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Two New Frog Species Found In New Guinea

Oct 07, 2015 05:14 PM EDT
Cophixalus rajampatensis
A new species of frog, Cophixalus rajampatensis (pictured here) was found in Indonesia.
(Photo : Steve Richards)

Two new arboreal frog species have been discovered in New Guinea, researchers have revealed in a recent study. Both are considered the first members of the frog genus Cophixalus found on Misool Island. One of the frogs was also identified as a hermaphrodite, an animal that has both male and female sex organs, according to a news release.

Misool Island is one of the four major islands in the Raja Ampat Islands in the Indonesian part of New Guinea. After heavy rainfall swept through the islands one night, researchers from the South Australian Museum set out to track and record frog mating calls calls. They also collected tissue samples for DNA analysis and took photographs. It wasn't long before they realized they had located two new Cophixalus frogs among the logged lowland rainforests.

Cophixalus frogs are a narrow-mouthed species that are mainly found in New Guinea and northern Australia. In total, the frog genus Cophixalus is comprised of 63 recognized species. The two new species found were differentiated by their morphological features and the different mating calls males used to attract their partners. Both of the frogs have small and slender bodies, measuring less than 23 millimeters in length.  

After the researchers dissected one of the male specimens, which was ultimately assigned to the new species C. salawatiensis, they found that in addition to possesing male sound-producing organs capable of producing male mating calls, it also possessed a female reproductive system that contained well-developed eggs.

All the specimens collected have since been placed in Indonesia's Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense. 

Researchers on the nearby islands of Batanta and Waigeo failed to find these new species despite similar climatic condition and strong frog activity, which, researchers says, only underscores the vast biodiversity present among the Raja Ampat Islands.  

The findings were recently published in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Samantha on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13

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