UAE researchers discover new species of frog in Ethiopia

New species of puddle frog has been discovered by New York University Abu Dhabi researchers
UAE researchers discover new species of frog in Ethiopia
The research team named the new species Phrynobatrachus bibita or Bibita Mountain dwarf puddle frog.
By Sam Bridge
Fri 01 Mar 2019 01:22 AM

A new species of puddle frog has been discovered by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYU) researchers at the unexplored and isolated Bibita Mountain in southwestern Ethiopia.

The research team named the new species Phrynobatrachus bibita or Bibita Mountain dwarf puddle frog, inspired by its home, state news agency WAM reported.

NYU Abu Dhabi Postdoctoral Associates Sandra Goutte and Jacobo Reyes-Velasco explored an isolated mountain in southwestern Ethiopia where some of the last primary forest of the country remains.

Bibita Mountain was under the radars of the team for several years due to its isolation and because no other zoologist had ever explored it before, WAM said.

"Untouched, isolated, and unexplored: it had all the elements to spike our interest," said Reyes-Velasco, who initiated the exploration of the mountain.

"We tried to reach Bibita in a previous expedition in 2016 without success. Last summer, we used a different route that brought us to higher elevation," he added.

Their paper, published in ZooKeys journal, reports that the new tiny frog - 17 mm for males and 20 mm for females - is unique among Ethiopian puddle frogs.

"When we looked at the frogs, it was obvious that we had found a new species, they look so different from any Ethiopian species we had ever seen before," said Goutte.

Back in NYU Abu Dhabi, the research team sequenced tissue samples from the new species and discovered that Phrynobatrachus bibita is genetically different from any frog species in the region.

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