Researchers have identified a possibly undiscovered species of frog after an Idaho college was chosen to house two rare tree frogs.
Customs authorities in Hong Kong had confiscated the tree frogs that were thought to be crowned and fringe-limbed species, and the university applied to host the frogs, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported. When the amphibians arrived at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa in July, they discovered one was not a shaman fringe-limbed frog as they were told, said John Cossel, a biologist at the university.
“We looked through pages and pages of literature and realized that none of this matched. This must be a new species,” said Austin Reich, an ecology student at the university.
Cossel, who studies amphibians and reptiles, said these frog species are found in the rainforests of Central America, but they are unsure of the new frog’s exact origin. In order to confirm a species as new and to be able to name it, it must be found and observed in the wild.
“Hopefully it will mean more field work in the rainforests of Central America,” Cossel said.
Both frogs have since produced offspring, which Cossel said makes the university one of the only institutions in the world to breed the rare tree frogs in captivity.
Cossel said they plan to continue documenting and researching the frog with the hope that they’ll be able to name it.
“The pinnacle is naming a new species. That’s quite an honor,” Cossel said. “Long after I’m gone and Austin is gone, we’ll have the claim to fame of naming that species.”=