Usually Green, Scientists Discover New Brown Species They Named the Chocolate Frog
In the “nasty” swamps of New Guinea, a frog specialist has discovered a new species that he decided to call the “chocolate frog.”
Far from the sweet runaways containing famous witch or wizard cards from the Harry Potter series, the real thing is a close relative of the Australian green tree frog, only covered in a chocolate brown fur.
Steve Richard’s home in South Australia may be a paradise, but the same cannot necessarily be said for the environment in which he decided to work. New Guinea is covered by dense jungle and mangroves. It is one of the least explored jungles on Earth and is full of poisonous plants and animals.
Yet despite the nightmarish conditions, Richards has discovered 200 species of frogs in its depths.
The chocolate frog, or Litoria look, was found by Richards and his team in 2016, but analysis had to be given time to build up before it was confirmed that, rather than being a population that somehow migrated to New Guinea, L. look it was its own kind.
Part of the difficulty is that Australian green tree frogs are known to exist in New Guinea and turn brown. But subtle difficulties helped herpetologists make the decision, including small patches of lavender skin around the eyes and the fact that the chocolate frog was slightly smaller.
Profiled by The Guardian, Richard’s explains that he accidentally disturbed a giant hornet nest during the course of collecting the frog specimens, and had to run to escape the wrath of the insects.
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“… It took me so long to find this frog,” he told the British newspaper. “It is swampy, spiky, there are many malaria-carrying mosquitoes, it floods, there are crocodiles and few roads. It’s a really unpleasant place to work. “
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