From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution (STRI) in Panama:
New frog species discovered in Panama
November 24, 2008
A new frog species has been discovered in Panama and will be announced in the December issue of Journal of Herpetology by a research team lead by STRI former visiting scientist Joseph Mendelson, from Zoo Atlanta.
The amphibian, a type of tree frog with bright reddish- and green-colored skin that grows to a length of 122 mm (*) was discovered by Edgardo Griffith while working with Mendelson in El Valle. Mendelson was head of the Amphibian Recovery Project in 2005 under the STRI umbrella. Today, Griffith is the director of the El Níspero zoo’s Amphibian Conservation Center in the Valle de Anton, working with the Houston Zoo.
The frog already “is in danger of extinction because the habitat to which it belongs is being degraded by the construction of roads and houses,” according to Griffith.
The scientific process to determine whether the frog was a new species took two years and involved characterizing its habitat, diet and morphology and comparing it with other frogs in Costa Rica and Colombia. The official taxonomic description of the species will be made based on analysis conducted by molecular biologists.
[ * Several media reported that the frog measured 22cm. It actually only grows to 12.2cm or about 4.75 inches.]
Trying to stay ahead of a deadly disease that has wiped out more than 100 species, scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute continue to discover new frog species in Panama. Two teams of researchers have named two new species in 2010: Pristimantis educatoris, from Omar Torrijos National Park, and Pristimantis adnus from Darien Province near the Colombian border: here.
30 frog species, including 5 unknown to science, killed off by amphibian plague in Panama: here.