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Man Discovers A New Tiny Frog With Blue Armpits

A new, tiny green frog, with a funky blue armpit and red spots has been discovered in Costa Rica by Donald Valera Soto, the co-owner of Tapir Valley Nature Reserve. The rare tapir valley tree frog is yet another fascinating discovery from this year among a range of other new species, including a freshwater fish named the Danionella cerebrum.  

Image of the rare tapir valley tree frog with red spots and a yellow stripe. (Photo by Juan G. Abarca).

The discovery of the tapir valley tree frog (Tlalocohyla Celeste) was made thanks to Soto’s well-trained ears. Due to growing up in the countryside, Soto quickly learned to identify a variety of species of birds, trees and frogs, a skill that helped him to identify and locate the quirky new frog. 

However, he was not met without challenges when trying to locate it. Speaking to Re:Wild, he explained that the frog was ‘very well camouflaged’ and ‘almost impossible to find’. He first heard its shrill call while he was working around a wetland pond in 2018, stopping him in his tracks. The unusual call intrigued him, and he decided to investigate further. Gathering up a team, he began his hunt. 

Eventually, after months of surveys and nighttime walks, Soto and his small team finally spotted the longed-after tapir valley tree frog. Measuring only two centimeters, the frog sported a new type of yellow line that had never been seen before on any other species of frog. 

Image of a younger tapir valley tree frog. (Photo by Juan G. Abarca).

“I listened to this little frog and it was almost impossible to find it, it was so well camouflaged. I was really happy when I found it because I had been trying to find the frog that was making that unusual call for six months after I first heard it,” said Donald Valera Soto, the Costa Rican man who helped to discover the tapir valley tree frog. 

The line ran halfway down the frogs flanks, then came to a stop, unlike other species where the line continues down the body. This characteristic suggested to the team that they were dealing with a new species, which was later confirmed by a DNA analysis. 

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