🐸 Frogs have been in trouble around the world for the last several years, as climate change impacts their habitat. They are particularly vulnerable to chemicals that leach into groundwater, and the streams, ponds and rivers that they call home.
Despite all that, scientists are discovering new species of frogs, even today. A recent exploration in Mexico has resulted in six new species, in a group called Craugastor.
These diminutive frogs are all smaller than a dime, and are hard to distinguish from one another. The University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology led the study, and have published their exciting findings in the journal in the journal Herpetological Monographs.
“With millions of these frogs living in the leaf litter, we think they’re likely to play a hugely important role in the ecosystem as a source of food for everything else, from lizards to predatory birds,” said lead author Dr. Tom Jameson, a researcher in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and the University Museum of Zoology.
“Their lifestyle is utterly fascinating. These frogs live in the dark, humid leaf litter of the forests, which is like a secret world — we don’t really know anything about what goes on there. We don’t understand their behavior, how they socialize, or how they breed.”
Though the discovery of new species is always exciting, scientists warn that these newly categorized frogs are already threatened.
Another fascinating fact about these tiny frogs:
They are called ‘direct-developing’, meaning they don’t develop from tadpoles, but instead hatch from eggs as perfect, tiny frogs.