Frog disguised as bird poop one of five new species found in Papua New Guinea

Sydney, Australia, April 14 (EFE).- A frog with camouflage that makes it look like bird poop is one of five new species of treefrogs from the humid forests of Papua New Guinea recently described by scientists.

Juveniles of this small, white-and-dark-brown frog, whose scientific name is Litoria naispela, have “color and patterning that closely resembles bird droppings,” said Australia’s Queensland Museum scientist Dr Paul Oliver in a statement sent to EFE on Friday.

“We think this is a form of defensive masquerade,” said Oliver, who is one of the authors of the study published earlier this month in the scientific journal Zootaxa.

But these small amphibians, which inhabit the wet mountain ranges of Papua New Guinea, also surprised Australian researchers with their reproductive characteristics.

“These small tree frogs lay their eggs out of the water, typically on leaves, quite different to your typical treefrog, which lay their eggs directly into water,” Oliver said.

Tadpoles of Litoria naispela “live in water collected in tree hollows, a behavior not previously documented in frogs from New Guinea,” an island territory shared by the Indonesian province of West Papua and Papua New Guinea, according to the study.

The other four treefrogs were named Litoria daraiensis, Litoria gracilis, Litoria haematogaster and Litoria lisae and all five were collected over 30 years by lead author and South Australian Museum Honorary Researcher Dr Steve Richards.

“I spent a huge amount of time waiting at night beside tree holes in rain, hail and (moon)shine, for frogs to emerge in order to find these amazing species, and to try and learn about their biology,” Richards said.

“New Guinea has more species of frogs than any other island in the world and most are found nowhere else.”

The scientists believe that the new discoveries contribute to learning more about the fauna of New Guinea – considered one of the most eco-diverse places in the world – at a time when the planet’s biodiversity is deteriorating, as well as to make humanity aware of the need to conserve it. EFE


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