DNA study reveals rare frog species not documented since 1968

We recently wrote an article about five species that were rediscovered after being thought to be extinct. Thanks to a DNA study in Brazil, we have another species to add to the list: the Megaelosia bocainensis frog. 

Frogs are a notoriously elusive species with impressive camouflaging abilities, so it can be difficult for researchers to even assess the prevalence of a species. But even the most secretive animals leave behind DNA clues in their environments like skin, fur, hair, scales, feathers, and urine. DNA tracing has been used to track fish migrations and study the behavior of ancient humans. In this experiment, the researchers were on the hunt to identify 30 species of amphibians throughout the Atlantic Coastal Forest and Cerrado grasslands in Brazil. 

In the study, researchers from Cornell University sampled water from streams and ponds in the Brazilian jungle. Back in the lab, the scientists genetically sequenced the samples and filtered out material from other animals until only frog DNA was left. Going one step further, they used the DNA to identify the genus and species of frogs living in the area without ever even seeing them.

The experiment successfully identified the presence of seven rare frog species, but the Megaelosia bocainensis was most interesting as it had not been documented since 1968. The researchers plan to continue using this method to gain a clearer picture of biodiversity in Brazil. Hopefully, we will have more rare discoveries to share soon!

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