Scientists have discovered two new species of endangered ‘glass frogs’ with transparent bellies. This highlights the Andes Mountain range’s cryptic variety, claiming that the region ‘supports considerably more biodiversity than we have the capacity to catalogue.’
According to researchers from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the Mashpi frog was discovered in the Mashpi Reserve and the Nouns’ frog was identified in the Toisan range.
These glass frogs, along with many other yet-to-be-discovered Andean species, are threatened by mining and other exploitative businesses. This highlights the urgent need for comprehensive conservation measures, specially in northwestern Ecuador.”
Because of their comparable color patterns and transparent abdomens, the two new species resemble related glass frog species.
The scientists discovered that the frogs were actually a new type. This was said after more than seven years of observation and comparative analysis of species across Central and South America. This added to the area’s diversity, which already includes over 1,000 amphibian breeds, distributed across the Andes.
Differences between the Species
Due of their great physical likeness, biologists initially mistook H. mashpi for H. valerioi, a lowland glass frog, according to a press release from Berkeley Rausser College of Natural Resources. Brunner and Guayasamn were able to “discover that the comparable individuals were actually two separate species”. This was done by comparing extensive DNA samples and sound recordings with similar species in Central America, Colombia, and other areas of Ecuador.
“When you analyse the different call characteristics of other glass frogs, you can identify that the calls of H. mashpi don’t overlap,” Brunner explained after analysing recorded H. mashpi calls to determine differences in frequency, duration, and timing.
To put it another way, the species’ most distinctive feature is its call.”
H. mashpi and H. nouns are both found in forest zones. These forest zones have been deforested due to agriculture in recent decades. Therefore the researchers are concerned about exploitative and extractive mining harming Andean biodiversity.