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Six new species of rain frogs have been discovered on the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes, according to a statement from Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition.
The ministry said three researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and the National Institute of Biodiversity made the discoveries in Ecuador’s Llanganates and Sangay National Parks, which protect the rich and ecologically diverse Amazon forests found on the slopes of the mountains.
Professor Santiago Ron, one of the three researchers, told CNN on Wednesday that the discovery of six new frog species took four years.
“The discovery took place during several expeditions to remote locations in the Amazon cloud forests in 2008, 2015 and 2017. After that, we analyzed the data and wrote the paper,” he said.
All the frogs belong to the genus Pristimantis, which includes more than 569 species that live as far east as Honduras and Panama through the Andes to Bolivia, northern Argentina and Brazil, according to a study published on the discovery in the journal PeerJ. Unlike many frogs, they do not depend on bodies of water for reproduction, laying eggs on the ground.
Ron said they named one of the frogs “Resistencia” (resistance) as a tribute to environmentalists who have been killed in Latin America for defending nature. “For the past 10 years, Latin America has been the most dangerous region for environmentalists,” he said.
Given the lack of information on the populations of these rain frogs, the researchers recommended assigning these new species to the data deficient category on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, a system for classifying species at high risk of extinction, the ministry said. .
Ecuador has 669 species of amphibians, making it the third most diverse country in the world after Brazil and Colombia, Ron said.