotic interchange between these two areas is important to know how the two habitat types have expanded and contracted over time.
“The two species look similar except one is usually green, while the new species usually has a lovely chocolate coloring.”
On why it may have taken a while to discover the chocolate frog, Dr. Steve Richards said, “Because the frog lives in very hot, swampy areas with lots of crocodiles, all these things discouraged exploration.”
Dr. Richards, who has discovered a new frog species in Australia and around 200 in New Guinea, said it was sometimes obvious when something was new, but it took a long time for the results to come in with the “chocolate frog.”
Dr. Richards and Dr. Oliver co-wrote a research paper on the discovery published in the Australian Journal of Geology.