Deep in a Brazilian rainforest researchers made a shocking new discovery!
Seven new species of bright, colourful miniature frogs were found. They belong to the genus Brachycephalus and are the thought to be the world’s smallest terrestrial vertebrates. And by small, they mean SMALL! The cute little frogs rarely get longer than one centimeter – 0.4 inches!!
The bright candy like colors of their skin is a flashy warning to predators. The colors represent the frogs defense system that consists of neurotoxins in their skin.
Due to the fact that they’re so small and live in such remote mountain areas, travelling is difficult for them. As such, interbreeding is common and has created unique species that are separate from frogs even just one mountaintop over. While this isolation creates unique and separate species, it also means that they could very easily be wiped out. Climate change and environmental threats could easily annihilate the entire species in one blow.
Distant relatives of these new frogs were discovered in the 1800s in southern Brazil. The newest species was found in the Atlantic Rainforest. Marcio Pie says that the “success in uncovering new species might indicate that the total number of Brachycephalus is still underestimated”.
Authors of a scientific report on frogs wrote:
“The species is known from a restricted area that is under a variety of sources of perturbation, including deforestation, fire, and cattle farming — even though it theoretically should have been protected given its current status as a private reserve (Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural). Therefore, the conservation of this locality is necessary for the survival of this species.”
While it’s exciting to find new species of animals, it’s also scary to think about the fragility of these new and beautiful frogs.