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A new toad from the 'warm valleys' of Peruvian Andes

Date:
January 17, 2014
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of montane rain forest known as Peruvian Yungas ("warm valley" in translation). Like many other toads (family Bufonidae) inhabiting the forest floor, the new species Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling decaying leaves in the area, securing perfect camouflage but making morphological identification of species hard for scientists.
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This image shows and adult female Rhinella yunga from the area of Rio Huatziroki.
Credit: J. Moravec; CC-BY 4.0

A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of the Peruvian Yungas. The word is used widely by the locals to describe ecoregion of montane rainforests, and translates as "warm valley" in English. The new species Rhinella yunga was baptized after its habitat preference.

The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Like many other toads of the family Bufonidae the new species Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling the decaying leaves in the forest floor ("dead-leaf pattern"), which is in combination with expanded cranial crests and bony protrusions cleverly securing perfect camouflage. The different colors and shapes within the same species group however make the traditional morphological methods of taxonomic research hard to use to identify the real species diversity within the family. Nevertheless, Rhinela yunga is distinct from all related species in absence of a tympanic membrane, a round membranous part of hearing organ being normally visible on both sides of a toad's head.

"It appears that large number of still unnamed cryptic species remains hidden under some nominal species of the Rhinella margaritifera species group," explains Dr Jiří Moravec, National Museum Prague, Czech Republic.

Among the other interesting characteristics of the true toads from the family Bufonidae are a typical warty, robust body and a pair of large poison parotoid glands on the back of their heads. The poison is excreted by the toads when stressed as a protective mechanism. Some toads, like the cane toad Rhinella marina, are more toxic than others. Male toads also possess a special organ, which after removing of testes becomes an active ovary and the toad, in effect, becomes female.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jiri Moravec, Edgar Lehr, Juan Carlos Cusi, Jesus Cordova, Vaclav Gvozdik. A new species of the Rhinella margaritifera species group (Anura, Bufonidae) from the montane forest of the Selva Central, Peru. ZooKeys, 2014; 371: 35 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.371.6580

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Pensoft Publishers. "A new toad from the 'warm valleys' of Peruvian Andes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104033.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2014, January 17). A new toad from the 'warm valleys' of Peruvian Andes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104033.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "A new toad from the 'warm valleys' of Peruvian Andes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117104033.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).

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