New frog species is armed with special skin-puncturing claw
The "extraordinary" Ecuadorian amphibian may use the special body part to flay and stab predators—and even fellow frogs.
A newly discovered species of Ecuadorian frog has a secret weapon: A spine on the side of its thumb.
These tree-dwelling amphibians likely use their special digit to puncture the skin of predators or competitors within the same species, says study leader Santiago Ron, an evolutionary biologist at Catholic University of Ecuador.
Ron and colleagues found Hyloscirtus hillisi during a two-week expedition in Cordillera del Cóndor, a remote, little-studied region of the Andes that's also under threat due to mining. (Read about a bizarre horned frog rediscovered recently in Ecuador.)
"We walked two days along a steep terrain. Then, between sweat and exhaustion, we arrived to the tabletop, where we found a dwarf forest,” field biologist Alex