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QMN, SAM & Griffith describe new tree frogs

Litoria haematogaster is among five new frog species found in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. (PR handout image) Credit: AAP.

Robyn Wuth, Aussie scientists name ‘amazing’ new tree frog species, The West Australian, 7 April 2023

Five newly discovered species of tree frogs – including one uniquely camouflaged to look like bird poo – have been found in the swamps and forests of Papua New Guinea.

The new species have been formally described by Australian scientists from Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum and Griffith University.

They all come from very wet mountain forest areas along the central mountain range of New Guinea.

Queensland Museum scientist Dr Paul Olive said the newcomers show the remarkable diversity of New Guinea frogs, where there are hundreds of species still to be identified.

The five new frogs were collected over 30 years by lead author Dr Steve Richards of the South Australian Museum.

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

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

Scientists believe that, unlike many treefrog species, the newly discovered species lay their eggs out of the water.

“Tadpoles of one new species, Litoria naispela actually live in water collected in tree hollows,” said Queensland Museum scientist Dr Paul Oliver.

Litoria naispela also has juveniles that have colour and patterning that closely resembles bird droppings – we think this is a form of defensive masquerade.”

The five new species are named Litoria daraiensis, Litoria gracilis, Litoria haematogaster, Litoria lisae and Litoria naispela.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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