Newly Discovered Golden Frog Named After El Dorado

Posted on March 18, 2016

A newly discovered frog species has been named after El Dorado, the mythical city of gold that Spanish conquistadores failed to find in South America. The pale-gold colored frog was found in the cloud forests of the high Andes in Colombia.

The frog's scientific name is Pristimantis dorado. 205 of the 465 recognized Pristimantis frog species are from Colombia. Researchers believe the mountainous terrain of the Andes likely led to the evolution of so many different ground-dwelling frogs.

Andrew Crawford, a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) research associate and part of the research team, says in a statement, "The Spaniards assumed Colombia’s wealth was its gold, but today we understand that the real riches of the country lie in its biodiversity."

Pristimantis dorado was found near Chingaza National Park, which is about 10 miles east of Bogota, a city home to 10 million people. It was discovered when one of the frogs was heard calling from bushes along a roadside at about 8,700 feet elevation. Male frogs of the species produce calls that consist of an irregularly pulsed series of clicks. The small frogs are about seven-tenths of an inch long - less than 2 centimeters.

Crawford adds, "With this new species, Colombia now hosts 800 species of amphibians, second only to Brazil in total diversity. Every year there are increasing numbers of new species of amphibians discovered and described. At this point we still can't even estimate what the final diversity of amphibians will be."

A research paper on the newly discovered golden frog was published here in the journal, Amphibia-Reptilia.

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