He spent his career studying a frog. Then he discovered its true identity.

Sylvia’s leaf frog had been mislabeled for over 90 years—until Andrew Gray figured out it was a species all its own.

"Sylvia's Leaf Frog" by filmmaker Katie Garrett.

He spent his career studying a frog. Then he discovered its true identity.

Sylvia’s leaf frog had been mislabeled for over 90 years—until Andrew Gray figured out it was a species all its own.

"Sylvia's Leaf Frog" by filmmaker Katie Garrett.

Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum spent his career studying the Splendid leaf frog. However, when a supposed new species arrived from Central America, he made a shocking discovery. Using the original specimen of the Splendid leaf frog—first collected in 1902—as a comparison, Gray noticed several unique distinctions between the latest arrivals and those he had been studying. These were, in fact, the Splendid leaf frog and the frogs Gray had been studying were the new species.

“It’s remarkable that such a distinctive new species has remained undetected for such a long time” he said. The finding required a designation for the mistaken amphibians. As the discoverer, Gray was given the honor and decided to name them after his granddaughter, Sylvia. Less than 150 specimens of Sylvia’s leaf frog have been recorded, and there are only 50 known specimens of the Splendid leaf frog. Filmmaker Katie Garrett highlights the importance of correctly classifying and conserving these rare creatures in this stunning short.

See more from the filmmaker @katieggarrett.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.