SIUC team discovers new species of frog in Amazon rain forest
A team from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) recently came back from the Amazon rain forest with news of the discovery of a new species of rain frog. The new species, called Pristimantis pluvialis, is the result of years of searching, often by headlamp and on foot, by the SIUC team.
Alessandro Catenazzi, assistant professor of zoology at SIU, , has been studying the Amazon rain forests for 20 years.
Along with Catenazzi, lead author and SIU doctoral student Alex Shepack joined a team with members from the University of Michigan and the National University of San Antonio Abad of Cusco in Peru to journey to southern Peru to discover the new rain frog, as well as other specimens of new species within the private conservation area Bosque Nublado and within the Huachiperi Haramba Queros Conservation Concession.
The new frog’s name comes from the genus Pristimantis, which means the frog can live an entire life cycle without a tadpole stage, and pluvialis, which comes from the Latin pluvial, which means "pertaining to rain."
“I have long suspected this might be a new species, but because it is very similar to other species, and because bioacoustic and genetic data were missing for many of these similar species, it wasn't a priority,” Catenazzi said. Ultimately, however, with the publication of more genetic data and advertisement call of similar species, the team was able to classify the frog as its own species. Alex (Shepack) and I have been working in Peru since 2015, visiting field sites during the rainy season in January and the dry season in June. The field work involves walking along forest trails, creeks, ponds and such at night and using a headlamp to observe amphibians. Those that are potentially new we captured and collected for later analyses.”
The discovery was described in a recent article published in the open-access journal ZooKeys by Shepack.