Scientists have discovered eleven new to science species of rain frogs in the Ecuadorian Andes. The new species have been described by two scientists from the Museum of Zoology of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in the open-access journal ZooKeys wherein they have characterized them in detail on the basis of genetic, morphological, bioacoustic, and ecological features.
The findings are remarkable considering that there were 11 new species described in just on paper. Previous instances of new discovery have had only one to five new species being described in one single finding. The new study is amazing considering that the two scientists have managed to discover and describe eleven species after copious amount of work involved in the description of each.
Unfortunately, amongst the findings of concern is that most of the newly described frog species are listed as either Data Deficient or Threatened with extinction, according to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). All of the studied amphibians appear to have very restricted geographic ranges, spanning less than 2,500 km2. To make matters worse, their habitats are being destroyed by human activities, especially cattle raising, agriculture, and mining.
Amongst the newly described species, there is the peculiar Multicolored Rain Frog, where the name refers to its outstanding color variation. Individuals vary from bright yellow to dark brown. Initially, the studied specimens were assumed to belong to at least two separate species. However, genetic data demonstrated that they represented a single, even if highly variable, species.
The rest of the previously unknown frogs were either named after scientists, who have made significant contributions in their fields, or given the names of the places they were discovered, in order to highlight places of conservation priority.