According to a study published in the journal Peer J scientists from the University of Parana have discovered seven new species of tiny frogs. They were identified on seven distinct mountains in the south east of Brazil which have cool cloud forests with unique climate.
The cloud forests are separated by valleys which have warmer climate and isolate the peaks of the mountain making them look like islands. Up until now researchers had discovered 21 Brachycephalus frogs and with the recent discovery the number has reached 28.
Brachycephalus amphibians are among the tiniest terrestrial vertebrates. Some of the species are only one centimeter (0.3 inch) long. They have brightly colored skin which is poisonous in order to protect them from predators. The newly discovered species are the result of five years of expeditions conducted into the wilderness.
When talking about the expeditions Professor Marcio Pie of the Federal University of Parana which is placed near Curitiba explained that in spite of the fact that the mountains are not very high (most of them having between 1,000m and 1,500m) the trails are not marked. This makes the expeditions really exhausting.
The main thing which makes this species of frogs different is the color of their skin. The texture of the skin can also vary from bumpy to rough. If the color is brighter it means that the concentration of poison tetrodotoxin in the skin is higher.
According to Professor Pie these high forests are a real treasure for explorers offering more various species per square km than the Amazon. Pie expects that in the following that in the following years they will discover even more species of Brachycephalus.
The team of researchers invented a real game from trying to anticipate what every new species would look like. Pie confessed that it was an exciting experience since they estimate that each mountain top has its own particular species although they do not know what it looks like. Thus he and his colleagues played around ant tried to guess what the frogs would look like.
It was a big challenge to catch the frogs in the first place because it takes practice and sometimes it can be the case that you go on an expedition and after many hours of research you come back without having found anything new. Pie said that this was frustrating at times for the researchers.
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