These amphibians, known for their jumping abilities and croaking sounds, live all over the world and are among the most diverse animals, with over 6,000 species. The new species was first described by the researchers in a study published recently in the Australian Journal of Zoology. These researchers travelled to New Guinea and found the ‘chocolate frog’ in a hot swamp full of crocodiles.
Lead study author Paul Oliver, a biologist at Queensland Museum and Griffith University, told Queensland Museum Network that once the researchers saw the new species, they started calling it ‘chocolate frog’, and the name got stuck. Liver added, “What’s a little surprising about this discovery is that the well-known and common green tree frog of Australia has a long-overlooked relative living in the lowland rainforests of New Guinea. Because of this, we named the new frog Litoria Mira because the word ‘Mira’ means surprised or strange in Latin.”
Steve Richards, the co-author of the paper, said the researchers thought the species was probably widespread in New Guinea. “While New Guinea is not a place most Australians know well, many animal groups are shared. So, understanding biodiversity in New Guinea helps us to understand the history and origins of Australia’s unique fauna,” Richards said in a statement.
Queensland Museum CEO Jim Thompson said there is still much to learn about biodiversity in Australia and museums play an important role in “describing and conserving our natural world heritage.”