Striking Yellow-Black Rain Frog Found, Is Already Endangered
The rare amphibian lives in an overlooked region in Ecuador, scientists say.
A newfound species of rain frog in Ecuador is likely already endangered.
Scientists had long confused the amphibian with its close relative, Pristimantis ornatissimus, a well-known frog with a distinctive yellow-and-black body.
But the team noticed—first in photos and later in lab specimens—surprising variation in the markings between animals from the northern Chocó coastal region and the Andean foothills. (See "'Extinct' Toad Rediscovered in Ecuador.")
“We realized the northern frogs had longitudinal lines, while the southern ones had a more reticulated pattern,” says Guayasamin. Their eye colors also differed. “So we decided to look at the genetics.”
The genes revealed what the scientists' eyes had suggested: There were two distinct species among these colorful beauties. The new species, P. ecuadorensis,