Newly discovered frog species already critically endangered
A tiny new species of frog no bigger than a 5p coin has been discovered and it is already being classed as critically endangered.
The stump-toed Stumpffia froschaueri was discovered in a north-western region of Madagascar.
The amphibian measures just 1cm in length.
The frog’s known distribution is limited to three forest patches which, according to the scientists, are “severely threatened by fire, drought and high levels of forest clearance, thus suggesting a classification of critically endangered” according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Dr Samuel Penny, lecturer in the University of Brighton’s school of pharmacy and biomolecular sciences, was a member of a team of scientists on an expedition to the island.
He has just had a paper on the discovery published in ZooKeys.
Dr Penny said: “This small and inconspicuous frog measures around 1cm in length and inhabits the leaf litter of relatively undisturbed forests.
“Habitat loss across its limited range suggests it should qualify as critically endangered.
“The species name honours Christoph Froschauer (ca. 1490 – 1564), a renowned printer whose family name means the man from the floodplain full of frogs.”
Mr Froschauer used to sign his books with a woodcut showing frogs under a tree.
Dr Penny added: “It’s amazing to find a completely new variety of frog but it’s worrying to know they are already threatened with extinction.”