From AAP news agency in Australia:
Two new species of frog discovered
By Evan Schwarten
October 06, 2011 5:28PM
SCIENTISTS have discovered two new species of frogs living in remote pockets of Cape York Peninsula.
Queensland-based scientists Conrad Hoskin and Kieran Aland discovered the new species in isolated piles of boulders while on a research trip to the region last year.
Dr Hoskin said the new species, the Kutini Boulder-frog (Cophixalus kulakula) and Golden-capped Boulder-frog (Cophixalus pakayakulangun), were not only new to science but also were previously unknown to the local Lockhart River Aboriginal community.
The discovery doubles the number of known boulder-dwelling frog species in Australia – two other species can also be found at Cape York.
However, Dr Hoskin said the new discoveries were not closely related to the other species and appear to have evolved entirely separately in their respective rock formations.
“They’ve all basically evolved to their own boulder piles. It’s really interesting,” he said.
Dr Hoskin said that, as a result of their evolutionary histories, the species had developed some distinguishing features.
“They have got these adaptations to living in the rocks, they’ve got these really long arms and big hands and big triangular finger disks,” he said.
“They look a bit different to a typical frog … they are amazing.”
Dr Hoskin said the frogs retreated to the cool and damp recesses of the rock piles during Cape York’s brutal dry season but came out in large numbers to catch food during the wet.
He said he was excited to have discovered an entirely new species.
“You just rock up, you see these things and you immediately know they are brand new, it’s not often you get to discover a really distinctive new species, it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
Dr Hoskin said he believed there were many species – including reptiles, insects and plants – waiting to be discovered in the isolated and environmentally pristine region.
Scientists are returning hundreds of corroboree frog eggs to the wild in the hope of boosting the population: here.