Here at The Optimist Daily, we are always happy to come across news of new species discoveries, especially those that bring to light the fascinating beauty of Mother Nature. With that said, today, we’d like to introduce to you a recently discovered animal that’s both cute and has an oddly delicious look: a tree frog with a brown coloring that has won the amphibian the nickname of the “chocolate frog.”
Australian researchers found the frog — officially named Litoria Mira — in a swamp in the lowland rainforests of New Guinea. “The closest known relative of Litoria Mira is the Australian green tree frog,” said Paul Oliver, a phylogeneticist from Griffith University. “The two species look similar except one is usually green, while the new species usually has a lovely chocolate coloring.”
In addition to having a different color, the chocolate frog also has a small violet patch at the edge of its eyes and it is also smaller than its green counterpart, reports the Huffington Post.
According to the study about the discovery, published in the Australian Journal of Zoology, the researchers actually first spotted the frog back in 2016 in an area that’s fairly inhospitable to people, teeming with disease-carrying mosquitos and unwelcoming crocodiles, which may be the reason why the adorable frog remained hidden from the eyes of taxonomists until recently.
“It’s swampy, it’s spiky, there are lots of malaria-carrying mozzies [mosquitoes], it floods, there are crocodiles and not many roads,” said Oliver, noting that the very day he discovered the chocolate frog he also had to flee a bunch of giant hornets. “It’s a really unpleasant place to work.”
Image source: Griffith University