SYDNEY, Nov 15 — A familiar croaking sound… from a rare type of frog.
Newcastle University Biologist Simon Clulow discovered a previously unknown species, dubbed ‘Mahony’s Toadlet’, at Oyster Cove in Australia.
Clulow said, “As you can see here it’s a spectacular little beast... It’s surprising that something so small could create such a loud noise that you can hear all around me.”
There’s the noise, but Clulow says he realised it was a new species when he saw the unique pattern on its stomach.
“The belly is almost marbled, black and white, which is very usual for this genus, it’s one of the first things that I noticed.”
Clulow says the frog’s first line of defence is to mimic its natural surroundings to avoid detection. But it also flashes its orange groin when confronted by predators.
Rarer still is the location it was found in. Most new vertebrate species are found in isolated and poorly explored areas... not within a populated city close to an airport.
Because of its habitat, Clulow says ‘Mahony’s Toadlet’ could be at risk.
“Unfortunately because the frog only seems to occur in these coastal sandbed swamps, quite a restricted distribution, it means it’s probably under threat from things like coastal developments because, of course, everybody wants to live on the coast where these sand swamps occur and it’s where developments often go in, and also sand mining,” he said.
But for now, on the outskirts of Newcastle city, the ‘Mahony’s Toadlet’ seems content to be a small frog in a big pond. — Reuters