A new type of frog named Litoria Mira has become the latest discovery from the rainforest swamps of the Australian island of New Guinea.
Australian scientists who discovered the amphibian have called it the “Chocolate frog” owing to its colour.
A South Australian Museum frog specialist, Steve Richards, is said to have first sighted the chocolate-hued creature in 2016 in the swamps of New Guinea.
“It’s swampy, it’s spiky, there are lots of malaria-carrying mozzies, it floods, there are crocodiles and not many roads. It’s a really unpleasant place to work. That could be why it took so long to find this frog,” said Richards, per The Guardian.
According to Richards, some new discoveries were obvious, but this one was a long wait in getting scientific confirmation.
In a statement released through the Australian Journal of Zoology, Paul Oliver of the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security and Queensland Museum said, “The closest known relative of Litoria mira is the Australian green tree frog. The two species look similar except one is usually green, while the new species usually has a lovely chocolate colouring”.
Oliver, who performed the genetic investigation on the chocolate frog, observed that the Litoria mira could easily pass for the Australian green tree frog but genetic analysis shows it has evolved to become genetically distinct to the point where the two species would not be able to breed.
His findings disclosed further physical differences, including subtle patches of lavender behind the chocolate frog‘s eyes, and it is a little smaller than the Australian green tree frog (Litoria caerulea), at between 7cm and 8cm when fully mature.