While studying the local diversity of amphibians and reptiles in eastern Panama back in 2012, a group of researchers identified a new species of frog, which was then named after well-known climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Leading the expedition was Konrad Mebert from the State University of Santa Cruz in Brazil and Abel Batista, a researcher at Chiriquí Autonomous University in Panama. The pair have collaborated for more than a decade in Panama and have published eight journal articles describing 12 new species.
The new rainfrog (Pristimantis gretathunbergae) was discovered at 4,721 feet (1,439 meters) on the tallest mountain of the Majé mountain range, Mount Chucanti. The cold and humid environment at those heights forms what is known as a sky island—a habitat quite distinct from the lowland tropical rainforest below. The mountain is isolated and is home to the only cloud forest within a 62-mile radius.
The rare cloud forest habitat makes for a fantastic area for researchers to look for new species.
“The frogs were found in the cloud forest, sitting on vegetation, often on or in bromeliads,” Mebert tells Treehugger. “The frog can be very variable, from yellow to brown, and some are even red, some with stripes, and others with flecks,” he adds. Their prominent black eyes make them distinguishable from closely related tree frogs found in Central America.
“Greta’s activism for the environment is exemplary and deserves a frog named after her to generate more attention, as her name is globally known,” Mebert declares.