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Mini Frogs

June 5, 2015

Scientists discover new species of tiny frogs in the remote mountains of Brazil.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Upper image is of Brachycephalus auroguttatus and lower image is of Brachycephalus verrucosus Luiz Fernando Ribeiro CC BY SA

Upper: Brachycephalus auroguttatus; lower: Brachycephalus verrucosus (Luiz Fernando Ribeiro Creative Commons License BY SA)

Saving some unique amphibians. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.[SFX: Frog calls]

In mountainous areas of the southern Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, a tiny yellow frog, about the size of a fingernail, is singing in the leaf litter. In the journal PeerJ, evolutionary biologist Marcio Pie and his colleagues reported the discovery of this and six other new species of little frog, each unique to its own small habitat.

MARCIO PIE:

Their geographical ranges are really small: we can have one species per mountaintop. So their diversity is really impressive.

HIRSHON:

The frogs secrete deadly neurotoxins that may also have biomedical uses. But Pie says their habitats are especially vulnerable to climate change and deforestation, so he and his colleagues are working with Brazilian authorities to protect the remote areas, and also learning to breed the frogs in captivity, in case their habitat is lost. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.