An Australian scientist has discovered a new species of frog in the rainforest swamps of New Guinea.
- Steve Richards, a frog specialist at the South Australia Museum, first spotted the cocoa-hued amphibian in 2016.
- Later, scientists at the Queensland Museum gave it the moniker of “chocolate frog” due to its brown coloured skin, a feature that distinguishes it from other tree frogs.
- The cocoa-colored frogs have turned out to be a new species.
- This ‘chocolate frog’ is called “Litoria Mira” which is inspired by the Latin adjective mirum.
- The word mirum means surprised or strange, which rightly states that the scientist was surprised after discovering a predominately Australian Litoria genus of tree frogs.
About Litoria Mira:
- The Litoria Mira has a well-known relative which is the common green tree frog of Australia called Litoria cerulean.
- The two seem alike except for the colour of their skins.
- Litoria mira can be distinguished from all other Litoria by its unique combination of moderately large size, webbing on hand, relatively short and robust limbs, and small violet patch of skin on the edge of its eyes.
A link from the past:
- The reason that the chocolate frog from New Guinea and the Australian green tree frog is similar is that some 2.6 million years ago, Australia and New Guinea were once linked by land so they share many biotic elements.
- Since the Torres Strait flooded in and separated Australia from New Guinea, the two lands have become vastly different.
- New Guinea is dominated by rainforest while Australia is now primarily a savannah.
- Animals in each land have thus adapted to very different environments.
About New Guinea:
- New Guinea is an island of the eastern Malay Archipelago, in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.
- It is the world’s second-largest island and the largest island in the Southern Hemisphere.
- It is separated by the Torres Strait from the Australian continent.
- It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the north, the Bismarck and Solomon seas to the east, the Coral Sea and Torres Strait to the south, and the Arafura Sea to the southwest.
- Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east.
- The eastern half of the island is the major land mass of the independent state of Papua New Guinea while the western half, known as Western New Guinea or West Papua, forms a part of Indonesia and is organized as the provinces of Papua and West Papua.