Scientists Discover New Species Of Tree Frog That Doesn’t Croak

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati discovered the unusual frog in the Ukaguru Mountains of Tanzania.

What’s unique about the small, silent Ukaguru spiny-throated reed frog (Hyperolius ukaguruensis) is that it doesn’t croak, chirp, sing, or ribbit.

Photo: Flickr/kendrasm1th* License: CC BY 2.0

The research on the species was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

In a university press release, researchers explained that frogs usually make sounds to attract a mate, leaving them to wonder how this species attracts mates. So far, they believe that the females of this species may identify different males by the tiny spines on their throats.

Photo: Flickr/Brian Gratwicke License: CC BY 2.0

Conservationist biologist and professor Lucinda Lawson said, “It’s a very odd group of frogs. The male frogs don’t call like most other frogs do. We think they may use the spine as something like Braille for species recognition. Without a call, they need some other way to recognize each other.”

According to the press release, the frog species was first discovered back in 2019 while researchers searched for a different species of frog. While they didn’t find the tree frog they were looking for, they did discover a population of frogs unknown to science. Unfortunately, the newly discovered frogs could be of high conservation concern given its delicate and dwindling ecosystem in the Ukaguru Mountains alone.

Photo: Flickr/Brian Gratwicke License: CC BY 2.0

While things may not look promising for the species’ future, knowing about it is the first step to beginning deeper conservation efforts.

To learn more about the newly-discovered Hyperolius ukaguruensis, you can check out the full study here.

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